‘Veera, a male chauvinist, is seeking a bride with his own preconceived set of conditions. However, he unexpectedly ends up marrying Keerthi who is the polar opposite to his expectations. What will happen when the truth is revealed?‘ – reads the synopsis of 2022 Tamil movie ‘Gatta Kusthi’.
Knowing what the film is about, there’s obviously no point complaining about the regressive/patriarchal scenes. A lot of the sexist male characters regrettably represent many men across the world who think women are inferior beings meant to serve them. Directed and written by Chella Ayyavu, the film stars Aishwarya Lekshmi as accomplished boxer Keerthi, whose parents struggle to find a groom for her. Enter Vishnu Vishal as Veera, a rich man who wants to marry someone lesser educated than him and with long flowing hair. Keerthi’s beloved uncle convinces her to wear a wig and lie about her educational qualifications, claiming two white lies won’t matter once she is married. Things get comically complicated when Veera learns his new bride isn’t a blushing dumb weakling he thought she was.
Last seen in folkore-horror movie ‘Kumari’, Aishwarya Lekshmi was the primary reason I chose to stream this film and she is the best thing about it. There’s a fun action sequence where Keerthi fights a whole gang of goons and while the action choreography could’ve been better, Aishwarya pulls off the scenes with a Rajinikanth-like swagger. It’s easy to imagine movie-goers whistling in a cinema hall as Keerthi beats the bad guys to pulp.
The cinematography is colorful, simple and complimented by a foot-tapping soundtrack. Vishnu Vishal is hilarious as the barely educated Veera who is raised by a chauvinistic uncle and isn’t familiar with the world of women. The film is filled with old-school tropes we are used to seeing in mass-entertainers – Veera has enough inheritance to while away his day roaming around town, getting into fights and drinking the evenings away with his middle-aged uncle friends.
Unfortunately, even though the film tries to promote gender equality, Aishwarya Lekshmi is pushed to the sidelines towards the climax and it’s Veera who gets a hero’s finish – he defeats the cliched villain and delivers a contrived emotional speech about how a ‘woman is no less than a man’. Keerthi should’ve been the one to throw the last punch. Regardless, ‘Gatta Kusthi’ was an entertaining watch and could’ve been so much more.
It’s a 6/10 from me. Stream it on Netflix.
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