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This dialogue from the movie Shaadisthan says a lot, "Women like us fight so that women like you don't have to fight in their own world."
This dialogue from the movie Shaadisthan says a lot, “Women like us fight so that women like you don’t have to fight in their own world.”
Translated from the original in Hindi.
Director Raj Choudhary along with Kirti Kulhari, KK Menon, and Nivdita Bhattacharya narrates a story titled ‘Shaadisthan’ on the OTT platform Disney Plus Hotstar.
Half of our population will be able to relate to the pain hidden in the depths of the story in which the director has very successfully attempted to mix the clash of conservative, feudal, patriarchal thinking, with modern thinking. If there is anything missing in the film, then it is that not all the actors are able to bring out the seriousness and depth of the subject to their acting, though Kirti Kulhari has certainly succeeded to a large extent.
An ordinary family stuck in their routine rut, Sanjay Sharma (Rajan Modi), his wife Kamla Sharma (Nivedita Bhattacharya) and daughter Arshi Sharma (Megha Shankar) are forced to fly from Mumbai to Ajmer with with a band of musicians because they miss their flight. Singers in this band are Sasha (Kirti Kulhari), Apoorva Dogra (Freddie), Jimmy (Shanpen Khimsar) and Imad (Ajay Jayanti).
A conservative family in which Arshi, the 18 year old daughter is upset as she’s getting married against her will, and a modern minded bandaas band clash with each other over their thoughts on the journey. So much happens on this journey that towards the end the Sharma husband and wife completely change their minds about the whole thing.
What really happens? How does a conservative family change its thinking? Does Arshi finally get married against her wish, or does something else happen? For all these answers, you have to watch the movie.
Sasha (Kirti Kulhari) is a modern, self-reliant woman living a life of her own choice. On one hand, while she is portrayed as a strong, outspoken woman, there is also the sensitive side seen in her feelings while praying at the tomb of Ajmer Sharif.
Kamala Sharma (Nivedita Bhattacharya) is an ordinary woman who has always lived within the narrow, conservative life that is her lot. She wishes to leave everything and go somewhere for a while, but it is nearly impossible for her. As she says, “it is a little difficult to get out of the maze of our society.”
Arshi Sharma (Megha Shankar) is a young girl who wants to live her life her way, but does not have the confidence to actually say and do it. She is scared of doing anything where she or her mother may have to bear the brunt of her actions.
Some hard dialogues: “Women are always suppressed. Suppressed as soon as you are born. Suppress a girl as soon as she is married. Suppressed as soon as you become a mother. Suppressed so much that you do not think about yourself even if you want to.”
And almost at the end of the story: “Women like us fight so that women like you don’t have to fight in their own world.”
All three women are representative of a million women around us.
Watch the movie Shaadisthan for a peek into how they go from where they stand at the beginning of the story to where they end up towards the end. Truly a journey.
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
Darlings makes some excellent points about domestic violence . For such a movie to not follow through with a resolution that won't be problematic, is disappointing.
I watched Darlings last weekend, staying on top of its release on Netflix. It was a long-awaited respite from the recent flicks. I wanted badly to jump into its praise and will praise it, for something has to be said for the powerhouse performances it is packed with. But I will not be able to in a way that I really had wanted to.
I wanted to say that this is a must-watch on domestic violence that I stand behind and a needed and nuanced social portrayal. But unfortunately, I can’t. For I found Darlings to be deeply problematic when it comes to the portrayal of domestic violence and how that should be dealt with.
Before we rush to the ‘you must be having a problem because a man was hit’ or ‘much worse happens to women’ conclusions, that is not what my issue is. I have seen the praises and criticisms, and the criticisms of criticisms. I know, from having had close associations with non-profits and activists who fight domestic violence not just in India but globally, that much worse happens to women. I have written a book with case studies and statistics on that. Neither do I have any moral qualms around violence getting tackled with violence (that will be another post some day).