Dangal Is A Sugar Coated Regressive Portrayal Of Females

Posted by Melan Innocent
February 1, 2017

I am aware that many people would not like to read my review.

I have no doubt that the movie viewing experience with its emotional pot-boiler roller coaster ride engages and is a good one, better than the Indian, regional and vernacular soap-opera dished out on Indian television. (That is why I am giving 7 out of 10 rating)

But if a sensitive person looks beyond the cosmetics of movie dazzles – you will find someone is selling a regressive message through this film. Kodus to Dangal team for achieving such a feat. Here is my take.

When the first poster of the movie was released I did not like it. Even though being a wrestler, why four girls should look like boys was the first question I raised.

Now after reading so much appreciation and reviews of the movie I say this:

• This is another patriarchal portrayal of regressive India • A father forces his dreams on children. One should never do • Children should be kept free to develop and grow as they want

• This is again patriarchy dominance on the feminine gender and forcing it with the power of parenting to subjugate the flourishing of women’s gender.

• For sure the flourishing of women’s gender is not in imitating men and/or boys and becoming fighters, wrestlers and looking masculine. This is degrading the pride, dignity and respect of being a woman

• To use a true success story of a single case and successfully use it as propaganda for women’s emancipation is sickening to say the least. The negative fallout of this movie could be:

• Irrespective of boys or girls many parents will force their children (and more so to girls) to do what they failed to achieve in life. Make their children do things that they as parents have dreamed. Sick mentality!

• Many girls may start behaving like boys – wearing boys’ clothes, cutting hair like boys, fighting like boys etc. and not at all in the spirit of humanism

• Father in the movie saying that “My girls are no less than boys”. Such comparisons are not needed in today’s evolved society. This is a phrase of sixties India. It is similar to always call a girl “tom boy” and demean and insult her sexuality. Such comparisons just distort the femininity of girls and women, who mis-understand such statements as being treated like boys rather than girls

• Addressing girls as a male gender and treating one like that – the society like India – parents may do that to destroy the little bit of remaining self-esteem that girls and women – have on their given gender and sexuality

• I also am bothered – as I always tell everyone about it is MAN – in capitals that drive the so called women’s emancipation and empowerment agenda – It is so disturbing to see this. The four writers of the movie are men, the director of the movie is wearing men’s glasses, the so called super-star gender sensitive actor Aamir Khan is too wearing a man’s hat.

• In propaganda of spreading regressive message through this film the team too is of men – the director, writer, producer and lead actor – all men – who drive to influence the society in a way that may create a distorted image of what is meant by women empowerment.

• In real life on which the movie is based the father of the wrestling girls drives their lives. Such case studies should have been presented more sensitively by showing – such things need not be done – even though in the end it brings laurels for the country.

Though I agree the medium of cinema when used with shrewdness can garner enough emotions of within ignorant movie goers about nationhood to back the protagonist in whatever s/he is doing.

That is what has happened in this movie – the art of good film-making – tends to overlook and ignore finer aspects of women empowerment and digs more deep into the patriarchal systems to further strengthen patriarchal roles to build the women’s liberation and freedom movement

I hope some sensitive readers will try to understand the point I am making and deplore such popular presentation of regressive concepts on feminism despite its all-time record breaking All India Collection.

It confirms my review – Indian is still a patriarchal society with male dominance.

Have a look at the film with these lenses.