In his upcoming film Matti Kusthi (Gatta Kusthi in Tamil), Vishnu Vishal is playing a husband who comes with a tinge of negativity. He expects his wife to be submissive. To be released in theatres on December 2nd, the film’s title is a misnomer, suggests Vishal, as the story is about the sport but is essentially about a wife’s pushback against the patriarchal persuasions of her husband. And the sport of wrestling is a mere backdrop.
“The film talks about the nature of ego-driven clashes between a married couple. They are polar opposites. Their expectations of each other are completely different. My character Veera talks down to his wife,” Vishal tells us, making us quiz him about his personal life. He and Badminton star Jwala Gutta have been married for more than a year.
Vishnu starts with a laugh. “Wrestling is common in every relationship. There is always a clash of thoughts and ideologies. There are differences of opinion about what you want to do, how you and your partner want to bring up the child, where you want to go on the weekend, etc. After having had a failed marriage once (Vishal was married to Rajini Nataraj, whom he divorced in 2018), I have realized that there should always be a give-and-take equation in life. You have to strike a balance with your partner,” the Ratsasan actor ponders.
But isn’t it easier said than done? The actor-producer believes in the middle path. “There are certain aspects of you that you can’t reform no matter what. You got to tell your partner that you can change to a certain extent but not completely. You would have developed some habits over a period of decades. Arrive at a middle ground with your partner. Siblings who have been brought up by the same parents are not alike. How can we expect people who have come from different families to be perfectly compatible?” Vishal analyzes.
Giving a piece of relationship advice, the Kaadan star says that finding a level-playing field and respecting the partner’s decisions are not difficult if we give a relationship time and thought. “I have had to break out of barriers on both professional and personal fronts. I have really put an effort to change in the last year. I have realized that thinking just about myself is not done. I need to talk to my wife; after the day ends, maybe, I have to ask her about how it went at the sports academy and stuff like that. It’s wrong not to think about your partner,” the actor adds with a touch of self-introspection.
He reveals that Jwala used to be too critical. “I have told her not to repeat something too many times. If she tries to hammer in the same thing ten times, it doesn’t get into my head. She has changed these days on that aspect,” he reveals.
The actor believes in the idea that men and women are equal. “That’s in fact the underlying drive of Matti Kusthi. The message is delivered in the milieu of a family drama where Aishwarya Lekshmi plays my wife,” he says.
The film strikes a fine balance between comedy, sports and commercial entertainment. “It leaves you with a sweet thought about gender equality. You will laugh, you will clap, you will cheer while watching Matti Kusthi,” he says about the Chella Ayuvu directorial.
Vishal, who has previously played cricket for ten years says that doing Matti Kusthi was physically draining even though it is not a true-blue sports film per se.
“I didn’t have to look like a perfect wrestler. Even so, the strain was so much because wrestling is a body-contact sport. It really took all the energy out of me. Professional wrestlers from Kerala and Chennai were hired to lend authenticity to the film. I had to tone down physically and the transformation had to be achieved during the making of the movie,” says the actor....