ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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​Beats of Misogyny

Malayalam cinema continues to devalue the concept of consent and naturalises all violations of women’s personhood.

[The author would like to thank her supervisor Vinodkumar Kallolickal for his continued support and guidance, as well as her friends and family for their valuable suggestions.]



Songs tend to live much longer in public memory than their parent films, and have a lasting impact on society. Sometimes, this is because of their musicality, and sometimes because of their lyricism—and yet, we often don’t pay much attention to exactly what the lyrics say. A classic example is the song “Poomukha Vathilkkal Sneham Vidarthunna Poomthingalagunnu Bharya” from the Malayalam film Rakkuyilin Ragasadassil (1986) directed by Priyadarshan. The lyrics describe an “ideal wife:” as an “abode of love, an obedient slave in duty, a pacifying soul and a ‘Lakshmi’ in appearance.” This song, though more than three decades old, continues to frame young men’s conception of a suitable partner and continues to be used in orthodox religious preaching in a nostalgic tone of a glorified past while deliberating on the “need to keep the wife at home and under control.”

Malayalam movies have played a significant role in the manufacture of ways to express “real” love. The Malayalee audience continues to be fed an idea of heroism that applauds the concept of “persuading” a woman to love the hero, no matter what it takes. Such actions are often depicted as innocent expressions of true love and sympathise with the male protagonist.

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Updated On : 4th Aug, 2020
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