Marykutty wears the woes of transgender community on her sleeves in a movie that suffers from predictability and uninspiring characters.
Breaking the mould of transgender stereotypes, Marykutty wants to take the road less travelled. She exhorts people to look beyond clearly defined identities to find the inherent worth of each individual. As though operating in hindsight, she consciously stays clear of those who offer uncritical solidarity. Marykutty is not a cynic who lives in perpetual distrust of human motives, nor is she a proponent of petty identitarianism that often lumps people together into fixed categories. She believes in what each individual can bring in their autonomous capacity. Marykutty makes this clear when she declares in no uncertain terms that it’s not a world of male or female, but of the talented. The Church-going Marykutty firmly believes that a change in perspective is all it takes for the society to stop looking at humanity through the parochial prism of identities.
Although it is by and large a story about Marykutty, it would have been nice to see other characters in the film to take some weight off her shoulders. Marykutty single handedly carries the weight of the film as she rightly should. But almost every character comes across as a shallow simpleton who is just there to validate Marykutty’s existence and by extension advance the story. With the very first shot director takes viewers into the world of 26 year old Mathew Kutty who has had it with the inauthentic existence in his male body, and wants to be a woman. Mathew Kutty undergoes sex reassignment surgery and becomes MaryKutty. As a well-read sophisticated person, she knows that it’ll take more than just a physical transfiguration to convince society of her true self.
As one would come to expect in a movie about a transwoman, Marykutty is a constant subject of lecherous gaze, sexual advances, ill-informed assumptions and social stigma. But none of this hurts her more than her own parent’s rejection of her real being. We learn that Marykutty aspires to be a sub inspector in Kerala Police, a job profile that will earn her the respect and dignity. And she is made to jump through all the hoops imaginable by, lo and behold, couple of sleazy police officers. In a society that feeds off on prejudice, a pastor (innocent) leads the way by urging his parishioners to be true catholic and embrace all differences. He gives Marykutty a job in local radio where she is joined by RJ Alwin (Aju Varghese). Most of the dialogue involving Marykutty, pastor and Alwin rings hollow and jokes fall flat one after another.
She’s the indefatigable spirit who wants to swap the easy money in the corporate world for the dog fight in a male dominated profession, and that too as a transwoman. But unfortunately, she is the only bright spot in a movie that is populated by a mostly uninteresting ragtag cast. As the story progresses at a cautious pace, owing greatly to mind-numbingly far-fetched drama complimented by a saccharine score, I could discern in the film an anxiety to get things right. There were points where it falls into a pit of melodrama, and stays there for most of the time without ever fully showing signs of recovery. The movie will without a doubt trigger smarter and more empathetic discussions about issues transgender community, but it is also guilty of conveniently glossing over more uncomfortable and divisive questions. However, a movie should be critiqued solely for what it contains, and not for what it does not contain. So, in a way it would tantamount to a self-defeating exercise to discuss the merits of that which is absent in the movie.
At the end the movie does what it set out to do, tell the story of Marykutty. It accomplishes the task with relative ease and tugs at a few heartstrings in the process. But the story cries out for better developed characters. Good characters make good movies. From the look of it, not even the career best performance from Jayasurya can save the movie from sinking into oblivion.