INDIA: Shruthi Sharanyam’s directorial debut feature film, B 32 Muthal 44 Vare (32 to 44), on body politics and the male gaze, wrapped into controversy ever since the movie touched the unconventional sights of society. The film is a satire on “the perfect body myth”, based on the lives of five women and a transman from different societies.
B 32 Muthal 44 Vare’s storyline shows how these people underwent the intense pressure of leading a normal life. They became a topic of discussion for their unmodified bodies and their responses to the male gaze. Kerala State Film Development Corporation (KSFDC) bankrolled the movie as part of the state government’s women empowerment initiative.
The filmmaker, however, is blown away by the negative response the film is getting and some positive. She said, “I’m frustrated and perplexed by such hatred. Ours isn’t a film like Romancham or a big film with a hundred-crore budget. Such films have a specialised audience, but even they are turned off by such promotions.
She added, “I suppose the animosity originates from the fact that the picture is directed by a woman. They’d never do it with a male, I’m sure.”
Further, she went on to say, “Many questioned why the government was only supporting first-time female filmmakers and not men. The solution is right in front of them.“
“If I’m not mistaken, roughly 12 films were released on the same weekend as B 32 Muthal 44 Vare, and none of them was directed by a woman. It’s something to consider, but most people prefer to ignore it. I don’t think these folks will ever learn about patriarchy and gender bias,” she concluded.
The film was released on April 6. It stars Zarin Shihab, Remya Nambessan, Anarkali Marikar, Krisha Kurup, Ashwathy B and debutant Raina Radhakrishnan in prominent roles.
Sudeep Elamon handled the cinematography of B 32 Muthal 44 Vare under the supervision of Mahesh Narayanan. The final edit is done by Rahul Radhakrishnan. The music is composed by Sudeep Palanad. The movie aims to promote the importance of self-love and acceptance.