Subscribe to FII's WhatsApp

Posted by Aswini Ashok

Lately, there is a surge in the movies centered on women. Don’t ask why there is no such thing as men-centric anything. Men are by default everything. However, the more relevant phrase to describe the so-called women-centric has to be “women-body-centric politics”. The politics around women’s body have been done to death by men (in real and reel), yet, there seems to be no end to their impositions. Women across the world are still fighting for political control over their own bodies. From anti-abortion laws to marital rapes the politics around women’s body has always been at the receiving end of the arrogance of predominantly men lawmakers than the plight of fighting women.

Cinema in the form of pop culture has always been adamant in infusing regressive (mostly about women) thoughts so much so that it has become a norm. Three movies I watched this week brought into picture three different aspects of women’s body politics. Parvathi’s ‘Uyare’ dealt with men’s notion of sabotaging a woman’s appearance to destroy her. Tapsee’s ‘Game over’ on vandalising a woman physically and mentally by sexual assault and cyber-crime and Amala Paul’s ‘Aadai’ dealt with the ‘shame’ associated with women’s body; the one by which women are made to see themselves as lesser beings.

While Uyare and Gameover challenged the notions it addressed and made the protagonists come out of the trauma with flying colors, Aadai’s approach falls flat, making the “shero” reduce herself from her actual self and fit into something else that was problematic.

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-TMm36Fev7xo/XV64GXFkOmI/AAAAAAAAJCQ/uk19gXGsizAbDQvtIuEeoEVP-Hj0uTYNQCLcBGAs/s320/pjimage.jpg

Amala Paul’s Aadai 

A full-length feature film of the scene from Endhiran where a girl commits suicide after being carried ‘naked’ in open by the robot.

A free-spirited girl reducing her spirits to show that she has transformed to be a “real” feminine icon is such a disgrace to femininity itself. The usual challenge posed by men to women on grounds of equality is “I can go topless, can you?” The basic understanding of this question leads to a simple answer. Women have the moral decency to not harass anyone irrespective of their clothing or even the lack of it and men lack that decency to return that favour. Hence, all the problems associated with women’s body is primarily because men are d**kheads, having written and executed all the rules of the game in favour of them.

But, the movie goes on to say through a song that all games (read: freedom) need to be played with rules. But, sir, have you gotten our approval for your rules? If there are any rules in the first place it has to be common for all the players. You could not have taken the same movie replacing the female protagonist with a male, then what rules are you talking about? The movie also goes on to lecture how the freedom of a flag cannot go beyond the pole and not to misuse the freedom ‘granted’ upon. The movie falls in the small vicious circle that women have enough freedom already and it is only that they are misusing it inviting troubles to themselves.

The politics around women’s body have been done to death by men (in real and reel), yet, there seems to be no end to their impositions. Women across the world are still fighting for political control over their own bodies.

The most shameless scene of the movie is undoubtedly Kamini telling to herself that she will go home with ‘Manam’ and her mom’s pride will just not be busted-sending seriously gross messages to a society that still un-dignifies rape victims than rapists. The movie also plays it cleverly by making her male friends noble creatures. It would have been at least half logical if they had made a male friend of her be the reason behind her ‘naked’ state. After all, nobody is going to deny “Men will be men always”. But they want men to come clean out of it. Another interesting angle to be noted in this movie as mentioned in Roundtableindia’s article is that Nangeli’s fight was against the feudal caste system not just her right to dress. The movie also had the audacity to twist tales and tell through a ‘Nangeli’ to the women population that it was not what she died for.

Parvati’s Uyare

Of an acid attack survivor fighting for her career and justice.

The movie does justice in portraying how such toxic relationships formulate in the first place. It was at a tender age when the only thing required for a person is compassion. And when there seems a lack of it from the family, most of the people, teenagers, in particular, make wrong choices. But, it is women who suffer the inability to come out of it, convinced themselves that they are ‘indebted’ to fill all the blanks their partner demands. But, at one point when they acquire enough educational and mental power, all hells break loose. That is also when the psychic men reach their epitome to make it hell for women. The trial scenes showcase how the primitive mindset of making the abuser a savior by wedlock, is still prevalent in the Indian society.

Also read: Naachiyaar And What It Means For Female Representation In Tamil Cinema

The movie also showcases beautiful female friendship in overcoming the trauma. The father’s character is one of the most well written of any times. He stands by her side with nothing but lending his shoulder. Opening up new dimensions in Indian parenting, he also goes to great heights to talk to his daughter’s boyfriend to not be in haste as her daughter has a dream to live for. The most noteworthy thing about the movie is it in no way snatched the credits from the survivor. Everyone else in her life had only been allies from the outside. It was she who made the change. A true warrior. It also questions us on our notions of beauty and how thick-headed we as a society fails women survivors.

While Uyare and Gameover challenged the notions it addressed and made the protagonists come out of the trauma with flying colors, Aadai’s approach falls flat, making the “shero” reduce herself from her actual self and fit into something else that was problematic.

Tapsee’s Gameover

Dealing with an emotional and physical block, a woman’s fight against serial killers.

The movie is brilliant in all the sense that finally, we got to watch a women-centric movie that centered only on women. All the women characters were written so neatly, forming an emotional bond between themselves. There are poignant yet heartwarming scenes in the movie capturing the bond women share. Contrary to the stereotypes always made to believe like “Women are women’s best enemies”, the movie shows how women can bring transforming changes in another woman’s life just through kindness and an open heart. The movie also sensitively deals with sexual assault and the trauma that follows. It doesn’t shun away from showing even parents, victim-blaming their own daughter for whatever happened to her. The post-incident trauma of the survivor was put aptly by the words of the survivor herself-that all is not over with just a legal solution. The scene where random men shame the survivor with the leaked RAPE video where she was handcuffed and tied shows the actual sorry state of the society we live in..

It is up to one’s beliefs to believe a dead person has somehow helped a living person to fight. But it was emphasized more on the psychological state of mind of the duo. However, the whole concept of the women being in ally with each other psychologically and spiritually fighting for both have come out so meaningful.

Also read: Dear Tamil Cinema, Let Brown Women Play The Role Of Brown Women

The success of a story lies in how well we are able to connect with it. Putting ourselves in the narrator’s shoes and living their life. As a woman, If I were a survivor, I would find power in associating myself with the women portrayed in Gameover and Uyare. Even if the whole world is cruel to me and the ground under me would collapse, I would be able to make peace with myself if I shall put across a fight remotely close to those braveheart women put. Whereas if I were to be so engrossed to think that my pride lies in not even telling my ‘naked’ state to 2 women I get to speak over the phone and an SOS call to the police easily available, I would not just be arrogant but insolent to the millions of women in the world who constantly fight patriarchy that keeps shaming me for being under my own skin.


Aswini is a learning feminist evolving through experience and opinions. She questions everything, never settles for inequality, loves to travel and adding voice to her pen. You can find her on Facebook.

Leave a Reply