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Finally mainstream cinema, or rather Bollywood has decided to turn its head towards love stories that are far more representative of the general public than the stereotypical ‘boy meets girl’ concept.
The movie Ek Ladki Ko Dekha toh Aisa Laga is the one that has taken on this responsibility and seems to have done quite a decent job too. This is not a movie review. While the movie can be critiqued on its writing, acting etc. I choose to only focus on the main concept in the movie – same sex relationships. I had already figured this out via the initial trailers (as most people may have) that this one was on female same sex relationships. The title, a closing trailer shot, and the hashtag ‘let love be’ were dead giveaways.
The movie tries to retain this mystery right till the interval. Once this is seemingly no longer ‘in the closet’, the second half takes on the part of trying to inform the girl’s family through a play with the 2 romantic leads as women, that this is in fact a true love story – that of their own daughter.
Certain parts of the movie do not really provide major headway to this beautiful story. A brief meeting that leads Rajkummar Rao to head to Punjab thinking he is in love with Sonam Kapoor / she is his girlfriend, makes no sense. Also the part of the actual play which does not depict the most realistic way for someone to come out to their family.
What pulled at my heartstrings however were scenes from her childhood – having a crush on her friend only to realize that the same feelings were not reciprocated. Seeing the young girl’s secret discovered by classmates through her journals and ridiculed and isolated, had me bawling like a baby. There was some comfort to the soul when they showed her befriended by a young boy who realized she was ‘different’ just like him. They became each other’s life raft through the school days. Unfortunately her own brother with his young friends bullied the boy for the way he is.
A scene shows the young girl placed in a box (in the play) and her father who goes through her journals – reads her words of anguish and pain. Of being alone and believing just that to be her fate. Seeing her in that box makes him realize just how trapped she has felt all these years.
He asks the male character in the play (Rao) – “Would you be okay being forcefully married off to a man if you didn’t wish to be? Then why do that to a woman? In hopes of ‘curing’ her?”
And that’s just it. No one needs to be cured of anything for loving another.
Why is it that we talk about sex education in schools today, realizing that times have changed, and that young people date – even in schools – however, rarely if ever do we address children about the various kinds of romantic relationships that exist?
Perhaps it is the fear of ‘don’t let them know or this will influence/ruin/lead them into a wrong direction’. Or because of society’s own discomfort with seeing two men or two women hold hands or be together. Also that some believe that these relationships are ‘not natural’ and won’t lead to children through copulation. Why does the society’s narrow mindedness, fear of acceptance and homophobia hold hostage the right to everyone’s freedom to love freely?
Most children who come out later in life as adults go through just what was shown in the movie. The heartache and loneliness of not understanding what they may be going through, and worse, not having anyone to confide to – sometimes not even having the words to express their feelings and thoughts. Because who ever sat them down and taught them the language of love? The different kinds of love that exist? Perhaps not 20 years ago but why not now? Why do we make progress in so many areas as a country, but not when it comes to parenting right and teaching our children things they must know of – to be able to talk openly and fearlessly as a result?
What a burden to place on a girl or boy’s shoulders – to make them think they are ‘not normal’ – that their sexuality decides their place in society, or their worthiness to be loved. We say that the child can become anything they want – sportsperson, doctor, journalist etc., then why not just let them be who they are rather than only focus on what they may become?
Let women love women.
Let men love men.
Let men love women.
Love women love men.
Let everyone be!!
What we all unfortunately don’t see is just how much love exists in all these above sentences. Somehow the gender stands out far more than the most powerful force in the world – LOVE. And that is what needs to be addressed!
Image source: a still from the movie Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Isa Laga
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