Review of the Malayalam film Bheemante Vazhi: Is Sex a Promise or a Pleasure Act?


Review of the Malayalam film Bheemante Vazhi: Is Sex a Promise or a Pleasure Act?


Bheemante Vazhi, a 2021 Malayalam film directed by Ashraf Hamza, was one of the year's many underappreciated Malayalam films. The movie contains a lot of progressive and important-to-reflect components, particularly those involving women. The movie critics missed them as well in terms of politics.

The plot of the film centres on the inhabitants' efforts, led by Sanjeev (Kunchako Boban, who plays the titular role), to extend their tiny lane in order to reduce their regular challenges during emergencies. The procedure calls for the inhabitants' full participation and their final stand-off with the wealthy landowner, Oothampilly Kosepp (played by Jinu Joseph).

The setting gives off the impression of being a utopia in many ways, and Sanjeev's character, who drives the plot, illuminates this. Sanjeev is a well-known young man in the community. Everyone who lives there is aware of and respectful of him. The local councilwoman, Reetha, uses this attention to push for the construction of the road, enhancing her political profile and increasing her prospects of winning the impending election.

Sanjeev, an unmarried man, takes pleasure in his sexuality without feeling anything. Prior to her marriage, he has a sexual encounter with his neighbour, a young woman named Blessy Paul (played by Vincy Aloshious). Despite the long-lasting connection, Sanjeev does not show Blessy the same affection that she grows to adore for him. She knows he doesn't feel anything for her and moves on without bothering him. For the first time in his life, he is saddened by Blessy's showy clothes. He agrees with his buddy Maharshi, who describes Sanjeev as "hollow," those women are diplomatic in their interactions with potential sexual partners.

Later, Sanjeev and Kinnari, a railway engineer, establish a friendly relationship. She grows fond of him, but Sanjeev ends their relationship when he realises it. Until he observes a widow named Anju fighting Koepp, Sanjeev appears to be different in how he manages his feelings toward women. Sanjeev experiences an epiphany because he may be witnessing a woman battling and outnumbering a man for the first time.

Anju, who was seen as a meek and submissive woman who cared for her mother-in-law after her husband's death, was never attractive to Sanjeev prior to this incident. The story's twist is provided by Anju, who was purposefully hidden from the public eye until the very end and then appears as a much bolder character. Sanjeev, who had a thing for young girls, is instantly enthralled by this sight.

The script writer uses very subtle verbal and nonverbal cues to physically disguise Anju throughout the film. She was specifically picked to be a typical middle-aged, obese woman with no unusual characteristics outside her karate lessons. This is done to purposefully distance her from the other characters and to emphasise the idea that love and marriage can also occur in an abstract setting where only morality and individual strength matter. To illustrate this point, Anju is purposefully contrasted throughout the film with Kinnari, who is youthful, seductive, and single.

The movie also explicitly answers the topic, "Is sex a promise?" For instance, Blessy and Sanjeev's relationship was one that both parties relished as a natural part of life. Blessy wishes for more but acknowledges that he is unable to give her what she desires. Blessy abandons him as a result and marries her lover.

Blessy and Sanjeev continue to be friends and show each other respect. Similar to this, Kinnari realises this as well, yet she sadly separates from Sanjeev. Kinnari views sex as a lifetime or marital commitment. Through his personality, Sanjeev tries to teach her to do things the other way around.

Numerous romantic relationships may not lead to marriage or to any other type of relationship. As a result, the screenwriter only views sexual activity as a means of enjoyment rather than as a permanent commitment.

The question of whether sex constitutes a lifetime commitment is also explored further in the film. The much-lauded Malayalam film Myaanadhi had the first apparent discussion of the topic (2017). The titular character of Aparna (played by Aishwarya Lekshmi) in the aforementioned film steadfastly pursues her dream of becoming an actress, even if it means breaking off her relationship with her boyfriend. In that passage, she compares sex to a way of expressing affection and loves free from social restraints.

The same concept is conveyed to the female characters in Bheemante Vazhi by the male character Sanjeev. While Kinnari, a modern girl in view, accepts this reality and moves on, Kinnari becomes upset upon hearing this from Sanjeev. However, she later comes to terms with it and makes an effort to go on.

Another ignored aspect that is never brought up at all is that the movie challenges the notions of virginity through its depiction of unrestricted sex. Only the character's potential and personal independence are emphasised. This is demonstrated in the movie's finale when Sanjeev marries Anju, a typical widow. Here, Sanjeev is more intrigued by the actions of the character Anju as a person than by her appearance or sexual orientation. As a result, the film establishes a new base for the Malayalam audience. This one is about potential and humanity rather than authority and control.

Another crucial component of this film is the female characters. The film readily offers strong, intelligent, independent women who can maintain themselves without the need for male assistance. These include Anju, Reetha, and the lawyer's persona, among others. Despite having an excellent job, Blessy consults Sanjeev in the opening scene to get into the MSW programme.

When Sanjeev asks her why she is applying for a new position, she responds, "I want to serve the word." Not only Sanjeev but even the crowd, are taken aback by this. It's remarkable to see a successful lady go above and beyond to help the greater good. Like many other sequences in the film, this one may have passed unnoticed by a male critic as an unremarkable component of the opening scene. But the implications it presents are much more focused on the unseen work that women do in society to keep things operating smoothly.

Reetha is a prominent character because she skillfully employs persuasion and other strategies to further her agenda (or she conveniently uses her feminity as a skill). She likes to drink and hang around with males. This film aims to shatter the glass ceiling of “female interests” in the Malayalam film industry, which is still not free to show such female characters. It aims to portray women as they are, rather than enclosing them in the patriarchal social structure.

They aim to emphasise individual independence, which is something we all lack in our society to differing degrees, with these characters. Regardless of one's decisions in life, one is free to pursue one's sexual freedom and to continue and preserve the same reputation as before.

As was previously stated, the film is essentially set in a utopian country where these people have complete freedom to act however, they like without much societal criticism. As a result, it obviously mocks our society, which is based on unseen yet powerful ideological principles rather than free choices such as surveillance, shame, and suppression.

The title also alludes to the way the main character, Sanjeev, gives up his internal struggles in order to accept his emotions, much to how a wider lane increases the options that are available.

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