For the past few days and weeks, there has been a constant buzz and speculation around Karan Johar’s romantic drama “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”. The movie has been a playing ground for several controversies following the Uri attack and the subsequent threat by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena of not letting it release because of it having Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. But the movie has been able to hold the attention of the general public.
The film seeks to address and challenge the very pertinent stereotypes and norms of both the society and film industry, regarding female and male sexuality.
By breaking the stereotypes of age and sex involved in the determination of any heterosexual relationship, the film, through the depiction of the relationship between Aishwarya Rai and Ranbir Kapoor, has left a puzzled impression in the minds of the masses.
The general public who would want to appreciate Aishwarya’s acting, grace, beauty and boldness are unable to do it with a full heart. This is because they do not find everything in place when they see a young and handsome man like Ranbir Kapoor with an older but beautiful Aishwarya Rai.
This would seem a little strange, especially when one looks at it from the prism of equality. This perception exists despite Aishwarya Rai being an established actress in Bollywood and giving recent hits like “Jazba” and “Sarabjit”, films which marked her comeback in the Hindi film industry.
But what is important to note here is that a complete analysis of the pair cannot be done without taking into account the age and personality of the characters. Usually, in Bollywood, the male hero is a strong, brawny and intellectual individual, in comparison to the woman, who is usually a dunce and an auxiliary character. This time one of the woman lead is older, successful and charismatic.
But there is one point, from whatever can be seen of the movie, where it detracts from the idea of women empowerment that it strongly proposes. The scene is in the song “The Breakup Song” in the film “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”.
The song tries to deliver a humanitarian message to not get depressed by remaining clinched to a broken relationship and enjoy the time and the resultant opportunity. But there is an action done by Ranbir Kapoor in the video of the song which is problematic. If one listens to the string of words sung at that point, it sounds highly derogatory and irresponsible.
At a point in the middle of the song, there is a part by the singer Badshah, at the end of which there is a phrase – “Saale teri maa ki aankh.”
Some people may tend to overlook this. But there is a series of dance steps which go along with the song, making it even more problematic.
Ranbir Kapoor at the start of this phrase puts one hand on his penis, accompanied with some minor feet actions, following which he holds one of his legs and gives an angry kick. This is when the word ‘aankh’ is used.
What is a rational person supposed to make of it from both the audio and video? Should it be taken lightly as an expression of mockery and anger against the person with whom the character played by Anushka broke up? Or should it be taken seriously as something that doesn’t only humiliate the person and his mother, but also women in general?
This is the dilemma we face at present times. The dilemma of whether to critically analyse things with the rational knowledge received from various ends around us; or whether to just ignore them and move on with our lives as none of this affects us personally.
Now what comes along with the second choice is ignorance and disregard for the real-life consequences and the subconscious impacts on perceptions of the masses with regards to the position of not just the female relatives of a person but also the women community. The impact of the relatively lower, delicate and vulnerable position of them even in banter.
It further also strengthens the idea that the prestige of a family lies in a woman’s vagina. So, if one is able to humiliate any man in the name of the vagina of any of the female members of his family, then that is the biggest possible disrespect and humiliation Thus, accomplishing the goal of showing the targeted person the lowest possible ground in life, by striking directly at his ‘Achilles’ heel’.
It’s high time for all of us to open up all of our senses and scrutinise everything around us. Gender sensitivity will benefit each one of us in the long run, resulting in a healthy and joyous development for all.