A few years ago, family dramas especially those surrounding couple relationships started taking a back seat. One of the major reasons behind this was the lack of beautifully crafted tales that demand the craftsmanship of an insightful script writer and director. The wait is over as Irugapatru (2023) has reached the theatres last month. Written and directed by Yuvraj Dhayalan, it stars a crew of young and talented actors like Shraddha Srinath, Vikram Prabhu, Vidharth and many more.
The plot of Irugapatru is intertwined by the main connector of the parallel stories, Mithra Manohar, a psychologist and marriage counselor, who eventually enters into the lives of the couples Divya-Arjun and Pavithra-Rangesh. However, Mithra’s married life with her husband Manohar, too, becomes affected in the process. Yuvraj Dhayalan has skillfully balanced and glued the tales along, most organically without losing the lustre from any of them.
Addressing the marital bonds and discords in Irugapatru
Irugapatru has made sincere attempts at addressing and interpreting some of the most frequent types of discords in modern day marriages. It was a thoughtful move since hard conflicts do affect the emotions of the audience and such conflicts may need a lot of time to resolve themselves before the time-bound audience. The film seeks to capture the emotional turbulence and mental trauma faced by each of these characters with much needed weightage.
The Arjun-Divya couple represents the married people of the upper-middle class who have started a marriage out of their mutual love. Their marital discords reinforce the necessity of mutual respect and understanding within relationships. It also tried to normalise the notions of falling out of love as a part of any relationship and showed how rekindling of love and emotions needs time, effort and patience. Making time for each other to admiring everyday trifles, mutual understanding has so much importance in one’s love life. Besides the lack of mutual understanding, intellectual ego or inferiority complex can also mar bonds beyond repair. This was also vividly shown by the scriptwriter.
In the case of Pavithra and Rangesh, it is not the lack of love, but the childhood trauma which remain deep seated within the individuals that continue to obstruct the blooming of their life. Rangesh’s changed behaviour especially at a particular phase in their relationship signifies his inherent repression and projection. He represses his trauma and psychologically projects it as the fault in their marital life. He subconsciously tries to get rid of them by trying to get a divorce.
Though these meaningless acts are condemned by his close ones, Rangesh continues to disregard them. In their case, the scriptwriter has craftfully shown how the outside influences mislead and cloud judgement. This story also shows how people, at times, try to solve the problem of their friends or colleagues, often worsening the relations beyond imagination.
Irugapatru has tried and succeeded in addressing and solving the innumerable questions related with couple problems rather than just mentioning them. All the actors has also levelled their acting potential to such an extent that they have perfectly blended in with the characters, on-screen.
Mithra and her psychological and romantic theories
Both as a wife and as a marriage counselor, Mithra has won the hearts of the audience. Mithra ultilising the psychological theories, has tried to find answers to her own problems besides helping others. She hides her feelings because she thinks that it could badly impact her relation with Manohar while he wants his wife to be a little passionate and possessive towards him. On the other hand, Mithra feels anxiety due to the failure of the numerous relationships around her and therefore, blindly follows the conventionally suggested ways of courting.
She believes that her inability to keep up her spirits for Manohar is because of her demanding profession as a psychologist and marriage counselor. Mithra depends not on her love instincts but on technology to resolve her relationship. Her use of weekly honest hour with her husband helps them to resolve any issue that is likely to arise between them. Mithra also increases Manohar’s knowledge about relationships by introducing new books dealing with love language and so on.
This is a reflection of what one needs to learn and re-learn about commitments. Also, in the very beginning of the film, Mithra’s lecture on the absence of education on relationships is a an important discourse that is essential in society. As said in the film, our society educates and trains the youth to become successful in life but more than employment, relationships last a lifetime and are an important determiner of satisfaction in life.
Lack of proper knowledge regarding the sentiments of others and how one should react or simply, emotional intelligence can aid in building good connections.
Misformed notions in Irugapatru
Despite being a well planned and executed tale, Irugapatru has also given rise to some uncertainties and misnotions surrounding body image. Rangesh marries Pavithra when she had a curvateous body but post-delivery her obesity and shapeless body becomes a problem for Rangesh. Even though many justifications are provided in the film to safeguard the grounds in which Rangesh reacts including his repressed trauma, most often it fails.
More than this, the character of Pavithra has failed to react against his insisting that she should remain fit. Remaining physically fit or curvateous is upto to the individual to decide and not for the other people to dictate. Likewise, filing for divorce for minor issues which Rangesh does was also not criticised with the right severity. It should have been dealt with in a more serious tone to create awareness.
Overall, Irugapatru has fared well in portraying marital issues for the audience as well as creating consciousness on how to deal with such situations. Not just the acting and direction, but the script has also endeavoured to appease the viewers. Inevitably, it becomes a must watch for all those who wish to understand and navigate the complexities of modern day relationships.