Several recent mainstream Hindi films have dealt with issues of sexuality and gender not usually discussed in the intended audience’s drawing rooms.
Paromitar Ek Din is a study in female subjectivity – it is essentially a woman telling the story (or rather, recollecting the story) of another woman, and reflecting upon themes of sexuality, oppression, and gender-based discrimination.
Over time, I realised that ‘home’ meant not just the physical and emotional space occupied by my parents, but also a set of practices or strictures, mostly dictated by parents, related to gender roles, religion, sex, marriage, friendships and ‘appropriate’ behaviour.
The very last lines of a film are the voice-over by the hero, “Someday I will convince her to… marry me”….
Five sex workers – four women and one man – along with the filmmaker/narrator embark on a journey of storytelling….
The women in Parched (2015) are sitting and chatting, seemingly free from their daily oppression for once, when a cell…
The Church says: the body is a sin Science says: the body is a machine Advertising says: the body is…
Who fights, who flees and who flows with the tide? Branching off from the community, with all the comforts that it offers, can become a true test of character.This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Partition of India – a significant chapter in our history when millions of people were faced with this dilemma.
For many of us careening to adulthood at the time, these films pushed us to confront our own biases. They asked us to stand in Diane and Mansi’s shoes and ask ourselves, what would we have done? Would we spend one night with a man (Robert Redford, no less) for a million dollars? Would we be able to resist the option that opened up to Mansi? And the truth of it was that this was a difficult question to answer.
In 1994, Delhi boy Nishit Saran left home to study filmmaking at Harvard University. By 1999 he had made the searing Summer in My Veins, capturing on camera his own trepidation at coming out to his mother. It is an important, lovely and poignant film.
Don’t women lust after male bodies, don’t women fantasise? While examples abound of women chasing men, it is usually for the latter’s ‘good’ qualities – he’s brave, he’s handsome, he’s strong, he will protect, and yes, by-the-by, and it’s totally not on her mind, he has a sexy body.
Satyam Shivam Sundaram (Truth, God, Beauty) is the story of Rupa (Zeenat Aman), an archetypical abhagan (wretched girl), whose misery begins at her birth when her mother dies. She is immediately declared an accursed child and is shunned by others. Later, a freak accident results in scalding oil splashing across one side of her face, leaving her permanently scarred. Nevertheless, she goes about her daily life – alone, yet content.
The boisterous figure of Indo-Trinidadian chutney soca musician Denise “Saucy Wow” Belfon has ruffled the feathers of many an Indian-origin immigrant sentiment with her song ‘Looking for an Indian Man’.
Emmi Kurowski (Brigitte Mira), a widow in her sixties, walks into a bar to take shelter from the rain. She is met with hostile stares by a mixed group of Moroccan immigrants and Germans. As a joke, one of his friends challenges Ali (El Hedi ben Salem m’Barek Mohammed Mustafa), a young strapping Berber man, to ask her for a dance. He agrees, and thus begins a romance across the taboo lines of race and age.
Looking through the prism of Tamil cinema, a female scientist distorts the simplistic, straightforward portrayal of women that most movies adopt. Her knowledge and authority on a subject enable her to challenge the hero (gasp!) in areas that he may not know about. Often, she flaunts her sexuality; it’s brash, open and departs from norms.