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Gatta Kusthi

Farhad Dalal
By-
Farhad Dalal
Rating
3.5 Star popcorn reviewss

Introduction

It is still a Thursday and we are still a day away from the weekend that shall bring with it its share of new releases. But before that I finished watching the new Tamil film Gatta Kusthi which is streaming on Netflix. Now, off late I must admit that Netflix has been a dumping yard for loads of mediocre films that are procured and presented week after week. This was something that I had realised in the last quarter of 2022, wherein I was only watching films to review and not fully enjoying what I was watching. And so I had then made a cautious decision to stop watching and reviewing every single Indian film on Netflix(and prime, same rule applied) unless the word of mouth was favourable.

Gatta Kusthi had released a while back on Netflix and as per my rule, I wasn’t planning on watching it. But in my circle itself, a few if my friends did end up watching the film and liking it as well. The word of mouth did seem favourable despite a not so impressive rating on Imdb and letterboxd. And so I decided to give this film a go, still with skepticism and not expecting much from it. So then does Gatta Kusthi spring a surprise, lets find out.

Story & Screenplay

Gatta Kusthi follows the story of a male chauvinist who does marry a girl as per his fixed marriage criteria. But nothing is what it seems like! The story here is surprisingly good and hilarious while addressing a very important issue. We have seen the concepts of male toxicity and patriarchy being tackled in films like The Great Indian Kitchen, Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey or even Ammu. So the story itself may not be novel but it does very well in addressing it here in a light and frothy manner while being packaged as a mass masala entertainer. The screenplay of almost 150 minutes may seem to be slightly long but this one offered a smooth ride with almost no speed breakers.

Very early on in the film, it is established that the protagonist Keerthi is a wrestler with a good educational qualification who is being forced to marry as per the norms of an Indian family. At the same time, the protagonist Veera is shown to be diabolically opposite to her character filled with false bravado despite not even completing school. The writers do make an effort to show the protagonist ‘good at heart’ which doesn’t make the viewers hate him right away despite his drawbacks. The game is set when the two are married off despite Veera being unaware of his wife’s educational qualifications and her short hair(he preferred long hair which is a nice little stereotype on the choice of Indian males). And thus the drama does promise to be a joyride.

The proceedings are downright hilarious wherein I found myself surprisingly laughing at a few sequences. A little cat and mouse game of the wife hiding her truth from her husband did formulate for some hysterical moments. The grand reveal at what seemed like a halfway mark was excellent wherein there was a bit of a role reversal between characters. In a mass masala entertainer, we often are used to the alpha males flexing their muscles but here it was Keerthi beating up the bad guys in front of her husband in grand style. And this was a lot of fun to witness, needless to say refreshing as well.

Usually there is a scope of the momentum of the drama being stalled in the second hour but here the writers keep churning out several moments which are playful and entertaining right throughout. The integration of sports in the second half especially leading to the match up between the husband and his wife was a nice little idea floated around. It did seem like a metaphor for the verbal fights that usually unfold within families. The drama was a perfect opportunity to end on a high but sadly that is where the film falters. The late introduction of the antagonist who is a womanizer did not help either. The writing did get a little cliched towards the end wherein the final fight which should have been a heartwarming one was instead reeking of machismo and too simplistic in its execution. But nevertheless, the writing here is very good and most definitely springs a surprise with its themes and humour.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are witty and entertaining while keeping the issue at hand intact that makes for a hilarious watch. The music here is decent although a couple of songs appear out of nowhere and stall the flow of the drama. The BGM is alright and something which could have been better. The cinematography is good and some frames are nicely captured. Director Chella Ayyavu does a splendid job here constantly keeping things moving and engaging the viewers with humour and entertainment. If anything, the final act could have been better executed but taking nothing away from the direction which was pretty good here.

Performances

The performances are excellent here. Kaali Venkat is hilarious and all other actors have their moments to shine. But the show does belong to the duo of Aishwarya Lekshmi and Vishnu Vishal. The latter as Veera is excellent representing a character with a false bravado. His comic timing is on point and this role was rather gutsy to at times play second fiddle in certain fight sequences to his onscreen wife. It was a refreshing approach and a brave one! Aishwarya Lekshmi is a phenomenal actor and as Keerthi, she is tremendous to watch here. She does have a prolific screen presence and she puts it to great use here. And boy can she kick some b*tt!

Conclusion

Gatta Kusthi does spring a surprise. It is pleasantly funny while addressing an important issue and also supremely entertaining. Available on Netflix.

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