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While Gully Boy is primarily about the struggles of rapper Murad Ahmed, it also spends sufficient screen time on a character like Safeena and highlights her struggles as a woman in the modern world.
[This article has minor spoiler alerts]
There are scenes in the movie Gully Boy where the heroine Safeena Firdausi (portrayed by Alia Bhatt) is shown engaged in conflict with her parents. Safeena tearfully points out the unfairness of her being forbidden to step out of the house to hang out with friends, talk to boys, wear lipstick – things that ordinary young girls do, which she tries to engage in by lying and sneaking past her parents.
Her mother, specifically, is the stricter parent who does not hold back in lashing out at her daughter with slaps and physical blows. She is also not supportive of Safeena’s decision to doggedly pursue an education in the medical field and wants her daughter to get married and settle down instead of opting for a career as a surgeon.
In a powerful scene that will moisten the eyes of feminists or women who have had to fight tooth and nail for basic rights, Safeena stands before her father, tears in her eyes, hands clasped together in a beggar-like gesture, imploring him to let her finish her education and achieve her dreams of becoming a surgeon. “I will marry whomever you want me to, just let me study, abbu,” she says with such feeling that it cuts like a dagger into the heart of any woman who has taken for granted the right to chase straightforward educational and career-oriented aspirations along with the freedom to choose her own life partner.
And yet there are countless women who have to wage such battles over these issues in a patriarchal society. Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale portrays a dictatorial regime fortifying its power over society by beginning with the curtailment of women’s rights, including taking away their ability to handle money and right of employment. Take away a women’s capability to stand on her own two feet and it becomes easy for figures of authority to ensure that they have more control over her.
The film Gully Boy is primarily about the struggles of rapper Murad Ahmed played by the dashing Ranveer Singh set against the poetry and rhythm of rap songs. However, it also spends sufficient screen time on a character like Safeena and highlights her struggles as a woman in the modern world, which sometimes refuses to change with the times. It is a refreshing change from the portrayal of small-town heroines as having no job or career ambitions in a lot of Bollywood films in recent times, as noted by this article.
When Safeena confidently expresses her wish in potentially taking on the role of breadwinner and financial stability provider in her future relationship, it truly gladdens the heart.
Another small but empowering scene in the movie shows Safeena sitting on a bench at a train station, defiantly whipping out a lipstick from her purse and applying it to her lips in full public view. This is reminiscent of an advertisement that tackles the stigma against women doing make-up in public.
All in all, whether it is being crystal clear about her priorities, chasing after her educational and career-oriented dreams, taking bold actions that are usually attributed to the male gender or pursuing her true love, Gully Boy has done justice in fleshing out the female romantic interest and has created another hero, who just as determinedly rises out from the ashes like a phoenix ready to soar high and take on the world.
Originally from India, Deepti Nalavade Mahule now lives in California where she spends time developing software, feeding books to her two children, submitting her short fiction, and fretting about what to put in her bio. read more...
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I wanted to scream with excitement that my daughter chose to write about her ambition and aspirations over everything else first. To me, this was one of those parenting 'win' moments.
My daughter turned eight years old in January, and among the various gifts she received from friends and family was an absolutely beautiful personal journal for self-growth. A few days ago, she was exploring the pages when she found a section for writing a letter to her future self. She found this intriguing and began jotting down her thoughts animatedly.
My curiosity piqued and she could sense it immediately. She assured me that she would show me the letter soon, and lo behold, she kept her word.
I glanced at her words, expecting to see a mention of her parents in the first sentence. But, to my utter delight, the first thing she had written about was her AMBITION. Yes, the caps here are intentional because I want to scream with excitement that my daughter chose to write about her ambition and aspirations over everything else first. To me, this was one of those parenting ‘win’ moments.
It's well known how diplomatic and professional Priyanka Chopra is. Why would she want to stir the hornet’s nest when everyone’s happy in their personal space?
Priyanka Chopra (PC) did something completely out of character. She’s usually known for being articulate and mostly diplomatic, unless she wants to give sassy comebacks to people who try to put her on the spot or ‘in her place’.
She’s someone who’s never fought the establishment because she understands you can’t win against it anyway. But you can work around it to get your way to the top. She’s a thorough professional and team player.
For someone like Priyanka Chopra who’s never played victim so far, to admit being the scapegoat of petty politics in the Hindi film industry was refreshing. It’s good to see this unfiltered, vulnerable side of her for a change. PC revealed one of her reasons for shifting to Hollywood on the podcast, Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard.
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