Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi, Premam and Hridayam – Time and again, we have seen many movies on male friendships in Malayalam cinema. The focus on female friendships didn’t really matter, but that’s changing. Super Sharanya might set a precedent for it.
Maybe one of the firsts in Malayalam cinema, Super Sharanya explores the lives of a bunch of first-year Engineering girls living their newfound freedom in a Government ladies’ hostel (Even though LHs in Kerala are worse prisons than home, but hey, that’s not the focus of this article).
As the name suggests, the movie revolves around our protagonist Sharanya (played by Anaswara Rajan). I loved the detailing they have given to this character. She is a girl who owns her intelligence and accepts her deeply sensitive and caring self. She is not the typical ‘strong’ woman that you see, who whines at the slightest discomforts of hostel life. You see her all ready to travel alone at night when her grandmother is in the hospital. She beautifully loves Deepu (played by Arjun Ashokan) although he is outside her ‘seemingly’ intellectual class.
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The film mostly revolves around four men pursuing Sharanya as their romantic interest. I wished the movie had explored more of her roommates, instead. We see parts of college life that invoke nostalgia such as their Fort Kochi visits, hostel ragging, night chilling and shopping day outs. It was nice to watch a character like ‘Sona’ who is the Hitler MadhavanKutty of the gang, trying to protect her besties.
But hey, the film has just scratched the surface of the lives of young, college-going women. The world needs to see stories that bring out the dirty ‘Vedi calling’ culture lurking behind the campus. Stories of talented girls being shunned down as ‘over smart’ and ‘attention-seeking.’ Of college politics that is crying out loud for real female power. Story of that girl who couldn’t contain the shame after her first sexual experience. Stories that explore the loneliness of Dalit women on the campus or of a Muslim girl’s conflict with her new taste of freedom.
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No, I won’t be satisfied with a Super Sharanya. I need a four-season, 10 episode Netflix series rich with characters of girls across caste, class, religion and sexuality. Because, there is a whole generation of women in their late 20s like me, waiting to heal.