Why I didn’t Like Pink Movie
Now that the hype and buzz over Pink movie have died down, only to be replaced by the craze and criticism of Chetan Bhagat’s One Indian Girl, I feel it necessary to talk about the vehicles used for spread the message about feminism.
And because I haven’t read the book yet, I’d stick to the movie starring the 3 damsels in distress and their uncle in shining armour. There. I said it. I didn’t like Pink.
Now why would an educated, feminist-spewing, single, free-thinking, 30-something woman not like a female-oriented film that promotes the concept of consent and choice, and shows rapists their real place in society?
Because even though Pink succeeds in conveying the message like no other film has, it does fail in its basic premise of portraying women in a new light. Something that Queen, or even Piku, had succeeded at effortlessly. And, without the baritone of Amitabh Bachhan at that.
Pink is a film that could have easily portrayed the powerful role that women play - one that is often ignored or even belittled in society. It could have effectively portrayed the role of men as it should be – to celebrate and honour women, just as they celebrate and honour men. However, what it does instead is reinforce that women need men to protect, defend, and smother them in a false sense of security. Yes, false. Because the girls weren’t really safe, and never will be from gossip-mongering, intrusive uncles who only appear to be concerned about superficial things like clothes that girls wear rather than provide better lighting in the streets at night.
In fact, one vital turning point in the film could have been the second and far more grievous incident of rape that the men resort to teach the errant girls a lesson. But rather than mention this in the arguments or insist on protection for the other girls, this is simply glossed over. In fact, the otherwise bold and brave females don’t even mention it to anyone for what? Fear of shame? Isn’t that what the film was about? That the shame isn’t ours but theirs.
It is not even this major gaffe that earns the film the title of receiving undeserved fame. The whole premise of Pink falls flat because of its portrayal of a man needing to come to the rescue of three women who were unable to stand on their own even united. This is not to say that they should have hired a female lawyer, although that would have been a welcome move, or that the three girls should have done their own legal research and presented their own arguments. That’s not realistic, I know. I also don’t mean to imply that the film should have moved away from showing us the mirror and instead presented an utopian world where a violated woman draws unprecedented support from the public and the rapists are banished to Kaala Pani. No, that’s not the world we live in and presenting such a world would have been damaging to the concept of sexual violence. The biggest disservice to feminism is the preachings that Amitabh Bachhan imparts as part of his monologue. A lot of the viewers who otherwise regularly indulge in slut-shaming or blaming the victim rather than the accused concurred with the preachings of the legendary actor. The element of sarcasm and reverse psychology was totally lost on them as was the irony in the emotional lash-out of one of the characters when struggles to end the debate by lying and admitting to the exchange of money.
This film isn’t all wrong, though. It did manage to make people sit up and take notice. It did strengthen the voice of those feminists and women who believe that the ‘shame is the accused’s’. So what if it did not change the mind-set of millions of literate, otherwise broad-minded individuals. So what if they walked away from the theatres blaming the ‘free’ lifestyle of the girls. So what if their notions were reiterated that girls shouldn’t have been out drinking at night, out drinking at all. So what if the message was lost on the majority was those men for whom the film was made.
Because somewhere among those misogynistic and sexist judgements on the character and lifestyles of women came one meek statement in their defense: Yes, maybe, they shouldn’t have been out. But they didn’t deserve what happened just because they were. Another voice said: We should be like Amitabh Bachhan. Silent but vigilant, stepping in, no, rushing in to their assistance when needed.
Yes, I didn’t like Pink. But that doesn’t mean I don’t stand by it and applaud it for its brave attempt at changing the narrative. And that in itself is a victory for Pink. For change does not happen in a day. That small change is enough for today. Enough for another film like Pink to drive the message home further.