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MenToo Is A Crass Frivolous Interpretation Of A Serious Issue



MenToo(Telugu,streaming on Aha)

Rating: *

Somewhere deep inside this silly hodgepodge  of misplaced activism and unrestrained rowdyism, there is a good story about what happens when men are  a victims of sexual harassment. Maybe that sensitive story,some other  time.

MenToo is hideously problematic  from the word go.There is  a lone man Aditya (Naresh Agastya)  in a sales team of women who leer and sneer at  him.They even check out his butt(hawwww!).Male clients don’t want to entertain Aditya’s business proposals. He is a man, you  see.

Men being harassed is not  an issue taken seriously in our country. This  film does no service to the MenToo movement,  if we can call it a movement.

The  script  screams for attention. But does precious little to earn our attention. The characters are all uniformly uni-dimensional: the women(except one of the hero’s mother)are bullies and vixens. The men are smirking sarcastic misogynists. They don’t pretend  to be anything else.

The very dangerous premise that the film seems  to flaunt is that it’s okay to for men to  be misogynist  since women deserve it.

The only point in the plot where writer-director Srikanth G Reddy skirts sensitivity is in showcasing  the plight of  Rahul(Harsha Chemadu) who is wrongly accused of sexual harassment by a  jealous  female  colleague. Rahul  loses his job, dignity and  commits suicide.Life  sucks.And if you are a man being taught a  lesson by a woman,  it sucks  some more.

The problem in  MenToo is not one of  authenticity, but one of execution. The  storytelling  wears a  smirk right through. The  women are broad caricatures of  feminism, with EVIL written on their scheming faces. A female standup comedian who has her boyfriend Sanju(Kaushik Ghantasala) by his jowls, takes  great pleasure in reminding us that many of women’s problems like “men”struation  have men in it .

Sanju’s girlfriend’s  mal(e)treatment reminds one of Kartik Aaryan being bullied by his girl in Pyaar Ka Punchnaama which  too was guilty of  misogyny.But not  as blatantly  as this film.

Writer-director  Shrikanth G Reddy pulls out all stops to demonize the female  sex. In doing so  the film misses one vital aspect of gender politics. It’s not women who are the  villains. It’s the  rules of  patriarchal society that have engendered a  sense  of inequality between the two genders for generations.

In this reprehensible film,fun is made of women who carry pepper sprays on the streets  to fob off unwanted attention. Has the  director read up the rape statistics of  the country before embarking on this obstreperous pilgrimage into misogyny?

In the quest  of  quickfix justice  MenToo swerves the other way , grotesquely parodying women as predators and exploiters  while the  men huddle together in a bar named, “Stags Only”  horsing  around , abusing women and venting off steam singing and dancing until justice arrives.

If this is the solution to the lopsided gender politics of the country, then we have a  lot to worry  about.

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