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‘Ayyappanum Koshiyum’, ‘The Insult’ and the ideals of masculinity

Self-isolation is a blessing in disguise. For, it lets you watch/revisit motion pictures that you just in any other case might have missed on the display — like how I ended up watching Ayyappanum Koshiyum on Amazon Prime just lately. What was fascinating, for me, was the ostensible commentary on masculinity that runs all through the film.

An enchanting stretch in Ayyappanum Koshiyum is available in the kind of a verbal confrontation between Koshi (a terrific Prithviraj Sukumaran) and his father Kurien (Ranjith), each of whom are certain by their patriarchal values however are at loggerheads when questions associated to manhood come up. It is a important scene that examines how Koshi is perceived in the eyes of his father: a teenage boy with testosterone points. You see desperation in Koshi’s eyes in attempting to show that he’s a minimum of a ‘man’, with the underlying emotion pushed by hate. In one other film, Koshi would have undoubtedly slapped Kurien in that scene — in case you are fascinated by Vada Chennai, which had the same set-up, you aren’t alone. “This is between Ayyappanum Koshiyum. Don’t involve women and children in this. Otherwise, this will end only with the death of either one of us.” Koshi points a warning to Kurien, who receives the message with an informal: “That’s how the lives of men are, you spineless fellow.” This complete stretch, if I can say, is the backbone of Ayyappanum Koshiyum, leading to a tug of battle on who’s the ‘ideal’ man and exhibiting the murky sides of malevolence.

In the identical scene, Koshi realises the noticeable absence of ladies and asks this to his father: “What about the lives of women? If one of us dies, then one would either end up being the wife of a murderer or a widow.” His spouse Ruby (Anna Rajan) intervenes at this juncture and admonishes Kurien for triggering Koshi to take pleasure in a warfare with Ayyappan Nair (Biju Menon, in an outstanding efficiency). The scene ends with Ruby getting a good slap from Koshi for crossing the borderline, when it’s a matter regarding males. Koshi, if you consider it, mainly counters his personal argument on the participation of ladies in the bigger scheme of issues. But that’s true of a patriarch, proper? This complete stretch and the resultant conversations are fascinating. Because Ayyappanum Koshiyum (written and directed by Sachy) makes an attention-grabbing analogy on what constitutes an actual ‘man’ in the first place and demonstrates the malaise of male delight. The aforementioned sequence, particularly, reveals the zenith of manhood, with ladies being a mere bystander to the proceedings reserved for and by males.

The fault in our stars

By now, you have to be conscious that masculinity is a social assemble and that males would go to the cosmic extent in defending their masculine standing, any day. I got here throughout an attention-grabbing quote by Thomas Hobbes whereas watching a video shared by a buddy. He wrote, “When men live without fear of a common power, they live in a state of warre. In warre, every man is against every other man.” Hobbes’ quote is an ideal description of the world inhabited by the characters of Ayyappanum Koshiyum, regardless of having a typical energy: regulation and order — not like say, a Colosseum the place gladiators’ valour and power have been put to check. They are somewhat greater than macho males and rather less than beasts. In an article in The Hindu, Rajeev Bhargava presents a superb argument on manhood. He says, “Manhood is not naturally given, but is a goal to be achieved. To be born a boy is a privilege, but one that can be lost if one is not properly initiated into masculine practices. Besides, male adults must maintain this privilege by regular performance.”

The central characters, Ayyappan and Koshi, are in a relentless state of concern of being examined for his or her masculinity, particularly when their egos get bruised. As Bhargava argues, they should preserve the privilege by common efficiency. The phrase ‘performance’ right here interprets to indulging in senseless acts, in an effort to take superiority over the different. They by no means stop to train their male privilege and vanity that include it. To put it flippantly, they’re masculine beasts that must be tamed — solely by each other. “If this situation persists, they would kill each other,” says a police officer. Ayyappan and Koshi would possibly disguise beneath the blanket of stout-hearted males however deep down, they’re very insecure about the delight related to their gender. This insecurity is what Sachy appeared to have tapped into Ayyappanum Koshiyum.

Koshi Kurien’s ego will get pricked when he’s given two slaps by Ayyappan Nair, when he’s discovered to have possessed exhausting liquor, in an alcohol-free zone. His ego stems from the reality {that a}) he’s an ex-army man and b) he has been hit by a sub-inspector, somebody who’s in the decrease order of energy construction. Ayyappan’s ego is pricked as a result of a) he was solely following protocols and b) he stands powerless in entrance of a person of a privileged background. This small incident units off a bomb of occasions of mammoth proportions and of cascading results. What begins as a battle between two males turns into an unsightly struggle between the haves and have-nots. Therefore, their private concern turns into barely political.

Ayyappanum Koshiyum is mainly an prolonged ego match constructed on crude actuality, but very mainstream and compelling,” says The Hindu’s review. The manner Sachy has constructed his script, driving totally on the ego issue jogged my memory of one other nice film I watched at the Chennai International Film Festival in 2018. It is the Lebanese film The Insult, additionally involving two characters who are suffering from a typical illness of male vanity. Both Ayyappanum Koshiyum and The Insult comply with the same narrative arc. Two males quarrel on one thing trivial and one thing that might have been resolved with a “sorry”, that acts as a degree of escalation for the characters. But not like Ayyappanum Koshiyum, which has sparks flying every time the two males enter the body, The Insult was a extra delicate and deeply political courtroom drama.

Two souls, one coronary heart

The Insult centres on the dispute between Tony Hanna (Adel Karam), a Lebanese Christian and Yasser Abdallah Salameh (Kamel El Basha), a Palestine refugee and a development employee. Yasser, who works close to Tony’s place, notices an unlawful development of a water pipe and gives to repair it. Condescending seems to be and expletives are exchanged. Yasser is delivered to Tony’s storage to apologise for calling him a “f***ing prick”. When the former tries to stroll previous Tony, he says, “I wish Ariel Sharon had wiped you all out.” Yasser throws a punch in his intestine, breaking a rib or two. Tony drags Yasser to the court docket and quickly, the concern snowballs right into a better political battle between Lebanese and Palestine.

Towards the finish of The Insult, there’s a heart-rending second between the two characters. Yasser visits Tony on the evening earlier than the judgement and says, “We all know who you [Lebanese Christians] guys are. You are a bunch of cry babies.” Unable to suppress the anger, Tony lands a punch on Yasser like the manner latter did. The digital camera cuts to a close-up of Tony’s trembling palms. Yasser, on the different hand, will get again on his ft and says, “I am sorry” and walks away. I don’t keep in mind how the competition viewers reacted to The Insult, however I definitely know that this scene bought the loudest cheer.

It is a testomony to indicate the pointlessness of carrying one’s masculinity up his sleeves. We will not be certain if Ayyappan and Koshi have modified for the higher. But if one have been to take a leaf out of The Insult, it’s this: the biggest kind of resilience is the high quality to step again and apologise.

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