4 Things SatyaPrem Ki Katha Got Right, And 4 Things It Didn’t

SatyaPrem ki Katha brings to light issues surrounding trauma after assault and the lack of adequate support, especially from family.

Trigger Warning: This speaks of rape and violence against women, and may be triggering for survivors.

I finally caught up with SatyaPrem Ki Katha on Amazon Prime. It’s been hailed as a film with a difference, daring to tackle a bold issue.

*Spoilers Alert!*

Sattu (SatyaPrem) dreams of wooing Katha, a rich beauty out of his league. In a sudden turn of events, he does end up marrying her. What he doesn’t know is that Katha harbours a dark secret. She reveals that she is a survivor of assault. The perpetrator is someone she trusted, her ex-boyfriend. Her consequent trauma mars any chance of intimacy with her newly-wedded husband. How Sattu deals with this forms the rest of the story.

What did the film get right?

Daring to make a commercial film on a sensitive topic

The film treads a path that is not often taken, especially in mainstream cinema, with a commercial heroine playing a victim of assault and the male lead being her biggest supporter. The film brings to light issues surrounding trauma after assault and the lack of adequate support, especially from family.

A supportive male lead

Sattu tries to be understanding and gives his wife the time she needs before they engage in physical intimacy. When he discovers the truth behind her reluctance, he stands with her. She begs him to divorce her and move on with someone who is not broken, but he assures her that he will be there for her, no matter what.

The refreshing family dynamics

Sattu’s relationship with his father is that of a friend. He shares everything with his father, who is his wingman and partner-in-crime. In the Narayan household, the women teach classes and are the bread-earners, while the men run the household.

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Women supporting women

When Katha’s truth comes to light, the women of Sattu’s family come together. While Daddy disappoints, it is the mother who surprises the viewer by showing him a mirror. 

If this happened to our daughter, what would you do?

While the film boasts of highs, there are still many things it did not get right.

The male saviour complex

Despite its best intentions, SPKK becomes the story of a male saviour, an unsullied protagonist who fights for justice and is the sole crusader in a campaign to restore his wife’s dignity. Sattu doesn’t check with Katha before initiating legal action against her assailant. 

Is she in the frame of mind to fight this uphill battle? Is she ready for the onslaught of questioning and victim shaming?

Katha’s reactions seemed tailored to celebrate the hero. At first, she is shocked and hesitant, but after hearing her husband’s impassioned speech, she flips faster than a pancake. It isn’t Sattu’s call to take, but he does it anyway and announces it to the families while Katha watches him with adoring eyes.

The deep-rooted patriarchy

The film may have its heart in the right place, but for every step it takes forward, it takes a few steps backward. Daddy complains that Sattu is prioritizing his wife over his father. Sattu replies, ‘I can give up a hundred wives for my father’.

Not this again. One Animal is enough!

Besides, who does Sattu think he is? The Sultan from Arabian Nights? 

The flawed male protagonist

SatyaPrem visits Katha when she is alone at home to declare his love to her, knowing that she has never shown an interest in him. Towards the last thirty minutes, he has a rare moment of realization where he apologizes to Katha for disrespecting her consent (there isn’t much difference between your ex and me, he confesses), but sadly, the apology comes too late and is too little.

The concept of therapy and counseling could have been included

It is Katha who shines in this role even though her presence is limited. She depicts vulnerability and uneasiness; the viewer can see how broken and fragile she is. You feel her pain when she confesses she may never be able to be in a relationship ever again. Sadly, in the entire film, not once, has the word therapy or counselling been used. If only they had shown the victim rebuild her life with the help of professionals, it would have been impactful in a society where mental health issues are taboo. 

There is also a subplot on asexuality which could have been avoided because it is a whole subject on its own and takes away the focus from the main issue at hand.

Somber statistics are displayed at the end of the film, but the intent loses steam due to the frivolous scenes interspersed in between. It seems unable to make up its mind as to whether it is a commercial film or a film with a cause. 

SPKK is definitely a watchable film with an important message. If only they had cut the frills and let Katha narrate her own Katha!

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About the Author

Lalitha Ramanathan

Lalitha is a blogger and a dreamer. Her career is in finance, but writing is her way to unwind! Her little one is the center of her Universe. read more...

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