#1 Hitler (1996)
Today I want to talk about a Malayalam movie. Not a review, not a synopsis. It’s just a revisit. Let’s go, shall we?
Hitler is one of the biggest hit in the career of megastar Mammootty. He is considered to be the epitome of masculinity among Malayali audience. In this movie as well he represents the men of Kerala.The title Hitler refers to the character played by Mammootty. He is locally known as Hitler due to his rough and tough character. He has a dominating personality with a rage towards the youngsters of the area for eve teasing and stalking his 5 younger sisters. Madhavankutty is the guardian of his sisters. He has already confirmed that women needs to be protected. Madhavankutty leading his sisters on the road is a symbol. Man who have the power, walks in front and submissive women obediently follows him. This representation of social reality was well received by the all time audience.
The ability to take one’s own decision is the strength of independence and basis of feminism. In this movie Madhavankutty never allows his sisters to express their opinions. He had been looking after the family since the death of their mother. Their father is married again with two daughters and his children from the first marriage do not even speak to him.
Throughout the movie we see Madhavankutty telling his sister what to do and what not to do. In the beginning, he even raises his voice and scolds his sisters for confessing that she ‘knows’ a boy. He accompanies or rather leads his sisters to and from their college. When he is busy with his work, he appoints a body guard for his sisters to do the same. He is an over possessive and over protective brother. All the more they are not allowed to go or stand outside of the gate without him.
Madhavankutty is portrayed as a rough man to others but for his sisters he is a dotting brother who provides everything for his sisters. Madhavankutty brings lots of clothes for his sisters. Madhavankutty is the one who go shopping and brings clothes. The girls wear whatever they are given. Clearly the brother chooses for his sisters.
Madhavankutty is the protective patriarchal brother who can’t understand that these girls know better to take care of themselves. He has taken it on his shoulders to marry off his sisters and he is adamant that he will find partners for them. As he leaves the home to find a suitable guy for the eldest of his sisters, the girls are seen way too much excited indicating how frustrated or subdued they felt . They literally fist pump and jump. They sneak out with their cousin Gouri and go outing. (A song of happiness is followed, obviously)
In the absence of Madhavankutty Balachandran gets into his house to be with Ammu his prospected bride, and gets caught. This results in the hostility between the two families and Madhavankutty opposes any of the decided marriages to happen between families. Balachandran on the other hand wants to make them happen.
Things change when the eldest sister Seetha goes through an unfortunate incident where her unmarried professor under the influence sexually abuse her. Coming back to senses, the professor confesses his act to Madhavankutty. At first he becomes angry and beats him. But then professor says that he was drunk and Seetha didn’t try to protest either. Devastated on hearing this and how this incident could affect the lives of his sisters he goes with the solution that to marry off Seetha to the Professor. The confession of Professor who exploited his sister is well received by Madhavankutty. He later says that he will blame neither Professor nor Seetha. But he was upset that his sister lost something that made her herself. For him she was not the same anymore. He in order to escape from the possible ‘defamation’ for his sister was raped, he marries off her to the old Professor who is somewhat thirty years older than her. He didn’t bother to listens to what his sister has to say. He confronts Seetha and tells her that whether she likes it or not she has to marry the same professor. Because marrying someone else will be cheating in the brother’s opinion. Also he tells her that consider it as her destiny. (A destiny chosen by the brother ).
The sisters become shocked to know that their elder sister is being married off to an older professor and they questions their brother. Their bodyguard Sathyapalan brings clothes for the wedding. Ammu becomes furious and throws away the clothes Madhavankutty has brought for them. She asks whether the groom hunting was a drama. She further says that the sisters wont let him to marry off their elder sister to an old man. Madhavankutty answered her question by slapping Ammu hard across her face and shouts that if he wills, he will marry off everyone as he wishes and no one will be able to stop him. (God, I hate that character)
This is Hitler. He doesn’t think of himself as answerable to anyone. Second, he silences everyone with violence. He overpower his sisters with the masculine authority that society and he himself bestowed upon him.
Ammu who couldn’t agree with her brother’s decision, leaves the house and marries Balachandran. This infuriates Madhavankutty and breaks every ties with her too. His sister disobeying him was unacceptable to him. Also Ammu choosing Balachandran over Madhavankutty makes him despise Balan as well. Soon Madhavankutty’s father is killed by an enemy family leaving his two daughters orphan. Madhavankutty brings the two step sisters under his roof. But his other sisters are against this and they leave the house to stay with Balachandran and Ammu in the nearby house. He goes till the gate, apologizes for whatever he has done and asks his sisters to come out. Ammu comes out alone and tells that the sisters don’t want to live with him anymore. Madhavankutty become aggressive and shouts at Ammu that who is she to say that his sisters don’t want to come with him. She coolly replies that she is their elder sister who has the same rights and responsibility to sisters as much as he has. He shuts her up and ask how dare she could speak of her right over the girls. Madhavankutty is raged to hear that Ammu too have right over the sisters and they are not his ‘property’ only. His ego is hurt and authority is questioned. He believes his authority and rights over his sisters are limitless and unquestionable. The mere fact that the elder sister is speaking for the younger ones infuriates the brother. He becomes angry when he feels that Ammu is making decision for the sisters. The irony is, this is exactly what he has been doing all these time. He has been taking decisions for and over protecting them. But when Ammu started to do the same or he thought she was doing so he couldn’t handle it nor he could accept it.
Madhavankutty keeps on shouting and raising voice at Ammu while the other people in the scene are talking rather peacefully and matter of factly.
Yelling is one of the most reprehensible acts of abuse. It is demeaning hostile and threatening with the intend of chastising. He yelled because his sisters denied to go with him and Ammu stood by them as a sister. He was disobeyed and his authority was questioned.
Gouri is portrayed as an extremely impulsive and opinionated woman. She enjoys her life and freedom unlike Madhavakutty’s sisters. She loves Madhavankutty who never shows love or affection to her. He even hates it when she comes to his home and talks to his sisters. He believes she is a bad influence on them. Madhavankutty behaves like a master or leader always. He carries himself as a saviour of women. First of his own sisters and then of his step sisters. It resembles the White knight syndrome. It is a personality characteristic found in most males that lead them to ;
1. Rush to the aid of any female they see who appears in any form of distress.
2. Become attracted to said ‘damsel in distress’
3. Follow the dying code of chivalry and generally act like a nice guy.
Men affected by the White Knight Syndrome are men who feel the need to protect, provide attention and affection, be viewed as ‘heroic’, boost their ego and generally feel good about themselves. (Not my words)
In this movie Madhavankutty chases Hrudhayabhanu, his regular victim, and beats him furiously because he saw him gesturing and talking to his sisters. The fact that his sister Thulasi likes him back and enjoys his presence doesn’t matter to him. Believing that she needs help Madhavankutty abuses Hrudhayabhanu.
When Madhavankutty confirms that he won’t marry Gouri she tries to persuade him through a song sequence. He ignores her throughout but at the end he runs towards her thinking that she has fallen from some height. But that was a prank and she says she will wait for him to marry her. He who wants to protect his good boy image warns the workers who saw everything, not to tell any of what happened, otherwise he will beat them too. He gives them some money too. (What an unusual way of charity, right?🤪)
Gouri surprisingly enjoys the verbal abuse her supposed to be fiancé gives her. According to Madhavankutty, she is a spoiled girl who he fears might spoil his sisters too. Gouri go to Madhavankutty’s house only in his absence. If she happens to be seen by him, he scolds her and insults her for not being a ‘good girl’. Obviously she doesn’t meet the criteria of a good girl made by him. Being bold and having opinions is bad in his book. Hence she is insulted, scolded and humiliated whenever they are face to face. Surprisingly or not so surprisingly Gouri enjoys this and considers this as a gesture of love. She is head over heels for a guy who never shows at least a glimpse of love for her.
His sisters also loves him so much even after so much tyranny and domination. The sisters can’t think of a life without their brother. Stockholm syndrome is a psychological condition in which a hostage emotionally bonds to his/her captor. The sisters are so used to be in under control of their brother that a life where they should take a decision by themselves must be terrifying for them. They are so familiar with Madhavankutty’s violence towards people. Hence when they here Balachandran has been beaten up by their brother, they immediately believe it. All through their life they have seen Madhavankutty chasing people, verbally abusing and beating them severely. This is the reason why people call him Hitler and the sisters believed that he could beat his Brother- in law also.
At the end when Madhavankutty leaves everyone and decides to wander places to understand the meaning of life Gouri and the sisters stand outside the gate and Gouri wolf whistles at a boy who was passing by them. He stops the bycycles and whistles back. Seeing this, Madhavankutty who with his anti Romeo attitude shouts at the boy and takes a u turn towards them. The movie ends where girls jump in delight to see their brother back. On the screen it is written that he can neither change his habits nor can he leave everything and go. Evidently everyone accepts the fact that he is never going to change his dominating and controlling personality.
The movie used a number of comic elements and a few comic characters to evoke laughter among audience. This movie focused mainly on brother sister relationship and few other things surrounded to it. The funniest thing is this film is considered as an epitome of a brother’s love for his sister(s).
Hey there, if you liked this article, please like and/or comment. Your feedback means a lot to me. Also if you want me to revisit any other Malayalam/Hindi/English movie, do tell me.. Ciao buddies….