By Gauri Gupta:
“Pink” is a compelling portrayal of patriarchal ideology where the “subject” strives to shout back with an acerbic élan.
The movie, with its unabashed indictment, comes as a roller costar ride for the viewers who are left with unanswered questions and shattered misogyny. The theme reflects the operation both of “Repressive State Apparatus” and “Ideological State Apparatus” in such a callous exhibition that an unapologetic woman is convincingly interpellated as a patriarchal subject.
The three protagonists of the film are young, unconventional girls who refuse to fit in the mould of ‘respectable’ women. The conflict in the drama is introduced by showing the audience the audaciousness of their autonomy and freedom, which finally leads to their vilification for a ‘wrong’ choice.
Their inebriated demeanour, unrestrained sexual frankness, and revealing clothes through the affirmation of “Ideological State Apparatus” brand them as ‘whores’. Through the movie, misogyny vehemently sees them responsible for the crime, which they committed, as an act of self-defense.
The vulnerability of the accused victim (Meenal) brings to the fore the conceptualization of stringent binaries, which are fixed in the society for the glorification of Madonna and repudiation of a ‘whore.’
The biopolitics of power and knowledge which Foucault mentions is exemplified here, where through the discourse of “Acchhi Ladki”, patriarchs in the film grab power in their hands to throw these women on the receiving ends.
When the autonomous, “Besharam” protagonist counteracts to accept defeat, she is forcibly assaulted to such a limit that she no longer could fight as an individual.
The film extends the viewpoint of Althusser that when ideology fails to combat the blazing resistance of an individual, RSA dreadfully forces her to subserviently become the subject of the state (patriarchy).
From police to the defence lawyer, they are seen as women of objectionable character who were selling their bodies to exhort money for their “naïve” clients.
The whole film subtly speaks volumes about the politicised nature of public spaces be it a woman buying vegetables, having a coffee, or simply walking in the park – her expression of autonomy is sexualized, and her sexualization becomes an invitation.
But here the situation is aggravated because these women grapple confidently with public spaces at night, which are completely male dominated.
Hence, caging of women becomes imperative for patriarchy because an act of loitering with its disruptive nature breaks the normative grounds of respectability where oppressive gender space formation is maintained.
The latter half shows how a courageous woman who was oblivious to the lethal nature of patriarchy is subsuming herself into it. She covers her face to obliterate her individuality because she knows that she has fallen to the darker side of the binary from where it is difficult to get back again into the light.
This vulnerability of a woman’s predicament is juxtaposed with the generous exemption of patriarchy for men. The perpetrator in the movie (Rajveer) has conveniently found “Achchi Ladki” as a suitable match whereas Falak loses her boyfriend because of her excommunication.
Rajveer exemplifies a typical misogynist who is ready to justify his crime by calling the accused women “Randis” who were asking for it. The film questions the idea of an ideal woman on whom the narratives of respectability are structured in contemporary India.
Another theme, which is raised in the film, is the minimization of women’s say in physical promiscuity. When and how long does a woman have a right to say NO? Can she? And if yes, how?
We see women who were tipsy, overtly welcoming and undauntedly feminine, and this unacceptable conduct came as heavy price as they were expected to be taken for granted. Meenal’s NO to Rajveer would never be legitimised because her revealing clothes, her behaviour and everything else about her were asking for it.
Once she musters courage and turns the male ego on its head, we as an audience are prepared for her devastation. We see her ululating, lamenting and being apologetic for her unbridled sexuality.
She knows and we know that even though she has won her case, she will no longer be deemed worthy of protection from the society. The “panopticon gaze” of patriarchal state apparatus will now be sowed in her head, and she would regulate her disruptive voice.
The ending of the film could be critiqued for its utopian ending, where we see them emerging as victorious survivors but reality soon flashes back in the mind where it is the ideology that will win, and individuality would lose.