Bollywood

We still need feminism because…

…gender equality is considered a ‘ladies’ problem.

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Mardaani isn’t great but you should watch it anyway

Warning: Mild spoilers ahead

I’ve been sceptical about Bollywood’s new found interest in woman-centric films. Some of the movies come across as knock-offs. Like a good copies of a designer bag, they look right but don’t feel genuine.

Similarly, Mardaani’s message of women’s empowerment feels flawed. Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukherjee) is a cop who vows to bring unravel a child trafficking ring that abducts young girls and sells them into prostitution.

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Bollywood and body image

I have a friend who regularly trashes Sonakshi Sinha by calling her names such as haathi. Every time, I defend Sonakshi Sinha and argue that we should commend her for embracing her body, rather than giving in and losing weight as convention demands. Sadly, it’s not just this one person who makes such comments and the comments are not restricted only to Sonakshi Sinha. We feel entitled to judge Bollywood actors for their bodies and we hold them up to standards which are incredibly narrow: The women must appear slim and toned. They must not appear too muscular and definitely should not have six-pack abs. On the other hand, abs are totally, absolutely, completely mandatory for men. And unlike the average Indian man, they must be as hairless as a plucked chicken. (more…)

The objectification of women in Bollywood item songs

Are Bollywood item songs anti-feminist? This burning question came to me after watching Sunny Leone gyrate to Baby Doll Main Sone Ki from Ragini MMS 2 for the millionth time, whose lyrics so obviously objectify and de-humanise women.

This had to be a slam dunk – Surely the answer is staring us in the face (“item” song) and don’t we have our answer already when we consider “Is this something men are worried about?”, also discussed in my previous post.

But the more “performance numbers” (I am using the term as a substitute for item song) I watched on YouTube, the more convinced I was that the answer wasn’t as simple.

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Queen: A feminist review

Sometimes, I feel like we watch Bollywood films with bated breath, and fervently wait for them to put a foot wrong. There are movies that I’ve really wanted to enjoy but have almost always left me disappointed (Sanjay Leela Bhansali, I am looking at you).

I was in a similar situation with Queen. The film is written and directed by Vikas Bahl, and produced by Phantom Films, which he jointly owns with progressive directors Anurag Kashyap (of Dev D and Gangs of Wasseypur), Vikramaditya Motwane (of Lootera and Udaan) and Madhu Mantera.

The film is entirely based on the trials and tribulations of “homely” Rani (Kangana Ranaut) after she gets dumped at the mandap by smarmy asshole Vijay (Rajkummar Rao). Rani, who by this point has plenty sunao-ed her honeymoon plans to everyone from best friend to bank cashier, is reluctant to let go of her holiday. And so, we are taken on a hilarious coming-of-age journey across Paris and Amsterdam.

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