In part 2 of this article, let us take a look at some more well-accepted Mollywood movies which normalise toxicity or spread a wrong message. Read part one of Mollywood movies and their problematic storylines here.
A movie that can get you teary-eyed with innumerable instances of loss and helplessness. Mohanlal dawns on yet another sacrificial role by giving up his lover and marrying a girl from a rich family so he can support his mother and sisters financially. Throughout the movie, Mohanlal is portrayed as a helpless puppet in the hands of his greedy father-in-law and as a victim of an unhappy marriage.
While we sympathise with him, let us view this movie of ultimate sacrifices from another angle. Maybe then, we’ll see that this entire movie is centred around Mohanlal’s character’s inability to make decisions for himself. When his family was facing financial issues, he took the shortcut option of marrying a wealthy man’s daughter. While I agree the situation was difficult, what he indirectly accomplished was the spoiling of the lives of the following people: his wife, children, lover and his own. Ultimate sacrifice led to ultimate unhappiness just because one person was unable to take ownership of his own life.
Throughout the movie, Mohanlal’s wife (Shanthi Krishna) is showcased as a villain because she dresses up, speaks her mind, and taunts her husband for marrying her for money and for still living hanging on to his lover in his heart. On a deeper analysis, I do not find any issues with her. She is bought up in a rich family, hence she lives her life as a socialite. There is even a scene where Mohanlal mocks his wife for wearing too much makeup. Just because a woman wears makeup, her character is not to be degraded. Also since her husband has literally spoiled her life, she has every right to be vocal about it.
While the movie sails through waves of sadness, the scriptwriter decided to bring a comical angle with a character called Inashyu (Innocent). He is a very bubbly person who nonchalantly indulges in infidelity and proudly admits the same. Overall this movie calls out spinelessness as victimisation and infidelity as a joke.
A college romance movie that was captured with the intention of providing the audience with entertainment. This is a very usual story about the hero (Prithviraj) and heroine (Roma) starting out as enemies and then falling for each other. The problem with this movie is in the way they have captured love/romance.
There is a scene in the movie where Prithviraj slaps Roma. He then states that it was a mistake and that she could reduce it from the ‘quota of slaps’ she will get post their marriage. Regardless of the seriousness with which he said it, that’s is still a toxic statement. While the slap itself was wrong, justifying or belittling it is a major catastrophe. Highlighting such incidents of physical abuse and the heroine bearing it without raising her voice does not project a very good message to the audience.
Also Read: Malayalam Films Featuring Love Triangles
Also, there is another parallel love story in the movie where Jayasurya likes Samvrutha and despite her indifference towards him, he proceeds to continuously call her via phone and stalk her. And as expected, towards the end of the movie they end up married. Despite what movies seem to advocate, it is high time that we accept that continuing to chase a person when they are not interested in you is not going to help you ‘get’ the person. Stories normalising such behaviours in the name of love will only help in spreading toxic traits among the youth.
Last but not the least, this movie also makes rape a joke. Apparently, a man was raped by many girls in the college hostel and this incident is called out multiple times in a comical and envious manner. Any form of sexual assault needs to be viewed from a gender-neutral angle and it is a sensitive topic that is not to be joked about.
A movie which I am assuming was written for giving a moral science lecture on why dowry should not be asked or given. Jayaram is the sole breadwinner for his family and faces a financial crunch. When he decided to start a new business, dowry seemed like the best option to get seed funds, so he gets married. When there was a delay in getting his dowry, Jayaram ensures his wife knows about his true intention for getting married. Despite this, his wife remains docile and compliant and continues to stay with an indifferent husband until he throws her out of the house for the second time.
The turning point in the plot is when Jayaram’s wife wins a lottery ticket. Suddenly Jayaram wants her back and tries different tactics. But she and her family seemed to have realised that he was just behind money. If the movie had ended at this note, maybe we could have tagged this as a story going in the right direction. But unfortunately what happens is typical and cliched. When Jayaram struggles to arrange dowry for his sister, his wife helps him and they rebuild their relationship. Such a happy ending!
Despite us having seen or heard about plenty of dowry-related cases, society still deems it more acceptable for a couple to live together rather than separate. And movies showcasing such goodness in wives are indirectly giving out the wrong message to society – that women are supposed to adjust/compromise in such dowry-related scenarios.
Vellimoonga is a fun movie that you can watch on a lazy day. Biju Menon plays the role of a cunning politician who does not have a good name in society. The entire movie revolves around incidents where he uses his crookedness to get his way including an MLA seat and even a girl who is way younger than him.
Biju Menon falls in love with a girl and her parents reject his proposal for marriage. He proceeds to get one of his friends to pretend to be a prospective groom for the girl, and then ditch her on the wedding day. Finally, he acts as a saviour and marries her. After marriage, when he reveals the truth to his wife, she slaps him and then, within a minute, smiles and forgives him. He literally played with her life and fooled her and her family, how can such a big con be forgiven so easily?
The character also displays toxicity when his brother and wife wished to live separately from their ancestral home. To make them drop this plan, Biju Menon uses his influence to transfer them to different locations. Later he uses his power to transfer them back to his hometown to ensure that they are there to take care of his mother. Manipulating and interfering in his brother’s family life, with a so-called ‘good intention’, is not justifiable. Also portraying such scenarios as something that a good son does is not ideal.
A coming of age movie with a unique storyline that would inspire any person to follow their dreams whether it is travelling, art or leading a vagabond life. It is very difficult to find an issue with this story or is it?
One aspect that this movie keeps highlighting is to live your life, make your own decisions and pay no heed to others/consequences. And that is the problem with the storyline. When Tessa (Parvathy) is forced to accept a marriage alliance she runs away from home. Similarly, various instances show that Tessa is someone who gets easily bored and keeps running away from situations. This is definitely not a healthy aspect; she seems to be fickle-minded and keeps choosing ‘escape’ as her go-to solution. While there is nothing wrong with what she is doing, her behaviour affects her family. Her grandma falls ill fighting for her and Tessa is the last one to know about her brother’s wedding. While it is important to have a life of your own, it is also essential to find a balance so the people in your life do not feel like they are disregarded.
Even Charlie (Dulquer Salman) leads a similar life. Though he does a lot of good deeds in life, he is never there for anyone on a permanent basis. He is exactly like the wind – comes into people’s lives, gives them some happy moments and then disappears. While again there is nothing wrong with what he is doing, he seems to be ignorant about how these people would be feeling once he leaves. In a way, he seems to be self-centred – he runs away early morning to avoid goodbyes, he gives his own obituary to know how many people will make an effort to come for his funeral, and he also seems to have led Tessa on a wild goose chase when she tries to find him.
So even though the overall movie is awe-striking, and Charlie’s and Tessa’s way of leading life seems adventurous, it is always good to consider how your decisions will impact the people around you.
Movies play a very important role in shaping our outlook on life. So the next time you watch a movie, do not blindly accept the content. Try and analyse its problematic storylines. We should learn to question the problematic storylines being portrayed and only assimilate aspects that make sense to us.