Arjun Reddy is dangerous: Nothing brilliant about doctor who hits the woman he loves

Genius can never be an excuse for violence.

 |  4-minute read |   03-09-2017
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I watched the so-called trendsetting Telugu movie of this year, Arjun Reddy, starring Shalini Pandey and Vijay Deverakonda, after reading the rave reviews that appeared on various media.

From the moment the movie began, the misogyny became evident and intolerable. It lasted for three long hours and we left the theatre feeling emotionally drained.

The movie is about a "brilliant" orthopaedic surgeon who leads a reckless life with drugs, women and alcohol because of a failed love affair (the onus is clearly on the woman who left him).

Arjun Reddy rationalises that a man who is brilliant can do as he pleases and go on with a display of uncivil behaviour without being apologetic about it.

The scene in which the lead actor, Arjun Reddy, puts ice into his trousers because he does not get to have sex with a woman is nothing less than abhorrent. Does ice cure an erection?

aad_090317040452.jpg If he has a problem, he should get it treated rather than taking to abuse — by slapping the love of his life whenever he feels like.

The way Arjun Reddy treats the heroine cannot be justified because he has anger management issues. If he has a problem, he should get it treated rather than taking to abuse — by slapping the love of his life whenever he feels like.

From the beginning of the film, it appears that he is the one who takes control of her life, deciding who she should make friends with, which classes she should attend and even forcefully kissing her whenever he wants.

After three long hours you realise that the heroine has "not lost her chastity" (this has happened many many times in the movies; in this film, she says that nobody other than the hero has even touched her little finger) but the hero is absolved of all his chauvinist behaviour — including physical abuse, use of drugs, unethical medical practice and sexual promiscuity just because he is a male.

The hero comes to his senses only when his grandmother dies. It made me wonder if I could have gone home earlier had the grandma died early on in the film.

Different reviews pointed out that the medical college portions were shot with utmost perfection. It was hilarious to see a black board with dates written with chalk and histology pictures drawn on the black board in MBBS classrooms! Who did that in 2013 in a medical school?

The director should have done some research on medical education and attempted to make it more realistic.

It was disturbing to see the crowd in the theatre laugh at indecent jokes and depressing expressions of the hero.

Audiences were vocal about the many faults in Baahubali, but I feel the all-powerful hero in Baahubali respected women and behaved responsibly compared to Arjun Reddy who is nothing more than a spoiled brat who wants to be absolved of his violent acts and gain the sympathy of the world only because he is a brilliant surgeon.

Genius can never be an excuse for violence, be it violence against the self or others.

In the climax, if the heroine had denied him a place in her life despite his repeated apology — which would seem realistic because a man who hits a woman once will have the inclination to hit her again and can never be trusted — calling this movie a revolution in cinema could be justified.

Instead, the ending was much too predictable, with the heroine pardoning him for his irresponsible behaviour — worse, begging him to marry her at that very instance.

I wonder when people will realise that premarital sex, multiple casual sex partners and using drugs and alcohol are no indicators of a progressive society nor a progressive "revolutionary" movie.

I do not intent to make moral judgements on people who indulge in them but I strongly feel that drugs, alcohol, obsession with sex (not premarital sex) affect your daily life and abusive behaviour is a mental health condition that needs to be addressed empathetically with appropriate medical treatment.

Saving grace

The casting was good. All actors, even those with minor roles, did a good job. The screen presence of Vijay (Arjun Reddy) and Shalini (Preethi) is commendable. I am no expert to comment on the nuances of filmmaking but a friend suggested that it is an unconventional way of storytelling — and that deserves a mention.

Also read: A short history of greatest Urdu short stories ever told


Dr Dhanya Lakshmi N Dr Dhanya Lakshmi N @dhanyalakshmin

The author is a medical geneticist interested in popularising science. She works as an assistant professor of medical genetics at Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, Punjagutta, Hyderabad.

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