A Thrilling Setup Steps Into Mansplaining Territory In This Problematic Lockdown Chamber Drama

Director: Shaji Azeem

Forged: Arjun Ashokan, Samyukta Menon, Irshad. 

Shaji Azeez’s first movie Wolf, based mostly on author GR Indugopan’s quick story Chennaya, begins off promisingly. Sanjay (Arjun Ashokan) takes a detour on his manner residence to go to his fiancé Asha (Samyukta Menon) a few weeks earlier than they’re as a result of get married. However when he will get there, she’s not pleasantly stunned neither is she excited to see him. There’s an apparent indifference in her perspective and she or he desires him to get out of there as quickly as he can. The awkwardness is hilarious and also you nearly really feel unhealthy for the man. They’re simply days away from getting married however their ‘chemistry’ is that of whole strangers being compelled to talk to one another. 

 However it’s not simply their relationship standing that’s forcing them to lastly open up. Aside from being locked into an engagement, they’re additionally locked up on this home. It’s the evening earlier than PM Modi’s first nationwide lockdown and there are law enforcement officials proper outdoors the home to implement it. Her mom is away too and the state of affairs calls for that this couple spend the evening beneath the identical roof in what’s a costume rehearsal for the longer term. 

Her displeasure is a results of a wide range of Sanjay’s character traits. On his manner there, you get glimpses of his mood and the male ego that amplifies it. His mates, too, are complicit in accommodating his anger, as if it’s his character or quirk. However Asha is repulsed by it. “Don’t name me edi or nee,” she says sternly, to her future husband. She additionally asks him why he has by no means given her the possibility to confide in him. “Do you assume speaking rudely makes you extra of a person?,” she asks, revealing extra about Sanjay than the earlier half hour of the movie. 

However you quickly begin seeing why his tone is greater than only a character trait. As their dialog reaches some extent the place they’re lastly revealing themselves to one another, you perceive how deeply misogyny is ingrained in somebody ‘regular’ like Sanjay. When he opens up about the explanation why he can by no means marry his finest good friend Riva, he states what he thinks is an appropriate excuse. “I can not marry somebody who wears shorts,” he says, nonchalantly. Caught in a unique period, this line additionally reveals that he’s created a ‘marriage kind’ whereas additionally hinting that this kind ought to solely put on what her husband approves of. 

In these scenes, the dialogues are highly effective and in Asha, we see a assured girl who is not going to be burdened by the whims of a man-child. However Sanjay isn’t merely an archetype both. You sense his willingness to alter or at the least an effort to attempt. Throughout these discussions, you get the concept it’s maybe the primary time he’s coming throughout ideas like equality and mutual respect within the context of relationships. Whereas it’s apparent that they’re a mismatch, you additionally perceive why this dialogue must occur. Even Asha appears relieved on the modifications the dialogue is bringing in Sanjay, regardless that he’s nonetheless bought an extended solution to go. 

However the movie by no means settles for this pitch. It desires to be greater than a dialogue and desires this battle to be positioned on a extra primal setting. As an alternative of seeing folks merely as folks, the movie now desires to put this couple within the scope of nature itself, with the idea of pure choice being referred to intimately. For this, the movie makes use of the assistance of a 3rd character regardless that his introduction is just not milked for shock worth.

His presence early on develops right into a stretch of fantastic darkish humour the place you see the frailties of somebody like Sanjay. The presence of a ‘man’ exposes the nativities of a boy who has by no means ventured out of the comforts of his closed, slim universe. So when Sanjay begins to play protector, this ‘intruder’ hits him with science and nature, showing progressive at first after which creepy in a while. However his shift in behaviour is just not backed by the writing. It’s as if it’s time for the screenplay to shift gears into the third act and the depth is ramped up inorganically. 

Whereas these dialogues stay fascinating from a distance, like listening to the escapades of a traveller, a fatigue units in shortly. This dialogue is between two grownup males and the subject offers with the inherent nature of girls. Whereas showing progressive at first, this dialogue strikes into acquainted territory all too shortly, particularly when Asha leaves the room. From a participant, Asha too recedes to spectator mode as we pull up entrance row seats to a mansplaining lecture in regards to the inside workings of a lady’s thoughts. It’s a one man present actually and the movie takes a detour for the more serious when it seems to bolster every little thing Sanjay seems to be proper originally. 

The politics of the movies appears to tie itself into knots and we by no means actually stick with the characters throughout their transitions. And by the top, what the movie does is make you’re feeling sorry for Asha. She seems impartial however not sufficient to breakaway with out the safety of a person. Like in Kappela, this movie too paints the heroine as somebody naive and harmless, incapable of distinguishing between good and unhealthy. For all the nice performances and the making, Wolf wanted a stronger level to place throughout than what it lastly does. However it will definitely finally ends up like a wolf in sheep’s clothes, representing problematic politics within the garb of dialogue. 

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