Kathal (2023): Tackle Caste & Gender Bias In India

Kathal, a Hindi-language movie from India, is a social-political satire. Especially, given the current political atmosphere in India, when not many people in power applaud the mockery of the honest kind in the country.

Kathal film is inundated with funny dialogue and takes a lot of potshots at casteism, corruption, society and the system in place. There are quite a few truth bombs in it, however, some of them miss their targets.

Kathal (IND/2023) Movie:- details

GenreComedy, Crime, Drama
Original nameKathal: A Jackfruit Mystery (कटहल ~ Jackfruit)
RatingUA (13+)
Duration1 hour & 55 minutes
Released inMay 2023
WritersAshok Mishra, Yashowardhan Mishra
DirectorYashowardhan Mishra (It’s his directorial debut.)
CastSanya Malhotra, Anant Joshi, Vijay Raaz, Rajpal Naurang Yadav, Neha Saraf, etc.
About – Kathal

Kathal (IND/2023) Movie:- synopsis

When two prized jackfruits disappear from a politician’s (Vijay Raaz) garden, a spirited cop’s (Sanya Malhotra) investigation turns unexpectedly as she digs for the truth.

Kathal (IND/2023) Movie:- {Spoilers Free} review

The tru-ish story of this movie is set in the fictional Moba district, Uttar Pradesh state, India. Although, most of its jokes are hard-hitting only a few of its lines fail to evoke the loud laughter (LOL) punch in this idiosyncratic film. Still, I believe, on the whole, the spunky script of this film is a daring and spirited attempt by its writers – Ashok Mishra and Yashowardhan Mishra. It also marks the directorial debut of Yashwardhan Mishra and he should be applauded for the excellent banter in this cinema.

Most of its sarcastic one/two-liner jokes are aimed at serious subject matters, such as caste discrimination, gender inequality, double standards in society, bureaucratic setup, political system, built-in insensitivity in governance, etc. Sanya Malhotra (who plays the role of enlightened and empowered Dalit / scheduled caste female police officer Mahima Basor) has carried this movie on her feminine soldiers admirably, to be honest, the entire cast members have done a praiseworthy job.

India’s caste system is among the world’s oldest forms of surviving social stratification.

What is India’s caste system? | Article link & Image courtesy BBC

However, one can’t really help but notice the typical inbuilt upper-caste biases in its script, when its writers confront the status of the Dalit community in the context of India’s society. Sometimes, they (writers as well as actors) miss the seriousness of the issues mentioned in the movies and the grave social injustice still being carried out in society for centuries. They should not simply overlook the centuries of social struggle that have failed to eliminate both casteism and gender biases prevalent in Indian culture, even today.

We just wish, that its scriptwriters could have given more bite to its lead actor playing the head-strong Dalit, but then maybe they simply do not really understand the seriousness of ongoing casteism in the country.

So, in case you wish to watch the movie, then you have to overlook certain aspects of Dalit issues, which have been treated in a light-hearted manner in this film. One simply desires that this story should have more bite and realism. But then, it is marketed as a quirky movie by its creators and the network. Therefore, to enjoy this witty cinema, you have to forget and forgive certain aspects of the film. Only then you can appreciate its freewheeling non-stop ironic puns on the burning issues of contemporary India – the largest democracy in the world and supposedly the self-proclaimed world thought leader “Vishwa-Guru” by certain politicians.

Many Indians often voice their strong opinions on the issue of Racism in other nations, one honestly wishes that all of them could also take a similar vociferous stand against Casteism in their own nation – India/Bharat.

Anyways, I have no hesitation in admitting that it is one of the good Hindi movies of the year 2023, that I have watched and enjoyed tremendously. So, you go, watch this movie and enjoy it; it is yummy.

Kathal (IND/2023) Movie:- {Spoilers Alert} its characters and ideas

Focus on the attack on the Journalist in the Kathal movie

Well, in one of the important scenes in this cinema, a local journalist (Rajpal Naurang Yadav) is arrested and sent to jail for reporting true crime incidents about the disappearance of young girls in Moba, U.P. It is indeed a sad commentary on the state of affairs in India in the post-truth era. It depicts an incident that highlights the gross misuse of the government machinery to browbeat the truth-seeking members of the press.

Focus on key ideas and the contents in the Kathal movie

This film has regular references to the prevalence of casteism, sexism, gender issues, discrimination, the politicisation of the bureaucracy, etc. This is indeed a smart attempt to whitewash society’s wrongs.

Focus:- Indian actress Sanya Malhotra

Sanya Malhotra is one of the most talented actresses of the new generation, a trained contemporary and ballet dancer. In her past life, she worked as a dance teacher at a school in Delhi. Later, she made a grand debut with the Hindi movie Dangal (2016), which is one of the top-rated and biggest hit films in India. Since then she has worked in a bunch of popular mainstream Hindi movies – Pataakha (2018), Badhai Ho (2018), Photograph (2019), and Shakuntala Devi (2021), besides the Hindi movies on the web – Ludo (2021), Pagglait (2021), Meenakshi Sundareshwar (2021) and Love Hostel (2022).

Kathal (2023) Movie:- poster

Kathal – poster

Kathal (2023) Movie:- ratings

FM’s rating3.85/5
IMDb rating as of the date6.80/10
Rotten Tomatoes ratings as of the date85% Audience Score
Barbara Shulgasser/Rotten TomatoesAnd although there is a sweetness to the sensibility here, many references to Indian politics and caste biases make this rough going for anyone without knowledge of India’s history and culture.
FM, IMDb & Rotten Tomatoes ratings – Kathal.

Kathal (2023) Movie:- trailer

official trailer – Kathal movie – Netflix | Youtube.

If you like contemporary movies and/or series dealing with the pertinent issues of Casteism in India, then do check out the FM article Dahaad series too.

Featured & Other Images:- Kathal: A Jackfruit Mystery movie | Netflix.