The Core Review: The Jeo Baby Film Is A Remarkable Take On The Complexities Of Coming Out

Director: Jeo Baby

Writers: Paulson Skaria, Adarsh Sukumaran

Cast: Mammootty, Jyotika, Anagha Akku

Available in: Theatres

Duration: 114 minutes

On September 6, 2018, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a law that criminalises same-sex relations was revoked. The moment was celebrated, and newspapers in the days that followed were flooded with many narratives and opinions. In a way, Jeo Baby’s Kaathal – The Core picks up one such event that we have either gone through or witnessed or heard about after the monumental judgement. Reinventing himself in his 70s, Mammootty is an actor who isn’t afraid to take risks, lending a powerful space in mainstream cinema to address socially relevant issues to a larger audience.

If Jeo Baby’s The Great Indian Kitchen (2021) ends with a divorce, his Kaathal – The Core begins with a divorce petition. The spirit of these films, along with his short (Old Age Home) in Freedom Fight (2022) remains the same – a stride towards social freedom, as his characters learn to place themselves before everyone else. The film introduces us to Mammootty’s Mathew, who is about to represent his party in byelections, when he is asked to solve an issue. A woman puts up a fight against her father to get married to her lover, who belongs to a different economic background. Now, if Mathew convinces the couple to not get married, four votes from the family are his. But he asks another member, “Is this our party’s stand on love?” And instead advises her father to get the young couple married. This scene sows the seeds for the events that follow, while letting us understand Mathew’s perspective on love. 

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