It’s astonishing how some of our wildly successful films couldn’t have existed, had the leading woman been allowed to exercise agency, had she shown spine. There’s no better time than Valentine’s Day to take a look at some of them, to see that in these stories, the woman isn’t as coveted, as she’s controlled and sometimes, even cornered.

The film which put Vikram back on the radar, Sethu, had him play a college student with a special proclivity for violence. Even his expression of love to the timid Abitha Kujalambal, has him kidnapping her, and threatening to kill her. It’s all in the name of love, and because he’s the hero of the film, she says she loves him too.