Please watch ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’ :)

The movie passes Bechdel Test with flying colours. The Kanpur accent and Kangana Ranaut’s Haryana accent, the music, the story, the way it ends, and everything else about the movie are absolutely delightful.

And while we are laughing hysterically, the movie conveys –

A woman smiling, laughing, talking, taking a ride or drinking or dancing with a man – may or may not be in love with him.

That self reliance gives confidence.

That courage, confidence, maturity and just plain common sense are not dependent on the language ones speaks or the accent or grammar (etc).

That men grow up and old too.

Men have ‘marital status’ too – even if it not talked about in Indian movies, and is not socially required to be displayed.

Men don’t hate getting married – despite all the shaadi ke laddu jokes one hears about. Men even have ‘marriageable age’ – though one doesn’t hear much about such social pressures. The movie makes references to men’s ages, like the ’35 and desperate to get married’ and 40th birthday shirt.

Men are also advised to Get Married and Stay Married. But instead of praying or fasting, men are offered the option of trying violence as an outlet if the situation gets unbearable – like breaking tube lights in their living rooms.

That the Khaps are fools.

It’s a problem that men’s manliness depends on their Sperm Count.

Men gain weight too.

Tanu does many things that generally only men are permitted to do

1. Complains that she finds her spouse boring and demands that she be pleased.

2. Goes out and has fun with old friends although she is married and loves her husband. She also calls her best friend her soulmate.

3. Meets visitors wearing a towel.

4. Drinks.

5. Gets away with being unreasonable. [Disagree?]

Lastly I think Kangana Ranaut is the Amitabh Bhachchan or Madhuri Dixit of today – only better.

Do’t believe me? Take a look 🙂

Many of us are going to watch this movie more than once.

Four other recent movies that passed Bechdel Test. 

Margarita with a straw.

Piku

Dum Laga Ke Haisha

Queen

I am optimistic that the success of these movies means that we will continue to see more such works of art.

Related Posts:

Piku in Patriarchy.

Please watch Dum Laga Ke Haisha – where a man is asked to Please adjust and save his marriage.

Please watch Queen. Feels like our country is finally changing.

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Piku in Patriarchy.

Another unexpected surprise. I guess with more and more Indian women watching movies, we are going to see more movies that acknowledge women as people. First Laila in ‘Margarita with a Straw’, and now Piku.

What else do Piku and Laila have in common?

1. Their families respect them and care for them.

2. They care for their parents, but they are not obedient and they do not fit into the traditional ideas of good Indian women.

3. They are sexually active, but are in no hurry to get married.

4. They are relatable.

They are involved in running their homes – Piku is shown cleaning cobwebs, loading her washing machine, counting clothes to be given to the dhobi and understanding their part time domestic helper’s need to take a few days off.

Piku gets impatient with and yells at someone she loves a lot, tolerates some amount of unfair dependence from her seventy year old father, but doesn’t prove her good-Indian-daughter love by sacrificing her social life.

She is caring and responsible without fitting into the stereotype of a good Indian daughter – this would still be considered unimaginable in traditional patriarchal families.

She complains about her father’s interference in her personal life, she appreciates sympathy from her maternal aunt and Rana Chowdhury, she talks about getting married but doesn’t believe that Getting Married and Staying Married is her goal in life.

Piku breaks some other stereotypes too.

I loved the scene where Chobbi Maasi is playing badminton with a younger man(Chowdhry?), who flirts with her, and instead of being flattered or overwhelmed (like the Bua in DDLJ and many other Indian movies) she casually (and confidently) says she was considering marrying a fourth time.

This maasi also wonders if Piku is stressed because she needs a sex life. Two women in an Indian movie talk, casually, about sex, but not about men or marriage – the movie passes Bechdel’s Test. (Laila and Piku have this in common)

My favourite scene [No spoilers] was when Chaudhury asks Piku if she would be able to manage it all on her own, and she says she would.

What if Piku was a son and was living with her mother? If the mother encouraged her… him to be sexually active but to be in no hurry to get married? And if the mother was demanding of his time and wanted to interfere in who he dates or sleeps with? I guess that is how it is for many Indian sons. Indian sons are also offered a solution – to bring home a daughter in law to take care of the mother.

In one scene Piku’s dad demands that Chowdhury picks and throws away a knife. Piku requests Chowdhury to indulge her father. How many Indian fathers of daughters can expect this from their thirty year old daughters? Most of them would be too worried about marrying the daughter off. I hope some Indian dads watching this movies see the possibilities…

Someone who didn’t like the movie said Piku’s father didn’t want her to have a life of her own because he depended on her, this is what, we know, Indian male children experience all the time. I guess what Piku’s father (and other parents who view their girl children as their care givers) would eventually want is freedom and rights for their children, to have a life that doesn’t require them to give up caring for their parents.

That, and that alone will change the way Indian parents view their girl children.

This would mean more and more parents encouraging their daughters not to get bullied into marriages and relationships that leave them dependent or unhappy, and cut off from their birth families.

This is how it would be in a society that is not Patriarchal, where all children and all parents  (whether parents of sons or parents of daughters) are valued and cherished.

I also felt Bhaskor Banerjee came from a  generation of spoiled and entitled sons and husbands who were raised to be ‘looked after’ by their mothers and wives and that was what made a seventy year old behave like a hypochondriac (though loveable, liberal, feminist and spirited) ninety year old. I know plenty of seventy year olds working and living independently, and cherishing their independence.

[SPOILER ALERT]

I was disappointed that women were not shown participating in the funeral.

 Related Posts:

CONTEST: Apply this test to Bollywood movies.

Please watch Dum Laga Ke Haisha – where a man is asked to Please adjust and save his marriage.

Please watch Queen. Feels like our country is finally changing.

Kai Po Che : Through feminist eyes…

Three thoughts on Bhag Milkha Bhag.

Dev D: Practical Paro Artless Chandramukhi

Bechdel Test: Apply this test to Bollywood movies.

‘Piku’: A review of reviews and some of my own thoughts.

Three thoughts on Bhag Milkha Bhag.

1.

The Marital Rape scene in Bhag Milkha Bhag.

Those who think marital rape should remain legal need to watch this movie. The scene is disturbing, conveys the reluctance, fear, humiliation, disgust, anger and helplessness of those who wouldn’t imagine walking out of the situation.

And that is how watching a sexual crime happen should make you feel.

Brat Three was watching the movie too, and I have no idea what she thought or understood… I will have to talk to her… maybe I should tell her that sometimes some people hurt other people and it’s very wrong and should not be tolerated. No review had mentioned this scene – maybe because it happens behind a make shift curtain.

The movie also touches upon another unrecognised crime – Forced Marriages. And how both the crimes-against-women impact men.

So much is conveyed. Why Indian women might see brothers as saviours. How marital rapists live normal lives and set examples for others who have no other way to learn about sex. Why some people might never respect women except their mothers and sisters, not even the women married into their own families.

Edited to add: The only reason why the man could demand that the victim come to him, to be beaten and raped was because he had the social and legal sanction to do so. He felt no guilt, he was offended because she didn’t come as soon as she was called. Any rapist doing this in any other circumstances is unimaginable, but the witnesses in this crime see it as either unfortunate or titillating.

2.

The movie shows Milkha seeing women (or sex with women) as ‘weakness’ (or vice?!) that men may have. Alcohol and lack of discipline could impact a sportsperson’s performance, but relationships?

3.

As soon as the movie finished Brat Three turned to her brother and said, “You should also run like him!” 

IHM: “What about you? Don’t you want to run like him?”

Brat Three: “No, I am a girl… did you see any girls?”

IHM: “Ofcourse girls also run… I must tell you P T Usha’s story! 🙂 :)” (which I must google and read first 😦 )

Brat Three: I want pani poorie for lunch!!

I had recorded Chak de India and plan to watch it with her today – without saying anymore about whether or not girls can or should run. And I hope somebody decides to make a movie about PT Usha too.

In the meantime Bhag Milkha Bhag is very much a movie worth watching, even though it does not pass Bechdel Test.

Related Posts:

Marital Rape in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: Why We Need To Talk About It?l

“Instituting the idea of marital rape raises the specter of a man going for long periods without sex even though he’s married!”

Making Marital Rape a legal offence is the fastest way to make it clear that Rape means forced sex, not lost Virginity or Honor.

What do you think of these doubts regarding recognition of marital rape as a crime?

Sex Education has nothing to do with Blue Films.

Kai Po Che : Through feminist eyes…

A lovely movie, do watch. Fast paced, very relevant today, touches upon some issues close to my heart and is fun too. Should be a big box office hit.

No Spoilers.

BUT, once you start looking at the world through feminist eyes, it is difficult not to notice what half the population is denied.

The movie made me wonder, where in India are we likely to see young Indian women doing the things these young Indian men do with such ease (without being judged or blamed)?

(screen shots from the trailer above)

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 11.37.20 AM.png Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 11.38.21 AM.png Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 11.39.22 AM.pngDo take a look at this trailer,

http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1s3YIagZOo

Now that we are creating good movies, I hope we see movies that pass the Bechdel Test too; this one doesn’t. And when we want to show independent minded women, I hope we see women doing more than what Vidya seems to do in this movie.

Related Posts:

Where in India are you likely to see teenage girls doing this?

Where are the girls?

What do women generally talk about?

Once at a party, a well meaning gentleman walked up to a group of  ladies  engrossed in a heated discussion and said he would like to join and he wouldn’t be a bore because he could talk about ‘pickles, papads and maids servants‘ too. Everybody looked at his wife 😀 Now everybody knew what  ‘hot & spicy’ conversations the couple had 😈

What we were talking about was ‘hot and spicy’  too.  I remember it was election time and we were arguing about various gods and their self proclaimed saviours.

Bechdel’s Test and some of the comments on this post got me thinking. What do two (or more) women talk to each other about?

And what do all the other people talk about?

When two women talk, how much do they talk about men? What else do they talk about?

I made a list of what I talked about recently when I spoke to other women.

1. My sister(44) – (on phone) About my brand new N97, her iPhone that her daughter has taken, her career (she is a workaholic) , a relative’s accident and about crime in Delhi.

2. A very old friend (45) – Her health, SPS Rathore case, how she once supported BJP but is disappointed now. Her ailing mother.

3. My mom (68) – The AC in her car has problem again. Should she sell the car? How was my water pump working. We also checked property prices in NOIDA and compared them with Gurgaon (on Magicbricks and other sites) and Pune. Her gorgeous turquoise chiffon saree.

4. My daughter (19) – Summer jobs. A totally new hair cut. Summer clothes. New ‘chappals’. Bodyshop and their social awareness. A cute boy. Driving classes. Yoga classes. Water melons and mangoes. Another good looking boy. Her moon-sign. How much she hates ‘Twilight’ and why.

5. An aunt (56) – (on phone) Same gotra marriages are wrong but Khap Panchyats can’t take decisions for people. Her dad (my grand dad).  And what an awesome father he was. She wondered if she should buy a flat in India.

6. Another friend (45) – How I never call her and now she was leaving it to me to plan where we meet. 😀  Her new shoes, a red jacket I once owned and how she still can’t see why I hate high heels.

7. Another friend (45) – About how her husband and her son hardly ever communicate and how much this stresses her. Her job, colleagues, some work-politics etc.

8. A sister in law (48) – About an award she recently received at work, about a holiday they plan to take, and about our buying service apartments in Gurgaon, Central Park together. Good investment?

Also about how she can never learn how to use the internet like ‘everybody else does’. 😆

9. Another sister in law (52) – About how one must plan for old age. Her yoga classes. Her daughter’s 30th birthday and our secret plans for it  through facebook 🙂 My son’s career plans. My daughter’s haircut.

10. Another sis in law (34) – Our favorite colours in clothes we buy – mehendi (henna) green, mustard and ‘skin’ colour 🙂  Her daughter’s swimming classes. How her son spelled ‘camel’ with a ‘K’.  🙂

What were your last few conversations about? I tag all those who are reading this post – I would love to know what other people, a man to another man and two women to each other, talk about in their day to day lives.

CONTEST: Apply this test to Bollywood movies.

Name ten (5 will also do) Bollywood movies (and TV Serials?) which  pass ‘The Bechdel Test for women in movies’.

The movie just has to pass these three simple questions:-

#1  It has to have at least two women in it.

#2  Who talk to each other

#3  About something besides a man.

The Rule – Originally uploaded by Alison Bechdel

Read more about the Bechdel Test for women in the movies here.

Or watch this video… 🙂

I thought some of these Bollywood movies and TV serials passed this test, but actually even some of these these didn’t. 😐

1. Lady’s Special on Sony

2. Mirch Masala

3. DevD (I loved this one!)

4. Delhi 6 ( Another favorite)

5. Chak De

6. Tammanna

FIRST THREE WINNERS GET A SPECIAL PRIZE!!

COME ONE, COME ALL,

Time to focus, concentrate and lagao dhyan,

TEST YOUR BOLLYWOOD GYAN.

[Edited the post to make it a contest when I realised I couldn’t think of even ten movies that fitted the criteria, let’s see if you can 😉 ]

Dev D: Practical Paro Artless Chandramukhi

Dev D is overwhelming, every time I think of writing about it, there are so many thoughts rushing in I end up writing about something entirely different…

Number one I had no idea we had started making movies like this.
Number two the director is a man.
Number three he has been smart enough to make such a movie and still keep it out of all controversy. I almost thought it was a B grade movie when Chammak Challo is asked to send a photograph of hers to Cool Dude during an online chat. She could have met the same fate as the Delhi school girl in the MMS case…
I had always wondered what that Delhi student’s family might be going through, the police had gone to meet her. The parents said she had been sent abroad (Ah the magical place, thank God for Abroad!) …why can’t India be a bit of abroad for it’s female citizens? All that moralising in those days, gave me the creeps . She was just a kid and obviously not a very smart kid. Not like the street smart (but equally lovable) Paro. She was not really a criminal, just a foolish, naive, stupid girl. She needed to be told to mind what she got herself filmed doing, and by who. It should have been left at that.

In the movie she is half Indian and I have seen how confusing our culture can be for all half western, half Indian girls. I see one such naive fool with this boy in dark corners near my place. I sometimes think I should tell her mother to watch out for Indian double standards. Does this foreigner know what hypocrites we Indians are? Sometimes my neighbours discuss how this is offensive. I really can’t see how it offends them though I have tried. So I tactfully suggest we leave these kids’ morals to their parents.

We Indians are not naive like this American girl, …Paro epitomizes some of us and I admire her for her practicality!

Paro is smart. This girl has confidence, she is proud of passing with good grades every year, better than Dev D, who barely scrapes though 🙂 Our justified faith in education as a saviour, and our Indian obsession with good grades. I know many class toppers being equally bright in every field, including -like Paro, in their ability to break some social standards of perfect female behaviour. But their biggest ability lies in still surviving it all, to live a normal middle class life. That’s the best part. We see it happening everywhere. So unlike the child like trust and innocence of the Western girls who get caught on camera and ruin their lives. Why can’t they understand our Indian values and culture? What’s so complicated in this simple rule? And it couldn’t get simpler than this: Just don’t get caught.

That’s our culture in four simple words. Just don’t get caught.

 

Related Posts:

“I need suggestions – these girls are ruining their lives with their stupid ideas about love.”

Dhobi Ghat. Zara Hat ke.

Delhi Belly: Indecent, immoral, abusive language. Permitted everywhere except on screen.

Dev D: Practical Paro Artless Chandramukhi

Heard about ‘Bol’ – from the maker of ‘Khuda ke liye’?

Bechdel Test: Apply this test to Bollywood movies.

Love Aajkal is against Indian Culture, but Kicking is legal?

Ek main aur ek tu. Guess why I loved this movie.

If I ever made a movie…

Three thoughts on Bhag Milkha Bhag.