Happy Birthday Angie! I hope you like your presents! I tried to think of something different from what I have given you before.
Why is Maddy so sexy in Saala Khadoos/Irudhi Suttru? It’s different from Maddy’s usual sexiness, which is a combination of regular features, fluid expressions, confidence on camera, and some sort of raw pheromone based chemistry that magically comes through a camera. That’s just Maddy being Maddy. No, the Saala Khadoos sexiness is something that is unique to that film only. And I know this, because there are lots of commentators here who really like him in that film, but only in that film.
Maddy is literally introduced, having sex. The first time we see him onscreen he is in bed, messy, sweaty, with a willing partner equally sweaty and messy. He stops what they are doing because he hears a news report related to the national boxing authority. His partner yells at him for not finishing, after she left her husband at home and traveled all this way to be with him. He yells back at her, she storms out.
Why is that sexy? Seeing him actually stop having sex, and then have a fight with his partner? It should be un-sexy. Especially since they are in a messy room with clothes everywhere, there’s no magical silk sheets, or even a magical manscaped body oiled up and perfectly sculpted.
It’s sexy because it’s real. We can feel the heat from their bodies, and smell the sex smell in the room, it doesn’t feel like a visual fantasy for the eyes, it’s visceral, all the senses are overwhelmed and brought into the experience. And we see Maddy from then on as a sexual person.
A sexual person, and someone who treats sex as a physical need. One of the big things we learn in that opening scene is that Maddy’s sex partner is a married woman (so, sexually experienced) and traveled a long way to enjoy being with him (so, he’s very good). And she is angry and frustrated when he doesn’t focus on her (so, not afraid of him or feeling like she owes him something, the sex is mutually enjoyable). Maddy is an athlete in this movie, he trains himself and he trains others. The opening scene is telling us that he treats sex like anything else physical, he understands it is something his body needs, he is good at it, and he makes sure the people he is with are good at it and get what they need too.
After that opening scene, Maddy is never sexual again for the rest of the film. It’s not just that he is never shown having sex again, it is not part of his needs. That’s also sexy, that kind of control and compartmentalization. He is a physical lustful person, but when he focuses on a different goal, when he sublimates his sexual energy into training and teaching, it can go away. It’s this amazing combination of control and lack of control, we see his hair flying around, his anger bursting out, his body being used, but absolutely no sex. The more there is this one gap in his being, one area where he does not follow his passion, the more we focus on it.
That’s part of what intrigues our heroine as well. Here is this guy who is bluntly honest with her about everything, who treats her body as a tool for him to hone, and yet he has absolutely no interest in her sexually. That’s strange and intriguing, the more it isn’t there, the more you obsess over it.
There are other ways Maddy is sexy in this movie. He is proud of and trains a female athlete without any consideration for woman not being as “important” as male athletes. He speaks out about the rampant sexual harassment in the athletic board and is punished for it. He selflessly defends his female athlete against everything, without her even knowing about it (like selling his bike to buy her equipment). Feminism, it’s sexy.
And there is his body. Maddy started out a shockingly thin young man. It’s part of what made his career, he looked so much younger than he was and that made it easy for him to get roles. And then he hit 30 and started gaining weight, which is natural for a man. Maddy always wore his added pounds easily, never tried to hide them or be ashamed of them, always dressed them well (shirts and jackets that fit, no attempt to squeeze into tight fitting suits or pants). But this movie, he glories in that natural body. Instead of slimming down, he built up muscle under the soft body fat. Confidence in a natural body is always sexy, no matter what body type it is.
But the main thing is that we have a man who is out of control (seemingly), eating and yelling and fighting, hair flying around, unshaven, shirtless. And yet even though we learned in the first scene that he is a sexual person, he turns off that whole part of himself in a moment. The urge to turn it back on, to see what would happen if he let loose in this one small place the same way he lets loose somewhere else, is well-nigh unbearable.