It’s ‘Simran’ Time. And It’s Time To Reflect On How We Treat Divorcees

Posted by Harish Iyer in Culture-Vulture, Society, Staff Picks
September 15, 2017

While Kangana hops from one studio to the other, speaking her mind out and spilling beans from pods that people knew existed but never spoke about. We are forgetting something – that besides being one of the most outspoken artists of our times, she is also an ace marketer. She speaks only closer to her releases, gives her 200% for film promotion and makes sure that the film is on her able shoulders. I was googling about Kangana and saw her wearing an off shoulder pink dress in four different shows, and no shows had the same background, which means this powerhouse dynamo was travelling from one studio to another in a single day. I would not belittle all her efforts by simply saying that this is some sort of a marketing gimmick for her film, however, just as Vidya Balan wears the look of her characters in real life before its release, Kangana wears the attitude of her characters. Kangana has never been married, but she has spoken about her relationships with no holds barred. In “Simran”, she plays the character of Praful Patel, a divorcee in America.

Now let’s see how we treat divorcees in India? Well, if you are a female divorcee, you are either treated as a dukhiyaari bechaari or a charitraheen-naari. There is every attempt made by the angry-nosey-padosan to relate occasions like every time you get angry with the doodhwala, every time you wear a short dress or every time you even clean up your house to your divorce. “This is why her husband left her, she spends more time in cleaning”, “look she is so angry all the time, which man will keep her”. There are some people who are kind to her too, however, they would go more often like “Bechaari, she is so nice, her husband left her to fend for herself”.

One way of looking at it is – it is taken for granted that women are below men and the other angle to look at it is the fact that men are burdened as the caretakers of adult, fully capable beings. Society cripples both of these populous genders with their judgements.

Divorce processes are sometimes (if not always) dirty, just as break ups, but some ten notches more. Yes, there are times when couples walk hand in hand to the court to speak to the judge, but not that often do you see that happening. There is mudslinging and attempts to assassinate the character of either party. If there is a child involved, there is a cruel court contest on who is a better parent.

As a feminist, I believe in equality of all genders. I staunchly stand against labelling all men as oppressors and misogynists. Let’s look at cases individually and steer away from justifying our stereotypes by using statistics or our biased logic. In many cases, men in divorces are not treated fairly either. Many times, they cough up huge sums of money as alimony. Sometimes, they deserve to, for some ensure that wives don’t go to work and stay at home like some glorified domestic help. I am not referring to the cases where it is justified, I am referring to those which are unjust. Just as we champion women like Kangana for challenging the status-quo, we sometimes insult our men’s empathy quotient. Every-time a man wins the custody of the child, he is told to get home a “new mother” for the child. It is another way of politely telling the man that he is incapable of maternal feelings. If childless, he is labelled as the “wife-beater”, “impotent” and sometimes even as “gay”. The worst, we slowly make him a good-bad misogynist by telling him – “she left you for another man”. We live in a society where a dulha sitting on a malnourished and whipped ghoda is considered a sign of masculinity. I am not the one to make generalizations basis statistics but the case.

Look at my host-dost of “Satyamev Jayate”, Aamir Khan. There was a huge rumour that broke out calling him a cheat when he spoke about women’s rights. I know that he is pally with his ex-wife. In fact, even Kiran (Rao) is. Why do we have this impression that people have a filmy drama happening always after divorce? It may make news, may seem the rule of the game, but there are no stereotypes in this. Every relationship is different. Then there is Amrita Singh and Saif Ali Khan, where both faced the brunt. There’s the marriage of Rekha with businessman Mukesh Agarwal, a year after which he committed suicide. Though he left an “I don’t blame anyone” note, she still carries the blame of the broken relationship. Leander and Rhea had an ugly fall out. More recently, rumour mills are whistling about Hrithik and Suzanne, Karisma and Sunjay, Farhan and Adhuna, Malaika and Arbaaz and many others. We love to build our fantasies around the lives of the famous. We all have an opinion on why they got divorced and we link it to some funny orgy sex scandal or a love triangle (or quadrangle or pentagon or hexagon), which most probably some imagination of the supremely constipated creative mind. No one knows, but they themselves. Not everyone would be willing to wash their dirty linen in public. But housekeeper Praful Patel aka Kangana Ranaut in “Simran” sure does. More power to her for killing our imagination, by being so candid.

I am going to flock the theatre to watch this film written by Apurva Asrani just to witness firsthand the story of the bindas badass divorcee. That’s Praful Patel, Kangana in the reel, as real – kind and unkind, breaking stereotypes, and holding the reigns of her own life, in a world highly unkind to divorcees.

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