Fahadh Faasil's Thechille Penne from his upcoming film Role Models has gone viral. But one really wonders if this is a role model worth aspiring for. The song is about a woman who has dumped a man supposedly for "flimsy" reasons and has become popular because it resonates with the "youth" - read men.
Featuring Namitha Pramod as the "heartless" young woman who "irons" a man flat mercilessly, Thechille Penne seems to have been inspired by the numerous Kollywood "soup boy" songs that exist - Senjitaley from Remo, for example. The lyrics talk about how a man is broken-hearted when a woman rejects him but still continues to harbour feelings for her.
The visuals show Fahadh and his band of boys following her around as she does her job as a waitress at a Goa restaurant. The "penne" in the song is your stylish, tattooed woman who looks unattainable and is therefore deadly to men. The lyrics say that the woman was unaware of the effect that she had on the man and suggests that she's to be blamed for his pitiable state - a popular sentiment which could have been forgiven had this song come out a decade ago.
However, considering the numerous discussions on misogyny perpetrated by cinema in recent times with several actors opening up about it too, the song comes as a disappointment.
It's true that we don't quite know what the story of Role Models is. Perhaps the character played by Namitha Pramod does not know the Fahadh character at all. Or perhaps she was in a decade long relationship with him. Whichever it is, what sense does it make to keep harping on the same theme of woman as a man's beautiful nemesis? Haven't we had enough of this toxic sense of male entitlement already?
Why do we hardly see songs about men who dump women with women whining about it? The popularity of the "soup song" genre in cinema definitely has to do with the fact this is an industry that is male dominant and operates under the male gaze.
Malayalam cinema, especially in recent times, has shown relationships in a sensible manner, depicting rejection and consent sensitively. Fahadh's critically acclaimed film Maheshinte Prathikaram is a good example of this. Thechille Penne is an obvious attempt to play to the gallery, a masculine one at that. It's not surprising that it has become a hit but that isn't anything anyone should feel proud of.