Cinema

Kumari 21F: Regressive and cliched

Raj Tarun and Hebah Patel  

Sukumar is known for dishing out complex themes in an entertaining manner. Kumari 21F carries his story and writing and his protégé Surya Pratap who makes his directorial debut with this film, does show heavy influence of his master. The problem is, the director gives out a stereotyped version of his protagonists. Grey, confused and bordering on the dark, it attempts to stand out from other filmsbut delivers cliches.

Just a few minutes after opening the film, the director narrates the story from the hero's point of view.

Siddhu (Raj Tarun), a diploma holder in catering,lives with his mother and nurtures a dream to go abroad.

Though he moves around with a group of friends who are criminals, our hero remains untouched by their flaws.

He has flawed traits though; he is suspicious and ruins his relationship with his girlfriend Kumari (Hebah Patel) because he is unable to decide if she is as bold as she looks. In other words, he is not sure if she is a virgin.

The only successful aspect of the director here is to make the audience empathise with his doubts as Kumari teases, tantalises and behaves like someone who is available for a price yet professes love to him.

The second part of the story is dark, regressive and also sadistic in the portrayal of women with great importance attached to her chastity.

It’s only when he spots blood stains on her white sari after his friends rape her that he realises she was indeed a virgin! Soon after, we are bombarded with his uplifted emotions.

He hugs her and tells her he wants to marry her. Is it guilt, or relief, or heightened love? You don’t sympathise with any character, as there is not a moment that moves you.

Elements like shocking viewers with dialogues of the delinquents, passing off marrying a woman who is raped as being saintly and placing a pack of condoms in the boyfriend's palms before he goes to make out with another woman as selfless and unconditional love and punishing rapists and chaining them, feeding them chicken biryani in a haunted place for three years, are all passed off as entertainment.

The moral of the story: It’s not enough if a canvas boasts of the biggest names in the industry, the content should be simple and progressive. The only bright spot is the number Love cheyyala voddha. The artistes' acting is strong and authentic.

Kumari 21F

Cast: Raj Tarun, Hebah Patel

Direction: Surya Pratap.P

Music: Devi Sri Prasad

Story and Screenplay: Sukumar

Genre: Social Drama

Plot: A youth who suspects his girlfriend marries her after she is raped

Bottomline: Cinema Choodala Voddha (To see the film or not?)


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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 1:53:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/kumari-21f-regressive-and-cliched/article7900251.ece

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