What's Wrong with Amour!
Recently a film director made the pugnacious statement that the Hindi film's image of the woman has always been that of the 'harassed' individual subject to lewd approaches by the hero of the movie, and finally succumbing to his charms. The idea is that the male is projected with a macho image, and the woman initially resisting to his overtures finally giving in and capitulating. This is a fresh salvo fired by a maker of Hindi movies himself. The Times Of India initiated a debate on this, and one of the respondents found the statement self contradictory, as the man who made this castigation, himself directs such movies. Moreover the writer went on to give examples as to how untrue this was, as many of the films projected the heroine herself making advances!
In whichever way you see it both these projections of the heroine, one harassed and the other playing the pivotal role to run after the man, portray a denigrating world view of women. I am sorry to say, but this is true that the Hindi film has shown women as objects of desire, where the macho driven hero continually persists to tease and torment his ' lover ' till she gives in to his egocentric love. And this has been the narrative since the sixties. The woman is surrounded by her cohorts, mostly bad looking, and our hero finally chooses the best looking, titilating her into his erogeneous zone. Once the Film Censors Board made a stricture on ''kissing'' in films, and sought to ban it as vulgarity. The irony was that many more suggestible scenes of sexual affront were not censored, but kissing was made out to be a vulgar extravaganza! This was not only strange, it made a travesty of doing away with obscenity in films. Kissing as an honest statement of a relationship, was seen as a perversity, but the male dominated world playing around with the curvaceous body of his bikini clad heroine, with tremulous fingers was not seen as something coarse or vulgar. In the process many suggestive scenes aroused the curiosity of a suppressed thinking of 'conservative' societies.
This has led to a totally amoral view of sex, and the Indian male point of view happens to be gratification and sexist in this context, polemical as this might sound. Similarly the idiot box, living up to its name has been churning out serials and reality shows, of the most vulgar kind, where things such as extra marital sex are shown with alacrity. This can have the most unsalutary effect especially on young minds, leading to the downfall of the culture of reading good books.
There is nothing to feel flustered by what the Director has said, he has made an honest statement, and subconsciously may even be pleading guilty! We need to anatomize culture effect of such films, where male tastes are prurient and used to subjugate the women they desire.
The box is not idiot, it is we who have converted it into idiocy, leading to a denigration of values and palpable crimes such as rape.
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Ananya S Guha
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