Mohanlal starrer Ayaal Katha Ezhuthukayanu is an insightful movie. It mixes the frustrations, delusions, and perversions of mallu male, drops it in a full jar of soda, gives us with fizz of BS. But be warned, it can burn your eyes.
BUT, this is also a tragic story of Ramakrishnan, a middle class man without many ambitions, who gets lost in the devious plot of his supposed friend, Sagar Kottappuram.
Ramakrishnan, as the new tehsildar in town, is suffering a professional crisis as he is not allowed to take charge by the existing tehsildar, Priyadarshini. Ramakrishnan’s only wish is to relocate his mother and sisters to the town, which is possible only if he has the job.
Priya is a scary woman who is angry at her house help, neighbours, colleagues, the entire fucking world for no particular reason. She looks like she is perpetually on her PMS, just plotting a plan to burn this world down.
Anyhow, as Ramakrishnan is burdened by the uncertainty in his career and life, he is joined by Sagar Kottappuram, drunk self-proclaimed novelist who is also blatantly misogynist (no surprises there!).
Sagar is probably the worst roommate ever. On his first day at Ramakrishnan’s house (or the house he thought was Ramakrishnan’s), he sees women’s clothes that he assumes to be of Ramakrishnan’s mother’s or sisters’, yet proceeds to wear one of the nighties, without undies. Seriously, what kind of perversion is that?
Ramakrishnan is manipulated into thinking that with Sagar on his side he can easily win against Priya and take over the charge as tehsildar.
The entire premise of this movie is that sexual harassment is a delusion by a woman. This is one of those movies that fuels the patriarchal imagination that rape is something fabricated by woman in order to take revenge against poor male souls.
As a peace treaty to end the war between herself and the duo – Ramakrishnan and Sagar, Priyadarshini calls them to her house for breakfast. But hyperventilating about how the patriarchal world continuously fails to understand or empathise with the struggles of a self-made woman like her, she decides to kill herself, wait for it, with a butter knife. But Sagar and Ramakrishnan intervene (to stop her from getting her hands moistened with butter), only to be arrested for trying to “molest” Priya.
The whole fake rape case opens the floor to more rape jokes, for comic relief; opening act by Manchadi Maamachan.
Sagar Kottappuram is the most self-centred man in this universe. He seeks so much attention that he makes every single thing about him. If social media existed in ’98, Alphons Kannanthanam would have had a tough competition with Sagar . Naturally, Sagar has placed himself at the centre of the issue and the war is now officially between Sagar and Priya.
Poor Ramakrishnan – suspended from job with a big black mark on his career graph and he has even forgotten his mother and sisters were waiting to be relocated. Ramakrishnan has no option but to be part of Sagar’s revenge drama – a titillating pulp novel about Ramakrishnan and Priyadarshini canoodling.
But, since Sagar has to make everything about him and gets jelly about Ramakrishnan’s central character, Sagar makes his entry as a novelist in the novel, only to be romantically pursued by Priyadarshini’s character. Dude has absolutely no pretensions about his “me me me” obsession. Ugh.
As things get legal, coz rape accused hell bent on tarnishing a woman’s image, we have a court scene where Priya’s advocate drops a major truth bomb that Sagar and Priya were once engaged to marry. Everyone except the advocate is taken aback. Usually advocates discuss such crucial matters with their clients, but our advocate had plainly assumed Priyadarshini knew this.
Ever raging Priyadarshini now moves on to her only other mood – sadness.
Sagar can now conveniently place himself at the centre without any worries. He begins to pen his flashback – an incident that calls for advancement in technology, especially Whatsapp.
Flashback #1 : Sagar, fulfilling the mallu stereotype, used to work in the Gelf. As a 25-28 year old, he wanted to marry a woman who is fair & slim and has adakkam & othukkam, nbd!His sister duly finds a girl (our Priya), of course all girls in arranged marriages are advertised to have exactly these qualities, so it might not have been that difficult. But the only photo of her’s sent to Sagar via a selfish friend Sainuddin falls into chicken curry (which is now chick-in-curry (sorry not sorry)).
If necessity is the mother of invention, it is truly necessities like these (and the ease to send nudes) that ended up in inventions like Whatsapp and Snapchat.
But Sagar doesn’t insist on getting a new photo because he is confident that the woman fits his demands and partially because everyone else who had seen her pic has validated her beauty for him. Bro gets validation she’s pretty, bro happy. He is absolutely unconcerned of getting to know the girl by any means. It’s only marriage right? Why should he even talk to her prospective wife and check if they are compatible?
Unfortunately, he comes back to Kerala and realises that the “fiancee” has eloped with someone else.
Sagar regretfully learns he should have added “without any romantic relationships as of today” to his list of demands. Damn. Okay, ideally, he should have just let it go and found another woman via a broker or some pre-historic arrangement that people in the 90s used, but instead he becomes a drunkard and starts writing novels for pulp magazines. Well, who wouldn’t love a job to drink and write, if money came that easily? Not liver, prolly.
Back to present day, Sagar single handedly decides he should make this all about himself, writing about it in his novel, without thinking how publicising another person’s life without their consent is unethical. It should be really appreciated that he genuinely believes his readers want to know the (one sided) truth. Poor Ramakrishnan, jobless and penniless, all he now does is supporting Sagar’s fantasies, probably hoping for a share of royalty.
Along with the writing, Sagar doesn’t forget to harass Priyadarshini for leaving him years ago – yet another glorified story of a man who cannot handle rejections. He harasses her so much that she gets admitted for psychiatric treatment. Knowing this, a guilty Sagar (seriously dude?) decides to investigate what actually happened with her and meets Priya’s estranged cousin.
Flashback #2 : Priyadarshini and cousin were coming back home after their schooling, mind you schooling, in Ooty. But someone spiked her drink and she blacked out on the bus home. Cousin picked her up and stopped at a nearby hotel (that doesn’t ask for IDs of these kids below 18). The hotel owner gave this great advice that she only needed a good shower to come back to senses – not the usual buttermilk or “just sleep off”. The idiot cousin apparently brought her under the shower, put her to sleep, and removed her clothes because they were now drenched. Priyadarshini woke up to absolute horror of being alone and naked in a room with her cousin. She believed he raped her.
Okay, folks, this flashback is from the point of view of another rape accused. I seriously cannot figure out how much “reliable” the narrator is. Anyways, he is believed by Sagar. So post this teenage incident, Priyadarshini changed into a blood thirsty woman who wanted to kill her cousin. She ran away from the marriage because she didn’t want to “betray” a stranger, so instead she went off kill her cousin unsuccessfully.
Alright, post a trauma, it is impossible to think straight and she might have had her reasons to believe what happened to her, but the movie is only interested to jump from one male’s POV to another male’s.
Ex-NRI, novelist, CID Sagar Kottappuram now decides to become a psychiatrist and decides to stage another drama to bring back Priyadarshini. He is just one line short of saying, “I will bring back Ganga with tejas and ojas”.
Inspired from Dr. Sunny, he schemes to trick Priya into believing something which will ultimately “cure her. His grand plan involves Priyadarshini waking up on the conjugal bed, with her half erased sindoor (the mandatory indication of having done intercourse) and crushed jasmines (another sign of some hard core thrusting) and realising that she has not only married, but also had sex with this stranger harasser Sagar Kottappuram.
It’s only a miracle she didn’t suffer another psychological shock. Imagine this, you have made up your mind to not have any kind of relationship with a person, but you wake up one day and they say “we did it hon”. And here, Sagar pulls off a stupid drama that only trivialises Priyadarshini’s trauma as delusion because he decided to believe a story told by a guy he has met only once. To top it, he also tells her she is pure, and that he is so progressive to love her even if she is not “pure”.
Worst : They get together. After all these. Priyadarshini gets together with the guy who has
1) destroyed her career and personal life with a silly novel
2) pushed her into mental health issues
3) refused to even listen to her side of the story
Did we all forget Ramakrishnan? Well, only god knows what happened to him, his mother, his sisters who were awaiting college admissions.
Moral : Do not befriend Sagar Kottapurams. He will write your story without you in it.
Btw, here’s the book that Kottapuram penned : Oru Gazetted Yakshi