“Ulagathula evlavo ponnunga irundhum, naa yen Jessie uh love pannen?” / “Inga enna solludhu?… Jessie, Jessie nu solludha?”
Before “Romba dhooram poitiya Ram?” from the 2018 film 96 starring Trisha and Vijay Sethupathi in the lead, there was another film, also starring Trisha, that was considered to be “the” romantic film by most Tamil film fans (keeping aside Alaipayuthey, of course). For some, it might be difficult to choose between Trisha’s Jessie and Jaanu, but this is a topic for another time.
This film we’re referring to came at a time when we did not mind, in fact enjoyed, listening to the protagonists’s 'mind voice' - “Jessie… idhan Jessie, avlo azhagu, classy, padichava., well read, ava kita oru style iruku, and sexy too…”. By the time Enai Noki Paayum Thota happened, most of us had lost our love for the Gautham Menon voice-over, but it was still very fresh back then.
Yes, we’re talking about the heartbreaking tale of Karthik (Simbu) and Jessie (Trisha), from GVM’s Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa, a couple which for long held the hearts of fans with their love-hate relationship. The 2010 film that was simultaneously shot in Telugu as Ye Maaya Chesave (Naga Chaitanya and Samantha Ruth Prabhu) and later remade in Hindi as Ekk Deewana Tha (Prateik Babbar and Amy Jackson) has turned 10. This film has a number of positives to it. It's just Karthik and Jessie for the most part and one particular scene in it created such a “lovely” fuss, introducing many men to the idea of kissing a woman’s foot to their express love! (Who would’ve thunk?)
We could go on, but here’s a list of the top 7 moments from the film that are famously recalled even today.
‘Thala keezha potu thirupanum’
Remember that scene in which Karthik sees Jessie for the first time? When violins played in the background as Jessie opened the gate and climbed up the stairs to her house? A classic example of love at first sight. Just before he meets Jessie for the first time, Karthik talks about the qualities of true love - “Kaatdhala thedi poga mudiyathu, adhu nilaikathu. Adhuva nadakanum, namnala pottu thaakanum, thala keezha potu thirupanum, epovumae kodave irukanum. Adhan true love.” (You can’t go in search of love, it will not last. It has to happen, it has to attack us, flip us upside down, it should stay with us forever. That is true love.)
This scene is then cue to “Yaen… idhayam… udaithaai… norungave?” ('Why did you break my heart into pieces?' and Karthik does the jump across the gate. Ah… those were the times!)
‘I don’t want to be your brother Jessie’
Karthik does not wait too long to profess his love to Jessie. He stalks her a little and one morning he does it impulsively. This is also when we learn that Jessie is older to him by a year. While Tamil film buffs were used to the stalking part, the casual, almost off-handed, proposal came as a surprise, not just to Jessie but to us as well. Naturally, Jessie is shocked, walks away and boards her office bus.
When they decide to be friends
Rarely has Tamil cinema shown women listing out reasons for not being interested in a man. Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa had a whole scene for it in which Jessie talks about the problems they might have to face if they fell in love, also adding the point that she needs to be interested in him first. As the 'Mustafa Mustafa’ background score plays in the background, Karthik and Jessie make a pact to start off as friends. We get to know more about Jessie as a person here, more than the fact that she's just she’s a “hot-looking” woman, how she loves spending holidays in Kerala, her excitement for her first train journey alone.
Tell us, but be honest, if you haven’t come across a sketch pen marking inside a train compartment that read “Friends?” at least once, since after the movie released? This scene leads to the 'Omana Penne' song that ends with non-consensual kissing. At the point when the film released, however, the “love” over-shadowed the consent part. It did not help that later in the film, Karthik gaslights Jessie by saying, “If you didn’t like it, you should’ve stopped it. Why didn’t you?”, turning the tables on her. Nevertheless, it is one of the most recalled scenes from this film.
‘I hate you.’ ‘Thank you.’
Before they fall in love, the two have many arguments. While Jessie remains practical, listing out the reasons why it won’t work out between them, Karthik stays a true romantic, slamming tables, taking her out on a date and explaining why it is impossible for him forget her.
‘One-way ticket to heartbreak city’
Jessie breaks up with Karthik over a text message. As impulsively as Karthik proposed to her, her choice to break up too comes across as an impulsive decision. Karthik, who is working on a film at that point, rushes back to Chennai to confront her outside her house. The scene has intense dialogues and Jessie’s decision is furiously debated even today by many. This is also the scene in which Jessie turns the now iconic dialogue back at Karthik - “Ulagathula evlavo ponnunga irundhum, ne yen enna love panne Karthik?” It's also the very first time, and the only time, we listen to Jessie’s mind voice briefly.
The Central Park scene with a ‘film-inside-a-film’ twist towards the end is another memorable scene from this film. The meeting of the ex-lovers is nicely done. Karthik is making his first film, Jessie is in the US. This scene that gave momentary happiness for all those who were rooting for Karthik-Jessie to get back, ends on an even better note. Achingly sad but complete nevertheless.