Anjali Menon’s Film, Wonder Women Is Wholesome And Real

Anjali Menon’s Wonder Women is a breath of fresh air as it stitches together a healthy sisterhood that does not lean on the crutch of ill-treatment at the hands of their men.

 

Finally, here comes a movie that delves on pregnancy — a subject that most film-makers would not touch even with a barge pole —  and on top of that, depicts women as we are, without melodrama and heart-wrenching trauma.

Anjali Menon’s Wonder Women adores pregnancy, without putting it up on a pedestal as the be all and end all of womanhood, and simply portrays the management of this transformational phase in a woman’s life. This is a novel and an exhilarating movie-watching experience.

Hats off to Anjali for squashing the stereotypical pitiable, retching, hapless pregnant woman that we have been treated to on celluloid for countless years.

Look around. Pregnant women are travelling to work in crowded trains and buses, taking part in walkathons, calling the shots from behind a camera in a hot and humid movie set, or continuing to perform home chores.

Yet, most film makers do not align with this reality and continue to portray pregnancy as a weakness.

Anjali presents them as they are in real time

You are not sick. You are pregnant,” says Nandita, one of the protagonists in Wonder Women. I say she is one of the protagonists because there are seven of them, each bringing a distinct character hue to the plot.

Sumana, the pre-natal wellness centre run by Nandita is at the centre of the story, where a new batch of pregnant women is slowly settling in. All, except Gracy, are expecting their first child.

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The story runs consistently on a track that does not even once dip deeper into backstories of trauma or melodrama. And for me, here lies the merit of the movie. This where the movie becomes totally relatable.

Real life is full of short-term upheavals

Real people in the real world do not always carry around deep-rooted emotional scars. Short-term emotional upheavals are more the norm. Short-term insecurity, short-term anger, fear, low self-esteem, the temporary need for space in a relationship… are more common than deeply-embedded emotional disorders.

Pregnancy is known to be one such phase that pitches women on an emotional roller-coaster ride. The message that is driven home persistently in the movie is that this is a phase and one can learn to deal with it.

Anjali’s Wonder Women come from financially well-off backgrounds to be able to afford pre-natal wellness and care at Sumana. For a moment, I did feel that Nandita’s credentials could have been better established.

However, I was also relieved that Anjali does not spoon-feed the viewer, and leaves it to our intellect and logic to draw our own inferences.

The story is a breath of fresh air as it stitches together a healthy sisterhood that does not lean on the crutch of ill-treatment at the hands of their men.

The women come together because of a common milestone in their lives. There is no unnecessary footage dedicated to the men of the women. They are present unremarkably on the canvas.

Top grades for the cast, the direction, and the background score. Performances are subtle and refined, and therefore brilliant. There are no characters spouting tedious and philosophical dialogues about motherhood.

A wholesome depiction

There is no spiel on woman v/s man v/s nature v/s society. It is a wholesome depiction of an experience of transformation during pregnancy — the transformation of emotions and relationships.

Anjali’s Wonder Women is pregnant with good vibes. It is teary in parts, but in a good way. It holds tremendous promise for the portrayal of women in cinema — of women in their real skins — with no drama, no shouting-from-the-roof-tops messages, and most importantly, with no axe to grind with anyone.

It is about women and how they feel during pregnancy. Period.

As before, Anjali Menon has delivered a bony baby!

Image source: Still from trailer of Wonder Women, edited on CanvaPro

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Lata Gwalani

I am a writer and I love to play the narrator of human experiences, transporting readers to a place where the lives of strong people with endearing flaws entwine in equally intriguing plots and landscapes. read more...

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