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Decoding 'Toxic' - Is Yash 19 about drugs and crime? Or is it a sly dig at 'toxic masculinity' in films?

While speculations have been rife about Yash 19 or 'Toxic' being set against the backdrop of a drug nexus, could it be that Geetu Mohandas is hinting at something larger with the title?

Decoding 'Toxic' - Is Yash 19 about drugs and crime? Or is it a sly dig at 'toxic masculinity' in films?
A screengrab from the title reveal

Last Updated: 02.15 PM, Dec 08, 2023


Geetu Mohandas and co. have certainly made heads turn with the all-important title reveal of 'Yash 19', which we now learn is titled 'Toxic'. It's a catchy title, no doubt, but the first impressions haven't entirely been positive, considering the connotations that the word toxic carries, and also the fact it probably isn't what fans were expecting. That said, the title is now slowly, but surely, growing on the public and those sitting on the fence earlier, have begun to find it more appealing.

But the choice to name such a high-profile project 'Toxic' is surely an interesting one, especially when you consider that the project has a filmmaker like Geetu Mohandas attached to it. Though the Malayalam actor-director has made only two films to date, each of them has been imbued with a sense of individuality and freshness. One senses, in that vein, that 'Toxic' is a "layered" title that withholds both literal and figurative nuances. 


'Toxic', a film about a drug mafia?

Of course, the rumours of 'Yash 19' being a period expedition have been swirling around for quite some time. It emerged not very long ago through a well-known Hindi news daily that the Rocking Star and Geetu Mohandas are collaborating on a film set in the '60s and '70s of Goa with the region's once-rampant drug mafia as its main backdrop. A picture of the actor bearing a tattoo, too, went viral recently to suggest that he plays a character belonging to a specific region or setting. 

With that in mind, one notes that the title 'Toxic' could literally refer to the dangers or the hazards of drug abuse. In the title announcement teaser that was dropped earlier today (8th December), we also get to see Yash's character being encircled by prominent clouds of white dust and smoke, which are again suggestive of powdered drugs. To substantiate these claims a little more, the teaser ends with the note 'intoxicating the world on', before revealing that 'Toxic', the movie, is out in theatres on 10 April 2025.

"A gangster drama with female gaze"

Another possible implication of the word 'Toxic' could be the presence of a strong female gaze in the film. In the past, before she came to be associated with the project, Geetu Mohandas had disclosed that she was working on a gangster drama that stemmed from the gaze or the perspective of a woman. So, could it be that 'Toxic', here, is a scathing take on the idea of toxic or repelling masculinity that cinema has to represent of late?

Well, it definitely seems to be a bit far-fetched idea at first glance but a few social media users have already begun probing into this. Interestingly, Sandeep Reddy Vanga's 'Animal', which is currently thriving in theatres, crops up in this discussion with a few opining that it's almost timely that a female filmmaker took it upon herself to address toxicity or virulence that a section of modern-day commercial cinema is possibly endorsing. 

"Is this Vaccine for Sandeep Reddy Vanga's Animal by Geetu Mohandas???" wrote one X (formerly Twitter) user to put things in context.  

Well, regardless, one finds that Yash's fans and cineastes, in general, are super kicked to know what this unlikely collaboration has to offer. Many are also excited to see how this blend of different sensibilities will take shape eventually, but it will be a while before the answer is out. More updates to follow.

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