By Shilpika Srivastava
Amidst the melodramatic movies that continue to take over the Bollywood, here comes a movie that dares to raise the moot issue of the sexuality of a disabled.
A movie so delightfully and breezily delivered that it never seems like a work-out in politically correct awareness-raising. The central romance of the movie blossoms naturally and the movie’s protagonist matures in many ways, not just as a woman dealing with cerebral palsy. From New Delhi to New York and back, she explores her sexual urges and grows emotionally, from a rugged teenager surrounded by parents at home to an uninhibited, happy, independent woman, who is much content to hit a bar by herself and ask for Margarita, With A Straw.
No, Margarita, With A Straw does not need an applause because of director Shonali Bose’s courage to make an exceptional movie on a specially-abled teenager, who is inquisitive about her sexual desires, but for the way Bose communicates protagonist’s journey to self-discovery.
The movie, which releases in Indian theaters tomorrow, April 17th, 2015, has not only managed to garner enough eye balls from all over the world, but has also earned huge accolades at international film festivals. The movie bravely shows the everyday tussle of the protagonist, Laila (played by Kalki Koechlin), and how she embarks her journey to seek love and acceptance.
However, the question is why the debate over a specially-abled person only starts in India after a subject-centric movie releases or an incident happens? Remember, how Taare Zameen Par had put forward the issue of a dyslexic child in India? Be it on news channels or the regular chit-chats between friends, dyslexia was the burning topic that ignited a fire in our hearts for a number of months. But, what happened after that? The topic was queerly packed and stuffed back in our subconscious minds. I am afraid that the same might happen with Margarita, With A Straw, or the ‘issue’ of the specially-abled people, to be precise.
The resident of East Delhi’s I.P. Extension, a mother of a beautiful autistic daughter tells NewsGram how the Indian society is biased towards the specially-abled people.
She says, “My daughter only knows a few basic words to communicate her few basic needs. She is a hyper active kid. She tells me stories about her school friends and the girly talks they discuss. It’s so normal. Like any other teenager, she also has a few desires, both psychological and physical. After all, she is also growing just like any other girl.”
Her pain was completely evident when she expressed, “I am constantly scared, not that my daughter is autistic and I worry for her future. I am scared for the way the society treats her, the way men gaze at her, the way she is treated when we go to a restaurant. I keep telling everyone that she is perfectly normal. She is not a character, but a free and absolutely normal individual.”
Margarita, With A Straw, no doubt, has created ripples about the treatment of specially-abled people in the society even before its release. Yes, the specially-abled can be bisexual too, they can also have crushes, they too can dream to be a DJ or a doctor. The issue is not with them. The issue is with us, the so called ‘normal’ people. It’s us who need to cut down on our biased behaviors and ideologies that stay somewhere deep down within us.