How Even In 1983, Malayalam Film Adaminte Variyellu Spoke Of Mental Health Of Women

In Adaminte Variyellu, Vasanthi sits on her father-in-law's favourite easy chair and orders the family members about, as he used to.

The Malayalam movie Adaminte Variyellu by K. G. George left such a huge impact on me that I have suggested this film to many of my acquaintances and students over the years.

The film is basically about three women and their lives. The character played by the famous South Indian actress Suhasini (known as Vasanthi) is what touched me the most.

What is Adaminte Variyellu about?

Suhasini’s life revolves around her family, consisting of her useless husband, an overpowering mother-in-law, and a naive son. She is constantly pressurised by household chores and her family members.

Her colleague at the workplace and her mother are the only two people who empathise with her situation. This stress leads to a dissociative identity disorder, whereby she begins to act like her deceased father-in-law who is also her maternal uncle.

She sits on her father-in-law’s favourite easy chair and orders the family members about, as he used to.

We are still in 1983 or even beyond?

This film, released in 1983, portrays the patriarchal system that has been prevailing in the Keralite households. The women were expected to perform every household task with utmost perfection and put on a pleasing demeanour, both at work and at home.

In an era where stress or mental issues were not discussed publicly and where the world mental itself was taboo, the director was bold enough to present the subject in such a lucid manner.

The protagonist Vasanthi, the sole breadwinner of this family, breaks under this mental stress losing her mind, and slipping into a mental condition that needs treatment.

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Stop being so hard on women!

I feel that the director has done an excellent job in truly understanding the mental hardship a woman faces in Malayali society. But almost four decades later, societal expectations and norms have not changed drastically.

Women are also humans who need rest, appreciation, and above all dignity, the lack of which could lead to untoward repercussions in their life.

The last scene in the movie is the crowning glory. We see women rush out of a mental asylum breaking free from the shackles of societal pressures, expectations of families, and the stereotypes that they are forced to adhere to.

Adaminte Variyellu is a must-watch, especially at this time, when freedom has to be obtained by clamouring for it, everywhere.

Image credit: Still from the movie trailer, YouTube

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About the Author

Mary Binoy

Presently working as an English tutor, a dentist by profession, but a writer forever. Love penning down everything I strongly feel about and create a change in mindset, especially among the youth. read more...

16 Posts | 18,951 Views

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