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Supposedly Feminist Film Raangi Is Worse Than Drishyam In Misogyny!

Raangi is apparently a 'feminist film', but is the most horrific take on the problem of nudes on social media as it does victim blaming and shows no concept of consent.

When I heard about the release of the Tamil film ‘Raangi’ in December 2022, I had high hopes for it. It seemed like a bold woman-centered story. I thought Raangi would set a record amongst the typical movies where the heroine is just there for the glitz and glam.

But when I watched the movie, I realized I was majorly wrong. This supposedly feminist film is actually fake feminism and misogyny!

The movie starts fine and shows the main character Thayyal Nayaki (played by Thrisha), a journalist. She says ‘true’ journalism is to make a difference by covering real problems. It is correct because the news and media play a meaningful role in our lives.

She records a police officer making obscene comments at her and posting them on her company site. All this was bearable. I got the picture of real journalism like in the Tamil movie ‘Ko’ but by a woman lead. I assumed it would be interesting to watch.

But things go downhill when Thayyal’s brother speaks to her about how a man threatens to leak his daughter’s (Sushmita) nudes to the internet.

Peak victim blaming!

Sushmita’s mom goes to hit her with a broomstick in her hand when she gets to know but is stopped by her dad. I thought the father was a bit sensible, but he says, “She is only sixteen, I don’t know what to ask her. I don’t know if I should scold or hit her.”

For a “feminist” story, that was a horrible red flag right there!

The parents didn’t bother to speak maturely to their daughter about anything. They assume it’s their daughter in the video. Even if it was her, instead of being there for their daughter, they directly go to blame her. A classic case of victim blaming.

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Sadly, victim blaming starts with people close to us in our society.

Thayyal digs deeper and finds that Sushmita’s friend (Neha) created a Facebook account under her name. Neha sends her nudes (without her face) posing as Sushmita to creepy men to get them to talk to her because she feels insecure about her looks, particularly her teeth.

How Thayyal conducts her so-called investigation horrified me the most. She forces crying Sushmita to strip naked while checking whether it’s her body in the video. When Sushmita asks why, Thayyal responds, “It’s all for your good.”

No concept of consent, despite posing as a feminist film

At this point, I knew I should write about this movie, definitely not in a good light.

Most importantly, Sushmita never knows what is happening throughout the movie. She doesn’t know about Neha’s fake account. No one tells her about anything till the end. But despite that, Thayyal was portrayed as a role model to her niece and sister-in-law.

For all those thinking, it’s good no one revealed anything to her to not scar her. But what about yelling at a girl to undress? Even if she knew why did she “have to”? It is as though the “right to privacy” and consent is never a thing.

While speaking to Neha, Thayyal says that inner beauty matters. But within a blink of an eye, she objectifies Neha saying, “I saw your video. You are beautiful.”

She continues by saying, “Study well, earn, and become rich to ‘change’ your appearance.” When Neha says she has financial struggles, Thayyal pays for braces. Aww, such a helpless act. So much for liking yourself just how you are, yeah?

To make it worse, the dentist explains to Neha that “pain will make her attractive”. Do you think these messages are appropriate for young, impressionable girls?

And how did our fearless heroine find out it was Neha’s videos they were in the first place? By calling Sushmita’s friends to meet her and pretending to hug them! To touch and search for a birthmark. Inappropriate, much?

If you think the story took an absurd turn, it gets even crazier.

Horrific handling of the situation, worse than in Drishyam!

Thayyal lures creepy and horny men who text Neha on the Facebook account by calling them all to a hotel room and beating them. If only justice for a woman was so easy in real life.

And then comes the “real” plot twist. A guy named Aalim texts the account. Thayyal thinks he is another creep, but he is a seventeen-year-old terrorist in Tunisia. The boy is madly in love with Sushmita. Or, who he thinks is Sushmita from the account.

Thayyal starts slowly “falling in love” with the terrorists. I honestly don’t know whether to call it love. It seems so bizarre that she impersonates her niece to pursue somewhat of a relationship with Aalim.

She likes how Aalim is a genuine “guy”. But let’s face it, Aalim is seventeen. And Thayyal, I assume, is more than thirty? She even clicks Sushmita’s pictures to send to Aalim or upload on her profile, which even Sushmita doesn’t know still exists.

It is wrong for a man to send obscene DMs to a teen. But it’s fascinating how the movie justifies Thayyal creepily “using” her niece’s persona to continue chatting with Aalim.

She blatantly uses Sushmita’s identity and address to expose information about Aalim’s terrorist activities. And never once she says anything to Sushmita or her family. She continues talking to him in the pretense of capturing a criminal as a journalist, but she likes him. Or the idea of a man like him. But I can’t digest the fact because it is a teen underage boy.

Thayyal also acts like a jealous teen when she says to Sushmita, “Not bad, you ARE beautiful.”

It seemed like a terrible catfish situation where Thayyal used Aalim’s emotions to gather information whilst falling in love with him. After a lot of typical drama, Aalim ends up dying to save Sushmita and the movie thankfully ends. Even then, Sushmita naively asks who Aalim was and Thayyal weeps without responding. It’s strange how she is kept in the dark throughout.

I know a bit about feminism. I know it’s definitely not this. A Royal Enfield bike, shirts, pants, cooling glasses, and hitting rowdies/men are just not it. Thayyal lectures about how men disgustingly lust for underage women, but she catfishes a minor boy. The story also pits Sushmita’s mom against Thayyal because they were in-laws. As though a lady could never have an amicable relationship with her sister-in-law.

All in all, Raangi ruins a lot of hard work done by people who strive to create awareness of women’s rights by promoting an inconsistent gutsy, yet heartless version of a role model.

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About the Author

Megna Rajagopal

Megna is an aspiring writer trying to make it in this world. read more...

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