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PINK showed that it’s important to take a stand against abuse, irrespective of who you are, what you do, and what the people may say.
There was so much being written about PINK, that I had to watch it. I am glad I did. The movie is both – worth the time and the money, and relevant to the current discussion on Consent.
Taking molestation – and a violent response to it as the backdrop, the movie talks about the importance and necessity of consent in a sexual relationship. It urges men to stop their advances if the girl – irrespective of who she is and what she does, says NO.
This dialogue of Deepal Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan) – “nahi mein magar ki gunjaish hi nahi hoti hai” – “there is no place for a BUT in NO – it’s just a plain and simple NO” – nails it perfectly.
But, that’s not all – there’s much more to the movie than just a dialogue on consent. It helps define sexual abuse in all its forms – mental, emotional, and physical – and abuse in general.
All the guys in the movie chorused one thing – that the girls were giving them hints by smiling at them, by agreeing to have dinner and drinks with them, and by being ‘over friendly with them’. This is actually normal behaviour when you are out with friends, and those whom you consider your friends’ friends. But, this behaviour according to the boys, communicated just one thing – that they (the girls) are of loose character and are indeed asking for it! A similar thought was echoed by anyone who supported the boys’ claim.
Yes, abuse is linked to character – not of the abused but that of the abuser.
When a person resorts to abuse as shown in the movie – it is the outcome of a flawed perception of what is acceptable or unacceptable behaviour for another person – a result of upbringing and social conditioning. This flawed thinking leads to action when it meets unchecked power and support from equally dubious supporters.
To be able to do this, we will have to rework the rules laid down by the society for each gender, class, and caste.
PINK took this initiative by showing a good number of people – who can influence how the society thinks, support the girls without questioning their behavior or character. For example, Deepak Sehgal (lawyer), Kasturilal (landlord), the Judge, and even Minal’s father – none of them placed blame on the girls or their behaviour. This is a welcome change.
PINK showed that it’s important to take a stand against abuse – irrespective of who you are – what you do- and what the people may say. If you’re in the right, then you need to put up a fight.
This movie is also about friendship. It shows how our friends can either make or break us. There are three friendships that the movie portrays and in some way or the other they all influence the narrative.
It was refreshing to see the female friendship being celebrated in a molestation/rape courtroom drama. It’s something that rarely happens in real or reel life. Usually fear or family pressure makes girls abandon or pull away from their girlfriend if she gets into any such trouble, or if her character is brought under scrutiny.
The scene where Falak stands up for Minal when Rajveer gets abusive on the call which they (the girls) make to apologize for all the ‘mess’ and to avoid further stress, cements the friendship – giving all women an important message –
Don’t abandon your girlfriend or for that matter others of your gender in public. If you have to, you can kick their ass in private.
All relationships, including friendships between a girl and a boy, are based on trust and a feeling of security. We tend to believe we’re safe with our male friends – and let our guard down and even agree to meet their acquaintances without fear.
This is also one part where the movie fails. Vishwa should have been pulled up for disrespecting the trust the girls placed in him – he was as guilty as all the other boys. When you know your friend is a fiend you don’t go ahead and serve your unsuspecting (female) friend – no matter how forward or immoral or modern she may seem to you – to the fiendish friend. Never. This is a cardinal sin.
Message – This makes you a pimp not a friend.
Ahh. The classic male bonding – bhai ke liye kuch bhi karega – bhai ko NAHI kaise bola – Will do anything for my Brother, how dare she say NO to him! They’ll do everything, except drive some sense into their Bhai – such is the beauty of male bonding!
We all know, if you say no to a guy – especially one who is a weak, spineless, uneducated, and an entitled brat, his (equally immature, spineless) friends WILL GO OUT OF THEIR WAY to make your life MISERABLE. I fail to understand the logic behind this…this stupidity!
These friends – who instead of telling their Bhai to RESPECT the NO and move on, make it a prestige issue and plot revenge – are responsible for most of the shit that happens in a male-female relationship gone wrong.
Message for the guys – choose your friends wisely!
In the movie, when Deepak Sehgal says – “We don’t need to save our girls, we Need to Save Our Boys – they are confused” (which is the other most important takeaway), he couldn’t have been more right.
If you think of it – there are two victims in the movie – one, we all know is Minal.
The other victim is Rajveer – a victim of a certain social conditioning received since childhood.
Some may disagree with me, but the ‘Rajveers’ who have not been declined anything and have only heard the word YES from all those that matter, and all their demands right or wrong have been met since they were born – are also victims – they’ve been ‘intellectually abused’.
These boys when confronted by a Minal who refuses to oblige, are in an unknown territory. They really do not know how to react, except with force – because the word NO and rejection are alien to them. Unfortunately, 20 something or even 15-16 is too late a age to drill it in their minds.
It is this ‘intellectual abuse’ and the confusion it causes in their minds that we need to save our boys from – starting with their day zero in this world. Till this conditioning does not change, this situation will not.
PINK has to some extent brought all these issues either directly or indirectly to the fore – we need to take the conversation further. Apart from addressing this basic issue of consent, it has also set the tone for how female friendships should be, and how male friendships should not be, and that we all – who ever we are, Minal or Rajveer – we need to stand up against abuse of any kind that we may be subjected to.
Image source: youtube
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My house-help asked excitedly, “I am going for wedding. Can you let me wear your red & black saree? To be honest I was stumped for a moment; I didn’t know what to say but I still said yes.
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Warning: some spoilers ahead