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.