This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Radhika Jhaveri. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why Amitabh Bachchan Shouldn’t Have Been The Main Character In A Film Like “Pink”

More from Radhika Jhaveri

By Radhika Jhaveri:

I have a rule which I have followed throughout my childhood. Of never watching any mainstream Hindi film. I enjoy watching Hindi movies but I am extremely choosy about what I pick. Usually, I wait for film critics I trust to review the film before buying tickets. This rule has helped me avoid the worst of mainstream Bollywood cinema. It was after reading numerous reviews that I bought the tickets for the most talked about movie currently. Pink.

Despite the good reviews, I walked into the theatre a little hesitant. After all, the whole feminist movement has been hijacked by advertisers, celebrities and the movie industry. Everyone seems to have become an expert in feminism overnight, although not a lot of people seem to know what feminism is about. I kept thinking that Pink would be one of those failed attempts at grasping what the feminists are talking about. I was afraid that Pink would inadvertently turn one of the longest struggles in human history into a fad.

The movie begins with the aftermath of an incident. A perpetrator is severely injured and the victims are shaken but otherwise unharmed. Both sides wait for the initial shock to wear off and for a little equilibrium to return to their lives. But the women seem to sense that it is not over and that the worst is yet to come. After an attempt to level things out goes awry, the threats begin. When the girls refuse to back down and one of them files a police complaint, things get ugly. One of the girls is abducted and molested. Another one gets thrown out of her job as her co-workers find her videos on a porn website. Evidently, put there by perpetrators for revenge. Just as the girls begin to wrap their heads around everything that has happened to them, one of the girls gets arrested and put in jail with a case of attempted murder slapped against her. Her friends run around, trying but failing miserably in their attempt to navigate the Indian justice System. All the while, a silent, seemingly ill, retired lawyer, (he seems to be suffering from some sort of mental instability – the movie does not delve into the details of the illness) played by Amitabh Bachchan watches the events unfold. He alone seems to know the truth that the girls are innocent.

The latter half of the movie revolves around the trial with Amitabh Bachchan playing the role of a brilliant lawyer who has decided for the duration of the trial to not let the illness he is suffering from affect him. However, apart from the scene, where at the beginning of the trial, he seems to be not able to look away from a cockroach, he shows absolutely no signs of a mental illness. In the trial we see an exceptionally shrewd Amitabh Bachchan who knows exactly what to do to heckle the plaintiffs and seems to be completely in control of everything that is taking place in the courtroom, despite being sick and his wife on her deathbed.

Apart from such glaring inconsistencies and perpetual inability of the Hindi cinema to pay attention to details, there is one thing which really annoyed me about Pink. The fact that the role of the lawyer was given to a man. I don’t know what made the makers choose a man. All throughout the movie, the focus is on Amitabh Bachchan. He has the maximum dialogues and the maximum screen presence. A film about women empowerment has a man as the main character who explains to the audiences about the struggles that women have to face. How did the makers of this movie not realise the glaring irony? The women in the movie are mostly silent. Except when they are put on the witness stand and commanded to speak. Not to mention the fact that the incident of abduction and molestation of one of the girls is completely forgotten during the trial. Amitabh Bachchan is the hero. He is the one who steps up and rescues the damsels in distress. Nowhere in the entire film do the women articulate a single thought, show the slightest initiative or the tiniest amount of wit. They huddle together, cry and wait for a man to rescue them.

However, I would not discourage moviegoers from watching the movie. Irrespective of the flaws in the film, the performances of the newcomers are really good. Wit and sarcasm are at play during the trial that should not be missed. Hopefully, Shoojit Sircar and team will surprise us next time, if they care to make another film at understanding what the women’s rights movement is truly about.

_

Image Source: Youtube
You must be to comment.
  1. Srinivas Murthy

    “How did the makers of this movie not realise the glaring irony”.. Simple. If it had somebody like Vidya Balan or even Konkona Sen, the movie would have flopped. Amitabh Bachchan still sells and sells well. So be happy the theme and all the messages were conveyed, don’t shoot the messenger

  2. swadheen thakar

    The way you have started your article give a clear idea that how much you support our low budget deep intellectual movies.
    But it’s okay everyone has their personal likes and dislikes.

    Coming to the point.
    Tell me radhikaji….taklif ho rahi hai is baat se ki ek male women empowerment or woman rights ki baat kar raha hai??
    Male agar eve teasing kare ya molesting kare ya rape Kare ya ye sabkuch dekh kar chup rahe to vo normal hai magar usne women rights ki baat kari to vo sabse bada guneghaar ho gaya??

    Is there any Moral rule that Only female has the right to speak on women rights and empowerment?

    I will explain you why there was a male lawyer in the movie in only one sentence.
    “The day when a man will stand against the evil of man against women whether it’s a rape or molesting or even eve teasing everything will be solved.

    I will tell you radhikaji that what is your problem
    You don’t want that talking about women rights and their empowerment issue to be hijacked by male.
    But I want to tell you radhikaji that we can bring change only if Both the sides of human race will stand together for women rights and empowerment.

    1. mallika mili

      Yeah, but she didn’t say that men should not talk about women’s empowerment. She did not say that at all. That’s what you assumed.

      What she objected to, and what a lot of other women object to, is the notion that even in their struggle for empowerment, they are *secondary* players. That even women’s empowerment will be brought about *primarily* by men. Notice the emphasis on “primarily”.
      Look even at your own stance. You say that the day a man stands up to another man who sexually assaults a woman, the problem of assault will stop. What are you actually implying when you say that? You imply that no matter how much women struggle, their redemption ultimately lies in the hands of men. Lad le jitna ladna h, end me toh ham hi de sakte h unhe equality. That equality is not something women will have, but something that they will be GIVEN. You still retain control over our fates. Of course you should stand up to other men who assault women, because that’s the right thing to do. But why do you also believe that only a man’s action can liberate women?

      Her problem with the film is that the women take no (or less) charge in their own struggle. Their struggle is done for them by someone else. They remain silent while their lawyer gives speech after speech about THEIR equality. Why aren’t they equal contenders even in their own empowerment. Why does their equality ultimately depend on a man. Why don’t they have agency to tell their stories?
      Agar koi baith ke rota rahe, aur koi aur aake uska mesiah ban ke use bachaye, toh woh equality h kya?

      Of course, men should speak up against inequality. Of course, they should join in our struggle. But its outcome is not entirely dependent on you. It shouldn’t be entirely dependent on you. What you should be, is a companion.

  3. Saumil555

    Bakwass Article, looks like you did an internship at KRK

  4. Anandu Mukundan

    I believe the reason they chose Amitabh Bacchan as the lawyer is to balance the men. Most of the men in the movie is shown as bad,by making the lawyer it kind of gives the balance. And the fact that Bacchan has a great amount of influence among our previous generation would work well for the message of the movie. And secondly, the movie does not depict the three women as weak. And may be the tears that they shared made you think they are weak. But crying is not a sign of weakness. They are the most strongest characters in the movie. They had way out of all this trouble. They could just say sorry and be done with it. But they chose to go forward and sue them. Sue people who had money who had political backing. And it takes more courage than you would think.

  5. Mohammad Arif

    You kinda have a point there.
    But you know, the first thing that came to my mind when I was walking out of the theatre was that Pink isn’t the movie made fot women, but the men. “For” here, means that the target is male population. Of course, every girl is a feminist, but what we need are feminist guys.
    Imagine if there was a woman in the lead instead of Amitabh. The target audience (by which I mean the guys who treat women in the wrong way, basically assholes) wouldn’t have the intended effect on them. Some of them would think “here’s another woman rambling on about women rights and shit.”

    They don’t respect women. So of course they won’t listen to what a woman has to say. Itni sense hoti, to pehle se hi insaan na hote?

    Most of the people listen only when a member of their own community speaks to them. The rivak community can quote God’s own words and they won’t give a single fuck.

    Of course, ideally they should listen. But we don’t live in the ideal world, do we? We gotta make do with whatevee we have. And if putting a man in the lead of a feminist movie seems to do the job, why not?

    Like I said, Pink isn’t made for woman to watch, it’s made for men.
    Peace.

  6. Mohammad Arif

    You kinda have a point there.
    But you know, the first thing that came to my mind when I was walking out of the theatre was that Pink isn’t the movie made tfot women, but the men. “For” here, means that the target is male population. Of course, every girl is a feminist, but what we need are feminist guys.
    Imagine if there was a woman in the lead instead of Amitabh. The target audience (by which I mean the guys who treat women in the wrong way, basically assholes) wouldn’t have the intended effect on them. Some of them would think “here’s another woman rambling on about women rights and shit.”

    They don’t respect women. So of course they won’t listen to what a woman has to say. Itni sense hoti, to pehle se hi insaan na hote?

    Most of the people listen only when a member of their own community speaks to them. The rivak community can quote God’s own words and they won’t give a single fuck.

    Of course, ideally they should listen. But we don’t live in the ideal world, do we? We gotta make do with whatevee we have. And if putting a man in the lead of a feminist movie seems to do the job, why not?

    Like I said, Pink isn’t made for woman to watch, it’s made for men.
    Peace.

  7. Varun Kant Tripathi

    Appreciate the minor details abt the movie as observed by you, but I believe that a male character playing the Knight in shining armour to save the victims has got nothing to do with feminism.
    Rather it might have been a possibility that the makers tried to depict that it’s high time that we men need to understand that what is expected from us. Its not about patriarchy, but about the society as a whole. That we need to teach and do the moral policing for our sons more than we do for our daughters.

    Anyways, appreciate your views as a whole.

    Regards
    🙂

  8. somaya iqubal khan

    People are writing and sharing there resentment on the movie Pink about how a male protagonist, Amitabh Bachan plays the role of a savior for women and hence it fails the entire concept.

    First thing, there is no concept of superficial ego and seeking help does not cripple anyone’s strength, be it a man or woman. It is not a parameter to portray their capability. Pink is a very honest movie of what could happen in general life.

    Not every one of us are so aware of the laws and legal rights to understand the dynamics, when we get into a complete alien situation and do not know what should be done, we tend to cry, be helpless and lose hope. But that doesn’t mean we are less powerful or we need a man savior. The savior in this case was a lawyer, it could be a man or a woman, so what if it was a man in this case, this doesn’t proves anything misogynist. What do people expect, a surreal outbreak where the girls transforms themselves to a learned lawyer and raise the war against wrong, that would have been unreal and a wrong portray of honesty.

    Pink portrays the right strength of a woman when the actress do not step back to answer the very personal question about herself before the public, when she looks fiercely in the eye of the truth, when they do not leave each other’s side in the worst of the moments. When they are strong enough to be honest about everything. That is what feminism defines.

    That too signifies her strength and crying or seeking help is nowhere anyone’s weakness or incapability. It is the emotional surge to cope up with the stress until you find a solution.

  9. Sachin Jhunjhunwala

    Its people like you and views such as these which make the feminists look bad. The movie was completely about female empowerment and was a lesson in that to men. The movie showed what Indian women face in reality and the main characters were absolutely the three women. Amitabh doesnt even show up till later in the movie. Two of the women actually had the best lines of the movie when they were in the courtroom. They didnt have a voice..really? Maybe you were watching a different movie or you are so soaked in your false notion of feminism that even things which empower females you find problems with. The only problem I had was that India in the 21st Century still needs a movie like this to explain to men what they should already know!

  10. Ankita Sundriyal

    I understand what you’re trying to say but do not take anything at face value. Just because a man is playing the role of the lawyer doesn’t mean that the message is diluted. In fact, Amitabh as a lawyer was an enabler, someone who had a trained voice which enabled the girls to make their voices heard. The lawyer could have been a man or a woman; and isn’t the deliberate distinguishing of sexes exactly what we are trying to achieve after all? Your pointing out the obvious fact of the lawyer being a man just reinforces how we believe that there will always exist a difference, a difference which cannot be forgotten. Why not take Amitabh as a foil to Rajveer and others? He is the opposite of a patriarch- a feminist, in fact. Again, he’s just a trained man, equipped to deal with the law; his voice doesn’t dominate either the girls’ voices in the movie or their share of screen space otherwise. The sole agency he has is that of directing the girls to defend themselves and framing the obvious in a legal manner. Do not digress from the main issue by resorting to weak feminist arguments.
    I hope you write more insightful articles in future.

More from Radhika Jhaveri

Similar Posts

By YUMNA MOBIN

By Sushruta

By India Film Project Asia's Largest Content Festival

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below