​Beats of Misogyny

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

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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