I watched Gatta Kusthi almost 3 hours after I saw Vijay Sethupathi-starrer DSP. The reason why I am comparing the two films is that they both cater to the same category of audience. While DSP ridicules the intelligence and exposure of the B and C center audience, Gatta Kusthi from Chella Ayyavu is a movie that tries to give that audience something new without changing too much in terms of the syntax. Yes, it is not perfect, and far from being emotionally overwhelming. But it urges a category of films to embrace certain changes.
Keerthi, a girl from Palakkadu, is a wrestling champion who is always rejected by men because of her passion for the sport and her higher education. Her single status even gives her father a heart attack. At one point, when her uncle meets his old friend, he happens to know about Veera, an eligible bachelor from Tamilnadu who was looking for a girl. But he had certain conditions that contrast with the character of Keerthi. But Keerthi’s uncle convinces her into this marriage by hiding certain things from Veera and what happens in such a marriage is what we witness in Gatta Kusthi.
In terms of theme, Gatta Kusthi isn’t necessarily addressing something new. It is somewhat an amalgamation of something like a Great Indian Kitchen and a Sultan or Dangal. The patriarchal set of responsibilities burdened on women is being questioned in Chella Ayyavu’s film. This movie was surprisingly entertaining because it confidently trolled the male ego. And what we need to consider here is the target audience of a movie like this, as it communicates everything in a louder gallery-pleasing manner.
Aishwarya Lekshmi is pretty much the central character of the film, as gender politics is expressed using her character. In terms of performance, she gets the pitch of that character in a template like this. And since her voice was dubbed, the dialog delivery wasn’t much of an issue. The wrestler’s body language also looked convincing. Vishnu Vishal as Veera was hilarious in those second-half portions, and it was nice to see a mainstream hero playing a flawed character in a movie like this. Karunas, Munishkanth, Kaali Venkat, etc., are the other prominent names in the star cast.
Even though the movie approaches the interval block in a convincing way, the second half isn’t smooth. A conflict between the husband and wife is inevitable, and Chella Ayyavu opts for certain impractical tracks to reach the climax. Even though a lot of the events that are happening in the second half are slightly on the over-the-top side, Ayyavu manages to give a particular purpose to all those things, which somewhere makes you forgive the formulaic predictable nature of the film. Aishwarya Lekshmi looked convincing as a wrestler, but I wished the fight sequences featuring her got the same amount of swagger we see in fights featuring a male star.
Gatta Kusthi is not a politically intense gender drama, and one can sense the movie rooting for benevolent sexism unintentionally in certain areas. But the pitch of the film’s drama is on the louder side with all the elements and compromises of a mass masala entertainer. Somewhere I felt this movie urges seasoned rural drama filmmakers like Ponram, Pandiraj, etc., to take that category of movies to a new level in terms of themes and presentation.
Yes, it is not perfect, and far from being emotionally overwhelming. But it urges a category of films to embrace certain changes.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended