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Ranveer’s Jayeshbhai Jordaar Has Him Supporting Women’s Issues, But What About The Women Themselves?

Jayeshbhai Jordar is a decent (and funny) attempt to make people think about the broader themes of female foeticide, gender discrimination, and women's ‘secondary’ status in society, but...

Jayeshbhai Jordaar, starring Ranveer Singh, Shalini Pandey, Jia Vaidya, Ratna Patkah Shah, and Boman Irani, was recently released in theatres. Directed by Divyang Thakkar, this is a movie that deals with the patriarchal nature of society, and social ills that women face as a result, but all from the POV of the protagonist, the eponymous Jayeshbhai played by Ranveer Singh.

Set on the backdrop of a stereotypical patriarchal family headed by a grumpy elderly man (Boman Irani), the movie is the story of Jayeshbhai (Ranveer Singh) standing up against his family. He does this to support his wife Mudra (Shalini Pandey) when his family asks him to get their unborn girl child aborted.

While doing this the movie also deals with multiple other social issues like the status of women, stereotypes about men, sex ratio, and consent.

Jayeshbhai is the ‘hero’ but what about the women?

We have four main women characters in the movie. Jayeshbhai’s wife Mudra, his mother Jasoda (Ratna Pathak Shah), his daughter Siddhi (Jia Vaidya), and his sister Preeti (Deeksha Joshi). Sadly, none of these roles are well rounded characters, or even shine as equal to Jayeshbhai.

Jia Vaidya gives an exceptional performance as daughter Siddhi and shines occasionally, whereas the character of Mudra is just a scared timid woman.

Shah’s character Jasoda has no volume as such. She does shine towards the end where she helps his son to run away from the setup of his forced second marriage, but overall her character sketch lacks any depth or change.

It all becomes a glory path for Jayeshbhai the ally, fighting for the rights of the women, as a saviour of the women in his life, gathering his own courage, coming out of his timid nature and standing up against a dominating father. But what about the women of the family having their growth arcs?

I’m not saying that the stories of allies are not important. Showing men standing up for women in a patriarchal set-up to move out of it is a good start. The problem is that this ‘start’ has been going on for the past four to five years and just not moving any forward.

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Movies have been consistently gravitating towards stories of allies who emerge from dominant social groups, rather than the many wonderful leaders from and of marginalised social groups.

The behti ganga of ‘woke’ movies

Jayeshbhai Jordar was an attempt to ride on the wagon of ‘woke’ movies about women empowerment focused on the male saviour saga. This fits in perfectly with such recent movies, selling them as ‘women centric movies’.

We had Dangal (2016), Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (2017), Padman (2018), Dream Girl (2019), Mission Mangal (2019) and Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui (2021) in the past. This movie somewhat rides on the same wagon. A movie where the story of a woman’s agency and freedom is told from the POV of, and revolves around a man.

Such movies about ‘women empowerment’ offer male characters (who in turn are played by some big-budget hero) more screen time, better writing and a better narrative than the female characters. Of course, the reasons cited are commercial.

This doesn’t mean that stories of male saviours are bad, they do help in starting the much-needed conversation. But isn’t it high time we move beyond showing stories of women from a male lens and start showing the more accurate depictions of the struggles of women onscreen? Rather than focussing on the commercial aspects and having a male hero shine light on women’s issues, it would be a good idea to start letting the women shine more.

Chhapaak (2020), Thappad, (2020), Dear Zindagi (2016), Lipstick Under My Burkha (2017), Dolly Kitty Aur Vo Chamakte Sitare (2020) have been good examples of such movies that have done both socially and commercially well, proof that such movies get in the moolah too.

While Jayeshbhai Jordar is a good attempt and an honest attempt to deal with the issue of female foeticide in a funny way that will appeal to viewers, male saviour sagas should now take a back seat, and let women speak for themselves, with the power of a decent budget behind such movies.

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About the Author

Nishtha Pandey

I read, I write, I dream and search for the silver lining in my life. Being a student of mass communication with literature and political science I love writing about things that bother me. Follow read more...

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