By Prachee Bhardwaj:
The recently released film “Pink” did break a leg at the box office with its compelling message about consent. I believe it is the power of the most ordinary questions that can shake the world. At a time when movies that endorse shaming of women and satisfy fragile male egos do immensely well, “Pink” breaks the clichéd box office business and has managed to garner a great audience for a noble message.
While it won many accolades and a lot of women stood in solidarity with the film, there are people who dug out innumerable examples to scrutinise the film in the name of criticism. In a country like India where there are issues such as this, a lot of people don’t know what it means when a woman says, “No.” I fail to understand what makes people not approach a film like this with a sense of optimism. Tons of arguments have come across on social media where people called the film an example of ‘bad’ film making.
There’s no denying that the film portrays the message in a stereotypical manner making it too dramatic and losing out on the aesthetics of a courtroom. I cannot say that this is an excellent film with artistic values but perhaps it wasn’t ever supposed to be one. It’s a film that projects a message that this country needs and if these flaws do not harm the message of the film on a larger level, why can’t we approach it as the need of the times we live in? I agree that there are more realistic courtroom drama films made in Hollywood and they are far more achievable and realistic than this but this is not Hollywood and we have to deal with it.
In my understanding, a film maker has the responsibility to think about its target audience. I’m not sure how many people in my country will walk to the cinema hall to watch a film that does not have star power, drama and glam. It is unfortunate that a message as important as this had to be sold but I’m glad people did buy it. But before we blame the film makers for using these tactics to garner an audience, we need to reflect and introspect on the values that we have instilled in our society.
Another argument that people have been putting across is that a man fighting for women in the film makes it anti-feminist in the first place. A female lawyer could have been a better choice and we didn’t have to see a man fighting for women. I have repeatedly stated in my own life that half knowledge is more harmful than no knowledge at all and feminism is one such ideology that people do not understand but love to gush about.
Feminism is an ideology that must be propagated by men and women alike. It does not matter if it’s a man fighting for these women or if it were even a woman. What matters is the idea, the values and the arguments that truly were the highlight of the film. No matter what, we end up making the whole feminist ideology revolve around men at the end of the day and this whole comparison zeroes down the authenticity of this ideology.
Moreover, there are many incidents in the film that do make us question our legal process. But at the same time, the whole argument that the female characters were shown to be completely unaware and weak is really subjective. It is important to drop our self-constructed images of characters and give space to the vision of a filmmaker while we watch any film.
Amitabh Bachchan’s star power being used and highlighted is a problem but there’s a need for that kind of compromise. When an icon is used, people will go and watch them. If that made people listen to Bachchan telling “No means no,” it works. We are accustomed to listening to celebrities more than we do to intellectuals. I don’t say that this is the perfect way but if this is the first step; it is the right step.
Sometimes, optimism leads to hope, to a sense of light and change but criticism leads to multiple battles with no conclusion for such noble efforts. I know it’s a flawed film but I am as flawed as this film, and as a society, we are all as flawed as this film. Therefore, we need to introspect before we start blaming anymore.