How to mock the male ego while playing it safe and normalizing domestic violence-Entertainment News, Firstpost

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Oru Thekkan Thallu Case is a missed opportunity as the director and screenwriter try to juggle between liberalism and conformism, and end up having neither.

There is a certain type of male-centric Malayalam cinema that is far from the mid-range fare filled with realistic stories and tales that this film industry is nationally known for. This other category of Malayalam films features male protagonists played by big stars, often walking in slow motion to the accompaniment of a signature tune, their beings lionized by low-angle shots, the camera sometimes zooming in on their glasses. sunglasses, their shoes and their clothes in an attempt to emphasize their composure, in narratives that marginalize if not outright degrade women while celebrating fierce masculinity.

Oru Thekkan Thallu Case–written by Rajesh Pinnadan, based on the story by GR Indugopan Case Ammini Pilla Vettu — initially gives the impression that this could be that kind of toxic, male-centric movie about the animosity between Ammini Pillai (Biju Menon) and Podiyan (Roshan Mathew). Stick with it for a moment, though, and it becomes clear that director Sreejith N. intends to buck the tide using some of the same tropes (Ammini punching rivals in slow motion, camera focusing on Ammini’s hands picking up dust from the ground to coat his arms before a fight, etc.) while mocking oversized male egos instead.

However, conscious intentions can sometimes be derailed under the influence of social conditioning. Oru Thekkan Thallu case does well with its aims until it unexpectedly, perhaps even unintentionally, normalizes domestic violence in an extended passage well into the narrative. Oh oh.

Until then, this is an unusual film about the ripple effect of a single act of aggression by one man against another, and the lengths men will go to satisfy their inflated feelings of self-esteem, even if it means destroying their own happiness.

Ammini works as a lighthouse keeper in a small coastal town in Kerala. His neighbor Vasanthi (Nimisha Sajayan) is close to his wife Rukmini (Padmapriya Janakiraman). Vasanthi is having an affair with a good-for-nothing called Podyan (Roshan Mathew). One day, Ammini and Podiyan confront each other publicly. The latter swears to avenge the affront, then Ammini swears that he will take revenge on Podiyan and his acolytes for the revenge they took on him, and so on.

Oru Thekkan Thallu case takes a while to take off, but once it does, it’s off to a considerable stretch filled with delightful irony and wry humor. Men who are lions in the dark turn into whining, pleading creatures in the light of day. The townspeople begin to view the battle between Podiyan’s gang and Ammini as their main entertainment. The satirical tone culminates in conversations between Podiyan’s sidekicks about their options when faced with Ammini’s crushing muscle. And the script cleverly throws jabs at social intrusion and the holy cow of religion.

Malayalam commercial cinema tends to reward machismo, so this film’s sarcasm towards selfish men comes as a surprise. Equally surprising is that the female characters are substantial and have plenty of space.

Vasanthi is courageous, resists traditionalism, recognizes her love for Podiyan without being shy about being sexually active, and does not impose her life choices on whether to marry her or not.

Rukmini shares a warm chemistry with her, making it a rare Malayalam film to showcase female bonds. Their relationship is defined by the unwavering support they give each other, exemplified by how Rukmini defends Vasanthi against a censured old man.

This is all completely diluted when Ammini attacks Rukmini. His act of violence against her is of the kind that is generally not considered violence at all by a society accustomed to domestic violence, and Oru Thekkan Thallu caseechoes regressive social attitudes by treating it as a minor disturbance in a happy marriage. The women themselves are the script’s instrument to articulate this point of view, when Vasanthi asks Rukmini with a smile why she’s making a fuss of the episode, and it turns out that Rukmini isn’t furious. against Ammini as we thought.

At this point, the film becomes a case study of how intimate partner violence is normalized – and endemic – in Kerala, belying the state’s impressive statistics on women’s wellbeing.

In terms of a sudden arrival in a largely progressive storyline, this episode reminded me of the slap that Prithviraj Sukumaran’s character landed on his wife’s face in Ayyappanum Koshiyum. The difference is that this slap was inconsistent with what came before and after, whereas the treatment of Ammini’s physical assault on Rukmini in Oru Thekkan Thallu Case– and what it reveals about the writer and director’s disturbing, perhaps unconscious, attitude towards male-female relationships – has the effect of shedding new light on everything the film attempts to say about widely accepted definitions of masculinity.

Ultimately, Rukmini and Vasanthi are a male stereotype of the liberal woman. Vasanthi has sex without marriage, resists society’s attempts to shame her, and candidly discusses the pleasures of sex with Rukmini, which makes her unconventional, of course, but also conforming to some narrow definition of feminist advancement. owned by Indian filmmakers who aren’t half as open-minded as they think. Rukmini and Vasanthi can be portrayed as fiery creatures, but care is taken not to challenge the men in their lives too much.

In fact, in the song Pathirayil, Rukmini portrays herself entirely in relation to Ammini, which at this point in the film could be interpreted as the words of an adoring lover, but takes on another meaning following her reaction to his violence against her. It is then that it becomes clear that Oru Thekkan Thallu caseThe contempt for the male ego is limited to Podiyan and his friends. Ammini is not the target of film censorship. From start to finish, from the animated intro about his legendary super strength to the finale, the look at him is awe-inspiring. And in the second half, especially at the end, we see that Rukmini is nothing more than Ammini’s partner in this battle of egos. What was the point of the film then?

Oru Thekkan Thallu Case begins to decline even before the brief tension between Ammini and Rukmini. As hilarious as the conversations between Podiyan & Co are, their one-on-one encounters with Ammini quickly become repetitive. After a prodigious scene involving Ammini, the whole town and a snake, even the action becomes monotonous.

What remains consistent throughout is Madhu Neelakandan’s acting and cinematography which is as striking when shooting the exquisite location as it is during that scene with the snake.

It is a joy to see Padmapriya in a role worthy of her immense talent and screen presence. This Oru Thekkan Thallu case highlights her beauty is a bonus. Why don’t we see her more often on screen? Nimisha Sajayan is one of the most important actors of the new generation and shines here as a mischievous and youthful livewire. Unlike Podyan’s band of man-kids who are obviously lightweights, Podyan’s comedicism and immaturity are less noticeable, and Roshan Mathew manages to strike the right balance needed to play him.

Biju Menon’s role here is more conventional than those he’s played in movies like Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu (2017), Sathyam Paranja Vishwasikkuvo? (2019), Ayyappanum Koshiyum (2020) and Aarkkariyam (2021). Nonetheless, he injects nuance into his performance. I enjoyed the look of amusement in Ammini’s eyes when he saw the fear in Podiyan’s friend. This fleeting interlude in the character’s otherwise serious demeanor throughout the film is all you need to know that Biju, like the rest of the cast, is much better than this movie. That said, he in particular, in his position as a major male star in this male-dominated industry, has to tell us why he was a part of so many films that endorsed his character’s misogyny.

Oru Thekkan Thallu case is a lost opportunity because the director and the screenwriter try to juggle between liberalism and conformism, and end up having neither.

Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)

Oru Thekkan Thallu The case is in the rooms

Anna MM Vetticad is an award-winning journalist and author of The Adventures of an Intrepid Film Critic. She specializes in the intersection of cinema with feminist concerns and other sociopolitical concerns. Twitter: @annavetticad, Instagram: @annammvetticad, Facebook: AnnaMMVetticadOfficial

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