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Exploring Gender Dynamics in Malayalam Films: An Analysis of Gender Inequity, Misogyny, and Toxic Masculinity in the Works of Mammootty and Mohanlal

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Praveen Abraham,Dr. Beena G
» doi: 10.31838/ecb/2023.12.si6.243


Film is the product of patriarchal unconsciousness, says Laura Mulvey. Back in 1950’s and 60’s, women in Malayalam cinema had a better place in the plot of the movie compared to the ones that came in later decades. Powered by the scripts of writers of Malayalam literature, movies were more realistic. Chemmeen, Ningal Enne Communist Aakki, Neela Kuyil, Kutti Edathi, Oru Penninte Katha were some of the movies were women played major roles. Later on, by the advent of superstardom and the rise of the two unchallenged superstars, Mammootty and Mohanlal, Malayalam cinema became largely sexist and misogynic with their toxic masculine characters and male chauvinistic dialogues. Any and every reproach on their propagation of misogyny was and is aggressively condemned by their frenzied followers. Women who spoke against this had to face defamation and cyber-attacks. The awareness of the feministic concepts has made Malayalam cinema too liberated, to an extent, from the strangleholds of patriarchy. The movie, ‘How old are you?’, for example, is a realistic portrayal of the man-woman relationship in the society where a once skillful woman forgets to dream as she is clogged by the domestic needs and gender expectations. Exposure to global experiences and increase in gender awareness have made some women and enlightened men to work for a better cause. But, the super star movies still celebrate misogyny and toxic masculinity as the demi gods of Malayalam cinema find their stardom safely shielded in the veils of these anti-social aspects.

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