Friday November 22, 2019
Home Entertainment Bollywood Fil...

Bollywood Film “Pink” focuses on India’s Struggle with sexual violence against Women

Playing to packed halls, the movie underlines India's struggle with patriarchal attitudes and the need for a male-dominated society to respect choices women make

2
//
Shohini Ghosh, a professor of mass communication at Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi, says the most radical message of "Pink" is that "it is not just a question of [a woman's] right to say no [to sexual advances], but the right to say no even when your sexual conduct may be trangressive of normative conventions." VOA

The Bollywood film “Pink,” which is about three women who are victims of unwanted sexual advances, has struck a deep chord in a country where sexual violence against women hit headlines after the horrific 2012 gang rape of a college student in the Indian capital.

Playing to packed halls, the movie underlines India’s struggle with patriarchal attitudes and the need for a male-dominated society to respect choices women make.

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who plays the role of a defence attorney, says, “I think Pink is not film — it has become a movement.”

NewsGram brings to you latest new stories in India.

The story centres on how three young men vow to teach a lesson to the three working, single women living in New Delhi after one of them hits one of the men with a liquor bottle when he fails to accept her rejection of his advances. The man has powerful political connections.

The girls are stalked, and the one who struck the man is sexually assaulted and charged with attempted murder.

The film "Pink," starring Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan, sends out a powerful message about the need to respect choices women make. (A. Pasricha/VOA)
The film “Pink,” starring Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan, sends out a powerful message about the need to respect choices women make. (A. Pasricha/VOA)

Women blamed

In the courtroom drama that follows, the lawyer for the young man portrays the women as having loose character because they party, drink, live away from their families and wear modern clothes.

The defense counsel focuses his case on the fact that his client rejected the man’s advances. “I said no,” she says.

He wraps up his case with a speech that has made a powerful impact.

” ‘No’ is an entire sentence in itself,” the defence lawyer says. “No means no, and when somebody says it, you stop … and the woman could be your friend, your partner, your girlfriend, or a sex worker, or even if it’s your own wife.”

Go to NewsGram and check out news related to political current issues.

The words have won a massive endorsement among audiences and on social media in a male-dominated society where the notion of consent is virtually nonexistent. Women say they feel empowered after seeing the film, in which the charges against the woman are dropped.

‘A real-life situation’

Many said they could empathise easily with what was depicted. Pooja Prasad, 28, an art and culture consultant in New Delhi, never felt like she was watching a movie as she saw “Pink”.

“It just felt like a real-life situation that we go through every day,” she said.

The Indian capital is regarded as one of the country’s most unsafe cities for women.

Shohini Ghosh, a professor of mass communication at Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi, said, “The film’s most radical message is that it is not just a question of the right to say no, but the right to say no even when your sexual conduct may be trangressive of normative conventions.”

That is being seen as important in a country where it is often suggested that rape victims bring attacks upon themselves with their conduct.

Look for latest news from India in NewsGram.

“If she goes on a rape trial, the question is of her character,” Ghosh said.

Incidents of rape in India have highlighted the problem of sexual violence in both rural and urban areas.

In the country’s sprawling metros such as New Delhi, many see this as a clash of the old and new India.

Changing male mindset

In the last two decades, the rapid pace of economic change has brought many women into India’s metros, made them financially independent and led them to push back traditional boundaries. But that often leads to conflict if it is not matched by a change in male attitudes, as the movie “Pink” shows.

Although laws to deal with violence against women have been strengthened, women activists have stressed that societal transformation will happen only when the problem is tackled at the level of male mindsets.

After watching "Pink" with a friend, Jaya Meena said she thinks the film underscores the idea that boys should be brought up to respect women. (A. Pasricha/VOA)
After watching “Pink” with a friend, Jaya Meena said she thinks the film underscores the idea that boys should be brought up to respect women. (A. Pasricha/VOA)

Among those who hope that the message of “Pink” will make a difference is Jaya Meena, who recently completed her postgraduate studies. She said it underlined the need to focus on how boys are raised.

“We only teach girls to behave according to our culture,” she said, adding that boys should be made to “understand how to respect women.”

The Bollywood movie will add new energy to the debate on the treatment of women that has been underway in India for some time.

“The film is a product of its times, and it is actually representing to us the different, conflictive points of view at this moment that exist in society,” Ghosh said. (VOA)

  • Diksha Arya

    Well I read somewhere that the original ending was different than the one in the movie.. In the original ending the girls were accused of prostitution and attempt to murder…

  • Antara

    ‘Pink’ was a much needed movie for the present day Indian audience.

Next Story

Bollywood Megastar Amitabh Bachchan Completes Five Decades in B-town

Big B's tryst with honing his craft continues, with the eagerness of a newcomer -- as is visible in every new film. Perhaps that is the secret of his excellence and survival

0
Amitabh Bachchan. Wikimedia Commons

BY SUGANDHA RAWAL

Amitabh Bachchan’s journey of five decades to become the Bollywood “Shahenshah” was not always a smooth ride. Indeed, his life is nothing short of brilliant biopic material. Early rejections were followed by a phase when he made his mark as a promising actor, which was soon overshadowed by the kind of superstardom Bollywood never saw before or after. When the superstar tried his hand at film entrepreneurship, he went bankrupt, only to bounce back and claim supremacy as a super brand and respectability as an icon.

The first reaction of the industry all those years ago, however, was far from welcoming. His tall and lanky frame, and the baritone of his voice, were deemed unsuitable for Bollywood’s image of a perfect hero back then. These factors were pointed out as flaws, and reasons why he wouldn’t be able to make it big in the industry.

Today, he is the face of Indian cinema all over the world, and for decades he has been drawing his USP from those very attributes that were considered drawbacks back then.

“Saat Hindustani”, released on November 7 1969, marks the start of his salad phase. The son of celebrated poet Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan started his journey as one of seven protagonists in the film, which didn’t exactly mark a blockbuster debut.

The first time he was seriously noticed was when he essayed a supporting role in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Rajesh Khanna-starrer “Anand” (1971). Despite the presence of Khanna, the reigning superstar of the times, Bachchan grabbed attention in the role of Dr. Bhaskar Banerjee.

Despite getting noticed in “Anand”, Bachchan had to see a phase of brief struggle, despite a long list of releases such as a “Parwana”, “Reshma Aur Shera”, “Sanjog”, “Bombay To Goa”, “Ek Nazar”, “Bansi Birju”, “Raaste Kaa Patthar” and “Bandhe Haath”.

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan at the 23rd Star Screen Awards 2016. Twitter

If his career is to be divided in phases, those early films, which also included “Chupke Chupke” and “Abhimaan”, could be termed as the Hrishikesh Mukherjee era. By the time Bachchan was co-starring with Rajesh Khanna in Mukherjee’s 1973 release “Namak Haraam”, people had already started talking of the tall, dark and brooding actor as the man who would be Bollywood’s next king.

It happened the same year, with Prakash Mehra’s “Zanjeer”. Rooted deep in angst and emotions attached to middle-class India, and delving into complex aspects of human lives, Bollywood’s “Angry Young Man” was born in Prakash Mehra’s 1973 hit, “Zanjeer”.

The film, riding the powerful writing by Salim Khan and Javed Akthar, went on to usher the era of violence and intense drama in Bollywood cinema. As Bachchan began rewriting cinematic trends for the Hindi film industry, Rajesh Khanna’s romantic era became history. The Salim-Javed phase of Amitabh Bachchan’s career began.

The Salim-Javed scripts that would go on to define Bachchan’s Angry Young Man image were “Deewar”, “Sholay”, “Trishul”, “Don”, “Kaala Patthar”, “Dostana”, Shaan” and “Shakti”. These films mark the zenith of the actor’s superstardom, cementing his permanent position in the industry.

Salim-Javed’s intense image for Bachchan was best interpreted by Prakash Mehra (“Zanjeer”), Yash Chopra (“Deewar”, “Trishul”, “Kaala Patthar”), and Ramesh Sippy (“Sholay”, “Shakti”).

Bachchan also proved to a peerless comic hero and entertainer in the Manmohan Desai films of the era, notably in “Parvarish”, “Suhaag”, “Amar Akbar Anthony”, “Naseeb” and “Desh Premee”.

"The idea is to reshuffle the side and come with a much stronger and dynamic team,"
Amitabh Bachchan. Wikimedia Commons

“Besharam”, “Muqaddar Ka Sikandar”, “Mr. Natwarlal”, “Silsila”, “Satte Pe Satta” and “Namak Halaal” were a few other films that highlight his career as Bollywood’s biggest commercial phenomenon in the seventies and the eighties.

As he was busy making his mark, he was struck with the accident on the “Coolie” set, but that didn’t deter him to lose focus from his goal. The film went on to be a big hit when it released in 1983.

By the time he won his first National Award for “Agneepath” (1990), Big B’s popularity was sky-high.

The slowdown started sometime in the mid-nineties, after he launched his company, Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited (ABCL). Big B, as he was being hailed by fans the media alike by now, somehow could not take to the world of business with the same effortless brilliance as acting. The failure of his entrepreneurial dreams also affected his box-office performances. Films such as “Mrityudaata”, “Sooryavansham”, “Major Saab”, “Lal Baadshah”, and “Kohram” crashed in succession in the mid to late nineties. In David Dhawan’s much hyped 1998 Diwali release “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan”, fans felt he was overshadowed by Govinda.

Big B needed reinvention, and there started a new phase in his career.

It happened on the small screen, as he took to hosting the quiz show “Kaun Banega Crorepati” in 2000. Entering the living rooms of fans every weekday with a fresh set of questions for contestants, Amitabh Bachchan became a knowledge guru of sorts — perfectly in sync with his advancing age. The Angry Young Man of yore metamorphosed into the Wise Seasoned Celebrity, and new-age Indian television’s biggest phenomenon was born.

Much of what he has done over the past two decades resonates the icon that the KBC phase of Bachchan’s superstardom is defined by. The quiz show, after all, helped him find a solid comeback as a big screen phenomenon, defying age and stereotypes.

Also Read: Amazon to e-tail Himachali Wares Locally, Globally: Report

Creditable projects of this phase include “Mohabbatein”, “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…”, “Aankhen”, “Kaante”, “Baghban”, “Khakee”, “Black”, “Bunty Aur Babli”, “Bhoothnath”, “Paa”, “Bol Bachchan”, “Piku”, “Wazir”, “Te3n”, “Pink”, “102 Not Out” and “Badla”.

He would win three more National Awards during this phase — for “Black” (2005), “Paa” (2009) and “Piku” (2015). This year he has been declared recipient of Dadasaheb Phalke Award for his contribution to Indian cinema.

Despite being 77, he continues to be one of Bollywood’s busiest actors. His upcoming line-up includes “Chehre”, “Gulabo Sitabo”, “Brahmastra”, “Jhund” and “Aankhen 2”.

Big B’s tryst with honing his craft continues, with the eagerness of a newcomer — as is visible in every new film. Perhaps that is the secret of his excellence and survival. (IANS)