Dreamy eyes and sweet nothings… The couple’s hurried marriage probably won’t be as breezy as the initial months of their relationship.
Nothing goes wrong during those six months that Tara and Aadhi are together in OK Kanmani . They are smiling, they are laughing, and they can’t keep their hands off each other. And I don’t have a problem with that, for isn’t that how the opening months of a relationship are — during that dreamy, almost drugged stage when both parties present their most perfect versions of each other? The man will do anything to be with her — even surprise her in Ahmedabad as Aadhi does. He will most likely take deep care to iron out every crinkle from his clothes. He will be most empathetic to every little problem she has, and be thoroughly moved by her traumatic back stories — a failed marriage of her parents, for instance. He will buy her thoughtful gifts, and hell, he will probably put down the toilet seat every single time — something his mum would likely have rebuked him for not doing many times. Meanwhile, for her part, the woman will be all smiles.
She will likely put on her best makeup, even when the plan is to just stay indoors with the man. She will text him regularly, and ask him if the time he spent with her was the best time he’d ever spent with anybody. She will blush furiously when her excited co-workers sit around her to find out how her date went. And of course, she, in all her kindness, will be happy to forgive him during the rare occasion when he fails to put the toilet seat down. Everybody who has ever been in love will recognise this opening stage of a relationship, a time when the oxytocin and dopamine hold you captive and helpless. Tragically, this is the only stage that films across the world generally glamourise. It is almost as though they believe this to be the most ideal stage, almost as though they mistakenly believe it would last forever.
The problems, as Tara and Aadhi will discover shortly after their hurried marriage, arise when this stage is over, when the butterflies have found new stomachs to habitat. Statistics have shown that this is when most love marriages fail — around the 2-3 year mark. It is not that the boy and girl weren’t in love; they just weren’t prepared for the incoming storm. And how could they look beyond a person’s flaws, if they weren’t aware of them in the first place? While there is no way to learn of all the defects of an individual that become more and more evident with time, what can you say of Tara and Aadhi who have not the slightest idea of even the most rudimentary negatives of the other? How will they respond to a conflict? Will Tara shut down and refuse to communicate during trying times? How much baggage does she carry from the failed marriage of her parents? Does Aadhi usually respond to conflicts by yelling in frustration, as he does in the car scene at the end? Has he or has he not had all of those girlfriends he claimed to have, and if he did, whatever caused him to marry Tara as quickly?
The film gives us the ending we crave — a slideshow of happily-ever-after pictures. What about the in between? Let’s not even get into the possibilities of Aadhi meeting a beautiful NRI in America who’s into video games, and if it’d make him regret his hasty marriage. What about when Tara, at the first conflict, gets reminded of her parents’ failed marriage, and makes it all worse with a fatalistic view? What if she realises that Aadhi is actually a couch potato who’s into video gaming all day, even if it means putting on more weight than she finds attractive? While these are all problems that are admittedly not impossible to overlook and end up in a happy marriage, the ludicrous immediacy of their marriage makes you wonder if they are at all equipped to face the hurdles that will certainly come their way. If they can change their minds about marriage due to a few weeks in love, what’s to stop them from changing their minds once again, when they confuse moving past that initial romantic stage with not being in love?
This, of course, is the problem that plagues many failed love marriages around us. People who believed that the initial butterflies will last forever. People who didn’t let time peel those layers of feigned perfection off their partner and expose the real them. People, who at the first sign of trouble, become so disillusioned with their idea of the perfect marriage that they’re unable to negotiate their way past their misplaced disappointment.
After a few months of romantic love that saw them handle little turbulence, that had them reveal no problematic traits, you get the feeling that Tara and Aadhi are ripe for an enormously unpleasant surprise. Marriages aren’t as dreamy as those initial months in love are, but that doesn’t mean they are inferior, as Tara and Aadhi will probably conclude, in their state of delusion. There are other rewards more fulfilling in a marriage (or a live-in, as is your preference) than any joy the butterflies of those opening stages can ostensibly create. But you sense that Tara and Aadhi, ill-equipped and underprepared as they seemingly are, will probably end up alone, staring wistfully into the night sky, with a song from a previous Mani Ratnam romantic film on their lips: “Inbam tholainthathu eppo, kalyanam mudinthathey appo…”