There are many things about being an Indian that I am extremely jingoistic about. No two ways about it. In the same vein, though, there are things I do not completely comprehend when it comes to showcasing the Indian ‘psyche’ as it were, on a public forum. It is a bizarre yet consistently re-appearing theme that has me almost convinced that whatever happens in real life, the average Indian does not want to be held up close with anything that is remotely realistic.
The premise is this – the chastity of a woman. The holy citadel of womanhood that has been documented and re-defined in so many media sources. Be it television, movies, books, the Internet – what have you. It is maybe from the deep rooted male chauvinistic chutzpah that such themes emerge out of, given the gay abundance with which ‘rules’ are written back home. Or maybe it is the lack of confidence a movie maker has in his/her audience that makes it almost impossible to imagine a scenario where the leading man – almost always a virgin – consistently ends up with a girl with no known history of intimate relationships.
In a day and age where the buzzword ‘casual fling’ went ahead and became ‘casual sex’, it is rather disappointing to see our frontline film makers still making the non-chaste women of the celluloid take a backseat. A tragic trend. Possibly a dangerous one.
I recently saw Ashutosh Gowariker’s latest flick ‘Whats your Rashee?’ having been familiar with his previous work’s quality. Let us set aside the ‘review’ part of that movie and focus on the girl Hansa. Considering I shouldn’t divulge who the hero eventually chooses for those who do not know it yet, all I can reveal is that it is not Hansa. And this bothers me.
It bothers me for two important reasons – one, given that Hansa made it public knowledge about her sexual encounter with a fellow who later took off on her, her stark reality goes unrewarded. The second reason this doesn’t slide down my system is that the hero, eventually ends up with a girl who isn’t Hansa and seems extremely pleased by it (read who isn’t shown as someone with such a past). There is quite a lot of loopholes here that beg for some serious explaining. Did the hero not choose Hansa since he actually didn’t want a ‘non-chaste’ bride? Or is it that he figured the relationship wouldn’t last since the girl would never get over her ex? Or was it the possibility that the hero felt more sympathy towards her rather than genuine affection? No idea.
Something similar had happened in a popular Kannada feature ‘Gaalipata’ a couple of years ago. The hero does end up with a widow but we are told her husband died the very day she got married! This, needless to say, ensures that the woman is kept chaste for all intents and purposes.
As much as I am aware this is a sensitive topic for most, it still seemed like something that needed to be addressed. I think Indian cinema has come a long way and I wonder if it is time to start tasting some bitter reality rather than hide behind the garb of farcical plots and unreasonable climaxes. Maybe that would ensure a hit? Just that miniscule ounce of reality in a mega mass garbage of fiction? I am not sure.
Either way. I still wish Hansa had made the cut. It would have made the 3.5 hours of an otherwise semi-decent fare much worth the effort for me.
Posted by Shashi Krishna