How often do we realise the struggles faced by transsexuals/transgenders in our society? In most of the movies we have seen so far, transgenders are represented as either prostitutes or beggars. And they never get those so called ‘white collar jobs’ due to the society’s attitude towards them. However, Jayasurya and Ranjith Sankar’s latest film Njan Marykutty keeps all these stereotypes at bay. It makes us think from a transgender’s perspective, may be for the first time.
In Njan Marykutty, Jayasurya‘s character Mathukutty is a woman trapped in a man’s body. He transforms to Marykutty following a sex reassignment surgery in Chennai. After quitting the corporate job, ‘she’ comes back to Kerala to make ‘her’ dreams come true. Though a post graduate, Marykutty faces flak from her own natives, who even address her a prostitute.
Meanwhile, Marykutty’s biggest ambition is to become a police officer, but why? Apparently, transgenders face a lot of harassment from police officers and she believes that the uniform itself will give the respect she deserves and she can be a corrective force from within the system. How Marykutty fights against all odds form the crux of Njan Marykutty.
Performances in Njan Marykutty
Jayasurya is a versatile actor and he definitely deserves a huge applause for getting into the shoes of Marykutty. It is the most challenging character he has done till date. His dedication to bring out all the mannerisms of transgenders with élan is highly appreciative. Thankfully, he portrays the character without any exaggerated expressions or over makeup unlike the trans women characters we are already familiar with. [PS: I personally wish to see him receiving the National Award for Best Actor this year for this remarkable performance.]
Jewel Mary, Innocent, Sobha Mohan and Aju Varghese have done their parts well. However, it is Joju George, who stands out among the supporting cast excelling in the villainous role. Yet again, Suraj Venjaramoodu impresses the audience even with an extended cameo appearance, this time as a district collector. But, the way he delivered the dialogues sounded a bit artificial at times.
What stands out?
Jayasurya’s performance as a trans woman is of course the major highlight of this family entertainer.
From the way people look at them, touches them in public places, difficulties in receiving even an identity card and denial from professional jobs, transgenders suffer a lot in our society. Ranjith Sankar has tried to include most of the issues faced by transgenders with his convincing script. And the scene right before the interval is a heartbreaking one.
The costumes by Saritha Jayasurya and minimal makeup by Ronex Xavier did complete justice to the character Marykutty. Anand Madhusoodhanan’s music and songs Doore Doore, Ennullil Ennum Nee Mathram, Thirakalethire and others are also impressive. Cinematographer Vishnu Narayanan Namboothiri’s visuals are okay.
What went wrong?
Throughout the movie, we see Marykutty having a male voice, as it takes years to finally get female voice even after the surgery. However, it was so odd to hear female voice from the character while singing songs at the FM station. Yes, Aju’s character gives a hint on giving modulation to celebrities with the help of technology these days. But for me, that quick change in Marykutty’s voice felt odd. It also has a predictable story line and sounds preachy at times.
Njan Marykutty is one of the must watch movies in Malayalam for the way it represents all the ‘sheros’, who are ill treated by the society over their gender identity. Though it has a preachy and predictable tone, the movie subtly reminds us on how to treat them equally and with respect. After all, it is not their own fault that they are born so. Njan Marykutty is not a 100% perfect movie, however, all the flaws in the making of the movie won’t bother you much due to the fabulous and realistic performance by Jayasurya and this movie deserves your time.
RATINGS CHART 5 stars: Exceptional, masterpiece 4.5 stars: Well crafted piece of art 4 stars: Very good, exciting, interesting/new concept 3.5 stars: Good, but some minor flaws 3 stars: Average, one-time watch 2.5 stars: Mixed feelings 2 stars: Disappointing. Watch at your own risk 1.5 stars: Frustrating. 1 star: A complete disaster. Better avoid this