It is a wonderful coincidence that this post on Pink coincides with the onset of Durga Asthami.
Pink is not in the red
Pink, the movie co-produced by Shoojit Sircar and directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury seems to be doing well at the box-office. It is representative of the better cinema being made these days which seeks to question conventional thinking and convey a relevant social message. The good thing about these films is that they have also acquitted themselves from the charge of not doing well commercially. These successful non-masala movies provide hope for all right thinking citizens and consumers that Indian cinema is continually progressing.
Pink is drawing crowds, cash and critics’ claps even as it seeks to highlight that women still struggle for freedom from the ‘conservative’ clasp. It is not given to a film to change society by itself. It is for a film to trigger thoughts, kindle conscience and alter attitudes accordingly. Pink does this and much more. We also applaud the ‘one man film industry’ (that Bachchan saab was called once) for taking up this role. This is not to take anything away from the producer , director and especially the other actors of Pink.
While bigoted men obviously are main reasons for many of the issues that Pink highlights, the positive impact of open minded and fair men goes a long way in helping change Society to accomodate women’s needs. The girls’ lawyer (Amitabh Bachchan as Deepak Sehgal) and their landlord in the film make much difference to the damsels in distress. Often, men support women in trouble, when other women turn a blind eye.
Cool Chilli’s Comments
The NewsTikka team has a slightly different take on Pink and the societal mindset it tries to highlight and change. Let us be clear at the outset, that we are against discrimination of any kind. Especially prejudice or bigotry that further persecutes an already oppressed segment of society. Hence we fully support Women’s struggle to avoid being victimized by existing mindsets.
Amid Amits and other Adams
We are also happy that the film, through Amitabh Bachchan, educates the audience about the rights of women and children. Knowledge of provisions like Zero FIR (jurisdiction need not be a deterrent to filing a complaint in any police station in the country). Also a special allowance for women and children is that they can apply for bail even on a Saturday or a Sunday. Tongue in cheek, one is almost tempted to say, females are free to freeze their FIR anywhere…
Background to ‘Empowerment’
The World Wars and thereby the decrease in male numbers to ‘man’ the factories and other relevant jobs brought women to the forefront. Long confined to their roles as care givers at home, women took to this new role with the ease that only they can. The invention of the ‘pill‘ further helped women plan their life and family better and not get shackled by virtue of their gender. We have seen women getting more empowered and prosperous in most developed countries. In fact as the Manusmriti said thousands of years ago, “where women are respected and prosper, the Gods dwell”.
Given the above, the slightly different take that we mentioned earlier has to do with the way in which we are progressing. How much more do women want to progress on their ‘journey of equality’ with men. All said and done, women have been the bedrock of culture and civilization in society. The way they network, the way they form bonds or scheme behind the scenes to break them is remarkable. These traits have been responsible for mankind to have reached where it is today. Women with their superior emotional intelligence have ensured they somehow get situations under grip and thus control mankind’s journey.
In the 1960s, Guru Dutt’s film, Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam was nominated by the Indian Government. It was for the Golden Bear at the 13th Berlin International Film Festival. But the German organizers refused to accept the nomination. “The academy wrote a letter to Guru Dutt saying a woman who drinks was not a permissible taboo in their culture“. Actress Meena Kumari played an ignored wife who takes to drink on her husband’s own suggestion (to get his attention). Imagine how times change!
Education and freedom are empowering. If not properly leveraged, they can also level us beyond repair. In the context of a developing economy like India, we see increasing numbers of women who smoke and drink. What was once taboo even for men, is now par for the course for women. Besides its known dangers, Smoking causes additional problems for women. Drinking is another ‘social’ activity, which beyond moderation affects women much more than men.
Double Edged Sword
As Indian mythology tells us, Woman holds within her, the powerful balanced positive force of Goddess Durga. Durga can also be aggressive when needed. Woman can also beckon the excessive force of Goddess Kali. Sometimes Goddess Kali is needed. But ‘over-liberation’ may be akin to overruling the natural order of things which has stood mankind so well. Woman threatens Mankind by not regulating her own self. It is not for man to do this. Woman has to realize this on her own just as Godess Kali did. The takeaway for Man from this ancient tale is that Woman chooses to get ‘subdued’ purely out of love for her Partner. On another note, the metaphor of the Goddess Kali as Nature and Shiva as Mankind in the link is also telling.
Woman has been the moderating influence on Man’s evolution through the ages. Motherhood is the most respected and the most potent staus or relationship that we know of. It is also not easy being today’s Woman. Tradition and Societal reservation on one hand may try to hold her back. Modernity and Empowerment on the other hand, beckon. How far does SHE go without risk. Too less and she does injustice to her mothers who have fought for generations to reach here. Too much and she could risk future generations. If anyone can walk this thin line, it is WOMAN herself. Who Else can? Think.