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The criticism for Gehraiyaan has irked many women, and given incels, moral policers, and envious trolls the opportunity to harass an actress who has finally played the most realistic character in her career.
I’m sorry that I’m late to the party. But I finally decided to write on why I think Deepika’s character in Gehraiyaan is actually one of her best chosen roles.
Disclaimer: Deepika is a tall, good looking actress, who I never really considered a phenomenal or decent actress. After noticing the hullabaloo around this film, I dared to watch it on Amazon Prime. To be frank, the movie offered me nothing interesting or new, and as someone who is both a movie and TV show buff, I didn’t even lift an eyebrow. However, if there was one thing that I found realistic in the film, it was Alisha’s character. No, this is not another review, but a character analysis of the female protagonist in this film. Honestly, this is one of the most real characters that I have seen this actress play.
A woman hailing from a middle- class family, trying to make ends meet, while her incompetent father and partner have failed to be financial heads of the family. They have failed to keep the family afloat, and Alisha’s character has no choice but to take on the responsibility.
The frustration, anger, and exasperation are palpable. Yet, her love for the men in her life makes her put up with it. Like we put up with the flaws of our male family members.
Then, there’s her relationship with her cousin, played by Ananya Pandey. Tia Khanna, the younger, richer, and happier second female protagonist.
This girl has everything Alisha ever wanted, a rich husband, the looks, the opulence, and relaxed lifestyle. While Tia’s father spoilt her silly, Alisha’s father’s attempts at being a good father went unnoticed. The woman abhors her father, as she blames him for her mother’s death, which coupled with her frustration over his financial incompetency had led her to be oblivious to what a good parent he actually was.
These stark contrasts between these women makes their relationship even more awkward, as Alisha adores the cousin, but envies her in every possible way. Unable to neither completely loathe nor love Tia, Alisha’s equation with her is strained and unnatural.
Then, the fact that Tia and her fiancé seem to have a playful, effortless friendship has made things all the more worse for our protagonist. With all these emotions crashing against her heart like the waves on the beach, it was very obvious that Alisha would choose to have an affair with Tia’s fiancé.
Zain Oberoi is everything Alisha hunts for in a partner. I think Oberoi, played by Siddhant Chaturvedi, is the embodiment of perfection in my eyes, on the surface, and I’m sure many women agree with me. Rich, good – looking, funny, has a lot of financial assets, and is a breath of fresh air in comparison to the angry, frustrated washed out fiancé, Karan Arora, played by Dhairya Karwa.
Even if Zain wasn’t interested in Alisha, it is obvious that she would have tried to make a move on him, without making it obvious.
Dating your cousin’s man is breaking the girl code, but what motivated Alisha was not just her useless lover, but the smug satisfaction of obtaining Tia’s man. As Alisha had a severe inferiority complex when it came to Tia, she now has proved that she too can snag a rich man. She doesn’t have to rely on her father’s help and influence to snag a competent man. I’d be surprised that she didn’t try to steal her cousin’s man at this point.
I know what you’re thinking, why the hell would anyone fool around with their cousin’s man? You must be mad, as once it is revealed, it will lead to destruction. But look at it this way, Tia’s parents and Alisha’s father aren’t on speaking terms. They seemed to be estranged from other extended members of their family, so Alisha was willing to take the risk.
The pleasure of hurting Tia and flaunting Zain as a trophy partner was what she always secretly desired. Besides, a rich man like Zain was worth the ostracism, character judgements and hate. Alisha believed that Zain would whisk her away to a new, exciting world, away from those parasites she loathes.
Here’s the problem with Alisha. After a string of bad luck, being undermined at work, and not receiving the due credit and success she deserves, the woman has settled for Karan. She diligently tried to make the relationship work, give the man too many chances because she wanted some form of stability. Though this is a huge mistake, she should have dumped her fiancé long ago. I’m pretty sure many of us have given our partners many chances, believing that they will change. But some never do.
It was only a matter of time for the couple. Alisha is not holier than thou. The reason she continues this affair with Zain, despite being overcome with guilt, are the positive emotions she finally experiences.
With Zain, she felt free, she felt alive. But here’s the problem with this illustrious couple, they aren’t in love with each other. They never were.
Tia is the dumb bimbo, who Zain is fed up with, and Alisha is the shiny new toy he is obsessed with. What Alisha wants is an illusion that Zain provides, an escapism from the harsh economic realities of her life. No wonder she continues to confide in him.
Other than being a sexual partner, however, Zain is not her salvation, nor her escape route from her personal hell. But she realises that a little too late.
But then again, you have to pay for being unfaithful. Alisha learns that the hard way, as engaging in constant sexual activity has consequences. Pregnancy. The being that is about the size of a pin living inside her gave her another harsh reality check.
Her ‘saviour’ was also experiencing financial difficulty, and until things were going well for her, Zain was her perfect man. Now that he couldn’t be sugar daddy (I apologise for using this term, but in actuality, this is what it was), the threats to tell Tia, the need for an abortion, the demands to get married, were beginning to scare Zain. Alisha’s claws have come out to play. She had suffered enough and finally was going to obtain her Cinderella fantasy at all costs. But when she realised that her dream was falling apart, her claws began to scratch the very Prince Charming she wanted.
Fooled again by a man’s promises, Alisha learnt the ramifications of trusting her partners, as Zain attempted to kill her.
One would agree that an affair takes many prisoners, and their lives as well. Realising that she had a miscarriage, the physical pain, emotional trauma, and the regret of making poor personal choices had all led up to this moment.
Sidenote, what I found offensive in this film was Mr. Grover, Zain’s partner, played by Rajat Kapoor. Though she accidentally kills Zain, his business partner is more disgusted with her, than with Zain who actually attempted to murder her. This Mr. Grover, the partner, was well aware of what Zain would do. And yet, somehow Alisha is the ‘appalling’ person here. Oh male chauvinist, you must think that rape is not a crime.
Now, coming back to Alisha, though was painfully obvious to me that Alisha’s mother and Tia’s father were having an affair from the opening scene, Alisha’s inner turmoil is comprehensible. After all, the man she considered her father was actually an angel, while the woman she adored turned out be a cheat.
This is too much information to digest for one human being, and post the traumatic experience of almost being murdered, Alisha’s desire to move on is commendable. But I think that she wanted to reform herself, mend her relationships, and make something of herself.
Her attempt at building her friendship with her ex, again proves that Alisha will choose to move on, change herself, and let bygones be bygones. That a rare quality to have, and a difficult choice to make especially with an ex like Karan.
I also really liked the fact that she didn’t tell Tia about the affair or murder, as this is what a normal person would do. Blurting out the whole truth could have repercussions on the relationships she’s building. Not to mention, the legal consequences. But as they say, two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead. The ending hinted at the truth being possibly revealed and everything going awry again, and Alisha’s life which is barely made, could fall apart. Her father would be disappointed that history had repeated itself and everyone would say, ‘like mother, like daughter’, which has a completely different connotation in this context.
To conclude, I think many people failed to see the reason why Alisha was wearing ‘revealing clothes’ as they call it.
The woman knows that she has a great body, she is attempting to flaunt it, seduce Zain, and finally show herself some self love. Alisha’s minimal to no makeup, her flaws, exhaustion, her 30 – year – old face, was what sealed the pragmatic character for me.
Also, all those questioning Ranveer Singh as to how he let his wife walk around ‘half – naked’ in the film, did not surprise me. If a husband restricts a woman’s wardrobe in real life, or takes issue with it a film, he is clearly a bad choice for a husband/partner. Dear incels, moral policers, and envious goons, if you don’t have the gall to flaunt what you have, and you know that you’ll never get a woman who looks like Deepika, ask your therapist for advice, and stop ruining the most pragmatic character she has ever played.
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An aspiring woman who is much more than her body type, selfies, shoes, looks and intellect
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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If you want to get back to work after a break, here’s the ultimate guide to return to work programs in India from tech, finance or health sectors - for women just like you!
Last week, I was having a conversation with a friend related to personal financial planning and she shared how she had had fleeting thoughts about joining work but she was apprehensive to take the plunge. She was unaware of return to work programs available in India.
She had taken a 3-year long career break due to child care and the disconnect from the job arena that she spoke about is something several women in the same situation will relate to.
More often than not, women take a break from their careers to devote time to their kids because we still do not have a strong eco-system in place that can support new mothers, even though things are gradually changing on this front.
A married woman has to wear a sari, sindoor, mangalsutra, bangles, anklets, and so much more. What do these ornaments have to do with my love, respect, and commitment to my husband?
They: Are you married?
They: But You don’t look like it
Me: (in my Mind) Why should I?
Why is being married not enough for a woman, and she needs to look married too? I am tired of such comments in the nearly four years of being married.
I believe that anything that is forced is not right. I must have a choice. I am a living human, not a puppet. And I am not stopping anyone by not following any tradition. You are free to do whatever you like to do. But do not force others. It’s depressing.