So here’s an Indian movie where good women (and others who know them) do not view their lives as ruined because they do not marry the person they were about to marry, or they do not marry the men they sleep with.
The movie also does not (atleast not directly) comment upon the life of one of the main characters, a woman who lives alone, smokes, has had an abortion and has been in more than one relationship. Please watch the movie, not adding any spoilers.
Amongst one of the many points the movie made, here’s one that struck a chord. Traditionally being what’s considered ‘almost ruined’ (e.g. being widowed very young, broken engagement, being an ‘innocent’ divorcee, being too ugly to find a man to marry, some physical disabilities etc) can sometimes be liberating for Indian women – when there is acceptance that a woman is unlikely to find a Protector and Provider, the family elders decide to let her fend for herself, encouraging her to follow her dreams, be self reliant etc.
What do young Indian men feel? Hrishi, 26 shared his thoughts [link]:
• Not only men but women also have desires, and they look for different things when they check out/look for a partner. While in itself it is not the revealing of a hitherto unknown fact, but the admission of it is deviation from many Bollywood movies.
• Even if a guy and girl just talk, they become Vikram and the rest of the world becomes Vetaal to hound them.
• He can’t understand why people tell him ‘Zyaada mat socho, bus settle ho jaao.’ (Don’t think too much, just settle down) as if ‘Shaadi na hui, glucose/ ICU ho gaya, har chees ka ilaaj’ (As if marriage is like glucose/ ICU which is a treatment for every ail)
• The best part was: ‘saara hindustan settlement karane pe laga hai… saatth saal se do padosi se settlement kara nahi paae bade chaudhary bante hain’ (The whole nation is behind getting settled, they couldn’t settle two neighbors in 60 years but still think of themselves as something great)
Do many other Indian men share these views on the main characters?
Hrishi on Gayatri – I can understand her having been in a relationship before (even if they were ones where she slept with her boyfriend). I would be miffed on finding out that she had had an abortion, and would wait for sometime for her to bring it up to me, until I couldn’t handle it anymore and ask her about it. You see, I can’t sleep around with my girl friend and then judge her ( in a demeaning way) if she had slept with her previous boy friends as well. About the abortion, I would want to have a talk as to what we need to keep in mind to have safe sex.
While smoking once in a while is understandable, I might not be able to manage a chain smoker. The smell is put off.
Hrishi on Raghu – At a level I think he is courageous and questions the conditioning family and society have brought upon him. I can relate to him questioning things, and being commitment phobic. However I cannot relate to how quickly Gayatri and Taara wanted to get in a relationship with him.
Is Tara easier to like?
Hrishi: Taara is my favorite character in the movie. While Gayatri is an independent woman as well, Taara shows more presence of mind, an understanding for human emotions, and is the only character who accepts things for what they truly are, so that she can move on. When she is left standing when Raghu runs away, her reaction is to ask for a cold drink instead of breaking down (for which she gives a good reason later).
Whose responsibility are Indian women’s personal lives? (this includes not how they manage their safety, meals and rent, but who they befriend, marry, divorce, live or sleep with)
Hrishi: She says that she alone is responsible for her life, and she doesn’t need help from an uncle who met her only once in the last four years … In fact they were doing this not because they felt for her, but they wanted revenge for themselves.
Hrishi: There is one thing that didn’t click with me: The three central character are shown as people who don’t have much family ties or are orphans.. I would like to have seen people from the traditional family structure to go through this.. It might lead to stereotyping
I couldn’t help noticing that Raghu couldn’t decide if he should be concerned about the kind of men a future Indian wife, an Air Hostess, had to deal with at work – Raghu had seen (and participated in) single-women-living-alone handling neighbours’ curiosity.
Please share links to your reviews if you have seen, liked or hated the movie 😀
The movie doesn’t pass Bechdel’s Test though.