Readers Write In #552: Christy – A love story in which ambiguity could be your deal breaker!

Posted on February 18, 2023


By Bharath Vijayakumar

The year is 2007 and we are in Poovar, a small town in Kerala. Roy (Mathew Thomas), a teenager is possibly having the best of times with his friends. They play all day, have a dance group called the ‘Poovar Boys’ and watch Pokkiri (the Tamil version, in case it is important to you) on the big screen while screaming their lungs out. These aren’t separate scenes as such, or maybe the ‘Poovar Boys’ scene is, but predominantly these are montages, and we get a gist of what is happening in the life of Roy. The guy seems carefree and isn’t particularly interested in studies. One of the first requests he has for Christy (Malavika Mohanan), is to just help him pass and he can’t or rather doesn’t want to mug up more than what is required to pass. So, who is Christy? She isn’t his tuition teacher. She is a family friend who is asked to help him pass his exams. He calls her ‘Chechi’. Even if you had caught a random poster of the film by now, you would pretty much know that he is going to catch feelings for her. I googled ‘Christy’ before writing this piece and one of the headlines of a review describes this as a film on forbidden love. But debutant director Alvin Henry isn’t treating it as one. He shows us certain facets of what this could mean to the people involved, but at no point there is even a hint that this is something that should not happen.

The film which begins in 2007 ends in 2009. In one of the later scenes, Roy is watching Varanam Aayiram on TV and the advice from the father Surya on screen, ‘Inga Irukkuda America’, gets him going after his love. In a way, Chirsty is the story of a Malayalam boy who transitions from a carefree Pokkiri to a lovelorn youngster, greatly influenced by Tamil cinema. Just kidding, but jokes apart, the love story in Christy is ambiguous. It is possibly done on purpose, but this could be one of the primary reasons that the film either works or doesn’t for you. The relationship is almost entirely narrated through Roy’s viewpoint. What is Christy’s stance? You don’t exactly know. In the climax, she says sorry to the airport authorities and tells it was ‘her fault’. Tears roll down her cheeks a little later. Is it because she feels guilty and responsible for putting Roy in this situation? She is the obvious adult in the equation and the onus is more on her. Or is it because she actually has feelings for him and is having to let go of it because of how it could be viewed by those around? I somehow tend to think it was the later because it is Christy’s colleague who actually decides on her behalf in the climax. If that particular character wasn’t there, would Christy have responded differently? Is the colleague, a metaphor for the society itself? Or maybe I am reading too much into it and that character was probably the only one acting with sanity. But till the climax, Christy never really gives a stern or proper answer to Roy. She doesn’t explicitly respond to his advances but from whatever we see, she isn’t completely turning back either. Again, maybe she likes what she is going through and also knows that Roy would soon be mature enough to let go of these feelings. We aren’t exactly told why Christy got a divorce. Maybe she wasn’t getting love and this attention from Roy is something that warms her heart. But again, none of this is very clear. This might be the major issue for a lot of people, but I dug into these dynamics. It is this indecisiveness of Christy that possibly strengthens Roy’s resolve and has him do those crazy things in the climax. Both the opening and end credits emphasizes that the film is based on a true story. Maybe the real-life Roy himself wasn’t sure of what exactly real-life Christy had in her mind, and writer director Alvin Henry kept it that way on screen as well. And yes, Roy does keep calling her ‘Chechi’ through all this.

 Mathew Thomas fits the part and is believable as the lovestruck teenager. It takes time to warm up to Malavika Mohanan. She is all right whenever she is caught off guard by Christy’s advances and isn’t entirely sure on how to handle it. But in scenes where the focus isn’t on her, it comes across as though she is a little too conscious of the camera.

More drama and more importance to other characters might have made Christy more palatable and interesting but if you are fine with viewing the entire film through Roy, this film might work for you as it did for me.