Ramante Edanthottam: Is Divorce ‘Good’?

Malayalam cinema is blessed with many strong female leads – from Banu in Kanmadam to Tessa in 22FK, from Rohini Pratap in Thira to Pallavi in Uyare. Most of these characters fought for causes like human trafficking, sexual assault, acid attacks, etc., and thus, inspiring the rest of us to fight for our personal causes. Malini from Ramante Edanthottam is one such inspirational character, but her cause is largely ignored by society. 

(Spoiler Alert)

Ramante Edanthottam is a romantic drama written and directed by Ranjith Shankar. The film stars Anu Sithara (Malini), Kunchacko Boban (Raman) and Joju George (Elvis) as it’s main leads. The movie walks us through the life of Malini. She and her husband Elvis have been married for more than a decade and they have a daughter. Elvis is a struggling film producer and Malini is a quiet housewife. 

On a vacation to Vagamon, they stay at a resort called Edanthottam. Here, they meet the owner of the resort and avid environmentalist, Raman. Malini and Raman become friends and stay in touch even after the vacation. From this point on, the movie deals with Malini’s relationship with her husband and her friendship with Raman; it portrays a woman’s journey from an obedient housewife to being an independent individual. 

A woman, struggling with her relationship, finding hope in another man and rediscovering herself through him might seem like a cliche. But what makes this movie so special is that this is quite an uncommon theme for Mollywood. Another factor that makes this movie appealing is the realistic portrayal of Malini. I’m sure you’ve seen many ‘Malini’s in your life. We would’ve seen many families like theirs’; where the family is held together for the sake of the children and not because of love. 

The director clearly points out the contrast between a family made out of love (and equality) and another which lacks both; we see Elvis’ best friend, played by Sreejith Ravi, leading a healthy and happy life with his family while Elvis has troubles at home. 

Though there have been many positive reviews about the movie, there have been a few negative ones that criticised the theme of the movie, about how it might lead to a rise in divorce rates in Kerala. In my opinion, the movie does no such thing. It simply tells you that it is OK to walk away from a toxic relationship.

Divorce is often looked upon as an unacceptable crime, and it is this viewpoint that has to change. We ask our women to keep their voice down, tell them that “endurance is key”. Endurance is definitely key. But when it is practised by just one partner in a relationship, then it becomes a cause for concern. I am not married, and I do not know what it is like to be in an unhappy relationship. But all I know is that this is the only life we have and that it is sometimes OK to be a little selfish; one can keep their loved ones happy only if one is happy.

Ramante Edanthottam has an open ending. We do not get to see how Malani’s and Raman’s relationship pans out. Maybe that’s a can of worms that the makers didn’t want to open. But overall, if you’re not a big supporter of patriarchy, then you’ll like this movie for it has feel-good elements and beautiful cinematography with the beauty of nature oozing out in every frame.

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