Loosu ponnu

Summary

The loosu ponnu (transl. Crazy girl) is a stock character predominantly in Tamil cinema and frequently in Telugu cinema, a girl who is portrayed as attractive but naïve and unintelligent. It is regarded as the equivalent of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl and dumb blonde stereotypes in the United States.[1][2] The loosu ponnu trope became increasingly popular in 1990s Tamil cinema when the masculinity of the hero became severely overblown. It has since received criticism for being misogynistic and regressive.[3][4]

History and terminology

According to critic Baradwaj Rangan, the loosu ponnu trope emerged in an era where Tamil filmmakers "began to get North Indian heroines who didn’t speak a word of Tamil. They wouldn’t move their lips according to the lines they were supposed to be speaking (and to be filled in later by a dubbing artist). They’d end up gesticulating wildly to make a point. Their emotional reactions would be a bit 'off'. And all of this ended up making them look like mad people".[5]

Characteristics

Loosu ponnus are typically depicted as being bubbly,[6] naïve, childish, lacking professional ambition, having easily detachable ties with their families, and showing unquestioning devotion to heroic males once they fall in love with them.[1] They are also depicted as angelic, in need of constant rescuing, and incapable of doing even simple things in life.[3] Very often, their "cuteness" is directly proportional to how insane their actions may seem to viewers.[1]

Examples

Known loosu ponnu characters in Tamil films are Anjali (Amala) from Agni Natchathiram (1988),[7] Mythili (Jyothika) in Manmadhan (2004),[8] Hema (Meera Jasmine) in Sandakozhi (2005),[9] Haritha (Nayanthara) in Kalvanin Kadhali (2006), Hasini (Genelia D'Souza) in Santosh Subramaniam (2008),[10] Anitha (Taapsee Pannu) in Arrambam (2013),[5] Chitra Devipriya (Kajal Aggarwal) in All in All Azhagu Raja (2013),[11] Yazhini (Hansika Motwani) in Maan Karate (2014),[10] Shakila (Samantha) in 10 Endrathukulla (2015),[12] Sowmya (Aggarwal) in Paayum Puli (2015),[13] Priya (Motwani) in Uyire Uyire (2016),[14] Priya (Rakul Preet Singh) in Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru (2017),[10] Aarathu Aanandhi (Sai Pallavi) in Maari 2 (2018),[15] Vandhana (Sayyeshaa) in Ghajinikanth (2018),[16][10] and Padmini (Priyanka Arul Mohan) in Doctor (2021).[17] Keerthy Suresh has played such characters in films like Remo (2016)[18] and Thodari (2016).[19]

Other languages

Besides Tamil films, loosu ponnu characters were also noted in Telugu films (known as 'pichi pilla') with Shalini (Rakul Preet Singh) in Spyder (2017), Sukumari (Keerthy Suresh) and Suryakantham (Anu Emmanuel) in Agnyaathavaasi (2018),[2] and Samskruthi (Rashmika Mandanna) in Sarileru Neekevvaru (2020).[20] Genelia D' Souza has played such characters in films like Bommarillu (2006)[21] and Orange (2010).[22]

Criticism

The loosu ponnu trope has received wide criticism for being misogynistic and regressive.[3][4][1] Actress Madonna Sebastian has expressed her dislike for it, saying, "I think it is disrespectful and when people endorse it, even heroines, it becomes a dangerous trend."[23] Aishwarya Rajesh has consciously avoided playing such roles, citing her preference for "sensible" roles.[24]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Iswarya, V (29 September 2016). "What I Learned About Love And Women From Tamil Movies". BuzzFeed. Archived from the original on 7 December 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b Dundoo, Sangeetha Devi (17 January 2018). "Women in Telugu cinema: Some common sense please?". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 7 December 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "The 'loosu ponnu' in Tamil cinema and why she should retire". The News Minute. 30 September 2018. Archived from the original on 7 December 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  4. ^ a b Rajendran, Sowmya (13 July 2018). "CS Amudhan's 'Tamizh Padam 2' speaks the truth about female characters in Kollywood". The News Minute. Archived from the original on 7 December 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  5. ^ a b Rangan, Baradwaj (4 November 2013). ""Arrambam"... Mission to "mass"". Baradwaj Rangan. Archived from the original on 1 June 2017. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  6. ^ Rangan, Baradwaj (19 July 2018). "Southern Lights: Are Tamil-Speaking Heroines Doomed In Tamil Cinema?". Film Companion. Archived from the original on 8 December 2018. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  7. ^ Rangan, Baradwaj (20 September 2018). "Every Mani Ratnam Film, Ranked". Film Companion. Archived from the original on 30 August 2021. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  8. ^ "Manmathan". Sify. 14 November 2004. Archived from the original on 28 July 2019. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  9. ^ "Sandakozhi 2 movie review: This Vishal film is a lazy rehash". The Indian Express. 18 October 2018. Archived from the original on 3 November 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d "Genelia to Hansika: The 'loosu ponnu' heroines who have ruled Tamil films". India Today. 12 September 2018. Archived from the original on 7 December 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  11. ^ "All in All Azhaguraja-A profoundly irritating film". Sify. 3 November 2013. Archived from the original on 20 July 2021. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  12. ^ Rangan, Baradwaj (21 October 2015). "10 Enradhukulla: A slipshod road movie". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 18 December 2017. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  13. ^ Srinivasan, Sudhir (4 September 2015). "Paayum Puli: A few good portions don't make a wholesome meal". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 13 January 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  14. ^ Rangan, Baradwaj (2 April 2016). "Uyire Uyire: Still life". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 28 July 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  15. ^ Srivatsan, S. (21 December 2018). "'Maari 2' review: An overlong yet entertaining sequel". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 28 July 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  16. ^ Purushothaman, Kirubhakar (3 August 2018). "Ghajinikanth Review: Interesting premise wasted by dull writing". India Today. Archived from the original on 7 December 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  17. ^ Ganeshan, Balakrishna (9 October 2021). "Doctor review: Sivakarthikeyan's logic defying film is a thorough entertainer". The News Minute. Archived from the original on 9 October 2021. Retrieved 6 November 2021.
  18. ^ "Half-Yearly report: GV Prakash Kumar to Eswari Rao, best performances of 2018". The Times of India. 2018. Archived from the original on 7 August 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  19. ^ Pillai, Sreedhar (22 September 2016). "Thodari review: Dhanush's thriller is like a local train; it's slow and makes frequent stops". Firstpost. Archived from the original on 30 March 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  20. ^ K., Janani (11 January 2020). "Sarileru Neekevvaru Movie Review: Mahesh Babu film is utterly disappointing". India Today. Archived from the original on 2 November 2020. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  21. ^ Jeevi (9 August 2006). "Movie review – Bommarillu". Idlebrain.com. Archived from the original on 5 November 2021. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  22. ^ Jeevi (26 November 2010). "Telugu Movie review – Orange". Idlebrain.com. Archived from the original on 16 November 2021. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  23. ^ Sekhar, Arunkumar (17 July 2018). "The Madonna Sebastian interview: 'I fell in love with music because of Tamil cinema'". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 7 December 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  24. ^ Rajendran, Sowmya (24 April 2017). "I was told a dusky, Tamil speaking woman like me can't become heroine: Aishwarya Rajesh". The News Minute. Archived from the original on 19 November 2017. Retrieved 7 December 2018.