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This entry by Ankita Prasad won 2nd place at the Women’s Web My Favourite Female contest. Ankita lives in Bangalore and reads and travels a lot. In between the reading and the travelling, she manages to earn her living by writing code at a software company.
My favorite female fictional character is Lisbeth Salander of the Millenium Series. The series is written by Stieg Larsson.It consists of three books : ‘The girl with the dragon tattoo’, ‘The girl who played with fire’ and ‘The girl who kicked the hornet’s nest’. Stieg Larsson has done a beautiful job of fleshing out Lisbeth’s character through out the series. In the beginning of the series we see Lisbeth as an asocial but astoundingly intelligent punk chick. As a techie who lives and breaths a world which has a low female to male ratio, the fact that Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander is an expert hacker tickled me pink.
In a society were women are expected to toe societal norms to a larger extent than men do, it was a pleasure to read about a girl who always dealt with society on her own terms, without giving an inch. What also caught my attention and held it tight was Lisbeth’s unwillingness to play the victim. In the first book of the series we find her getting raped and sodomized by someone who was supposed to be her guardian. Instead of cowering under such brutality, Lisbeth goes about extracting her revenge with cold blooded deliberation. She does not think of going to the authorities as the authorities have repeatedly let her down. The reader is appalled with what happens to her and the absolute lack of trust that she justifiably has in the system, but not for a moment does one think of her as a victim, a “poor her”, or somebody who inspires pity.
As the series progresses we delve into Lisbeth’s past and her evolution into a loner, one who has a strict measure of right and wrong and one who is not afraid to mete out her own brand of judgement. One might not always agree with Lisbeth Salander’s definitions of people, love , right and wrong, but one is always left amazed by Lisbeth’s ability to fight, survive and land on her feet like the proverbial cat. Lisbeth’s emotional vulnerability is also something that touched a cord. Her interaction with her mother who is mentally fading, her lover Miriam who she is closest to or Blomkvist a sometime lover and friend, show someone who trusts sparingly and with difficulty.
Lisbeth Salander doesn’t know the meaning of the term ‘giving up’. Whether it is in a boxing match against someone who is double her weight or when she is buried in soil waiting to be proclaimed dead. Her incapability to stop long after many a stronger men would have risen their hands in defeat, is not an attitude or something she learnt. It comes across as a way of being. It is as if she doesn’t know an existence in which she didn’t achieve what she started out to, because the goal was too big or too difficult or too dangerous. She does not calculate what her destination will cost her. She would continue to get there, till she is dead.
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What I loved was how there is so much in the movie of the SRK we have known, and also a totally new star. The gestures, the smile, the wit and the charisma are all too familiar, but you also witness a rawness, an edginess.
When a movie that got the entire nation in a twist – for the right and wrong reasons – hits the theatres, there is bound to be noise. From ‘I am going to watch it – first day first show’ to ‘Boycott the movie and make it a flop’, social media has been a furore of posts.
Let me get one thing straight here – I did not watch Pathaan to make a statement or to simply rebel as people would put it. I went to watch it for the sheer pleasure of witnessing my favourite superstar in all his glory being what he is best at being – his magnificent self. Because when it comes to screen presence, he burns it, melts it and then resurrects it as well like no other. Because when it comes to style and passion, he owns it like a boss. Because SRK is, in a way, my last connecting point to the girl that I once was. Though I have evolved into so many more things over the years, I don’t think I am ready to let go of that girl fully yet.
There is no elephant in the room really here because it’s a fact that Bollywood has a lot of cleaning up to do. Calling out on all the problematic aspects of the industry is important and in doing that, maintaining objectivity is also equally imperative. I went for Pathaan for entertainment and got more than I had hoped for. It is a clever, slick, witty, brilliantly packaged action movie that delivers what it promises to. Logic definitely goes flying out of the window at times and some scenes will make you go ‘kuch bhi’ , but the screenplay clearly reminds you that you knew all along what you were in for. The action sequences are lavish and someone like me who is not exactly a fan of this genre was also mind blown.
When Jaya Bachchan speaks her mind in public she is often accused of being brusque and even abrasive. Can we think of her prodigious talent and all the bitter pills she has had to swallow over the years?
A couple of days ago, a short clip of a 1998 interview of Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan resurfaced on social media. In this episode of the Simi Grewal chat show, at about the 23-minute mark, Jaya lists her husband’s priorities: one, parents, two kids, then wife. Then she corrects herself: his profession – and perhaps someone else – ranks above her as a wife.
Amitabh looks visibly uncomfortable at this unstated but unambiguous reference to his rather well-publicised affair with co-star Rekha back in the day.
Watching the classic film Abhimaan some years ago, one scene really stayed with me. It was something Brajeshwarlal (David’s character) says in troubled tones during the song tere mere milan ki yeh raina. He says something to the effect that Uma (Jaya Bhaduri’s character) is more talented than Subir (Amitabh Bachchan’s character) and that this was a problem since society teaches us that men are superior to women.
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