Sunday, September 25, 2016

Aanchal Arora - 'Pink' Is A Powerful Film, Yet It's Also A Failure

Why I call Pink a failure is because it is yet another film that is unwittingly increasing the gap between the intellectual haves and have-nots.

The hall was half-filled, and around 70% of the audience comprised men/boys who were compulsively making fun of all the designed-to-be empathetic situations shown in the movie. To give you a glimpse, if the men who molested the girls in the movie said, "We need to teach these girls a lesson," the audience in the theatre would go, "Haan bey, behen***d kuch zyaada udti hai ladkiyan aajkal (Oh yeah sister---r, girls these days are losing sight of their limits)." They laughed throughout Amitabh Bachchan's heavy-duty court monologues and spewed abuse in the name of jokes for most of the movie's running length.

My reaction to them? I assertively told them that the hall was not their drawing room within the first five minutes of the movie. The result? I was warned by one of them to shut up. I changed my seat—I was on a holiday and didn't want to pick a fight and spoil it for myself (which is extremely unlike me, but anyway). During the interval, on my way back from the washroom, I walked into PVR manager's small cabin and requested him to ask these men to maintain some decorum. Like the police authorities in the movie, pat came his reply that he would "try." No-one came post the interval to check on these men. I wouldn't say that the fear the girls on screen felt in the first few minutes was a macrocosm of what girls like me feel each time we're alone and confront a male or several males superior in strength, but the feeling is somewhat similar.

Why I call Pink a failure is because it is yet another film that is unwittingly increasing the gap between the intellectual haves and have-nots. The movie was based on three metro-city women who were victimized because of patriarchal men subscribing to a feudal mindset. I still consider these men as the intellectual haves of our society. As one penetrates the tier-2 and -3 cities and villages of India, one realizes how the possibility of a dialogue or a court case does not even occur in such incidents. I strongly believe that the men in the theatre today do not have the mental acumen to engage with such movies. The male ego is way too strong for most men to give space to any other gender in their heads. This is not the first time I have seen this amongst Indian men. I travel to remote locations and I interact enough to know that concepts like "consent" and "marital rape" are alien to most of the households in India. I mean, leave alone wider society, even most parents being okay about women drinking and partying independently is a distant possibility.

I am not undermining the plight of the characters of the three women in the movie, butpost-December 16, 2012, I've become extremely wary of the metro-relatability factor. Scores of other rapes happened on the same day in other parts of the country, as many others have happened since, but our society remains sharply divided. It's about time we dissipated our collective angers, energies, and messages to the intellectual have-nots of the society. Crimes against women cannot really be combated by law and brute police force alone. Excuse me for the repetition, but we all know how these crimes (including patriarchy) are social in nature… read more: