Vasantham Dramas (⇡ Back to Top)
In the early days, the humourous 52-episode drama Adduku Veettu Annasamy (1963), which depicted life in the public housing estates of Singapore was the type of content produced for Singapore Tamils.
This is relatively more sanitized than more contemporary dramas. An equivalent of this would be Amali Thumali (1997), a local Tamil sitcom not too dissimilar from Channel 5’s Under One Roof, the first local English-language sitcom. These sanitized dramas betray the government’s intentions; its effort to curtail behavior—namely divorce and crime— that it considers counterproductive to its goal of a “clean and green” Singapore, where happy and well-ordered families exist.
Assistant Professor Liew Kai Khiun of Nanyang Technological University believes:
“The role of TV in Singapore in the 1960s was meant as a tool of nation-building where the small screen was supposed to promote materials of educational values to the larger masses.”
In recent years, however, Singaporean Tamil TV has been experiencing an increasing liberalization. For instance, the popular drama Nijangal / Truths (2011) deals with difficult issues such as adultery, betrayal and failure. Such dramas shatter the perfect veneer of happy family life, choosing instead to represent the mire of life. In the series, multiple female characters experience betrayal when they discover that their partners have been unfaithful and untruthful.
Also, one character Madhu experiences regression in her studies due to her family afflictions. Other shows such as Vettai / Hunt (2012) and reality documentary-style series such as Kannottam 360 (2013) and Vizhigal (2011) also reflect the attempt to portray the grittiness of life. One recent episode of Kannottam 360 explored the deep-seated prejudices Singaporeans have regarding the less prestigious “neighbourhood schools”. Likewise, Vettai paints an image of Singapore rife with crime, such as prostitution and drug trafficking. Original productions like Vettai and Njangal were well received by Tamil audiences in Singapore. Vettai’s final three episodes were even screened at Cathay Orchard’s cinemas.
In the same vein, Vasantham has also been actively affording representation to transgendered people on screen. One such person is the household name, Kumarason Chinnadurai, who will be solely discussed in another section.
This increasing liberalization affords content, which audiences can relate to, as opposed to the sterile and unrealistically optimistic dramas of the earlier years.
Examining Vasantham Dramas (⇡ Back to Top)
This is a short scene from the recent Vasantham TV serial-Spore Tamil girl. It depicts the modern views of 3 Singapore Indian ladies on the love affairs. Apparently, the young ladies are rebellious and their conversation emphasized much of their individuals’ interests and being bold in chasing after their desire and love. Their body language are portrayed in a near rogue or perhaps rascal manner; it contracts the conventional characteristic of Indian ladies in the Tamil TV dramas of being gracious and feminine. Towards the end of the video, one lady mentioned that she is willing to change for the man she loves and taking care of her husband’s needs; this illustrated the tradition of Indian lady committing herself to her husband and the family. Therefore, the local production tried to incorporate or improvise the present and tradition ways of how a TV drama was made.
The S’pore Tamil girl’s scene was a recent production from the Vasantham TV serial, which is bold and similar to the local trend of mainstream TV drama(Channel 8 etc.), reflecting the behaviours of rebellious girls in the modern days. Else, the pre-Vasantham Era (before 2008), local Indian TV serials were of conservative and family-orientated style like the very 1st Tamil sitcom, AmaliThumali (Hustle And Bustle) in the late 90s.