Considered widely as a political ideology, feminism is “the advocacy of woman’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes” (according to Google Dictionary). Practically feminism has been a range of political and social movements to establish equality rights in societies that prioritize men. We clearly have a patriarchal society around the globe but in India, the male dominance is more prominent. Lack of education, misinterpretation of religion and conventionally biased mindset of the general public are the main reasons behind the lack of female freedom in India.
FEMINISM MOVEMENT IN INDIA
As we can conclude thus, the feminist movement and making the ignorant public aware of female rights has become extremely important. However, the feminism in India has met with severe criticism and hostility as a result of the privileges received by men since ages. After all who wants to give up on socially accepted bossing and bullying! In such a grim scenario, our Bollywood films have a significant contribution in bringing out some of the strong messages regarding female empowerment through audio-visual media.
FILMS TALK OF WOMAN’S RIGHTS
Here’s a list of the Bollywood films that uphold several demands and ideas of the Indian feminist movement.
PINK– “NO MEANS NO”, one of the strongest statements of this film which will be remembered for a long time. Pink is a film depicting a woman’s rights to her own body and condemning the masculine ideal of ‘hints’ given by women. This film bluntly gives out the socially accepted ideas of short clothes, late-night parties and engaging with boys as ‘hints’ for women inviting physical intimacy and hits on these misinterpretations with “NO MEANS NO”. ‘Sexual rights of women’ is the primary theme of this 2016 film.
LIPSTICK UNDER MY BURKHA– This 2016 ‘lady-oriented’ film faced severe criticism and issues during its release due to the boldness of the female characters and their demand for freedom. This incident clearly showed the need for feminism in India. This film clearly portrays the rights of women to live life on their own terms and decide for themselves without having their desires and dreams crushed under ages of feminine responsibilities.
CHHAPAAK– A 2020 film, ‘Chhapaak’ is based on the real story of acid-attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. This film portrays the age-old belief of male rights over a female’s decisions regarding relationships. It also successfully brings on-screen, some real-life acid-attack survivors to showcase their strength and struggle.
THAPPAD– Another 2020 film, ‘Thappad’ is based on a single slap, meted out casually on a woman by her husband. This film questions the conventional marital rules and socially accepted ideas of a husband physically harassing his wife in an attempt to discipline her. ‘Thappad’ is a literal slap on our conscience and makes us question this society and norms that have been followed since ages.
PARCHED– This 2016 film also talks about the social evils of a typical orthodox society and how four women struggle to live their lives within the set framework but finally breaks free. This film questions the social ideas of female discipline and obedience to her husband, the unrecognized sexual rights and the marital rape and domestic violence meted out to a large percent of Indian women.
All of these films are strong enough to shake our conscience and question our comfortable existence within the social framework of oppression- revolts are never easy.