It was Saturday night, and we had settled ourselves comfortably in and around the couch to watch the Malayalam movie Super Sharanya on Zee5. (sidenote: I had watched it in the theater already, and normally I don’t invest time to watch something a second time. However, this was a movie that I had enjoyed thoroughly and was an ideal watch with family.)
As the movie progressed, we could see various characters trying in their own (some endearing, some questionable) ways to win the heart of the protagonist, Sharanya. This includes the lecturer Arun and the self proclaimed hero Ajith Menon, who tries to force his decision on her with scant regard for her opinion or consent.
Now, those who have watched the movie would know that the character of Ajith Menon is a caricature of the much celebrated and glorified psychopath Arjun Reddy (or Kabir Singh or either of the Varmas). The makers have hit the bull’s eye in drawing out the problems of such a character, who is an embodiment of toxic masculinity.
As one of those scenes panned out, my seven year old nephew (sidenote 2: the kid, though born to Malayali parents, has spent the major parts of his life so far outside the state, and naturally his grasp on the language is rather limited.) looked at us and asked why that man was troubling the girl, when she was so clearly uncomfortable around him!
That simple question that came to his mind while watching a movie in a not so familiar language was the highlight of the evening as far as I am concerned. The seven year old kid gets consent. If a seven year old kid gets it, it most certainly is not rocket science.
It is unfortunate that a large section of our society still doesn’t get consent, or that Sandeep Reddy Vanga and Vijay Deverakonda (sidenote 3: I had no big hopes from someone who says stuff like dictatorship is better than democracy) and Shahid Kapoor still think it’s okay to glamorize a toxic character.
However, there is hope, as we discovered on Saturday night. And as long as there is hope, we can afford to sit back and catch an occasional break.