So, we happened to read this one full piece of article, on BuzzFeed, stating an opinion about how the new age cinema or the “New Bollywood” aka the content-driven cinemas are failing to break away from the male- dominated star system.
According to the writer of this article(with due respect), ” The Hindi film industry is eager to tackle complex subjects and tell progressive stories, but is unable to break free of economics, which unfortunately still relies on male stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan.”
Though they have positively raised a very underlying issue that has been ignored by the industry, but the reality of the industry is that the industry has finally made attempts at opening up channels of thoughts, sourced us to think and change our thinking to a more broader aspect on very narrow and sensitive issues of society!
Let’s start with the point made that its ‘still’ a male dominated star system industry, this is not quite true, while we have an A-lister actor like Aamir Khan in Dangal, on the other hand we have Priyanka Chopra as the most pivotal character in the movie Mary Kom. Having an A-lister actor or actress makes a lot of difference in putting across or fitting in a ‘thought-changing’ idea of high value across the whole society.
The idea of having females in a very male dominated arena of sports as wrestling, and to top it off from the equally male centric society of Haryana, where we have the most cases of gender inequality in India is a thought that has made all the difference. So what if the notion came to the mind of a father who wanted to make his daughters carry forward his dreams of becoming a wrestler through an incident acting as a trigger for such an action or thought. The movie Dangal is a docudrama based on that father, that Mahavir Phogat.
So its pretty obvious to have a male centered around the whole feminist plot because lets get back to the basics, it was due to him that his daughters became the examples of pushing one’s own boundaries and breaking free of the very male centric society and its preconceived rules.
Going by the fact that its Aamir Khan enacting the role of this very pivotal character, its pretty sure that it would attract quite the amount of eyeballs needed to get across this movie. Have we forgotten the fact that for a movie to become successful it has to have elements of importance that is not only constrained strong plot with a ‘thought-changing’ idea to address the millions of audience but also an attractive factor to get that audience sit in the theatre, Well, Aamir Khan is that element in the whole film, the film still remains as much as of Aamir as of the two debut actresses alongside him enacting the roles of the two oldest daughters!
It cannot be assumed that these two new actresses would have managed that very feat alone which has actually brought Dangal to be acclaimed as one of the best films in the year ever made! So its quite normal for a male and female to share the role of protagonists in a movie with it still being called a feminist film!
We are spreading the ideology of feminism, it doesn’t state that only women can preach about the plights of women and men should only stand and stare! In the movie Pink, we saw Amitabh Bachchan doing the same what any women could have done, but HEY! We live in India, so let’s not forget that we have always lived in a society that has been deeply rooted with traditions that binds both men and women together. The Indian mentality only gives an hearing to any and all plights of a women when they are supported and raised to the eyes of the authority in our society(male centric in itself) by the men themselves. History is enough of an evidence to tell us and show us this notion across our country!
So, logically speaking if it was a female lawyer defending the case of three strong, independent girls charged with attempted murder, it would have been tagged as a case of empathy for the plight of women in general. But when its done by someone as experienced and skilled to excellence as Amitabh Bachchan, who has no other parallel to draw from, yes, it made an even stronger impact then it would have been made if the role had been enacted by other actresses like Aishwarya Rai or even Shabana Azmi.
Similarly, again I make a point to bring forth that the girls that were equally applauded for their performance in the film alongside Amitabh Bachchan, were pretty much newcomers in the industry! So, the reality of this industry is that just with a bunch of newcomers and a strong story line plus concept would not make it successful enough to have the much needed audience, and if a movie with great content isn’t reaching out to many people, how are you supposed to think that it will be counted as making any difference to the society!
Again while talking about stereotypes, and breaking the same, isn’t the writer stereotyping the notion of having a therapist with good looks and comfortably handsome.
In Dear Zindagi, the role of the therapist played by Shah Rukh Khan is actually an extended cameo, if a strong minded female director wants the society to know that there are men who can understand and appreciate women and their choices in the society, being at par with them, what’s the harm in that vision! Isn’t that what feminism actually is!?
Stereotypical remarks about why there is a ‘grizzly sexual’ looking actor playing the role of the therapist and why there isn’t a women or a man with specs and what not, sitting on that chair and telling us about life! It isn’t necessary really, because at the end of the day we get message across, so its not cringe worthy but actually quite cool that a young women is advised that experiencing different relationships with the opposite sex to understand what you want from a partner is okay, dating someone is okay, comparing it to chair shopping is just a very simple way of understanding that logic and thought!
While it would have been understanding coming from a women therapist, its all the more impactful when coming from a man.
So, all these movies are definitely in some way contributing to the society and women’s plight in equality at all levels, so what if they are being aided or preached by men rather than women, after all it makes it all the more better to have guys with similar thinking, and on the issue of being ” unable to break free of economics, which unfortunately relies to a large extent on a male-actor-dominated star system.”
Well, we all need these A listers to motivate the crowd to watch these movies and to put forth the whole message across at the end. We shouldn’t forget that we, Indians are star-crazy people.
P.S BuzzFeed We Love you, its just that this article got us thinking.