Pinkvilla Picks: Manju Warrier’s Prathi Poovankozhi is a must watch as it is every woman’s burning rage

Like every week, we are back with our choice of must-watch film from the south. This week, we have picked Manju Warrier's Prathi Poovankozhi, directed by Rosshan Andrrews.
Pinkvilla Picks: Manju Warrier’s Prathi Poovankozhi is a must watch as it is every woman’s burning rage
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Prathi Poovankozhi, which literally means accused rooster, is a story that narrates how sexual assault, no matter how minor, deeply affects women. The title itself is a brilliant wordplay. In Malayalam, 'Kozhi' is a slang word for a man with no morals. The film does proper justice to the short film Sankadam, from which it has been adapted. The film also marked the reunion of director Rosshan Andrrews and Manju Warrier. As a woman, while watching Prathi Poovankozhi, I felt the movie truly showed the daily struggles that women face.

At the same time, the film also made me feel strange with many questions. Was Madhuri (Manju Warrier) never assaulted before this incident that changed her life? I’m pretty sure every woman who watches this film will get reminded of the times they were molested secretly in public places. We all can totally relate to her rage and anger. But when it was portrayed as if it was the first time she was ever molested, it made me feel like either the director or the writer should have discussed this with a woman to change this particular aspect in an otherwise perfect film.

The film is all about a woman from a simple family background and her battle to avenge her molester. But the other things that travel along with the storyline are also relatable. For example, when Madhuri was explaining the incident to her colleagues, a number of people came up with reasons for her to let this matter go. People around her said so many things like, ‘It was just a grope, let it go already’, ‘Is this your first time? You will get used’, 'when you show off your body, you will get groped', and so on. This will make us wonder if these are the reasons for the normalization of sexual molestations.

What Madhuri felt from the incident was intense and deep. All the things that she did to forget the incident including burning down the saree that she wore on that particular day, did not help her forget it. It was then she decides to not let this go and slap Antappan (played by Rosshan Andrew) at least once. Now let’s know more about this Antappan. He is a thug, who would beat up even 10 people single-handedly. He is someone that the whole locality is scared of. Like Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter, Antappan is he who should not be named. Whenever Madhuri enquired about him to people in the locality, they would look at her as though she did a huge crime.

Madhuri even witnesses him thrashing the hell out of 10s of rowdies in the middle of a market during broad daylight. This does not stop her from following him on a lonely street in the middle of the night, to slap him once. While Madhuri is shown as a brave, smart woman, this act of following a thug in a lonely street at night is something that a real bold, smart woman would rather not do. She would know how to move her coins to avenge his act.

The whole perfect story had a part which I would say was rather unnecessary. The portion of Rose (Madhuri’s friend), who was more like a playgirl, fooling around with different men ‘in the name of love’ was totally uncalled for. It was portrayed like a comparison between ‘good women’ and ‘bad women’, and how in the world of women with ‘superb ethics’ there are women like Rose too. Especially the part where she tries to get rid of ‘one of her lovers’, the strong story made a huge flaw as it had so many things starting from body shaming to slut-shaming. What was even more nauseating was when her very innocent NRI husband tried to prove a point that his wife was a naughty innocent ‘loosu ponnu’, and showed Madhuri the hickies that his wife gave him. It makes one wonder if this portion was added to prove a point that how ‘improper woman’ take advantage of ‘innocent men’ to have a well-settled life, all the while narrating the trauma a woman undergoes after an encounter of sexual molestation.

However, coming back to the main storyline, the film goes to another level, when Antappan was beaten up by goons arranged by a cop. When Madhuri somehow found herself landed in the plot of killing Antappan, she fights teeth and nails to get herself out of the situation, only to be molested by the cop. The film, however, ends on a brilliant note. Prathi Poovankozhi proves a point, a very strong point, that Antappans are everywhere, molesting different Madhuries every day. In the climax, when Madhuri beats the hell out of ‘yet another Antappan’, strangely, we all would experience a sense of relief. Especially, when a schoolgirl walks up to her molester with her head held high and gives him one tight slap, we all would shed a tear of pride and relief.

Anonymous 11 months ago

Nice story