Pelli Choopulu: Gender-bender Telugu movie turning heroism on its head

“Pelli Choopulu” crushes gender stereotypes. Most casually.
Pelli Choopulu: Gender-bender Telugu movie turning heroism on its head
Pelli Choopulu: Gender-bender Telugu movie turning heroism on its head

“Ki and Ka” generated a lot of hype for its gender role reversal, but it is “Pelli Choopulu” that crushes gender stereotypes. Most casually. To call it an entertaining, funny romantic comedy with superb casting, elegant direction, tight editing and refreshing music is the truth but that’s not all.

Tarun Bhascker's female lead, Chitra (Ritu Varma), is an ambitious woman. She puts her MBA degree to good use by founding a start-up and running a business.

She knows that she has a brain and not just a ticking uterus. Wait, it gets better!

She offers to take a loan from her sexist father and return it with interest. This, in an era where urban educated women are diminishing in the workplace because of their inability to fight patriarchal constraints and choosing instead to become dependent on a father or husband.

The film turns heroism on its head. Chitra’s first boyfriend is a coward who ditches her but she bounces back with gusto, her spirit for life intact. She then proceeds to give the loser a tight slap, not for abandoning her but for failing to have the decency to break up properly.

A still from the movie

The second boyfriend is a lazy, dowry-seeking, misguided young man. Of course, the dowry is sought in the classic upper middle fashion, under the garb of a gift with self-deluding innocence.

Chitra hires the second boyfriend, teaches him a lesson or two, strips him of his greed and makes a man out of a bum. Not with her undying love, sacrifices and wifely virtues like a stereotypical heroine but by being a practical business woman and effective people manager. By recognising his talent, coaching him, delivering sharp feedback and holding him accountable.

Refreshingly, art imitates life realistically in this rip roaring comedy. The film may also inspire young men and women to pursue their dreams by taking some inspiration from art.  

An astonishingly directed box office success in an industry chock-full of mindless, regressive Sarrainodus and Brahmotsavams. May Tarun's tribe increase!

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