Can Our Movies Please Stop Stereotyping The Family Lives Of Service Personnel?

Army personnel often have better family relationships than ordinary people, because they truly understand the value of being separated from their loved ones while they are away, serving the nation.

Media and movies are a representation of our lives but in order to make it a masala series we are propagating stereotypes as if they were the truth.

Stereotypes are meant to be demolished. If they are not broken, they rust the roots to the point where everything becomes entangled in these thoughts and is accepted as truth! 

Let me write my heart out about one such instance before it becomes a reality or a benchmark and I hope you’ll agree to some extent, if not completely, with it.

Disappointing representation

I recently spent a lot of time on Netflix because I wasn’t in the mood to do anything productive this long weekend. I watched a few films. Movies like Sooryavanshi, Class of 83, and The Bard of the Blood.

Despite the fact that my fellow writer friends on various platforms were recording their thoughts on the same films, I encountered something in common with all of them. Relationships have broken down in their own home. This forced me to think about it once. These people are respected by us. They are on one of those jobs where not only courage but the undeniable force is required to serve the nation.

What was common in the films mentioned above was that there had to be one instance where the male protagonist had to cross the line of family safety in order to serve the nation, which resulted in strained relations with his family. Put your child’s life in danger in order to solve the case, leave your wife on her deathbed without concern, or even hold grudges against them and have difficult relationships.

Aren’t we creating a new stigma by repeating the same plot? 

This is a question from everyone! Whether a member of an official’s family or a regular citizen. A job like this requires bravery, promises, and the willingness to give up everything you own in an instant. 

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On the other hand, when I watched Shershaah, I realised it was based on the true storey of Cap. Vikram Batra, in which his better half is living a life dedicated to the martyred army officer even though they aren’t married.

The difficult lives of the families of army personnel

In my previous job, I was surrounded by such ladies who are wives, daughters, and mothers of Indian army personnel, and I realised that these people have better connections than ordinary people because they truly understand the value of being separated from their loved ones while they are away, serving the nation. I have a good understanding of how these people deal with their difficulties. Most of the time, they are simply proud of the person who has chosen to serve the country. 

Mothers of such service members must have a strong heart to abandon their children in difficult circumstances.

I visited Ladakh last year and went to the Ladakh museum, which depicts the lives of those stationed there. It’s not just the war; there’s also the weather, frostbites, landslides, and a lot more! 

Do not stereotype our service personnel and their families

My heart is breaking as I make this attempt, and I implore Bollywood to stop portraying broken relationships just to add masala to the story and show some maturity. We owe these people a debt of gratitude. 

Furthermore, infidelity, in my opinion, is a choice rather than an opportunity. It doesn’t just happen when you’re alone or away from your loved one; it can happen for a variety of reasons. In the movies I mentioned above, it was simply distance and duty that caused the family relationships to be strained. When I saw this in four consecutive movies, it broke my heart. 

I salute the Indian Army for its selfless service, and I especially salute their families. 

Let us not create more stereotypes for future generations to ask, “How difficult is it for the family to live like this?” or “Isn’t the other half having any extra-marital affairs?” With increased awareness, we are seeing more women in the army as well, which is a source of pride for their husbands and family members, rather than a reason to have onerous relations. 

Image source: a still from the film Sooryavanshi

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About the Author

Geetika K. Bakshi

A passionate scribbler and wishful bread earner. A working professional in an embassy and a freelancer French language trainer. A voracious reader and loves to connect readers and writers. Author of Ibiza by Geetika Kaura ( read more...

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