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Bollywood tries very hard to overcome its image as the regressively patriarchal movie making industry but the statements are almost always, hollow.
2017 was the year that we saw movies like Newton, Lipstick Under My Burka, Tumhari Sulu and so on, which made me hopeful that maybe Bollywood was finally waking up from its perpetual state of lethargy towards representing social conditions realistically, and with quality performances. But my ecstasy was thwarted when I saw the so many other movies which seem to nullify what these good movies tried to (un)do in our social structures. Alas, the agenda seems to be all talk and no action towards better female representation and feminism.
These 4 movies should not have been made in the time we expected 2017 to be!
The trailers show Alia Bhatt’s character vehemently opposing the classic, often-termed-as-romantic-but-creepy approach of Varun Dhawan’s character towards her. She shuns the way he stalks her and seems to reinstate the concept of consent to him in a language he understands. But then the movie comes out and all we get is a splash of cold, icy water on all the hopes and dreams we had towards this movie actually being any good.
The dialogues in the trailer are just that, dialogues. The typical trope of the woman falling for this ‘bad boy’ is too tempting for the filmmakers to not yield to, and voila! they’ve managed to ruin what could have been a potentially good movie with an actual message. Read more.
Don’t even get me started on the train wreck of regressive BS that this movie was. Honestly, there are 4 movies on this list and 2 of them have Varun Dhawan. I’m not saying anything, but I’m sure you’re thinking it.
Judwaa 2 is said to have taken us back 20 years in terms of all the gradual progress that Bollywood movies had made over time. The rigid stereotypical portrayal of men and women in this movie makes me puke. Men can only be men if they behave lewdly, and practically harass the women around them. And the women are meant to just ‘take the joke’ and fall in love with this asshole anyway. Way to go!
The point of a remake is to recreate an old piece in sync with the contemporary times, and if we go by how Judwaa 2 depicts society, then we’re still living in the same suffocatingly sexist world of the original Judwa movie. And unlike the original movie, nobody has the chance to blame all the lame and, obviously, sexist jokes on the ‘times’. Those people who say that it’s just for entertainment, you need to seriously rethink your idea of what entertainment is. Please. Entertainment is no excuse for blatant misogyny and patriarchy to be depicted on screen.
Apart from the flak that the movie got for the name being almost plagiarised from a Hollywood movie, Jab Harry Met Sejal was a hopeful movie for a lot of people because of the man behind it: Imtiaz Ali. We expected from him the magic that he created in his earlier movies, with decent female characters, to say the least. But here we only get Shahrukh Khan not even doing what he does best, and Anushka Sharma’s character, too, is a shoddy job.
Imtiaz Ali was supposed to get millennials right and make films that would be relatable. Instead what we get is a man desperately clinging to his assigned gender roles by boasting of what a womaniser he is, and a woman who is literally running after a man who rejected her, in a hunt for her engagement ring. Sometimes I wish that some movies would exist only in the form of their trailers because that’s where all the good stuff is. And good only till we don’t see the roots of it in the movie itself. Bollywood seems to refuse to represent characters like they actually are, and that’s where it bites off way more than it can chew. Read more.
The year ended with this one, and need I even say anything? Apart from the obviously male-dominated movies with the heroine who succumbs to her gender roles but occasionally has to beat a few guys and do stunts so that the film can pass as representing women as ‘badass’, there is nothing in the movie at all. The movie preceding this one was probably better, now that I see in hindsight. At least Katrina’s character had some agency. Here it’s only the garb of agency that is helped by the guns she plays with and the stunts she does. But at the end of the day, she bears the burden of the movie to prove why the ‘hero’ is the hero. She ultimately becomes the damsel in distress, somehow.
Somebody needs to explain to Bollywood that making the heroine do some stunts is not enough. You need to actually delineate her role, apart from the background that she has been confined to. This movie gives the vibe of a very bad version of the Incredibles. If only Katrina was like the Elastic Girl. Sigh.
These are only a few of the products of Bollywood that prove that how it is trying to cash in through the illusion of being ‘woke’ towards social issues, and not actually going in depth and making quality cinema. coughgolmaalreturnscough
Top image is a scene from Badrinath ki dulhaniya
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18// New Delhi, India
A literature student on the path of her identity. I like
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