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Posts Tagged ‘MeToo’

The #MeToo allegations which have popped up recently in Bollywood go on to show the extent to which the virus of the infamous Director’s Couch Syndrome has not only permeated our entertainment industry but also morphed into a more disgraceful version of itself.

Perhaps a part of the solution lies within Bollywood itself. The gender insensitivity which is showcased and glorified in our movies is something which leaves us gasping for some innovative scripts. Exceptions are there. But these remain just exceptions.

When it comes to winning the affection of a heroine, a typical Bollywood hero spares no effort. He charms. He dazzles. He pursues. He flexes his rippling muscles. He shows off his biceps. He chases away a gang of baddies who try to harass his lady love. He poses as a well-endowed person. He even threatens and imposes himself.

Our heroes are adept at expressing their emotions in a song and dance routine. It would be worth our while to look up some such songs which showcase different shades of romancing our Bollywood heroes use to fulfill their romantic ambitions.

When chivalry works

The importance of a chivalrous approach towards impressing one’s lady love was etched out in the movie Shagird (1967). Sample this song:

 

The reluctant wooer

A hero of this kind is at one end of the spectrum. He could either believe that he is not good enough for the lady of his dreams, or is simply not interested in a romantic alliance. The reason could either be social, financial, or the phase through which he happens to be passing by. The burden of convincing him otherwise falls on the heroine. There are occasions when he does not mind getting wooed, though!

Saath Saath (1982)

 

Woh Saat Din (1983)

 

Dil Chahta Hai (2001)

 

The sacrificing lover boy

The guiding principle of such a wooer is that when it comes to bringing some sunshine into the life of the heroine, no sacrifice is small. There are times when such selfless love is shown to lead to a failure in the relationship.

Sangam (1964)

 

Teesri Kasam (1966)

 

Ek Vivah Aisa Bhi (2008)

 

The post-marriage wooing

In many cases, love blossoms in the post-marriage phase. The hero goes to great lengths to win over the affections of his wife.

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999)

 

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008)

 

Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015)

When a choice has to be made between a pre-matrimonial lover and a husband, the heroine keeps social sensitivities in mind and walks into the arms of her husband. Movies like Gumrah (1963), Woh Saat Din and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam attest to this trend in the past.

The empathetic wooer

The heroine has just had a rather traumatic experience at the hands of her spouse. But support is at hand, in the form of an empathetic hero. At times, a soulful song makes the heroine fall into his loving embrace.

Guide (1965)

 

Arth (1982)

 

The quintessential romanticist

He is soft and gentle. He is often diffident but tender in his approach. His soft power often wins over the heart of the heroine in question. The impression he conveys is that chivalry works well.

Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (1962)

 

Baton Baton Mein (1979)

 

Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994)

 

The playful wooer

The value system of a hero of this kind permits him to tease the heroine a wee bit, hoping that he would not only be noticed but also accepted as a suitable candidate for a romantic alliance.

Aradhana (1969)

 

1942 A Love Story (1994)

 

The dashing lover

He is the one who believes that a relentless chasing of the party of the other part would bring home the bacon. Irrespective of the time and the place, he continues with his efforts with gay abandon. Flowers, chocolates and even pumpkins come to the aid of the dashing hero. He is so very self-obsessed that he is clueless about the career aspirations of his lady love. Needless to say, he wins, thereby conveying a message to all wannabe lovers that mild aggression in pursuing the heroine indeed works.

Jaanwar (1965)

 

Sholay (1975)

 

Satte Pe Satta (1982)

 

Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya (2017)

 

The tormentor

At the other end of the spectrum, we have heroes who suffer from an excessive dose of supreme self confidence. They treat the heroine as chattel and think nothing of even terrorising her to get results. Physical intimidation is taken recourse to. Stalking becomes the norm. Threats of rape not only get made but even get executed.

Amar (1954)

 

Dil (1990)

 

Darr (1993)

 

A wide spectrum of chivalry

Bollywood movies offer a very wide range of the kind of treatment that women receive at the hands of their wannabe or ex-lovers.

If a Rajendra Kumar in Dil Ek Mandir (1963) sacrifices his life trying to save the husband of his ex-girl friend, a Dilip Kumar in Amar (1954) rapes Nimmi, a principal character in the movie. If a dacoit played by Sunil Dutt abducts a courtesan in Mujhe Jeene Do (1963), a Good Samaritan played by Dharmendra marries a lady who has been sexually abused by a prince in Satyakam (1969).

If a Kamal Hasan provides shelter and care to an unfortunate accident victim in Sadma (1983), a Vivek Oberoi mistreats his wife in Sathiya (2002). If a Sanjeev Kumar does not get distracted by a lady in the buff in Aandhi (1975), a Manoj Bajpeyi abducts and forcibly marries a damsel in distress, and even persuades her to change her religion, in Pinjar (2003). It is another matter he eventually develops a soft corner for his wife.

Distorted messaging

When heroines happen to respond favourably to either dashers or tormentors, the message conveyed to the audience is crystal clear – that a macho image and a misogynist attitude help in romantic pursuits. Add to this the tendency of our directors to objectify women so as to keep the box office collections alive and kicking, and the recipe for a wrong kind of social messaging is ready.

Since films influence the society in a big way, our dream merchants would do well to churn out more movies which have gender sensitive portrayals. Scripts which are based on negative societal attitudes towards women could be readily avoided.

In a study conducted by IBM India, gender stereotypes in as many as 4,000 Bollywood movies released between 1970 and 2017 were examined. Of these, researchers came up with only 30 movies in the last couple of years where such stereotypes were broken.

According to the study, females were the central characters in 11.9% of Hindi movies released between 2015 and 2017. Back in the 70s, this figure was closer to 7%.

The solution within

The power-puff girls of Bollywood have recently done well in such movies as Jalpari, Gulaab Gang, Queen, NeerjaPink, Nil Battey SannataMargarita with a StrawMardaani, Parched, Jai Gangaajal, Ki and Ka, Dear ZindagiAkira, and the like.

Our future generations cannot be made to live in a world where men are encouraged to harass and rape women. Sexist behaviour is passé. It no longer attracts women. What does is unalloyed chivalry, where the old notions of a patriarchic mindset find no place; where violence and intimidation has no place.

This could be a solution to the #MeToo tsunami that appears to have hit Bollywood in the recent past. Perhaps Bollywood can start a self-certification process which rates movies based on their gender sensitivity.

Charity begins at home, as they say.

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/10/21/bollywood-divas-join-in-at-metoo

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/the-powerpuff-girls-of-bollywood

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/women-through-the-bollywood-lens-part-1)

 

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The International League of Happiness (ILH) plans to host a two-day Workshop for the benefit of those fans of P G Wodehouse who might be twiddling their thumbs trying to understand such emerging technologies as Blockchain, AIMLA (Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Algorithm Analytics), Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, 3D Printing, and the like.

Some details of the program are as follows:

Day 1

 

Inaugural Address

Lord Emsworth, Chief Patron of ILH 

The Role of Emerging Technologies in keeping the Empress in the pink of health, in floriculture, in ducking guests and in managing obdurate sisters

 

Key Note Address

Ms Roberta Wickham, Founder Director, Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies (RAGT)

Use of technologies to ensure happier and safer courtships for the delicately nurtured

 

Technical Session 1

Sir Watkyn Bassett, CBE, magistrate and Justice of Peace

My Experiments with Truth – Uncovering the mysteries of Blockchain Technologies

The speaker is likely to share his experiential wisdom and explain some aspects of Blockchain:

– A highly secured system which ensures that there is only one Truth, thereby curbing such social aberrations drunken revelries and umbrella;

– Supports transactions which are secured, thereby encouraging the emergence of a single Truth, which becomes the only truth. If you fake it up, you pay a penalty, leading to a drastic improvement in transparency levels;

– Tracking: One can track what happened. It is a decentralized, distributed, mass, general ledger which preserves the Truth in any given situation. This helps ardent collectors of all sizes, hues and shapes to protect their precious possessions better;

– Current technology is slated to become super-efficient and will eventually bring about a humbling equality among all human beings, thereby reducing a tendency on part of some to mock such striking dresses as prismatic checked suits and purple dressing gowns with yellow frogs.

 

Technical Session 2

Mr Reginald Jeeves, Deputy Secretary General, ILH

Improving the delight of Customers and Bosses by leveraging the Internet of Things

  • Using smart grids to alleviate poverty, eradicate diseases and reduce income inequalities
  • How machine to machine data exchange can be used to deliver better satisfaction to customers and employers
  • Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of valeting operations
  • Leveraging technology to ensure that one’s employer forever remains a bachelor, thereby ensuring stability in one’s valeting career

Day 2

 

Technical Session 3

Mr Rupert Psmith, Director General, ILH

Deploying Artificial Intelligence to improve Corporate Governance

Based on his exceptional career in banking, journalism and allied services, the speaker would demonstrate how:

– Pattern recognition in Big Data can lead to drastic improvements in corporate governance levels across all kinds of institutions, whether in the private or the public sector; even amongst central banks, judiciary, intelligence and investigation, and the legislative arms of a country;

– If one takes Yesterday as an experience, Today as an experiment, and Tomorrow as an expectation, one can forecast loan defaults by fugitive billionaires, non-performing assets of lending institutions and dramatic terror attacks;

– Using Hindsight and Oversight to improve Insight and Foresight could help in curbing gang wars, vigilante attacks and cyber crimes.

 

Technical Session 4

Sir Roderick Glossop, Director General, Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies

Deploying Emerging Technologies to improve mental well-being of those who struggle to maintain Work Life Balance  

Using practical examples from his illustrious career involving loony bins, anti-gambling leagues, and anti-smoking and anti-alcohol tirades, the speaker would touch upon the following facets:

  • Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality: Potent tools to avoid landing in a loony bin
  • How revenue authorities can use Algorithm Analytics to squeeze more out of gambling dens
  • Leveraging 3D printing to improve upon the mesmerizing effect of a voodoo performance; also, to minimize the impact of a bunch of cats on one’s digestive system.

 

Technical Session 5

Ms Stephanie Byng, Director, RAGT

Nipping #MeToo in the bud: Promoting new standards of Chivalry  

  • Countering amorous advances of lecherous members of the so-called sterner sex by use of Artificial Intelligence and other technologies on the horizon;
  • Using Virtual Reality to educate kids and aspiring grooms about the new norms of Chivalry, such as baby sitting, diaper changing, cooking, mopping, dusting and in general assisting a housewife;
  • Promoting active use of the Bartholomew technique of motivating the law enforcers to take a serious note of any offences being reported to them.
  • Using Virtual Reality to sensitize prospective offenders to the living conditions of our prisons.

 

Technical Session 6: The flip side of technologies – Some notes of dissent

 

Mr Roderick Spode, Chairman, Eulalie Enterprises

The right to privacy in a technology driven age

 

Ms Joan Valentine, Chairperson, Global Association of Start Ups

The need to lower tariff and other barriers to facilitate international trade

 

Ms Madeline Bassett, Deputy Secretary – Environment, ILH

The stark failure of Emerging Technologies to counter the threat of Climate Change

 

Ms Honoria Glossop, Deputy Secretary – Sports, ILH

The risks of increasing screen times; Getting back to what is Factual, Real and True

 

 

Valedictory Address

Right Hon’ble A B Filmer, Cabinet Minister

The speaker is expected to touch upon the future of modern technologies which would help politicos to:

  • Stick to power for longer durations by (i) Keeping their public image always spick and span, (ii) Using social media platforms to brow beat the opponents and sway public opinion in their favour, and (iii) Engaging with voters by using Virtual Reality;
  • Ensure hassle free vacations, with safer boat rides, sans angry swans.

 

Details

 

Venue: Blandings Castle

Dates: February 14-15, 2019

Registration: www.ilh.org

Catering: Anatole and team

 

The Empress of Blandings shall be in attendance. A LED display will showcase the use of algorithms to monitor her health and diet.

 

Note:

 

The International League of Happiness is a not-for-profit organization where:

-Destructive propaganda of any kind is sneered at

-Global interests are accorded higher priority than narrow national/regional interests

-Healthy discussion is encouraged but indifference to, or defiance of, its collective resolutions is discouraged

 

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/the-epidemic-of-wodehousitis

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/an-invitation-from-the-international-league-of-happiness

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/bertie-jeeves-and-the-internet-of-things)

 

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What kind of desires would be found on the bucket list of a CEO? Perhaps due recognition, more power and pelf, special privileges, a fat expense account, rapid growth, ESOPs, a loyal and committed team comprising persons who happen to be competent in areas where she herself may be weaker, executing her business plans more effectively and efficiently, and the like.

In general, the Happiness Quotient of any professional could possibly be defined as follows: 

 HQ = [ { FD (t) / AD (t) } * f (IR, IG)]

Where HQ is Happiness Quotient, FD (t) is the number of fulfilled desires at a given point in time, AD (t) represents the sum total of all her desires at the same point in time. The notation f (IR, IG) suggests that HQ is directly proportional to her Inner Resilience and the Inner Glow of satisfaction she feels when a job is well done. A happier CEO could often be spotted in the recreation room, perfecting her aim at throwing darts!

It also follows that one’s level of happiness could be improved upon merely by enlarging the scope of FD; or, by reducing the spread of AD.

The former is a Western proposition, leading to crass commercialism. A heavy dose of advertising and public relations keeps the inner fires of desires burning brighter with each passing year, making it the classic case of our chasing an elusive rainbow in a desert. Corporates keep stoking these embers of desire and we keep falling prey to the same at regular intervals.

The latter proposition happens to be an Eastern construct. By keeping a check on one’s desires, one can attain a state of happiness. This calls for an inner awakening and a realization that one needs to outgrow one’s sensual gratification and consciously shepherd oneself to use one’s intellect and restrict the spread of desires one has. Or, to focus on desires which are either aligned with the values of the organization or which happen to be our needs.

Western experts had originally recommended Command and Control as a means to generate wealth and had gone on to imply that stark materialism is the way to seek peace and happiness. However, the Eastern approach is based on an inward blossoming, an inner growth and development which holds an inner glow of success superior to sensual gratification of an external nature. By proactively adopting a Conscious Capitalism approach, several businesses have already recognized the truth that they have a greater purpose, much beyond delivering value to their own stakeholders.

Conscious businesses have trusting, authentic, innovative and caring cultures that make working there a source of both personal growth and professional fulfilment. They endeavour to create financial, intellectual, social, cultural, emotional, spiritual, physical and ecological wealth for all their stakeholders.

An inward blossoming

Bhagavad Gita gives us a clue to be happy, and also to create happier working places. Consider this verse:

यदा संहरते चायं कूर्मोऽङ्गानीव सर्वश: |
इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता ||2.58||

One who is able to withdraw the senses from their objects, just as a tortoise withdraws its limbs into its shell, is established in steady wisdom.

What is being recommended here is not a suppression of desires but a voluntary renunciation of those desires which take us on a path of sensuous gratification, sans a higher purpose in our life and career.

In fact, this takes us back to the idea of living in the present; also, a ‘We and Us’ approach to problem solving than an ‘I and Me’ one.

In Robin S. Sharma’s famous book ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’, Julian says that goals and dreams for the future are very essential elements in every truly successful life. But he advises never to put off happiness for the sake of achievement; never to put off the things that are important for your well-being and satisfaction to a later time. ‘Today is the day to live fully…..never put off living!’ he says.

Bhagavad Gita reinforces this message as follows:

रागद्वेषवियुक्तैस्तु विषयानिन्द्रियैश्चरन् |
आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्मा प्रसादमधिगच्छति ||2.64||

But one who controls the mind, and is free from attachment and aversion, even while using the objects of the senses, attains peace.

A CEO who exercises self-control would eventually experience a sense of inner peace. She would patiently hear out a voice of dissent and use the feedback judiciously. She would see something positive happening and share it with others, without getting attached to it. She would smell a coup in the making and take appropriate steps to defuse the situation in an objective manner. She would praise in public but reprimand in private. She would taste either the sweetness of a resounding success or the sourness of a colossal failure but would neither become complacent nor reach a stage of despondence thereafter. She would sit back and redraw her business plans and put them in motion.

Some manifestations of Self-control

One manifestation of self-control would be the need to accord an equitable and honourable treatment to women at the work place. Just like a cashier who is caught with his hand in the till, often we find some powerful male executives wrecking the careers and lives of relatively vulnerable female team members. If this had indeed been the case, the recent #MeToo campaign would not have gained much currency.

Hormones are surely more powerful than hierarchy. But when such incidents happen and the managements decide to look the other way, or decide to be opaque about handling such issues, they end up causing severe damage to their brand equity.

On the contrary, when business houses like Tatas are majority-owned by trusts which do pioneering philanthropic work for the society, the money with them is truly held in trust, in the true spirit of detachment.

Consider this verse from the Bhagavad Gita:

विहाय कामान्य: सर्वान्पुमांश्चरति नि:स्पृह: |
निर्ममो निरहङ्कार: स शान्तिमधिगच्छति ||2.71||

That person, who gives up all material desires and lives free from a sense of greed, proprietorship, and egoism, attains perfect peace.

Creating happier working places

What with the advent of Industrial Revolution 4.0, many HR honchos these days can be found to be twiddling their thumbs, trying to figure out how to create happier working places even while maintaining a sense of discipline, decorum and decency. Happier people make organizations thrive and prosper.

Dr. Noelle Nelson, in her book ‘Make More Money by Making Your Employees Happy’, explains how progressive employers try to understand the pain points of their employees and then try to address the same. One of the several examples she quotes is that of when Paul O’Neil who took over the reins of ALCOA in 1987, the world’s leading producer of aluminium; O’Neil announced that his sole priority was to increase worker safety. This came as a shock to the company’s directors. O’Neil understood, however, that safety was a major concern for his workers. Over the next 13 years, employee productivity soared as accident rates decreased from roughly one per week per plant to some plants going years without an accident. When O’Neil stepped away just over a decade later, ALCOA’s annual income had grown 500%!

Being happy is possible when one is at peace with oneself and others. Attaining a state of harmony is imperative. Managements need to enable this. They need to provide the necessary tools to their people so as to facilitate an inner sense of peace and happiness.

What makes Starbucks a good employer? Perhaps, one of the factors which contributes towards its people being happy is the kind of training they receive to handle angry and unreasonable customers. This takes the negativity away from a potentially stressful situation, leaving space for a sense of peace and happiness to prevail within the front line staff.

People in organizations do not always look for more monetary rewards. They seek recognition. They relish a sense of fulfilment arising out of their contribution towards a greater goal. They value positive relationships with other team members. Harmony, peace and happiness comprise their inner goal.

(Related Post:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2018/05/03/from-an-i-and-me-approach-to-a-we-and-us-one)

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Angelina Jolie had faced it. Gwyneth Paltrow has had to bear it. Kate Winslet has hinted at it. Ashley Judd has admitted to it. Many others have now joined the crusade against Harvey Weinstein who had preyed on them. A police investigation has just started gathering steam.

Leading ladies from Hollywood have finally shown the courage to stand up and spill the beans. Irrespective of the time that has elapsed, it is praiseworthy. It encourages many other silent sufferers amongst the tribe of delicately nurtured to openly name and shame their oppressors.

Would some of our Bollywood divas also take a cue and come out with a ‘MeToo’ revelation? Some of them have charted their own paths in the entertainment business and have built their own brand equity. Sure enough, they can help many other struggling artists and starlets to stand up to amorous advances being made by their possible benefactors?

So far, Konkona Sen Sharma, Rahika Apte and few others have come out in support of the drive. But one looks forward to a far more widespread support.

What they also need to do is to repudiate the views of actor Mayim Bialik who has suggested in a column that dressing conservatively and looking ‘unglamorous’ often helps skirt amorous advances. This is, yet again, placing the blame at the doorstep of the victim.

The Casting Couch

The existence of this phenomenon has been Bollywood’s worst kept secrets. By going public with the acts of sexual predators, perhaps some degree of self-regulation may come about, thereby helping the vulnerable to avoid getting exploited.

Once in a blue moon, Bollywood has, through some of its own offerings, confessed to the presence of this scourge. Movies like Fashion (Madhur Bhandarkar, 2008) and Luck by Chance (Zoya Akhtar, 2009) had clear references to the sordid practice.

Hormones moderated by Chivalry?

Some of the members of the so-called sterner sex would also do well to introspect and mend their ways. The least they can do is to undergo a crash course at the Bertie Wooster Institute of Chivalry.

 

(Ref: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/10/harvey-weinstein-accusers-sexual-harassment-assault-rose-mcgowan-ashley-judd-gwyneth-paltrow)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/05/12/female-power

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/romancing-the-boss-in-reel-life

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/hormones-vs-hierarchies

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/to-all-ye-ogling-males)

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