Vakil Saab, Pawan Kalyan Turns Pink Into Purple

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The trailer of the Telugu  version of  the  game-changing feminist  drama  Pink   confirms what I  already  suspected. Vakil  Saab(not to be  confused with  the 1982  Bollywood  film Vakil Babu  where the great  Raj Kapoor played the  title  role…little did  he  know!)    has been  made not  to address  the MeToo movement. But to address the insatiable hunger  of Telugu superstar Pawan  Kalyan’s fans  to see  more  of him.

Of late Pawan  Kalyan (PK)  has been lying low with  three  of his projects in various  stages  of   production.  Finally one  of them is ready. Fans  of the superstar will pounce greedily on the product  no matter  what its  content or quality. It is sheer chance that  this time PK has taken on a  cause,defending three  city girls against  a  powerful nexus  of empowered  rapists.

Interestingly the  rape-accused Richie Rich  boys’ defence  lawyer  is  played by the  ever-watchable  Prakash Raj  and  I suspect  he  will  give  our resident superstar a run for his  money .Court room mein milte hain( say it  aloud in Telugu)

The trailer  exhales  the scent of a toxic masculinity trying to swing to the  other side. From fume to perfume, so to speak. Many  Telugu superstars have  made a career out of objectifying and eve-teasing their co-stars. Now  is the  time to rectify the  gender  imbalance.The trailer  of   Vakil Saab shows  us how a major superstar  handles  the  gender  toxicity  in  South Indian cinema by  doing a female-sensitive subject.

 The  trailer  opens with Prakash Raj asking  Nivetha Thomas in a courtroom if she is  a virgin. It ends with Pawan Kalyan asking the molester  the same  question. What comes in-between  is  a  vehicle to imbue a gender sensitivity  into  the  masculine milieu  so far missing in  male-oriented  South Indian cinema.

 In  Pink  getting justice for  three  women accused  of immoral activities was not  an act  of formulistic feminism. In its Telugu remake  I am afraid it looks like just an attempt to use  a  very serious issue—how far  can  a  woman’s conduct be  held responsible  for her sexual violation?—as a chance  for the hero to  blow his own  trumpet.

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