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Hot Spot Movie Review: Satirical and quirky choices get questioned by flatlined and faltered narratives

The heart seems to be at the right hot spots that demand attention. But somewhere gets mired in its own troubles and brews a concoction of underlying problematic takes

Hot Spot Movie Review: Satirical and quirky choices get questioned by flatlined and faltered narratives
Hot Spot

Last Updated: 10.23 AM, Mar 28, 2024


Hot Spot story

A hyperlink social drama, Hot Spot is about a filmmaker pitching four stories to a producer. They consist; a young couple in love are to be betrothed by their families when the groom suddenly gets hit by the wrath of patriarchy, and two lovers who are about to break the news to their families get the shock of their lives when they come to know about each other, a struggling family comes to face with close and harsh reality involving their children, and a girl who tries to wrap her head around what her boyfriend is doing after meeting her.

Hot Spot review

A film like Hot Spot is quite difficult to review and I say with the utmost mixed feelings that swings between acknowledging its heart being at the right place, and flatlined faults the film indulges itself in. Much like the filmmaker’s last film Adiye, Hot Spot is also a film that is almost set in a parallel universe. Though it is not as blatant as that of the older film, Hot Spot has two segments that reverse its gaze and look through the lens of patriarchy, with men at the receiving end of it. While one is on conceived notions of what the society thinks is right, the other is the growing adultification of children. Hot Spot has made a serious effort and nearly achieved its goal to point out the problematic issues, but falls short when it bites too much than it can chew, making some politically incorrect statements on the go.

(spoilers ahead)

Chronologically speaking, first comes Happy Married Life in which Vijay (Adithya) and Dhanya (Gouri) are in love and whose parents also give a nod for their marriage. We are soon transported to a world where matriarchy exists and men are made to move to their in-laws’ house, give up on their career and passion, and oscillate between housework and wife’s comfort. If that is not enough, we are also given father-in-law and son-in-law tussle. The segment makes satirical choices, and it indeed gives a reality check, but to what extent does it really succeed when it concludes with the man giving a monologue about patriarchy, whilst the ladies sit and watch.

In another segment, Golden Rules, Deepti (Ammu Abhirami) wants to break the news to her parents about her boyfriend Sidharth (Sandy). But what she does instead is come out as a lesbian in order to freak them out only to later calm down and accept her love. As Deepti says she has married her lesbian partner (when India is yet to recognise same-sex marriage), Golden Rules employs queer-baiting to get you hooked on to what Deepti and Sidharth’s actual conflict might be. Dabbling on the moral grounds of what is right and wrong and how the idea of incest is still morally and culturally varied and operates on a grey area, Golden Rules serves as a reality check on who is to say what is right.

Anitha (Janani) and Vetri (Subash)’s Thakali Chutney might be by far the quirkiest and most hilarious segment of Hot Spot that centres on what is right and wrong hovers on which gender is at the helm of it. Vetri, who is in dire need of money, loses his job after his office fires him for masturbating in the restroom, and on that note, he has to find a way to earn money so that he can take a step ahead in his life with his girlfriend Anitha. And as fate has it, he ends up voluntarily working as a prostitute, satiating the needs of lonely, elderly women bereft of sexual needs. At times when there is a moral concern if prostitution is right or wrong, this segment reverses the gaze and represents male prostitutes in a light-hearted manner. But wait, is it only light-hearted because it is a man? Is it because a man’s honour never lies in between his legs and no amount of sexual intercourse can diminish the respect he has as opposed to a woman? There’s a lot to unpack in this segment when the roles are reversed and Anitha too wants to explore the difference between love and lust. But sadly, the story is marred when a man is forced into a sexual intercourse without his consent. 'Unakku vandha ratham, enakku vandha thakali chutney' line seems perfect for multiple scenarios here. It is scenes like this that make Hot Spot problematic and make you want to overlook its right intentions.

Termed the most emotional segment, Fame is about a lower-class family of four, whose children participate in a reality show, thus increasing the economic condition of their living through their garnered fame. Ezhumalai (Kalaiarasan) and Lakshmi (Sophia) are parents with the latter taking more responsibility of making the children shine. A little trigger warning might be of help for this segment that talks about the abuse of children, by the hands of not only perpetrators but also adults in the form of nurturing their wards to mature sooner. Even as the segment makes an honest point of how children of today’s times are robbed of their innocence, the blame game still rests on the mother who carries the onus of how their offsprings become. Not to forget how the film also tries to antagonise a minor against a minor, in what may seem to be another morally debatable ground.

Hot Spot verdict

Hot Spot becomes a film that makes satirical and quirky choices to talk about real issues that plague society. The heart seems to be at the right hot spots that demand attention. But somewhere gets mired in its own troubles and brews a concoction of underlying problematic takes. It is heartening to see a young cast and their performances add a refreshing tone to the film, but a little more empathy and social responsibility could have made Hot Spot a way better watch and inclusive.

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