As you all know I have been writing brief movie reviews in my Instagram stories. I used to write about only those movies that I felt should reach the audience. I also had a show in Eight App named ‘Reviews with RJ’ where in I used to review the movies that I watch. Due to time constraints, I am no longer able to do it. Why this long preface? Because I have never wanted to share my reviews in my feed. As I felt that it is not my forte. But last day I watched Vaashi, starring Tovino Thomas and Keerthi Suresh. The movie as such is a simple movie, interesting movie but once we go deeper, we can see numerous problematic sequences.
Problematic scenes are not rare in Indian movies, especially South Indian ones. But when a movie tries to create an impression that it is giving something solid to society and normalizes some subtle toxic masculinity, there lies the problem as it confuses the audience, especially the young ones.
Hence, analyzing such sequences in the movie, Vaashi.
A strong female character who needs protection : Vaashi
The movie shows a strong female lead Madhavi, who is a lawyer that makes a living on her own terms. When she is snubbed by her senior for no mistake of hers, she doesn’t think twice before relinquishing the position of junior lawyer. The initial sequence shows a scene where the director lays bare the common mentality of prejudice against a female lawyer and a young one at that.
But soon we see Ebin, the male protagonist waiting to drop her home since she had to stay late. The director has tried hard to show Madhavi as a strong woman who boldly says I know how to go home, I don’t need protection. The next moment when Ebin says he would be taking a different path, we see the cliche heroine who is in need of a hero’s presence and the megalomaniac hero who is at her service.
Please cut the vegetables
Another sequence that reveals the movie maker’s or script writer’s inherent patriarchy disguised in feminism is when Madhavi comes back home early so that she could finish cooking before working on her case. Why is it a point that she is the one who should be cooking? This is where the director’s brilliance comes to the picture. Madhavi says “take a shower and cut the vegetables” Feminism you know.
Dude, feminism doesn’t arise when the man ‘helps’ the woman in the kitchen. It arises when they share the job equally without giving each other a chance to ask for it. Another point where Madhavi is doing the laundry also subtly reveals the inherent patriarchy. Nowhere in Vaashi, we can see a feministic household in the movie. Hence when Madhavi says that “I am a feminist” in the climax at a crucial stage, it sticks out like a sore thumb in Vaashi.
She should have pleaded more
There is another scenario when the victim influenced the witness to change the statement to make the case in favor of the perpetrator. The reason cited is that she loved him and didn’t want him to suffer. To add to it, she said that had I pleaded more, he would have acquiesced. This is a statement that the censor board should never have approved. It gives a dangerous message to the young women out there that they should go after the man who sexually exploited them. It also insinuates that it is a favor that he would do by marrying her. How could someone dare to write this sequence in the current scenario?
Sex is not a promise
“‘Sex is not a promise’ is equally applicable to both men and women! But why this discrimination towards men” what a problematic and regressive venom spewed on the society! When numerous attempts are made to fight and eradicate the sexual exploitation of women, movies like Vaashi are giving the weapon in the hands of perpetrators so that they could use it against the victims in real life. This scenario arose at a time when a top producer in Kerala is facing a similar allegation from an actress. This is something we cannot ignore or forget.
By stating that there is no right and wrong and everything is a shade of grey, the movie maker has hit the last nail in the coffin. In short, Vaashi is a movie that is used to reinforce the dogmatic beliefs of the movie maker embellished with a weak attempt at skewed feministic ideas.