A thread on the politics of 'Family Man - Season 2'.

(Fairly long, so bear with me!)

The creators of 'Family Man - Season 2' might be South Indians, but the series essentially panders to the insecurities of the North Indian Brahmin man - both at home & the nation.
At a household level, the Brahmin protagonist is living in an almost dead marriage. However hard he tries, his wife seems to block him out & he is unable to ignite any intimacy in the relationship. His wife probably slept with her colleague.
To compensate for what is lacking at home, he unleashes his aggression & focus at work as a TASC agent.
So at a national level, the series panders to hyper nationalist anxieties & fear mongering & imagines the Brahmin man fighting 'militants' & 'terrorists' who might not even exist in the first place.
It is amusing that the series makers want us to think they have a pro-Tamil Eelam point of view. Because the series does not even a well-defined articulation on the Tamil Eelam Struggle. It appears that the writers were either extremely callous or just plain lazy.
They seem to have been more than happy to imagine Eelam Tamil characters & their lives as caricatured props to further a thrilling story. And making it appealing to a national & international OTT market - which anyway has an insatiable appetite for sex, crime & war.
What makes 'Family Man 2' particularly cruel is that this insensitive portrayal of Eelam Tamils comes a decade after the Srilankan army has won the war against LTTE. Which was then followed by the Sinhala nationalist government tightening its control over the island nation.
The Eelam Tamil's grip over their own land is probably at its lowest point in contemporary times.
While the lives of Eelam Tamil refugees in India is already a struggle because of how the Indian Government controls their movement & how it affects their livelihood measures, the series makes their lives worse by portraying them as potential 'militants' or 'terrorists' .
Whose plan is nothing short of plotting to kill India's Prime Minister. But for what joy? No one knows! The series hardly attempts to understand and reflect on geo-political realities or the post-war scenario.
It just superficially throws something about China & India competing to get their hold on Srilanka.

But what the series is really invested is in fear mongering on the danger these Eelam refugees can pose to India & Srilanka.
And by posturing such a narrative, it speaks jointly the language of Indian Brahmin nationalism & Sinhala Buddhist nationalism - that the people of Tamil Eelam can re-group themselves anytime & start another armed struggle.
But the ground reality is far from any of these exaggerated imaginations.

The Eelam government in exile portrayed in the series is made up of some petty & silly men who keep repeating 'om', 'om' too often to prove their Eelam accent.
They are presented as some clueless & brooding buffoons who easily fall prey into ISI's hands. By doing this, the series writers seem to want to present Eelam militants & the ISI in very similar 'anti-India' light.
If all this wasn't enough, the ISI also seems to be sending charming young Muslim boys to woo Hindu girls to further its attack on India. Love Jihadi and all-a? It is very possible that in the next season, the writers might blame the ISI for not getting a slot on the CoWIN app.
Samantha plays the central character of a Tamil militant. And her role is devoid of any humanisation. Her character is paraded as someone who faces a series of sexual violence - in her past, in the public transport, at work & even at a highway checking point.
If she is not facing any sexual violence, then she is ruthlessly killing someone. Beyond this, there is nothing to her character.
Even her black make-up is embarrassingly inconsistent & changes from very dark to patchy dark to brownish yellow to turmeric yellow to just plain fair at several points.

The Tamils of TN too are grossly caricatured.
Even if we ignore the critical portrayal of Tamil politicians, it seems too much of a stretch to show how TN is ridden with 'safe houses' for militants. And how the people of Vedaranyam seem to be hanging out freely with a gun in their hand & ready to attack a police station.
It might be true that most non-Brahmins in TN share an emotional bond with the Eelam Tamils and wished for their freedom or devolution of powers.
But that doesn't mean they have the resources or wherewithal to organize themselves and kill police officers or intelligence agents at ease.
The series in fact seems to be aware of its problems and makes some half-hearted attempts to critique its own narrative by deliberately placing some counter dialogues at few places. Probably in the hope that it might pre-empt any criticism.
But sorry, all that one can say is that it came across as more half-assed than half-hearted.

If there is anything that the series makers should be credited for, then it must be in getting the veg diet of the Tewari couple right.
Because who on earth goes to a Chinese restaurant and orders schezwan mix-veg and mushrooms other than 'pure veg' Brahmins. So full marks to the writers for capturing this 'nuance'. Though am not sure why they left out 'baby corn in manchurian sauce' from the order.
Because that could have actually humiliated China more than a fight for a stake in Srilanka.

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