Writer-filmmaker Aditya Kripalani’s indie drama “Tottaa Pataaka Item Maal” talks about the condition of women in big cities when they constantly live under the fear of sexual violence. At the same time, the film also shows how the condition of men and women is similar when we talk about human behavior in general.
The storyline is based in the National Capital Region (NCR), including Delhi – which has been infamous and not long ago termed the rape capital of India. It is true, as every day we read the news on women being harassed, raped, or killed. Such news is disturbing and often forces women and girls not to venture out late at night.
“Tottaa Pataaka Item Maal” picks this crucial issue and tries to turn the table by showing more determined women characters, who have experienced similar violent incidents in their lives.
The story revolves around four strong women characters from different parts of the NCR region, who happen to meet by chance on a ‘ladies only’ taxi ride. We have a young confident martial arts instructor Chitra, a police officer Shagun, a middle-aged social media expert Vibha and the taxi driver Shaila, who is also the owner of the taxi services.
As they get to know each other, in order to avoid the boredom of usual traffic jams, we learn their backstories that further enhance the overall narration.
Nevertheless, in the story, when a lecherous man starts making passes at Chitra, they all decided to teach the man a lesson by kidnapping him and videotaping his torture in order to pass a bigger message that women can also do brutal things. They kidnap him, keep him hostage for a few days, break him physically and mentally, and make him believe that he can also be raped by the women.
As one of the characters initially in the film makes a comment that “women can be very brutal, but it is a choice,” men should also believe that it is not that women are incapable of being brutal rather it is just because they choose not to be.
The film “Tottaa Pataaka Item Maal” is, however, not entirely to pass the message that women are also capable of being brutal. In the climax, the filmmaker tries to send the message clear that men and women are equal and in reality – human behavior is gender bias in given circumstances.
Watch a trailer for the movie “Tottaa Pataaka Item Maal”:
Adding to this trailer, the director says:
“Sometimes films are needed to take people on journeys they say they want to go on to know if they’re worth it. The power of fiction is that you can go on this journey emotionally and know what you’ll feel. Without the consequences being real. Do we really get what we want when we set out to avenge? Do we feel fuller or emptier? Watch the film to make up your mind. Don’t judge by the trailer. Its job is to bring people into the film. Nothing else.”
Kripalani further conveys:
“We say so many things each time a heinous crime happens. There are so many emotions that run through our minds, our hearts, and our veins each time another crime happens against women. There is so much rage. These four women decided to do something with that rage. These four women, in Delhi, choose to try to make a man understand what living with the everyday fear of rape feels like. This is their story at trying to make a change with a strong statement, loud enough for the world to hear. And our attempt, via cinema, at engaging in a dialogue about revenge, gender, rage and what these words and the understanding of them do to human beings.”
Writer/Director/Producer: Aditya Kripalani
Cast: Shalini Vatsa, Chitrangada Chakraborty, Vinay Sharma, Sonal Joshi, and Kritika Pande
Release Date/Year: 2019
Streaming: Netflix India