Critic’s Rating : 2.0 / 5
Vaashi Movie Review : Feminism, but from the masculine point of view
Review: During a conversation, the central characters of the film, who are lawyers, agree upon the idea that in life there is no black and white, but everything is different shades of grey. However, it is important to note that the most basic combination to make grey is black and white.
Junior advocates Ebin Mathew (Tovino Thomas) and Madhavi Mohan (Keerthi Suresh) are friends who share the common struggles of any junior lawyer. As they try to build their careers, they face obstacles that would even question their personal commitments. The film is about how the duo, who are equally competent and egoistic, handles the situation.
Vishnu G Raghav’s debut directorial based on Janiz Chacko Simon’s story, is a courtroom drama that attempts to speak on a socially relevant issue building through the lives of two legal professionals, who are also partners. The film, which reminiscences many movies in multiple languages where relationship conflicts arise due to professional commitments, is weakly scripted and gives a wrong notion on assault and feminism.
Though Tovino Thomas has managed to showcase Ebin decently, Keerthi Suresh who appears in Malayalam cinema in a lead role after a while fails to give life to Madhavi. She makes a too forceful effort to play the ‘ strong woman’ that society now celebrates through fashionable feminism. While she strives hard to be the ‘bold’ character which lacks depth from the script itself through her body language and unsmiling face, the movie once again reinforces the masculine objectification on contemporary women.
Despite being placed in the current urban Malayali scenario, the characters and the theme stick to the conventions and stereotypes on female identity ingrained in the patriarchal hegemonic class. It’s appreciable that both the male and the female protagonists have been given equal space. Nevertheless, the film falters in making Madhavi a convincing feminist as she claims in the film. The attempt is too superficial and disappoints liberated women with true potential. Here once again, women are forced to get inside the box filled with conditions on marriage and a male shoulder to cry on. Kailas’ music with Vinayak Sasikumar’s lyrics brings in a relief occasionally.
At every point, when women or any other minority gender sets out to bring in discourses on the discriminations they face – be it #MeToo or gender based violence, we have seen films that negate that thought bringing out the male fantasies to justify the dominant masculine thought. Such films cannot be tagged ’empowering’, when many abused are still living in silence and many others are fighting against workplace harassment. The much-celebrated dialogue ‘sex is not a promise’ from the lead actor’s 2017 film used in this movie to justify an abuse is a testimonial to what film can do to the psyche of the audience.
The movie reveals that the film fraternity is yet to have an idea on relationships, consent, sex, abuse, assault and feminism. It’s high time for male scribes who venture to feature complex female characters who contribute significantly to the story considering the market trend, to understand women, their thought on sex, life, love, marriage, feminism and companionship.
While concluding, let’s put forward the fact that grey can be made by mixing other complementary colours as well. Wouldn’t that give the world myriad perspectives?
– Anjana George