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The Bold And The Beautiful: The New Bollywood

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By Abhishyant Kidangoor:

Post the huge success of ‘The Dirty Picture’, the entry of Bollywood into a new era has been confirmed. The past two years has been quite a revolution and some very bold movies were made. Some were appreciated while some were not up to the mark. Yet one fact remains. Gone are those days where the male lead was the sole hero of the movie and running around in the meadows of Switzerland made the most romantic movie ever. Being bold is the new mantra and this has been proven time and again. The filmmakers and actors have made a positive effort to break the taboo and help the 100-year-old industry move ahead with time. This is, indeed, a welcome change.

In a country where the censor board had once made a ridiculous fuss over the use of the word ‘sex’ in a movie, this is euphoric. 2011 and 2012 saw the release of some very bold movies. These movies are not only made bold by the performances of the lead actors but also by the depiction of sensitive issues and stories. What more, these are not only commercial but critical successes as well. In spite of being quite vulnerable to a lot of controversies, such movies are a huge hit with the masses and have, on several occasions been declared ‘Blockbusters’.

The most relevant example would be that of ‘The Dirty Picture’, in which the performance of Vidya Balan created quite a few ripples. The film turned out to be a major success and Balan was heavily praised for her portrayal of the late controversial southern star. Apart from her performance, what stood out the most were the bold dialogues and one-liners, which left the audience dumbfounded. The dialogues actually made people sit up and think if what they heard was what actually was said on-screen. The film not only attracted throngs of Indians all over the world, but also swept a lot of awards. Vidya Balan became an overnight sensation and though always known for her talent and versatility, she has carved a niche for herself.

‘Delhi Belly’ is yet another film which marked a shift in contemporary Indian cinema. The movie’s unique daftness made it an entertaining watch. However, the constant use of cuss words and certain objective scenes made way to controversy yet again! But this movie too made a mark with the audience and the critics. A popular, yet again controversial song from this movie created frenzy and was widely loved and accepted. Yet another brave movie, made based on the sensitive topic of sperm donation and infertility received positive response worldwide.

Priyanka Chopra’s act in ‘7 Khoon Maaf’ changed the way people perceive a widow. Again a brave attempt! Women-oriented movies are also gaining widespread appreciation. Also films based on real life incidents are making it to the news. The 1999 murder of Jessica Lall and the subsequent court proceedings that questioned the credibility of the Indian judiciary was adapted into a film, which garnered positive reviews. Rani Mukherjee’s portrayal of a firebrand journalist was not only bold, but inspiring too.

Bollywood has certainly changed its ways. It about what the reality is and not about what we want the reality to be. This is a great development, certainly indicating the developing broad-minded mentality of not only the film-makers but also the audiences. Many of these films were criticized for being extremely bold, loud and in some instances, vulgar. Some of them were pinpointed for the open use of expletives. They were considered inappropriate for certain sections and derogatory to the Indian culture. But what these critics need to realize is that the scenario has changed. The language and way of living, as shown in these films are exactly the same as that of those in the new generation. Welcome to the 21st century.

These are just some of the popular films. A lot more of them had been produced in the past few years. Some might have failed to create an impact, but each of them, nevertheless, was a laud-worthy effort and deservingly won the heart of millions of audiences everywhere.

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  1. sonakshi madan

    This new trend in Indian cinemas is definitely bringing a revolution in the mentality of people.It will be too early to say that whether its good or bad,but its something that is making Indian movies,women centered.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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