Aarya breaking stereotypes, The reality is that as humans we often have a superior coping mechanism than we realize. When in hot water, we can go beyond our capabilities to fix the situations but that is not what is generally portrayed in movies, especially the Hindi cinema industry. Most of the male or female characters are often stereotypical. But like any other genre, the female characters face the bigger brunt of stereotype.
There are two extreme ends of the stereotype. Either hyper sexualizing a female character to show her power or making them seem as manly as possible to fit the stereotype of being manly to be considered heroic.
Whether it is hyper sexualizing or stripping them off the same, they are equally unnatural. The idea that they must be ‘manly’ in order to be related to the crime world is a twisted stigma of patriarchy. Not only does it portray females or femininity to be weak, but another big fallacy of it is also enabling patriarchy that portrays toxic masculinity to be strong. A wrong guideline of being “a man” is portrayed which is unethical. A person, regardless of its gender and personal choices can be deeply involved in a dark world or are strong in general is something viewers were craving to see. Aarya satiated that need.
After strong but not feminine characters in Mardaani or Flesh, it is easy to conclude that a characteristically feminine woman cannot be portrayed as a strong female lead. But the stereotype was broken in this 2020 crime thriller series that streamed on Amazon Prime. Created by Ram Madhvani and Sandeep Modi, this series is based on a Dutch drama series Penoza by Pieter Bart Korthuis. The lead, Aarya is played by Sushmita Sen who is simply remarkable in this role.
Sushmita Sen who was 1994 Miss Universe finally bagged the character she is perfect for and the success that was a long dude.
The storyline revolves around Aarya’s family and the very dark secrets that she wasn’t aware of previously. The story unfolds and the strong, sophisticated and very realistic as well as relatable Aarya learns of everything, goes through a roller coaster ride and takes up the reign of the not so perfect family.
Her imperfections made her realistic. She wasn’t plastic. She wasn’t unnaturally emotionless or mechanical. Her ample reactions made her relatable and less like an ideal figure or superhero. Her anguish at the loss of her husband and terror of her child getting kidnapped made her a human. For the first time, the audience saw their vulnerability in a character meant to be heroic and perfect.
More so, despite every storm that passed through her life, she never relinquished her femininity to be termed as strong or worthy of carrying a family forward. From to die for wardrobe and immaculate graceful and commanding behaviour she owned who she is. And that is a very attractive and inspiring trait. Sushmita Sen herself is a very self-reliant woman aware of her self worth. This could be the role that Sen had been waiting for, since the time strong women weren’t considered worthy of being the lead. After years of relegation to the secondary hyper-sexualized roles, Sushmita finally claimed her due in this series.
2020 may be disappointing in many ways but when it comes to embracing femininity as it is and debunking toxic masculinity as being ‘manly’, Indian cinema has made a progress. From Bulbbul to Aarya, OTT platforms not shying away from speaking out on controversial traditions and meaningless stigmas of the society. This could lead to a hugely positive effect on society as movies and series influence youth.