A look back at 22 Female Kottayam by Rima Kallingal: a film without compromise

Rima Kallingal starring 22 Female Kottayam has completed 10 years after its release on Wednesday. An uncompromising film that captured the rage of a wounded woman, director Aashiq Abu, also starring Fahadh Faasil and Prathap Pothen, has become a cult favorite over the years.

A story of intense revenge, 22 Female Kottayam showcased the rage felt by a woman who is tricked and raped. She takes revenge by castrating the man who put her through hell.

In 22 Female Kottayam, Rima Kallingal played the role of Tessa, a Malayali nurse working in Bangalore who falls in love with a young entrepreneur named Cyril, played by Fahadh Faasil. As the film progresses, viewers realize Tessa is caught in a vicious trap set by Cyril. Tessa gets raped by Cyril’s client, Hegde, played by Prathap Pothen, and she is mentally and physically broken. However, Tessa still believes in Cyril without knowing that he is the author of her aggression. Tessa gets raped again by the same person and she begins to realize that Cyril is behind her spell. And before Tessa confronts Cyril, he frames her on a fake drug deal and she ends up in jail. The film then shows how Tessa regains her strength in prison, even as she listens to the stories of other inmates.

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22 Female Kottayam does not take away the heroine’s agency and shows how she single-handedly takes revenge on her rapist and Cyril. Rima stars as a wounded woman who yearns for revenge with absolute conviction.

22 The Kottayam woman is special in many ways. The director had the audacity to come up with a film with a female character who manages to come back to life even after being dragged away by evil men. Additionally, Tessa was projected as a woman who did not surrender to Cyril’s sadistic behavior. She is also not shown entering a depressed mental state. Instead, Tessa is portrayed as a fighter who can light the fire in every woman. She walked through hell and used it as her strength to get revenge on the men who tried to destroy her life. Besides Tessa, there are strong female characters in the film and the most striking of all is the Tamil inmate named Subaida, played by Resmi Sateesh. Subaida gave Tessa the confidence to exact revenge.

Although Rima Kallingal’s star has been hailed by critics and audiences alike, Malayalam cinema has not gained much momentum from it as the industry still struggles to make films with women in lead roles.