Dear Comrade: 5 Lessons We Can Learn From This Refreshingly Feminist Movie

Posted: September 17, 2019

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Dear Comrade is like a breath of fresh air from masala movies. It deals with several issues while also imparting some important lessons. Here are some of them. 

Do movies mirror real life or does real life (in some cases) start seeming like it is taken out of a movie?

It is bit of a chicken and egg situation here. However, there is no denying the fact that movies and film stars have great influence on a wide section of audience. Especially in a country like ours where heroes are worshipped (sometimes like Gods).

Now, naturally, it becomes a medium which, when used sensibly, can serve a purpose of effecting a change in the society. Some film makers and actors use it responsibly to tell stories that might trigger certain changes or at least start a conversation around important topics.

Dear Comrade is one such film which talks about an important topic of sexual harassment at workplace, especially for women. It isn’t a flawless movie but a lot of scenes in it worked for me, personally.

Spoilers ahead

Here are 5 takeaways from this movie that resonated with me, as a viewer and especially as a woman:

Dear Comrade lesson 1: Women love comrades in life

In this movie, the character, Bobby, played by Vijay Devarakonda promises the woman he loves to be her “comrade.” True to his words, he fights for her (Lilly, played by Rashmika Mandanna) till the end but never from the fore front. That position he, very gracefully, leaves to his lady love because ultimately he realises it is her life and she is rightfully in charge of it.

Likewise most of us are quite capable of handling situations singlehandedly. But what we wish for is that someone who has our back in times of need. Not someone who will hold our hand and lead us through. Or someone who will abandon us in crisis but that special someone who shines the light in the dark tunnel so that we can find our own way out.

A husband/boyfriend who stands by his wife/girlfriend when she is fighting for a cause she believes in.

Believe me, most women have a spine to stand all alone and fight for their convictions but they do wish to lean on a comrade every once in a while.

Women need no disclaimers to prioritise their career

Here is a rare occurrence in any Indian film. The hero tells his heroine, “The moment you start loving me more than cricket (which refreshingly happens to be her profession), I will walk away from your life.”

He understands that cricket is her passion, her first love. And more importantly accepts it without questioning it or giving disclaimers like “But family should be your first priority” or “But it’s your age to get married now.”

In fact, the moment she is contemplating marriage with him, he responds with concern about her career and how she should think about it first.

We all can do with some men like this in our lives. Fathers, brothers, boyfriends, husbands who give equal importance to ambitions of women in their life.

And no, we don’t need reminders about prioritising family and work life balance simply because we chose one over the other. We made a decision after thinking it over. Period.

Dear Comrade Lesson 3: It’s okay to be flawed.

Everyone has flaws and also the capacity to overcome them when the need arises.

In Dear Comrade, Bobby has anger-management issues. But he works hard on it for someone special in his life. He is able to overcome it to a great extent.

Lilly is scared of confrontations and fights. But when situation demands courage from her, she finds it (even though it takes her time and effort to get there).

It is refreshing to see unapologetically imperfect characters on screen when cinema mostly either preaches idealism. Or celebrates negative/grey characters.

Sensitivity only makes us human

Yes, people cry. But this is depicted in a very skewed fashion in movies.

While the female protagonists are shown crying very often, the males, on the other hand, rarely ever do. They might be shown shedding that rare tear or misting up.

Popular cinema caters to this notion that macho men don’t cry. Why? Aren’t men allowed to express their emotions freely?

There is nothing wrong in beating up twenty people on street but how can a hero cry! If he does then he immediately falls under the category of Devdas.

In this movie, for a change both the lead actors cry their hearts (and sometimes lungs) out. Not just that, they are shown as emotionally vulnerable and sensitive people. They hurt. And they nurse a heartbreak.

They grit their teeth and bear the pain. Also, they suffer insufferable silences in-between. They go through a whole gamut of emotional highs and lows and also have moments of complete breakdown.

There is nothing wrong with it either on screen or in real life. Our emotions and feelings are what makes us human. If they are considered weaknesses then there is something wrong with our perception, idea of strength and its portrayal on screen.

A woman will speak up only when SHE wants to

In Dear Comrade, there is a lovely scene where Lilly asks “Have you people ever asked me what I want?” referring to all men in her life who want different things from her.

Even when she finally decides to speak against her abuser, it is only after she is fully ready to fight it out. Until then she does not want any kind of confrontation. It is her choice to remain silent. She has her right to choose despite having a man in her life who is fully willing to supply her in her fight for justice.

This has to be noted because things like sexual harassment are very sensitive issues and the victims have to be allowed the freedom of time and space to recover completely and also to decide the next course of action on their own.

Did you watch Dear Comrade?

What did you think about it?

Please let me know in the comments below.

Picture credits: YouTube

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