- Director: Swarnavel Eswaran
When it comes to Asian cinema, [arranged] marriage is [almost] always the main theme...this all-too-familiar subject has been done to death by Bollywood. And now, with the [recent] repeal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the law that made homosexuality illegal...the floodgates are on the cusp of bursting...with LGBT stories and their acrimonious relationship with arranged marriages.
Catamaran is not the first post-repeal feature film to deal with this [sapphic] taboo...that honour goes to How I Felt When I Saw A Girl - same subject matter, two entirely different films. Phew!
Catamaran is neither a comedy nor is it Bollywood...phew...
Swarnavel Eswaran, an America-based academic [and documentarian], has thrown caution to the wind...and, presented a thoughtful and lowkey debut feature. This is his take on a small Indian community...with all of its inherent traditions, prejudices, fears and [surprising] 'acceptances' - played against a metaphorical backdrop for change...in mind, in spirit, in body, in home, in practice...in life. It might be too soon for such a colossal upheaval...but, modernity is a-coming!
A tsunami destroyed the village's infrastructure, killed many...as nature dictated, nothing will ever be the same again...the metaphor is strong, the acting may be a little too earnest [at times], the characters may not be fully etched-out, the cinematography is impressive [considering the budget]...but, there's no denying the message: Change!
It's as simple as that...Mr Eswaran, it would seem, has a [diasporic] relevant voice!
Catamaran is a gripping drama told from the point of view of a stoic but loving fisherman who finds out his niece’s true desires are not what he imagined.
After a devastating tsunami shakes up Singaram’s family, he takes it upon himself to adopt his orphaned niece Anandhi and nephew Mani. Singaram’s simple plan is complicated by his niece’s refusal to marry. His traditional perspective causes a rift in the family, forcing Anandhi to tell her uncle about her love for Kavita, a woman who teaches at a nearby school. Singaram works to come to terms with her confession while the rest of the village insists that he find her a proper suitor.
Complemented by beautiful scenery, the budding lesbian romance is set as the backdrop for a film about a society that is constantly breaking its own rules despite its firm footing in heteronormativity.