Kathal (2023) Movie: Tackles Caste & Gender Biases In India

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Kathal is a spicy social-political satire film. Not many people in power applaud the mockery of the honest kind in India, right now. Especially, given the current political atmosphere here.

However, we liked the fact that this Kathal film is inundated with funny sarcastic dialogue. Besides it 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. Still, this Hindi-language movie from India is a brave movie that tackles difficult and sensitive social-political issues.

Synopsis (summary) of this 2023 socio-political movie

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.

Spoilers Free review of this Kathal (Hindi/2023) movie

First let us talk about India’s caste system

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

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

About writers, director, lead actor and others of this satirical film

The setting of this satirical movie is in the fictional Moba district, Uttar Pradesh state, India. In fact, most of its jokes are hard-hitting ones. However, quite a few of its funny lines fail to evoke the loud laughter punch in this idiosyncratic film. Nevertheless, we still liked many of its sarcastic one/two-liner jokes, which 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.

Still, we believe, on the whole, the spunky script of this film is daring. It is a spirited attempt by its writers – Ashok Mishra and Yashowardhan Mishra. In addition, it also marks the directorial debut of Yashwardhan Mishra. We applaud, Yashowardhan for directing this entertaining film in his debut. He has included a bunch of excellent banter in it.

Its protagonist, Indian actress Sanya Malhotra plays the role of an enlightened and empowered scheduled caste (SC/Dalit) female police officer Mahima Basor. In fact, Sanya has carried this movie on her feminine soldiers admirably. To be honest, the entire cast members have done a praiseworthy job.

The upper-caste biases in its script

However, one can’t 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 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.

The conclusion

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 or should we say, Bharat.

So, Bharat/India is the largest democracy in the world. It is supposedly the self-proclaimed world thought leader “Vishwa-Guru” by certain politicians of the ruling dispensation.

To be honest, 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 nation – India/Bharat. Anyways, we have no hesitation in admitting that it is one of the good Hindi movies of the year 2023, that we have watched and enjoyed tremendously.

Kathal is a yummy movie. It tastes good for the most part.

Spoilers Alert – key ideas & characters of this 2023 socio-political movie

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.

Key details of this 2023 socio-political movie

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 (2023) Film.

Poster of this 2023 socio-political movie

Kathal – poster

Ratings of this 2023 socio-political movie

FM’s rating3.85/5
FM’s short commentsWe liked the fact this small-budget film takes a big risk with its content, by depicting quite a few important issues from Indian politics as well as Indian society. Despite our criticism in the above paragraphs, we liked this movie. However, we only wishful thinking is much more hard-hitting to drive home the key points raised in it.
Ratings – Kathal (2023) film.

Trailer of this 2023 socio-political movie

Official trailer – Kathal movie – Netflix | YouTube.

Focus on the 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).

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.

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