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Misogyny And Its Love Hate Relationship With Bollywood

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I was sitting at home on a warm Sunday afternoon, with a cup of strong black coffee and a book I have been wanting to finish for quite a while. Mohammad Rafi’s Mausam Bada Baeeman Hai was playing in the background. Despite sitting with the book for a while now, I could not move beyond the one particular page. The reason suddenly struck me, it was the way the song was portraying a certain relationship between the two leads. While the song as a stand alone is quite a lovely one, the lyrics have a haunting underlying significance to them. The songs, not all, but most of them, reeks of misogyny.

In the past, there have been very few movies where women are portrayed as the protagonist. Even the few that are present are riddled with gender biases and rarely have a holistic character sketch to their name. Features like occupation, tradition and introduction of the female character are also done in a very bigoted manner, making it evident the woman in question is of no real importance to the story. Misogyny and Bollywood have always had a love hate relationship, with facts being converted to fiction for the large sake of entertainment.

Random age gaps, comments passed with complete abandon and equality is more often than not just completely tossed out of the window with Bollywood. The Casting Couch is considered to be a myth not a lot of people want to accept and it has, over the years, become the Big Bad Wolf of Tinsel Town. Our B’wood movies love the idea of glorifying everything that is wrong with the world. Our celebrities have claimed to put in a lot of effort into making the world a better place through their corporate social activities. However, what they fail to realise is the simple fact that they have a larger social responsibility through their movies than through the social work.

From eve teasing to stalking to marrying someone who has wronged you, we have learnt that if you (the man, in this case) try enough, then everything works in your favour. Since the beginning of Bollywood cinema, the norm for Bollywood actresses was to be a silent part of the system or risk being seen as ‘inconvenient’ if she speaks out about issues related to gender and objectification while playing glamorous roles on celluloid.

I remember just after the Nirbhaya case, a popular television network had called upon a panel of actors and actresses to address the issue of on screen representation. At one point during this debate, Priyanka Chopra had gone at length to define “item songs” and the showcasing of female body parts as a feminist movement. Shabana Azmi countered by pointing out a simple fact choice was one thing and flaunting your body for the male gaze quite another. Mrs. Azmi was perhaps one of the first actresses in the industry to recognise the subtle and not so subtle relationships sent through popular cinema. She also realised the need to direct messages and send them out in a positive manner. Ironically, Mrs. Azmi was the first woman in the industry to show off her figure or wear flimsy clothes for the camera.

It is not just the roles which have typecast women in a certain manner. Even the lyrics, which we all still enjoy, have a very strong negative connotation. In fact, the Bollywood eve teaser’s anthem should be Palat from the movie Tu Mera Hero. With poignant symbolism and derogatory remarks, the misogyny is extremely apparent in almost all the movies. While the actresses of days gone by did not want to make an issue about this, women from our time have said enough is enough.

Remember Karan Johar’s and Kareena Kapoor Khan’s major rift a while ago? It happened because the actress dared to ask for the same amount of money as the actor and clearly this did not fly well with our esteemed KJo. While there are other directors now who say there are more women centric films, the issue of male dominance is still prevalent. India, as a society is more flexible towards the male gender and Bollywood, has reinforced this fact rather than dispelling it.

Time and time again, we have been told by men, whether subtly or directly, that they are the ones holding all the power. When shown something visually, especially in the form of a movie, it reinforces traditions which we need to shed at one point or another. The time is now and the time is here to stop these misconceptions. It is the 21st century, a time where equality is celebrated and not frowned upon. It is a time where women are allowed to call out a director for his derogatory remarks and it is also the time for women to not be shown cracking eggs on their stomachs to make fried eggs.

Showing women as the weaker gender has to stop. Bollywood must reduce the age gap as well as the wage gap. Women have stopped putting up with this form inequality and it is quite the right time to stop this misrepresentation of the ways of the world. Wake up, Bollywood, you are about a decade old with your scripts and we, as an audience, are quite tired of the misogyny.

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Batti Gul Meter Chalu Review And First Day Expectations

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Cast: Shraddha Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, Divyendu Sharma and Yami Gautami

Director: Shree Narayan Singh

mango Bollywood Rating; 3 stars on 5 stars

From the very beginning, Shree Narayan Singh has established himself as a director who brings causes to the silver screen. Just like with Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Singh works with the leads of Batti Gul Meter Chalu to tell the story of a village seeped in troubles with electricity.

Batti Gul Meter Chalu maps the journey of three friends (Shahid, Shraddha and Divyendu) and how each one has to make a life changing choice through the course of the film. What makes them so interesting individually is how diagonally different the three are. One is a thrifty lawyer (Shahid Kapoor,) the other is a business man who lives only by the rules (Divyendu Sharma,) while the third is an  fashion designer (Shraddha Kapoor.)

The trio are the life of Garwal, a village in Uttarakhand, making everyone around them green with envy. Just like every story involving two guys and a girl, a love triangle is but inevitable. Both SK (Shahid Kapoor) and Sundar (Divyendu) love Lalita (Shraddha,) making matters complicated by each of them professing their love to her in over the top ways.

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Things quickly turn ugly when Lalita has to make the tough choice between the two men in her life. In the midst of this confusing love triangle, Lalita’s electricity bill keeps getting inflating beyond expectation. The first half of this film seems tried and tested, with little or no importance given to the issue of inflated electricity bills. Singh builds up the love triangle to a point, only to resolve it by having one of the two men jumping into the Ganga (thank God!) While you are still trying to grasp with the terms of only one love story to deal with, the second half of the film jumps head on into the real issue (electricity and how inflated bills affect the common man.)

Singh has more than established himself as a man who deals with social causes. As leads, Shahid, Divyendu, Shraddha and Yami Gautam all do really well, making us want to connect with the story not just on a superficial level, but on a personal front as well. Watch Batti Gul Meter Chalu not because of the sappy love triangle, but because of the way people need to stand up and take notice of what goes on in the other parts of the world!

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Batti Gul Meter Chalu: Reasons To Watch

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Batti Gul Meter Chalu, starring Shahid Kapoor, Yami Gautam and Shraddha Kapoor in the lead roles, is all set to hit the silver screens tomorrow. Before it does, here is taking a look at why this film has such an important story and why it needs to be told at a time like this.

1. A story about friendship

Just like every movie with a social cause, the underlying motivation that drives the main leads of Batti Gul Meter Chalu is friendship. One of the main reasons Shahid Kapoor‘s character fights against an obviously corrupt government is to get his departed friend the much needed justice and this, is one of the main reasons one has to watch Batti Gul Meter Chalu tomorrow!

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2. A story about your rights

Despite talking about friendship, there is a secondary cause addressed in Batti Gul Meter Chalu _ the long battle the ordinary man has been fighting for electricity. This Shraddha Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor starrer brings to the fore issues like inflated electricity bills and faulty electricity meters with hard hitting facts and no underlying layers of subtlety. A must watch to understand what really goes on in different parts of the world.

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3. The stellar star cast

With Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor and Yami Gautam playing pivotal roles, Batti Gul Meter Chalu consists of a strong star cast. Each actor has been known for being outstanding in every character they play and with this movie, their talent as strong actors is easily identifiable.

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Batti Gul Meter Chalu addresses one of the major concerns people are facing in our country and when the issue is brought forward to the silver screen, people always stand up and take notice. Do not forget to go and watch the film tomorrow and give us your feedback in the comments below!

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Love Sonia Review And First Day Expectations

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Cast: Mrunal Thakur, Adil Hussain, Manoj Bajpayee, Richa Chadha, Freida Pinto, Rajkummar Rao, Demi Moore

Director: Tabrez Noorani

Mango Bollywood Rating: 3 stars on 5 stars

What is more haunting? A girl with no name lost in a city with a haunting dark side or a village with no identification except for being located 1,400 kms North of Mumbai? When you belong to such a non descriptive village, you get lost in the throngs of poverty, extortion, death, murder and prostitution.

Love Sonia, Tabrez Noorani’s extremely brave directorial, brings to the fore just these issues, addressing every one of them with an iron fist. The film tells the raw, unfiltered story of a teenage girl sold into the relentless and world of the flesh trade when her family cannot afford to make their ends meet.

Love Sonia is Tabrez Noorani’s brave directorial which makes you wonder what is more haunting, a girl with no name girl with no name lost in a city with a haunting dark side, or a village with no identification, except for being located 1,400 km., north of Mumbai?  The movie brings to the fore when you belong to such a non descriptivevillage, you get lost in the throngs of poverty, extortion, death, murder and prostitution. 

While the story seems to highlight the plight of the two sisters (the ones who form the crux of the story,) what hits you the hardest is not their fight against evil, but the anonymity of the entire situation. Without too much regard to the harsh realities of the flesh trade, Tabrez Noorani gives us direct access into what really goes on in the world of flesh world.

What makes this particular film so appealing is the cracked mirror viewpoint it represents. You could either look at the story (inspired by real life events of so many girls like Sonia) as a brilliantly told tale with minor flaws; or you could look at the story as an extremely flawed tale. As Sonia searches for her sister lost in the maze of Mumbai’s underworld, she discovers several women lost to the profession (Richa Chhada‘s and Frieda Pinto’s characters.)

This brings to light the fact that Love Sonia aims at highlighting the plight of not just one lost girl, but several girls with no future to their name. While Mrunal Thakur makes a flawless debut as Sonia in this film, the premise of the story is slightly lacking.

Despite having a hard hitting story, the movie fails to leave you with a provocative after thought. Instead of using an over whelming dose of fear to tell his tale, Noorani could have woven together multiple layers, giving us the idea that there is something bigger happening (which there actually is.) A story told over and over again, Love Sonia is fresh in the sense that it wants you to listen to the fear and voice your outrage with silent anger, rather than with momentary anger. Watch the film for the perfect mix of actors, story rendition and raw cinematography.

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Manmarziyaan Review And First Day Expectations

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Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu and Vicky Kaushal

Director: Anurag Kashyap

mango Bollywood rating: 3.5 stars on 5 stars

Manmarziyaan can be termed as Anurag Kashyap’s first ever directorial that does not come filled with murder, angst and betrayal. A love story at its roots, this film establishes Kashyap as an extremely versatile and very connected to reality director.

Every love story in Bollywood centers around a love triangle, or that is what we have been taught to believe over the years. Anurag Kashyap being who he is, twists this tired and tested tale into a coming of age story, giving us an insight into love through the eyes of a millennial.

For love triangles to work, there are two people at the center with a silent, third party observer. In Manmarziyaan, Rumi (Taapsee Pannu) and Vicky (Vicky Kaushal) love the way we, as the young wild and free, love. One of them wants to settle down, while the other has no real intentions of going down the road of society expectations. No guesses on who falls in what category here, right?

Things seem fine for a while for the much in love couple, till the doors of the bedroom open to the public (the parents in this case.) While Vicky is lauded for being everything society expects him to be, Rumi is forced to stick to the straight road by her parents. Get married to Vicky or we will find a boy for you, tell Rumi’s very angry parents. Into the picture comes Abhishek Bachchan (Robbie.)

In an ideal world, Robbie would have been what every girl would have wanted. Respectful, down to earth and armed with the perfect job in hand, Robbie came with one thing not going for him. He was not Vicky and Rumi could not have that. Unfortunately for Rumi, this was just the strength Robbie played with and used to his advantage! Quite a complicated little bundle here, right?

The dialogue delivery is raw, real and even disturbing at times. The confrontation scene, where Rumi singles out Vicky and his disregard for marriage, makes you connect to Rumi all the more. What breaks one’s heart in this entire film is how Robbie realises he is only a bystander in the beginning and works his way into Rumi’s heart toward the second half. This part, more than any other scene through the film, tells us there is a strong chance of a happy ending in life if you talk through your problems and sort out issues head on, when they happen.

At the end of the day, while Manmarziyaan does not have murder and a Nawazuddin Siddiqui tied up together in a neat little bundle, it still is a Kashyap film in and out! Every frame has been shot beautifully, with the aesthetics playing out beautifully. As a comeback movie, Abhishek Bachchan could not have picked a better story, while the unique combination of Vicky Kaushal and Taapsee Pannu is quite refreshing. A definite must watch if you are looking for something new and different!

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Love Sonia: Five Reasons You HAVE To Watch This Hard Hitting Film

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When you watch a serious issue displayed boldly on the silver screen, do you have it in you to turn your eyes? No, right? That is exactly what happens when you watch the trailer of Love Sonia, the latest Rajkummar Rao offering, showing us the dark side of the world through the eyes of human traffickers. Here are five reasons you just have to watch this heart wrenching film when it hits the screens tomorrow.

1. Hollywood and Bollywood collide 

Directed by Tabrez Noorani, Love Sonia brings together two drastically different worlds together for a unique film. From Demi Moore to Richa Chaddha to Rajkummar Rao, this film boasts of having some truly brilliant stars to its name! Definitely worth the watch, right?

2. Sai Tamhankar gains ten kgs for the roal

Sai Tamhankar, a critically acclaimed Maharashtrian actress, put in a lot of effort in order to prep for her role in Love Sonia. To make her part seem all the more credible as a prostitute turned pimp, Tamhankar put on a solid ten kgs to seem convincing! If no other reason, this dedication is a major reason to watch the film!

3. The no holes barred script 

After Udta Punjab showed us the dark side of Punjab and the under belly of the drug world, Love Sonia brings to the fore the struggles of a family perpetually stuck in the throes of poverty. Ever single member of the cast does justice to their role, playing their part to perfection. The script is so raw, so true that it hits in all the places you need to pay attention.

4. Girls rescued during the shoot 

If the above reasons were not enough for you to go watch the film, then this one definitely should make you run to the theaters. During the making of Love Sonia, director Tabrez Noorani used to conduct random raids at suspected brothels in an attempt to rescue girls kept there in captivation. He would pose as a set unit man, conducting his research at brothels and then tip off the police. Through his effort, more than a dozen girls were rescued!

5. Mrunal Thakur went into depression post shoot 

There are some roles which take a long time to get over and there are others which just stay with you for the rest of your life. Mrunal Thakur, making her debut in Bollywood with such an intense story, went into severe depression for the longest time. The fact that she chose such a strongly emotional film to make her debut is commendable, to say the least.

Films like Love Sonia do not come by often and when they do, you definitely cannot miss the movie. Right from when you watch the trailer, you realise there is a Sonia in every girl wandering the streets and if that does not make you want go and help the little girl, then maybe, just maybe the film itself will. Do not forget to tell us what you think of this movie when you watch it in the theaters tomorrow!

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