The most discussed topic in the film industries of all languages of the world lately is the existential crisis of transgender people. Ranjith Sankar first portrayed the existential crisis facing a transgender and their resistance in the popular Malayalam film industry through her film ‘Njan Marykutty’. It should be called a brave attempt at first glance. But since this film follows the same pattern as Ranjith’s other films, there is a long way to go beyond that bravery to achieve excellence.
Ranjith Sankar’s films from “Passenger” have a specific model. The hero / heroine proves that her right is the right to fight against the system, society, family or the state almost on her own. ‘Njan Marykutty’ is also a repeat of this pattern. What makes the battle special is that the protagonist is a transgender person named Marykutty.
The first half of the film seems to be very active and more or less different and the second half is forced to follow the cliché concepts. The story only lasts 2 hours. But the overly long narration gives the impression of unnecessary stretching in some parts.
Public discussions about transgender people or people with different sexualities in our country would not be more than a decade old. In theaters, they were stereotyped as criminals, buffoons in the antihero gang, hypersexuals, pickpockets, street kids and ordinary women. Characters who accept transgender people began to appear in new age films as the generational shift was also reflected in the film industry.
Here, Marykutty, the character played by Jayasurya who becomes a woman after undergoing gender reassignment surgery, is the protagonist. Marykutty holds an MCA and is returning to her place after resigning from her post at a company in Chennai. His goal is to sit for the PSC exam and become a police inspector. His family, society, government and his systems create obstacles to prevent him from achieving his goal. Jayasurya and Ranjith tell the story of this crisis.
The main barrier is created by the character SI Kunjipalu played by Joju George. Although Joju plays the anti-hero remarkably well, the endless crises and his solutions are cliché and sometimes seem boring.
Tamil Nadu Police Prithika Yashini is India’s first transgender police officer. Her life could have been an inspiration for Ranjith in the making of this film.
Previously, Jayasurya had played the ridiculous character of a female-looking man in the movie ‘101 Weddings’. But he presented a different role in his career through Marykutty. Jayasurya made a sincere effort to use natural expressions and body language, which otherwise could have been a mimicry of ‘Chanthupottu’. Acting as a transgender in the guise of a woman is not at all a simple task. But Jayasurya completely passed this challenge.
The character wearing a designer costume even while sleeping was a bit difficult to digest. Jewel Mary, Innocent, Aju Varghese, Shivaji Guruvayoor and Suraj Venjaramoodu are the other main characters in the film. They all played their part perfectly.
If society has dishonored transsexuality, the cheap movies and comedies that are the byproducts of society have dishonored it a thousand more times. This is the first time that a filmmaker in the Malayalam mainstream film industry has taken this topic seriously and treats the transgender community with respect. Amid all the downsides, this treatment is a big plus for this movie. If at least one person is inspired to think differently about the prejudices about transgender people that prevail in society, that would be the greatest achievement of this film.