The movie ‘Pink’ was created with the intention of bringing a change in the mindsets of our society. However this author believes that a lot of things have still not changed.
It is hard to put a number to the instances, when my girlfriends and me have debated about whether to step out for a dinner in a dress or not. Invariably, discussions on curfew times, restaurant location, mode of returning, whether anyone is drinking or not, reminders to carry jackets and stoles, have all been a very regular aspect of the planning. So much so, that I am only now coming to realize how unnecessary and painful these considerations actually are.
No wonder, that a movie like Pink hits home so hard to so many of us, women and men alike; girls and boys alike.
Pink is essentially about the everyday life of so many girls and women in the urban parts of the country today. Only the nightmare that it turns into, is something not everyone is put through as frequently. It is a life that involves options and choices like never before. A life where one has so much more independence and avenues to choose from. There is a lot more openness, to the several ways in which women’s lives have altered over the years.
But there are a lot of things that have not changed. And a lot of those ideas have crept in and wedged themselves in the mindsets of most of us. For instance, when the movie broke for the interval, a group of men vacated their seats and moved out for a leak and some popcorn. One of them slapped his friend on his back saying, “Such a coward, man! That lady Meenal has more b**ls than you, to have smashed that guy’s head in; what’s wrong you with my friend.”
That one line probably summarizes, what’s wrong with the current trend. The trend which upholds women’s rights, safety, and lifestyle on the face of it but continues to hold the deep-rooted discrimination at its base.
A few months back, one of our neighbours had walked up to my dad, with a lot of ‘Bollywood-ish’ energy about him. He stood close to my dad, put a finger on his chest and asked him to control his wife (my mother), who had gotten into an argument with his aunt who lived beneath us. My blood boiled to see this breach of personal space and safety. I stepped in between the two men, held that man’s hand away from my father’s body and challenged him to lay his finger on any of my family members again. The argument of course did not stop right away, though the worst seemed to have passed. When I described this story to my friends and acquaintances, the highlight seemed to be how a daughter pulled off what a son would have done instead. As was the case with the goon-man too, the reason he stepped back was because he was too much of a man to fight with a woman.
That is what is wrong with the seemingly liberal and open-minded society that we are a part of.
Just like Javed, who dumps Falak (Kirti Kulhari) because she is now somehow tainted after being implicated in the controversial case; or like Rajveer who assumed he bought Meenal’s body with the drinks he bought her, or Dumpy who could prove his innocence, in the name of having a girlfriend but thinks it is okay to feel a girl up against her wishes, or the best of the lot – Ankit, who was turned on by the sheer defiance of the girl, he tried to suppress with his threats. To stand your own ground before such mindsets is a challenge, and it is a part of the daily routines of several women in different strata of society.
The movie left me with a deep-rooted fear of the number of opposing forces one has to face – from the police, to the family, to friends, to the newspapers, and on goes this list. But the biggest fear comes from the palpable lack of safety that one faces. The safety that is broken with a gaze that lasts a little longer than it should, it is threatened with the touch that was ‘unintended’; and it is butchered with the act of forced sex, regardless of the relationship between two individuals.
The change has to happen with an open dialogue. The change has to happen with seeing an act for what it is; not as a guideline to someone’s character. The change has to happen with letting ‘NO ‘mean, what it actually means. As rightly pointed out by Lawyer Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan)- the change has to begin by saving the boys, so that we save our girls.
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