What Can Be More Evil Than A Playschool Teacher Who Takes Tots Hostage, Right? But… Is She?

Populated with complex female characters, new film A Thursday on Disney+Hotstar shatters stereotypes about women, delivering a hard-hitting feminist message.

What does it take to drive a woman “crazy” (in quotes because as a character in the film says (and I agree), mental illness should not be stigmatized)? What would drive a seemingly loving playschool teacher to take her students hostage? What are her demands? Is she actually evil?

A Thursday (now streaming on Disney+Hotstar) has the answers to all these questions, and a strong message against the patriarchy. And the vehicle for this message are the extremely interesting female characters.

Be it the playschool teacher, the news reporter, the policewoman, the prime minister of India, or the domestic helper, I promise you none of these brilliantly written female characters will let you down.

Women are more capable of moral ambiguity than we give them credit for…

Why would a woman take a bunch of children hostage and threaten to kill them? The key word in this question is “woman”, because make no mistake, it makes a world of difference. A woman potentially harming children gets people’s panties far more in a bunch than the idea of a man doing the same. Naina’s (Yami Gautam) actions may be morally ambiguous, but they definitely break the stereotype of the woman who only knows how to nurture.

And she isn’t the only woman who does not fit in. Shalini is a reporter whose child is stuck in the hostage situation. Does that make her more sensitive towards the other parents whose children are being held hostage? Not one single bit. The moment her son is released, she takes the opportunity to exploit the situation to her advantage and gain a promotion. I do not condone her actions. Yet, there is something strangely liberating about women being shown as capable of selfishness. After all, it is quite rare with selflessness being the virtue associated with women. Portraying more than just one type of trait in women allows us to be multi-faceted beings.

…And more capable of good than we give them credit for

Ambitious cop Catherine is heavily pregnant, but she is not sorry about cancelling her doctor’s appointment to focus on work instead. It is an absolute delight to watch her participate in the investigation as men worry more about her pregnancy than she does!

Maya Rajguru is the prime minister of India, and even she does not escape sexism. Her decision-making skills are questioned because of her emotions. But why shouldn’t she be emotionally invested in her country? It is a good thing to genuinely care. As she puts it, emotions can be an asset. And unsurprisingly, it turns out her decision is right after all.

Savitri, Naina’s domestic helper, is the one who first proactively tries to escape and rescue her fellow (adult male) hostage. It was refreshing to see a woman attempt the saving rather than the man. Because why wouldn’t a woman do this? That is the real question. Why wouldn’t a woman do any of these things?

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Women are just as capable of good and evil as men. Is it too much to ask that we be portrayed as such? I may not take any hostages, but I definitely demand more films like A Thursday.

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