Byline By – Balkrishna
There is an unseemly controversy, evidently political, which is erupting, over the portrayal of Eelam Tamils in the trailer of The Family Man Season 2. The show, as people would be aware, is pan-Indian television in the true sense since it uses South Indians who speak their own languages, alongside Hindi-speaking North-Indians.
Manoj Bajpayee played Srikanth Tiwari of NIA, and his Tamil wife Suchitra Iyer is played by South-Indian actress Priyamani. As an action show about terrorists, it tried to introduce an element of plausibility into an arena overcrowded with absurdity. Multilingual television is a step forward for culture in India since it is an admission of India’s cultural plurality in which the spoken language plays a key part. Season 1 of The Family Man brought in Malayalis played by Malayalis and Kashmiris played by Kashmiri actors.
To give the reader an idea of earlier pan-Indian action cinema about terrorists, the last big saga was Saaho. If one were to describe what Saaho is about, one could say that it was about foreign criminal syndicate led by gangsters with Indian names and operating from a haven ‘Waaji’ that might be Wakanda from Black Panther.
Saaho was touted as pan-Indian entertainment in which no attention is paid to where people in India come from, and the relationship between name, language, and region. What, for instance, are we to make of Narantak Roy (presumably Bengali) played by Jackie Shroff? Or Amritha Nair (presumably from Kerala) played by Shraddha Kapoor? Saaho himself is Siddanth Nandan Saaho (the alias of Ashok Chakravarthy), and if the name cannot be placed regionally, one may be sure that a numerologist was responsible for it rather than the scriptwriter.
People who have raised objections against Family Man 2 feel that Akkineni’s militant character is being branded as a terrorist and that the Tamil community is being portrayed as terrorists. Akkineni’s character seems to be fighting for an independent state for Ethnic Tamils, a spill-over of the 1983 conflict which stemmed in Sri Lanka where government forces and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who were in conflict.