Despite Having A Predictable Patriarchal Narrative, ‘Kalank’ Does Offer Strong Female Leads

Posted: April 22, 2019

Kalank is a patriarchal narrative driven by aesthetics and heightened emotions but with that, it indeed has some strong women characters.

After watching the visually delightful trailer and the beautifully choreographed song Ghar More Pardesiya, Kalnak was a movie that a lot of people were looking forward to watch.

*Alert: minor spoilers

The story, which is a love triangle, pretty much revolves on the background of the Partition and the Hindu – Muslim divide. The movie is a visual delight, though the narrative of the film is complicated and tangled, especially as the script moves between realism and fantasy, often confusing the audience about which side to lean on. The visual effects are not always pleasing, limiting this movie to a one time watch.

But despite all of this “khichdi”, one can’t ignore how well the three major women characters are portrayed by Sonakshi Sinha, Alia Bhatt and Madhuri Dixit.

Satya, played by Sonakshi Sinha

This entire plotline is given its starting shape by our first female lead Satya played by Sonakshi Sinha.

Satya is the “aadarsh – sanskari” daughter-in-law of the rich and reputed Chowdhary family. She is dying of cancer, but is even strong enough to search for a second wife for her husband Dev.

The character of Satya is shown to be selfless, and the ‘sacrifice’ that she does for love makes her admirable in the patriarchal society that she is a pillar of – it is shown that it’s her duty that her husband stays happy even after her death. This raises many questions about the type of society we live in.

Roop, played by Alia Bhatt

The second strong female character in the film is Roop played by the very elegant Alia Bhatt.

Roop is the second wife of Dev. She is young and feisty but is emotionally blackmailed into a loveless marriage, but despite this dependent position, she imposes her will on the rich Chowdhary family to learn music.

The character of Roop portrays the idea that marriage is not the end of life for a woman. She falls in love with a man outside of her marriage, and her struggle with the choices breaks societal norms. She asks many questions about things that a lot of women face – about choosing what their heart desires, baseless societal norms, the happiness of a woman, and most importantly why is falling in love with someone outside of marriage a ‘Kalank’ only for a woman.

Bahaar Begum, played by Madhuri Dixit

Bahaar Begum who is played by Madhuri Dixit is the third strong character in this film full of beautiful people and exquisite clothes. She is a courtesan who stopped dancing due to some reason and now gives singing lessons. It is later revealed in the movie is that she fell in love with a married man, and conceived a child from him, whom she decided to bear. Unfortunately, when he did not ‘accept’ her, she abandoned the child.

We feel a connection with Begum and the mistakes that she does. Bahaar Begum is a beautifully written character which encourages the ladies out there to accept their mistakes and forgive themselves.

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