Most movies can be evaluated by the time the credits start rolling. You were either entertained or bored, curious or confused. You either liked it, loathed it or didn’t really bother thinking much about it.
Vaashi is not such a movie.
Whether you liked all the performances, the direction, or the songs, the answer that’ll least be within your grasp…is whether you’ve formed a confident opinion about what the movie has to say.
This legal romance thriller pits Tovino Thomas and Keerthy Suresh as two up-and-coming hungry lawyers who find themselves on either side of a crucial case. That’s the initial hook for the movie, the idea of a couple fighting it out at work and then living together at home.
But that’s just the appetizer in terms of intrigue that the movie offers. What happens when the case in question is a controversial one?
The legal fight revolves around the question of sexual intercourse on a false promise to marry. If you’ve already instinctively formed an opinion right now, then this movie is meant for you.
If your sister told you she slept with a man believing he’d marry her, only to then find out he wouldn’t, how would you react? Would you consider it a crime? What if he didn’t know that she expected marriage? Do these things have to be explicitly stated or written down? Where do we draw the line? How do we do so?
These are just some of the questions that this movie seeks to explore. That word is crucial. Explore. Not answer, not just comment on nor emphatically critique.
This means watching the movie will require audiences to let go of their vaashi. Thankfully, by presenting the case through the viewpoint of both protagonists, the movie deftly presents us with questions, possible answers and then even more questions. As long as we don’t hold onto our first emotional responses, this narrative progression yields enormously satisfying results.
At its heart, Vaashi is a movie that invites different perspectives from its audience members, based on their gender, life experiences and social outlook. There will be men who believe the central premise victimizes them, and there will be women who are in disbelief that such an argument could possibly be entertained.
It’s easy to fight about it on social media these days, especially when you are entrenched within your own camp, surrounded by like-minded individuals all furious about the opposition. But just like the two central characters in the movie, if we put aside our instinctive responses, and instead dig deep into the case, peeling layer after layer, asking uncomfortable questions and listening to complicated answers without judgement, we’ll walk out of the theatre and into life perhaps a little more reflective, and a little less reactive.
Vaashi is a movie worth watching because it’ll probably ignite a discussion afterwards. It’s not controversial for controversy’s sake, but rather a deeply empathetic look at a complicated issue. By not painting characters as heroes or villains, the movie allows us to consider them as human beings.
What would you do if you were the one filing or being accused in such a case? Hopefully, you’ll never have to find out, but watching this movie will help you reflect better before you judge someone else who does.