With the changing times, the film industry is also trying to adjust to a paradigm shift when it comes to movies with strong female leads. Terms like ‘abala naari’ and ‘damsel in distress’ are fading away as we see more powerful and fierce female characters shoulder the plot and success of the movie. The Malayalam movie “Rekha” is emblematic of the same. Titled after the central character of the movie, Jithin Issac Thomas has done a fantastic job of encapsulating what a woman is capable of once her threshold of patience is crossed. A gritting and thrilling tale of revenge and violence unfolds as Rekha feels betrayed and wronged by her boyfriend, Arjun. Once the bitter feeling sets in, there’s no going back for her as she dives in headfirst to solve a murder mystery while exacting her revenge.
Blended with some local music and the rustic aura of the film, we get an insight into the regular lives of people in South India. From menial routine tasks to intricate murders and relationships, “Rekha” has everything to keep the viewers hooked till the credits roll. It sometimes even gives off the vibe of an indie trance film that glows in the shadow of an overarching mystery. Considering the striking questions and palpable suspense in the movie, viewers are bound to be reeled in by the plot.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Rekha’?
The movie starts with an extremely routine glimpse into our protagonist’s life along with that of the people around her. Rekha’s mother is always mad at her for eating too much, not helping with household chores, or for sleeping in late. It feels like she just needs a reason to pounce on her daughter as soon as the sun comes up. On the other hand, Rekha shares a better relationship with her father, who always supports and encourages her to be better. Their household quarrels make it to the opening shots of the movie. The environment seems very intimate and close to home, as everyone around is a part of the family itself.
Next, we are introduced to some nosy neighbors and gossip-mongering people. While some refer to Rekha as a manly woman, others question her lack of desire to get married and settle down. These aspects point towards the obvious stereotypes in women’s lives, where their futures and lives are up for discussion, even among people who have nothing to do with them. The sheer innocence of the scenes is reflected in how each character goes through life. The cinematography captures symmetrical shots and connected scenes with elegance and grace.
Rekha’s mother hates how her daughter remains on the phone the entire day, and even her father scolds her because of it. We learn the real reason behind the same as Rekha is speaking to her boyfriend, Arjun. The two constantly text each other and exchange flirtatious messages. He even comes to her house unannounced and starts asking for a kiss. Rekha, fearing her parents will spot them and there’ll be serious repercussions, pleads with him to go away. Adamant about getting what he wants, Arjun only leaves when Rekha succumbs to his demands. In retrospect, this shows how some men have no compassion or understanding when it comes to matters like these. A grounded woman like Rekha respects her family’s dignity over everything else, while men like Arjun go about life doing whatever they want without worrying about consequences.
Consequently, everything changes in just one night. The innocent and childish romance between Rekha and Arjun suddenly becomes mature in nature. After texting for a while, Arjun comes to Rekha’s house again and begs for a kiss. Once again, Rekha is scared of her parents finding out and is anxious to get him out of the house before anyone wakes up. Arjun proceeds to seduce Rekha in an effort to have s*x with her. It seems to be the sole reason why he showed up at her house in the middle of the night. Overpowered by lust and greed, Arjun sort of forces Rekha to have s*x with him. Rekha, on the other hand, does not seem to be into the idea wholly, as she says no a couple of times but eventually gives in, thinking this will get him to leave faster. Moreover, she could be resisting s*x because she is a virgin and, understandably, is afraid of how her first night is going to go.
The next morning brings horrible news for both Rekha and her mother. They find Rekha’s father died on the veranda, where he sleeps at night. People assume that he died because of a heart attack and overrule getting a post-mortem done. Rekha and her mother are devastated and feel numb in the face of such terrible circumstances. The intriguing thing is that everyone comes to pay their respects to the family except Arjun, who was probably the last person to see him alive. This observation plants doubt in Rekha’s mind.
Does Arjun Die?
On the night when Arjun and Rekha have s*x, he reveals to her that he killed Rekha’s dog in an attempt to silence him forever. The dog used to bark whenever Arjun came to visit. So, he killed the dog so that he could come to her house without getting noticed. Rekha is taken aback by this confession and feels like she does not know the person she is in a relationship with. Furthermore, the dog barks because we believe that he knows that Arjun is not a good person. Dogs have a conscience too, and the dog tried to alert his family of the danger.
This information, coupled with the fact that Arjun is nowhere to be seen, makes Rekha wonder if he has something to do with her father’s death. Subsequently, she blames herself in extension and feels anxious for days afterwards. Rekha embarks on a journey to find him and get the answers she is looking for. She unearths that Arjun went to Ernakulum with his uncle. So, Rekha travels to Ernakulum and finds Arjun’s uncle Kannan, who turns out to be just as horrible as his nephew. Kannan offers to have s*x with Rekha in exchange for telling her where Arjun is. This sends Rekha over the edge, and she decides to take matters into her own hands. Her sports course tactics come in handy as she flips Kannan over and batters him with a pan. She somewhat gets pleasure from defeating an enemy who represents the ugly side of men. Moreover, this happening marks a sudden shift in Rekha’s character, who takes something seriously for the first time in her life. Her love for her father knew no bounds, and she would definitely hold nothing back to get her revenge.
When Arjun comes over, she asks him for answers, but he denies all involvement. Rekha then goes on to intimidate him by following him everywhere and tracing his steps. Finally, Rekha calls him up and asks to meet before going back home. This leads to a tense confrontation between the two ex-lovers. In a parallel scene, we witness how Arjun was the one who killed Rekha’s dad by suffocating him. He does the exact same thing to Rekha as she struggles to fight him off. However, when Arjun taunts a woman’s strength, Rekha decides she has had enough and rises with renewed glory. She takes his knife and shoves it in his crotch as revenge for both raping her and killing her father. In a poetic ending, Arjun is seen lying in a pool of his own blood. If he did not die because of the wounds sustained in the fight, we believe he must have died because of the excessive blood loss that he suffered. Men like Arjun deserve to die as they neither respect women nor their exceptional strength.
‘Rekha’ Ending Explained: What Happens To Rekha?
Rekha is distraught after learning about her father’s demise. She feels empty at first, but the guilt and blame slowly creep in when she connects the dots. If Arjun can kill an innocent dog, he could be capable of much worse. Her thoughts are proved true as we watch Arjun kill her father without a sliver of guilt or remorse. It’s as if he is enjoying taking another person’s life with his bare hands. After the night, Rekha believes that something weird happened and thinks that she might be pregnant. She even goes in for a check-up but ends up talking about her innermost feelings.
What appears to trouble her the most is if Arjun killed her father before or after having s*x with her. She cannot comprehend how evil and heartless one has to be to kill someone and then immediately go on to have s*x with their daughter. Unfortunately, this is what truly happens as we see Arjun grabbing the snack that he got for Rekha after killing her father. This scene alone is enough to reflect what a devilish and diabolical person Arjun is.
Rekha represents how empowered and strong today’s women are. With self-defense training and an otherwise stronger physique, she proves Arjun and other men wrong when they question her power. She does not rely on others to solve a mystery and does what her mind wants. Rekha is a quintessential independent woman who needs nobody’s help and can get through life on her own. This is specifically shown at the end as she stands her ground and answers the questions asked by the police officer. She sarcastically blames her bruises and cuts on household chores in the kitchen, and the officer is convinced. This goes on to prove how callous men can be and how they tend to think women only belong in the kitchen.
“Rekha” is a 2023 Malayalam thriller drama film directed by Jithin Issac Thomas.