I watched the movie because I wanted to know what was being shown as mardana or masculine in a woman.

I found the beginning so disturbing, that at first I wanted to walk out of the theatre. The friend I was watching it with felt the same way – but I am glad we didn’t do that – because when you really think about it – what’s not so disturbing about child trafficking? 

How did we ever expect to watch a ‘rape scene’ or children being abducted and sold, without feeling the horror of the crime? 

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is the only other movie I have seen where a sexual crime is shown the way it should be shown – humiliating, disgusting and traumatic. This is how such crimes should make us feel. [The Marital Rape scene in Bhag Milkha Bhag]

Mardaani does not show how the men ‘buying sex’ were feeling, there was no attempt to titillate. What we felt was the terror that the little children were feeling. Their being given new names and their being viewed as ‘goods’. And as the movie progressed it did make sense.

I will never be able to think of prostitution or child trafficking without remembering the faces, or the shaking hands of the children in Mardaani. We need movies like this undo the damage and desensitisation that ‘rape scenes’ have done in the past.

I also think the movie makes a point about fitness for women and general empowerment for women.

I hope the movie does well, it’s fast paced, well edited and for those who like action (I don’t) there is action too.

BUT I couldn’t could see why the movie has been named ‘Mardaani’ (translates to – a woman who is like a man)

Senior Inspector in Crime Branch – Shivani Shivaji Roy is a woman.

She is strong and she is shown working out.

She is working hard and at all hours, but she has a happy family life.

She does not go home and start cooking.

Her family loves, supports and respects her.

Their name plate has the names of both of the couple.

Inspector Shivani Shivaji Roy seems to have retained her maiden/father’s name as her middle name (I hope we see movies where there is no name changing at all, for either partners). 

And her husband is shown feeling feelings that can’t be described as  ‘mardaani’.

* * * 

Does the movie pass the Bechdel Test? 

No :(

Related Posts:

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

Hasee toh Phasee : When a Bollywood hero is an Emotional Dhakkan.

Kai Po Che : Through feminist eyes…

Dhobi Ghat. Zara Hat ke.

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

Does porn affect how men view sex, women and children?

Shuddh Desi Romance : When Getting Married and Staying Married is not an Indian woman’s life purpose.

Dev D: Practical Paro Artless Chandramukhi

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

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

Please guess why would I give 9 on 10 to ‘Ek main aur ek tu’.

1. You may please grab as many of these badges as the valid reasons you can give for what made me love this movie :lol:

2. Some of the hints are in the trailer above…

3. If the reason is a spoiler, I will edit it out but you still get the award.

4. And a special award for guessing why 9, why not 10.

With many thanks to Usha, Shail, Ruchira, Aabha (Please do remind me if I have missed your name!) –  I hope you like the promised twist to the tag :)

1. You can think of only one valid reason? No problem, here’s a badge for you!

2. Two reasons… Congratulations :lol:

3. Three valid reasons… :lol:

4. Four valid reasons, four badges :)

5. Five valid reasons? You also earn The Versatile Blogger badge!!

6. And this one only if you can give FIVE or more valid reasons :D And also explain why nine, why not ten.

Bollywood in Truck Art :) and I’m Back!

[Note: The title of this blog post was suggested by my daughter Tejaswee. I did not want to add ‘and I’m Back!’ but she had complained that I ask for her suggestions but then I don’t accept them. Today I am glad, although she can’t be back, her demanding, delightful memory is back every time I read ‘and I’m Back‘…]


I have been away – thanks for emailing, tweeting and leaving comments to ask if all is well. For a million heartfelt ‘Thank You’s , click here ;) [Thanks for the sticky tape Chirag]

Click on the image if you’d like to watch the song :)

It is not possible to take a total break from the blog :| There are reminders everywhere :roll:  Our JKG in Chief is popular enough to inspire this polite protest :) You thought ‘Singh is King’?

Bollywood contd. :)

I expected a Maharashtra nameplate with this offer to drive to Khandala but the truck had a Rajasthan number.

If you’d like to watch the song click here :)

These trucks can say ‘Mere pass maa hai’ (Click to watch the dialogue not reserved for Bollywood sons)…

Ma ka Aashirwad‘ (Mother’s blessings). This one claims ‘Ye dil mange more‘ . This heart wants more of mother’s blessings?

Although ‘Maa ki Mamta‘ is mentioned, this one doesn’t seek her blessings because this one has ‘TURST in GOD ‘ :)

I wonder if this gets too much sometimes… do they mean it?

Dadi-Dada aren’t forgotten… but mother’s reign supreme :)

Not all messages are directly inspired by Bollywood. If these messages are any indication – we do seem to be basically a tolerant nation.

This message makes more sense than one would guess at first glance.
(‘Dekhi jaa chedi naa‘ translates to ‘Look as much as you like, but don’t touch’)

Here’s Indian philosophy summed up in one sentence. Translates to,
“You will get nothing more than you are destined to get and nothing before you are destined to get it.” (Better translations welcome :) )

Don’t miss ‘Chamiya’ ( a flashily dressed woman?) on the middle flap :) This truck is female :)  Many trucks are also referred to as sons (beta), daughters (beti), tigresses (shernee) and ladla (a male brat) or laadli (female brat) :)

Although she is a ‘chamiya’, a sherni (a tigress) and a laadli ( a dear girl child) – she is reminded… ‘Zyaada khayegi to moti ho jayegee‘.

(Translates to, ‘If you eat too much, you will grow fat.’) ;P

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



Time to focus, concentrate and lagao dhyan,


[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 ;) ]

If I ever made a movie…

If I ever made a movie, it would be like Tamanna.

A hijra (eunuch) finds a baby girl in a garbage bin and brings her up as his own. Paresh Rawal as a hijra is an endearingly helpless parent. The discarded infant (Pooja Bhatt) is a rich industrialist’s third unwanted daughter. The mother was told that the babies were still born.

*So there’s a poor hijra who makes a courageous, huggable parent.

*And there’s a hitman who won’t take supari assignments while his daughter has fever.

*And then there is a violent, wealthy, wife beating man who gets his three daughters killed.

I just finished watching the entire movie on 13  You Tube videos [here] :roll:

The lyrics in this trailer are beautiful… “Ghar se masjid hai bahut door, chalo yoon karlen, kisi rote hue bachche ko hansaya jaye…” (Masjid is very far from home, so let’s do this; Let’s bring a smile on the face of a crying baby…)

If you were to make a movie  …just one in an entire lifetime, what would it be like?

Losers and Stalkers

Cilla’s brilliant collection of ‘loser songs’ reminded me of this one, I call it a Stalker’s Song.

Tum mujhko na chahogi to ko baat naheen, tum kisi aur ko chahogee to mushkil hogee..”

It’s an old song, but we have many subtler, modern versions today.

[Roughly translated, this guy says, “If you do not want me it’s alright, but if you like another (man) there will be problem.

Now if we are not together, we are not apart either; You haven’t accepted me, but you haven’t turned me down either

I can live with the thought that you are not mine, so long as you do not belong to another man.

If you do not appreciate my heart, it’s okay; but if you appreciate another man’s heart, there will be problem...”]

Songs like this one are not about infidelity or a broken heart after a breakup. These songs object to a lack of interest  shown by the girl the singer chooses, as in…

“Can I do fraindsheep with you?”


“Fine then I will have to throw acid on your face.”

Ever wondered why did he think she can’t turn him down?   “It is a normal human tendency to feel sad when rejected by anybody. But, where is this sense of entitlement and anger coming from? Why this feeling that she must like me, I am too good to be rejected, I cannot possibly be turned down?Read in Apu’s thought provoking post ‘That Huge Sense of Entitlement‘… (Cross Posted at ‘No Gender Inequality‘)

When did women start working?

I don’t quite get it when somebody says working women are modern women. Women have always been working. Throughout history.

In many parts of India, a girl’s good health was a consideration when selecting a bride because she was seen as one more hand working in the fields and tending to the cattle, apart from regular housework like fetching water, washing clothes at the river banks, grinding, cooking, raising many babies etc.

The mothers often had to get back to work soon after a delivery. (One hears of babies delivered in fields, mother back to work the next day).

The babies were left in hammocks on trees (etc), older children looked after the little ones, the kids played in big groups, they got hurt, fell ill, drowned in rivers and fell into wells (still do), were picked up by wild animals and died of snake bites.

Mortality rate was high. Many babies died, many mothers died too. There were no Day Care Centers like we have today. Women felt privileged if they could afford not to work.

Nobody thought these women should not work. Their neglected babies and families did not become a topic of discussion, when it came to working-women gender roles were not rigidly defined or followed.  Why?

Their work did not threaten the established norms, because they did not earn anything. They worked hard, but they were not independent.

Problems started only when they started getting their own money. It gave them the power to fight back against injustice.

Bollywood generally has working women who leave their babies ‘burning in high fever’ at home, but Mother India and Rihayi have a more realistic examples of working women.

Mirch Masala, my favorite, has suspense, drama, romance, lots of working women, women-bonding and a surprise ending! Have you seen the movie? Take a look !

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

I am so confused!

First thing I notice in Love Aajkal is that even the heroine is ambitious! I like that. I clearly remember Bollywood once suggested that an ambitious woman left her child alone at home, ‘burning with fever’ to fulfill her selfish ambitions. She learnt a lesson – often after being slapped by her husband (I am not sure, but it is possible that it’s excusable under the law, unless your lawyer uses the right Act etc, though it seems Brinda Karat has challenged this). How does one prove that kicking is not an act of kindness when the old Bollywood heroine turns around and asks : ”Yeh thappar aapne mujhe pehele kyon naheen mara??” (Why didn’t you slap me earlier my Lord? ) Anybody watching movies of those times could get confused and think Indian wives are generally grateful for a timely slap (or a kick).  So any confusion is understandable.  Now are my maid’s mother in law and husband not cruel anymore? … was I breaking a law in supporting her? I am confused.

… but Dipika Padukone is ambitious. I admire her for that even if she is expressionless while being ambitious.

Then we have a heroine committing the sin of being drunk. Again I am confused, Kawariyas are provided liquor in shivirs but girls in Mangalore were beaten for drinking liquor, I get all confused by these modern definitions of my culture. Is drinking against our culture or not? Citizens in Ghaziabad (and Noida and Gurgaon) are advised, ‘kawariyon se na uljhen’ (‘Avoid getting into hassels with kawariyas’, in a local newspaper) but girls in Managalore are dragged by their hair and molested for allegedly drinking in a pub. Please explain.

Deepika Padukone in the meanwhile claims that she only pretended to be drunk, so that her boyfriend could “take advantage of her“. Reminds me of Kajol’s horror in a similar situation in Dilwale dulhania le jayenge (justified because  Shahrukh Khan was not her boyfriend till then) and SRK assuring her that he knew, “ek Hindustani ladki ki izzat kyaa hoti hai (Translated: He knew what honor means to an Indian girl). Saif and Deepika have no idea that in movies long ago a girl was required to rush blindly towards the nearest cliff because she had crossed her ‘maryada’ (even if it was without her consent).

So I liked Love Aajkal for showing some real life. And for showing women as sexual beings unlike this. I know of girls living happy lives with their husbands who took …err advantage of them before they filled their maang with sindoor. And what if things hadn’t worked out??!!! (Oh horror!) I am sure the disappointed guy would have eventually got over and the girl too, because unlike Rishi Kapoor in Love Aajkal, I believe, one must move on.

Life is too precious to be wasted because a relationship did not work. One’s First Love need not be one’s only love. This is something Bollywood understood ages ago… watch the video in the first comment.