A meninist Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety?

A meninist Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety?

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I am one of those who loves to go to the movies and enjoy them in all their variety – those loved by the critics, hit with the ‘masses’, getting Oscar nominations, Filmfare awards, the whodunits, romcoms, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali and the rest.

Nevertheless, I enjoy the desi ones the most and find it difficult to go through a month without getting my  regular Bollywood fix!

This time I mustered the courage to walk into the dark hall, to see “Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety” even when it did not boast of the mega star cast and nor did it hold out the promise of being the regular masala mix – I should confess it was those full page ads with 4 star ratings strewn all over them which lured me in !!

This is a movie by the maker of Pyaar Ka Punchnama (2011) which was about how a young man looking for female company is manipulated and exploited by a young pretty woman. I have not seen its sequel.

OK I thought. After all we have had thousands of movies made around stories about women having been subjected to cruelty and exploitation by men; so why not one which shows the view from the other side? No harm done to my sense of freedom and equality .

I had gone expecting another of those slick millennial romcoms with a bright colored canvas, great locations, light humor, lively music and more importantly a look at new upcoming young actors not from the famous Bollywood family  stables – and rest assured they do not disappoint.

Usually, after a Bollywood movie one walks out only to forget it. However, I just couldn’t get over this one because I came way with the distinct feeling that, for one, the maker sure hates women but this movie (especially after  Pyaar ka Punchnama) seemed to be crudely pushing a  ‘meninist’ agenda!!

Well, I do know about those stories of misuse of laws like 498A where men are harassed or the excessive demands for alimony made or even the extreme cases of beatings suffered by some men at the hands of their wives. These have been quite legitimate concerns and can end up being particularly nasty on the men considering that men are guilty till they can prove himself innocent. The history of women abuse by men is so old and entrenched that, our society finds it difficult to accept that reverse oppression is even possible but it does.

On the other hand, men I believe do not come out with such problems for fear of ridicule in a yet man dominated society. Moreover, the law it seems works on the presumed position that, the ‘abla nari’ is the one which is always at the receiving end. Well lots of stress in modern day relationships leading to high strung emotions and flared tempers.

The entire man-woman equation is up for a thorough review and some who resent this could well make such movies!

As a result, Feminism today is seen by many (mostly men) as an unfavorable attitude amongst women. Really?

But what then is feminism? Wikipedia defines it as “the desire to define, establish and achieve equal political, economic, personal and social rights for women”. 

Nothing wrong with that, if we accept that, women have been underrepresented for centuries.

Therefore, if were to recognise the significance of the word “equal “ in that definition; being a feminist isn’t really a bad thing!

However, where it seems to have all gone wrong especially in recent times is the extreme expressions which seem to portray feminism as being about hating men, burning bras or being sexist …..going a little over board that is.

It then would make feminism seem as being is about taking revenge for the past crimes of men committed against women instead of their equality and empowerment-  And vengeance most often than not comes along with violence; physical and mental, that completely sets aside any chance for reason and rationality.

Emma Watson’s UN Women Speech on feminism for the “HeForShe” campaign shows that, men are affected by gender equality, too.

That all men at least in these times can be seen as the stereotypical tough, sports-crazed, emotionless creature may not be a good place to start a feminist discussion. 

Click here for the speech details

Therefore, just as gender equality (not either being higher) is worth fighting for and it’s important to realize that, not all men, feminists are bad people – Its important that, all concerned take a pragmatic view of these issues lest both men and women are left with no option in the future but to stick with robots for company. In which case the human race may have to depend on science to propagate itself in laboratories if it ever wants to avoid joining the dinosaurs.

Its therefore, also important to form an opinion on man and woman issues on a case by case basis and that’s exactly where I have a big problem with “Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety”!!

It seems to generalize the film maker’s personal view that, women are manipulative and devilish.

The woman is deemed the “vamp” because “she is being such a good bride, and that is too good to be true”‼️Well that’s like starting in a game of golf with a 200 handicap‼️

Nushrat Bharucha (Sweety) seems to have walked into the role due to her image from her Punchanama film – the heartless manipulating temptress.

Right before the interval though, she makes an about turn by an entirely uncalled for show of fangs to deliver the “famous Bollywood twist” to an otherwise run of the mill wedding based romcom.

The second half, turns into a race between Sonu (Aryan) and Sweety to try and outdo each other in being outright petty, mean and stupid. However, at the end, despite being as nasty as Sweety,  Sonu comes out as the good guy fighting to save his naive bumbling chum from Sweety the self proclaimed villain.

The lovey dovey relationship between Sonu and Titu is so unreal that, for a moment I suspected it  was moving towards a love triangle between two men and a women – Only to be reminded that the tagline in the movie poster ‘bromance’! Of course, a movie on those lines would be too much of a business risk for its producers.

 

If the intention therefore, was to show the Indian audiences about the challenges being faced by their favourite institution of arranged marriages or even marriage itself, following the progressive emancipation of women in India;  then I would rather see it in a story where men and women are shown on an equal footing and real issues taken head on in a non judgmental manner.

After all such movies will only add more fuel to fire of cynicism.
I was however surprised to see that, the cinema hall had more women than men – laughing out loud and enjoying the show. On the way our I could overheat positive feedback too!
Wonder if they found it funny, entertaining, inspiring and illustrative or all of it together.
One thing for sure they did leave me doubtful of the extent of success this movie has had in crudely pushing its cynical ‘meninist’ agenda.

Emma Watson’s UN Women Speech on feminism still does a better job!

 


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