The Portrayal Of The Heroine In Both Pongal Blockbusters Is Disturbing

Telugu cinema had two reasons to celebrate this Pongal. Both the  Mahesh Babu starrer  Sarileru Neekevvaru  and the Allu  Arjun  starrer  Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo  have both turned  out to be  big successes.

But the way  the  leading lady in both  films has been projected  gives us  much food for thought.And not healthy food. Has  Telugu cinema  really  progressed? To begin with,both  Sarileru Neekevvaru  and  Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo   are rigidly  mainstream formula  films. The  do-gooder hero takes  on the  villainous forces, etc.In both,  the heroine, the  romantic lead  so to speak, is no more than the decorative doll. But what is worse is that the  characters are placed in deplorably regressive roles.

In Sarileru Neekevvaru  Rashmika Mandana  spends all the  time that she has on screen(and it isn’t much)  extolling the emotional and physical  virtues   of  the hero. Every time she sees Mahesh Babu, Rashmika goes  into a  swoon. Her eyes  roll, her lips tremble  and she stammers. Every dialogue that she has in the  film is  about how “cute and  handsome” the hero is.

In  brief, she has no life apart from  stalking and raving over  the man she has  chosen . It is obvious she has  only with her cute ,handsome, etc  man.

Pooja Hedge in  Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo   is  worse. She plays  a successful rich confident single woman. But the minute she sees the hero she turns  into abundle of nerves. In a blatant  endorse  of voyeurism and objectification, Allu Arjun keeps gawking at Ms Hegde’s legs ,not once but many times over. It’s  like a  running joke in the  film, although  the squirmy looks Arjun gives the heroine  would make any sane and sensible  girl creep out.There is an entire song and dance in  the  film where Allu Arjun  sings about his heroine’s legs. But Ms Hegde enjoys it

In an interview she  was asked about her hero’s leggy obsession  and her reply was a classic.

Ms Hedge  is quoted as saying, “There are films where people have sexually objectified navel of heroines, but Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo doesn’t do that.”

All right, then. From the naval the hero’s gaze has gone to the legs. Hopefully soon he will be  drooling over his beloved’s feet the way Raj Kumar  did on Kamal Amrohi’s Pakeezah.

But that’s another story.

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