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Posts Tagged ‘Women’

Residents of Plumsville are aware of such couples as Piggy-Maudie and Joe-Julia. To lovebirds that are young at heart and have matured over time, lining of the stomach plays an important role. At times, the prospect of an alliance between their respective children reunites them. PGW RingForJeeves

In ‘Ring for Jeeves’, we get to meet Mrs. Spottsworth and Captain Biggar. They are also young at heart but not as advanced in age as to merit consideration either to bodily afflictions or to children’s marriage prospects.

The two get introduced to each other while on a hunting spree in Kenya. Much later, they run into each other in the coffee room of the Goose and Gherkin, one of the wayside inns in England. A day later, they happen to be staying together at Rowcester Abbey, a property Mrs. Spottsworth is considering buying.

Of chance meetings which are ‘meant’

Mrs. Spottsworth exudes an aura of wealth. She is as rich as she looks. At the mere mention of her name, the blood-sucking leeches of the Internal revenue Department ‘raise their filthy hats with a reverent intake of the breath.’

Her first husband, Cliffton Bessemer, died in a road mishap, leaving behind sackfuls of the green stuff, which got further supplemented when her second husband, A. B. Spottsworth, made the obituary column, when, while hunting in Kenya, ‘thought a lion to be dead, whereas the lion thought it wasn’t.’

Colonel Cuthbert Gervase Brabazon-Biggar had the privilege then of picking up the mortal remains of her second husband and of getting those shipped out to Nairobi.

She remains in touch with both her husbands through a Ouija board. Broadminded and considerate, they keep egging her on to marry yet again. They assert that a woman, irrespective of her bank balance, needs a mate by her side.

She is intensely interested in psychical research and looks forward to enthralling spiritual manifestations, that too with a dash of impatience. She does not believe in chance. She believes that even chance meetings are ‘meant’.

Of cavemen and clubs

Mrs. Spottsworth is a romantic at heart. When ‘a night complete with moonlight, singing nightingales, gentle breezes and the scent of stock and tobacco plant’ brings the two lovers together, she tries her best to kindle the passion which happens to be dormant in the bosom of Captain Biggar.

The latter even gets persuaded to put on a pendant around her shapely neck, driving knives into his trembling frame.

Do you remember the day we met in Kenya?’

‘Oh, rather,’ said Captain Biggar.

‘I had the strangest feeling, when I saw you that day, that we had met before in some previous existence.’

‘A bit unlikely, what?’

Mrs. Spottsworth closed her eyes.

‘I seemed to see us in some dim, prehistoric age. We were clad in skins. You hit me over the head with your club and dragged me by my hair to your cave.’

‘Oh, no, dash it, I wouldn’t do a thing like that.

Mrs. Spottsworth opened her eyes, and enlarging them to their fullest extent allowed them to play on his like searchlights.

‘You did it because you loved me,’ she said in a low, vibrant whisper.

Kind words and melting looks

Despite being cold shouldered, her female instincts do not lead her astray. She knows that when a man chokes up and looks like an embarrassed beetroot every time he catches her eye, he is bound to be passionate about her. To bring that passion to a boil, few kind words and a melting look or two would be quite sufficient.

When an opportunity presents for her to dance the Chesterton with the ninth Earl of Rowcester and rousing the fiend that slept in Captain Biggar, she exploits it. The latter walks out in a dark mood, giving the frogs on the open lawns an impression that ‘it was raining number eleven boots.’

When her diamond pendant gets purloined, she merely expects justice, not vengeance. When Captain Biggar is held to be the prime suspect, she starts losing her faith in human nature.

When a woman loves a man with every fibre of a generous nature, it can never be pleasant for her to hear this man alluded to as a red-faced thug and as a scoundrel who can’t possibly get away but must inevitably ere long be caught and slapped into the jug.

The Biggar Code

On his part, Captain Biggar has loved her from the very moment when she, a combination of Cleopetra and Helen of Troy, had briefly popped up in his life. But his code was rigid on such matters. A pauper like him could not go mixing with wealthy widows. Tubby Frobisher and the Subahdar in the old Anglo-Malay Club at Kuala Lampur would not approve.

The Biggar code not only forbids poor persons proposing to rich widows. It also encourages a white man to shield young and innocent women from the seamy side of life. When it comes to alerting poor Jill about her affianced, Bill, cooing to Mrs. Spottsworth like a turtle-dove, Captain loses no time. The code also enjoins one to be honest in one’s dealings – whether by way of chasing defaulting bookies or by returning stolen pendants. If one values money, it is only to ensure that one can feel in a position to express one’s love for a woman with a magnificent bank balance.

He has a penchant for expressing himself in Swahili as also in some languages of the East. When craving clarity of mind, he is wont to do yogic breathing exercises and practice ‘communion with the Jivatma or soul.’

Breaking the code jinx

The code jinx is broken by Mrs. Spottsworth by confirming to Captain Biggar that one of the code’s main proponents, Augustus Frobisher, has already gone ahead and married a woman who has much more money than herself.

Captain’s plans of wandering out into the sunset alone get scratched. Jeeves’ services get relied upon for announcing the banns in The Times, the Telegraph and Mail and Express.

Unlike the narratives which capture the characters of Piggy-Maudie and Joe-Julia, the main protagonists in this case do not get united owing to one of the juicy schemes of Jeeves.

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/piggy-maudie-and-a-seasoned-romance

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/joe-julia-and-a-seasoned-romance)

 

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My Views On Bollywood

By

Sharada Iyer

Waheeda Rehman with her exquisitely chiselled features, a rare simplicity, amazing grace and immense talent had a truly transcendental appeal. Her beautiful presence lent dignity to every character she portrayed in her long and illustrious career spanning more than three decades. From the vamp of CID in 1955 to the grandmother of Delhi-6 in 2009, she was fortunate to have got a variety of roles and her career graph is not only studded with memorable performances but also some remarkable on-screen dances.

waheeda-dance1

Waheeda Rehman danced like a dream and being one of the few dancing heroines to have entered the industry she brought with her the beauty of our cultural arts. She put life into all her dances and her eyes beautifully captured the different emotions and nuances required for the song situation. Apart from typical classical dances she also performed other lighter styles and left her graceful…

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Gone are the days when Bollywood used to specialize in churning out only male-centric movies. There were times when our heroes used to be super humans with powers that even God would have hesitated to manifest. Our heroines were inevitably ‘cute’, irrational and dumb. Our families were massive piles of relatives dressed in garish clothes and living in ugly bungalows. Our idea of wooing a girl was dangerously close to molestation. Our assumptions regarding the IQ of our audiences were different. The movies catered mostly to the intelligence of an imagined front-bencher, and were inane, vulgar and obscene.

Cut to the present. The heroes are no longer diffident about shedding their macho image and reveal their softer side on the screen. The heroines have now become far more decisive and assertive. They resist amorous advances. They call the shots. They continue to be as beautiful as ever, but have become far bolder.

Women have found their own voice in the movies, perhaps mirroring the kind of social changes in the offing. More and more female protagonists now sweep us off our feet not only by their chutzpah but also by their brains and brawn. The males are still around, but they often got relegated to the background. If they happen to be in the foreground, they happen to be in a supportive role. Or, they get teased, mocked at and hounded till the time they mend their corrupt and lecherous ways.

Some movies have even gone ahead and made us wonder if the members of the tribe of the so-called sterner sex are even necessary in the scheme of things. However, for the evolution of our species, a balanced approach is called for. A realization is to dawn that women are not objects of lust, violence and humiliation. They deserve all the respect and adoration that is rightfully due to them.

Rays of hope

Here are some Bollywood offerings in the recent past which have had women-centric scripts and have also done well commercially. Most of these have depicted strong females, real or imaginary, who have carried the narrative on their strong shoulders and turned the tables on the so-called sterner sex.

Jalpari

(The Mermaid, 2012, Nilab Madhab Panda)

jalpari

A delightful movie which makes an effective comment on the issue of female foeticide.

Kahaani

(The Story, 2012, Sujoy Ghosh)

kahaani

A courageous widow who tries to unravel the mystery behind the unfortunate death of her husband in a poison gas attack on the Kolkatta metro.

Gulaab Gang

(The Pink Brigade, 2014, Soumik Sen)

gulab_gang

Here is a gang of women activists and vigilantes who take up issues like domestic violence, the dowry system, rape, civic service deficiencies, and female education.

Queen

(2014, Vikas Bahl)

Print

When her fiancé calls off their wedding, the heroine decides to register a protest by proceeding on a mono-honeymoon trip, savouring life on her own.

Lakshmi

(2014, Nagesh Kukunoor)

lakshmi-movie

A girl is kidnapped and sold into prostitution. Assisted by a lawyer, she faces violent threats, coercion and bribes, stands up in court and in a landmark case in India, succeeds in putting the traffickers behind bars.

Mary Kom

(2014, Omung Kumar)

marykom

A biographical sports film which depicted the famous Indian boxer’s ascendance to fame. The heroine pursues her passion even while she discharges her family responsibilities with the support of her husband.

Mardaani

(The Masculine One, 2014, Pradeep Sarkar)

mardaani

A policewoman takes personal interest in the case of a kidnapped teenage girl and ends up busting a gang specializing in human trafficking in India.

Parched

(2015, Leena Yadav)

parched

The movie captured various evils of the society – deep-seated attitudes of patriarchy, child marriage, dowry, marital rapes and physical and mental abuse of women.

Jai Gangaajal

(Hail the water of the Ganges, 2016, Prakash Jha)

jai_gangaajal_poster

A newly appointed police officer stands up to her seniors and attempts to end the reign of corruption, terror and anarchy in the area under her charge.

Pink

(2016, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury)

pink

Built around an incident of molestation and attempted rape, the movie highlighted the regressive attitudes towards women who dress ‘inappropriately’ and attend parties, thereby being considered fair game. A “NO” may come from any woman – a girlfriend a sex-worker, or even one’s wife – and needs to be respected as such.

Neerja

(2016, Ram Madhvani)

neerja

A courageous flight head purser stands up against the vicious hijackers of a plane. She helps to save 359 of the 379 passengers and crew on board but gets killed in the process. Based on a true incident, wherein the woman received Ashok Chakra posthumously, the highest civilian honour in India.

Nil Battey Sannata

(Good for nothing, 2016, Ashwini Iyer Tiwari)

nil_battey_sannata

An uneducated household maid and single mother of a young girl sets out to ensure that her daughter dreams big and changes her lot in life.

Ki and Ka

(She and He, 2016, R Balki)

ki_and_ka

A delectable tale of role reversal of genders in a marriage, where the wife becomes the bread-winner and the husband takes care of the household.

Dangal

(The Wrestling Competition, 2016, Nitesh Tiwari)

dangal_poster

A real-life father braves opposition from the society to train his daughters to become star wrestlers, who go on to win international recognition. 

Blast from the past

This is not to say that Bollywood has not come up with women-centric movies in the past. Here are some which readily spring to one’s mind.

Hunterwali (1935, Homi Wadia)

nadia-hunterwali

Mother India (1957, Mehboob Khan)

Movie Mother_India

Bandini (1963, Bimal Roy)

Dark Bandini

Khamoshi (1969, Asit Sen)

khamoshi

Insaaf Ka Tarazu (1976, B R Chopra)

insaaf_ka_tarazu

Bhumika (1977, Shyam Benegal)

bhumika

Arth (1982, Mahesh Bhatt)

arth

Mirch Masala (1987, Ketan Mehta)

mirch_masala

Aastha (1997, Basu Bhattacharya)

aastha_-_in_the_prison_of_spring

Godmother (1999, Vinay Shukla)

godmother

Astitva (2000, Mahesh Manjrekar)

astitva

Lajja (2001, Rajkumar Santoshi)

lajja

Then and now

The difference is that women in earlier movies were mostly the sacrificing, the weepy and the self-pitying kind. They would take matters in their own hands but only when driven against a wall. Now, they come into their own out of sheer free will, revealing the inner strength they possess.

However, the fight against a deeply entrenched patriarchical mindset is far from being over. What we see today are mere green shoots, that too on the silver screen, which are confined to the metrosexual male. Movies directed at upwardly mobile urban youth alone mirror the new set of values. Centuries of social hierarchy has conditioned male minds to accept only certain conservative patterns of behaviour and dress for women. A person who deviates, dresses differently and goes partying is seen as fair game.

Creativity, Commerciality and Social Challenges

Creativity innovates. Commerciality exploits. For good cinema to flourish, a culturally vibrant social environment is necessary. If fine arts are better understood and appreciated, if there is a solid rooting in humanities and social sciences, imaginative and responsible movie makers would surely come up with meaningful entertainment which nurtures the soul while giving pleasure.

The intrinsic purpose of movies is commercial. However, if the message being conveyed also helps the society to correct itself, there is a real value-add which needs to be lauded. Producers and directors who come up with such creative offerings deserve all the admiration and adulation they richly deserve.

Needed: Different shades of chivalry

Indian males really need to reboot themselves for the 21st century. They could learn a lot about the art of chivalry from such heroes as Ashok (Anupama, 1966, Hrishikesh Mukherjee) and Arun (Chhoti Si Baat, 1975, Basu Chatterjee). This change can only start at the dining table and in the kitchen, within the confines of a home.

Parents of those who indulged in ‘mass molestation’ in a premier metro of India recently need to seriously introspect and start grooming their wards to practice different shades of chivalry in the days to come.

Bertie Wooster would surely approve. So would the likes of Honoria Glossop and Florence Craye.

(Related Posts:

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

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/women-through-the-bollywood-lens-part-2-of-2

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/different-shades-of-women-in-plumsville)

 

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Yet another International Women’s Day might have passed on, but issues about the objectification of women in Bollywood movies remain.

ashokbhatia

Sixteen Shades of the Bollywood Eve

(Continued from Part 1)

  • ·         The Avenger

She is the one with a resilient spirit. She takes up an issue and brings it to a logical conclusion.movies nadira

Nadira started this trend in Hunterwaali(The Lady with a Whip) way back in 1935. Several others followed.Hema Malini played a role with negative shades in Laal Patthar(Red Stone, 1971). Rekha extracted a revenge in Khoon Bhari Maang (The Blood-filled Hair Parting, 1988). In Insaaf Ka Tarazu(Scale of Justice, 1980), Zeenat Amaan took a serial rapist to court. Mirch Masala(Spices, 1987) depicted a fiery Smita Patil who resists the amorous advances of a village headman. Zakhmi Aurat(Wounded Woman, 1988), had Dimple Kapadia avenging her rape by means of castrating the perpetrators of the crime.

Damini(Lightning, 1993) raised the issues involved in bringing a rapist to justice. In Bandit…

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ashokbhatia

Recently, a friend asked me what I thought of Katrina Kaif’s character in the just released Dhoom-3movies katrina(The Blast-3, 2013). Even at the risk of offending some of you, I confess I found it full of chutzpah and oomph but, alas, hollow otherwise. From this perspective, the script of Dhoom-2 perhaps etched the characters played by Aishwarya Rai and Bipasha Basu in somewhat greater detail.

This led me to think of the kaleidoscope of movies churned out by Bollywood and the wide spectrum of roles written for and played by women. It is also interesting to see how their roles have evolved over the past few decades, much in tune with two inter-related trends in the Indian society – a deeply patriotic fervor giving way to the rise of consumerism, and the outlook changing from a society-centric one to an individual-centric one. The first one has to do with…

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On the occasion of Women’s Day, here is a post which salutes some of those who have broken through the so-called glass ceiling in the management world!

ashokbhatia

When a finer member of our species becomes the part of an all-men group, the results are obvious – better focus on the job at hand, a far more effective team, higher levels of decency and a groundswell of chivalrous overtures.

Chamaiporn Uerpairojkit Chamaiporn Uerpairojkit

Better still, if she happens to be a CEO, we have a boardroom which is painted a deeper shade of pink, thereby driving away the boredom from the drab proceedings. We also have a crackling company which is more result-oriented and has better empathy while dealing with diverse stakeholders. We are also likely to get a greener and cleaner business entity which believes in corporate ethics and good governance.

In the Pink of Health

Several studies done in far-flung countries such as USA, France and Vietnam have shown that companies led by women deliver better financial results. A McKinsey study compared the top-quartile of companies in terms…

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Wodehouse has created a wide array of feminine characters. Some may be plain dumb. Some may be highly intelligent, aiming to elevate the intellectual leanings of their prospective mates. Others specialize in financial dealings. Some others are good at stealing. Quite a few have strong entrepreneurial instincts. Then we have sports enthusiasts and fitness freaks.

Here is a delectable post which concludes, and rightly so, that in his characters, romance can coexist with intelligence and humour.

Plumtopia

He held rigid views on the art of the novel, and always maintained that an artist with a true reverence for his craft should not decend to goo-ey love stories, but should stick austerely to revolvers, cries in the night, missing papers, mysterious Chinamen, and dead bodies — with or without gash in throat.

From ‘Honeysuckle Cottage’

1927 Meet Mr. Mulliner mycopyThis firm opinion belongs to mystery writer James Rodman, a cousin of Mr Mulliner. But then he inherits Honeysuckle Cottage from his Aunt, the romance novelist Leila J. Pinckney , and her house begins to exert a sinister romantic influence over him.

First, he inserts an unwelcome female into the novel he is writing:  ‘…the most beautiful girl he had ever beheld. A veritable child of Faerie.’

James stared at the paper dumbly. He was utterly perplexed. He had not had the slightest intention of writing anything like this. To begin with, it…

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When it comes to essaying the role of a lawyer in a Bollywood movie, one fondly remembers such male actors as Motilal and Ashok Kumar. Even the much-hated Gabbar (Amjad Khan) tickled our funny bones in the comedy ‘Chameli ki Shadi’.

Here is a great listing of movies where our favourite heroines have donned the mantle of a lawyer, proving their acting prowess and versatility in an area where our mainstream heroes have not been very active.

My Views On Bollywood

  By

  Sharada Iyer

In October 2015, after a five-year hiatus post her delivery, Aishwarya Rai made a grand comeback with the taut thriller Jazbaa, which had her essaying the role of a suave criminal lawyer with effortless ease. The film made me wonder why our industry makes such few films focussing on lawyers and courtroom drama and even fewer ones where the female protagonist is a lawyer.

Looking back one realizes that this genre has never been accorded much importance in our films which probably explains why many of our top male stars like Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Shammi Kapoor, Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, etc., have refrained from essaying the role of a lawyer.  

After a lot of research, I came across 14 remarkable films where our actresses have had the opportunity to don the black robe. Interestingly out of these, except for Insaaf Ka…

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ashokbhatia

c1 (25)You can be forgiven if you think we, the people of India, have let you down,
We have deeply ingrained prejudices upon which many of us do frown;
Like an ostrich, or like the three monkeys of the Father of our Nation,
We refuse to hear, see or speak evil, or to examine our value fixation.

Our society needs to stop mistreating and tormenting those of your kind,
Killing the likes of you in the womb, denying them a healthy body and mind;
Treating them like mere toys, made to fulfill the males’ lustful impulses,
Prisoners to their patriarchical mindset, ignoring your appeals and curses.

Some of us would like to know why at all you went out on that fateful day,
Why did you have to flag a bus full of maniacs while finding your way?
Were you not being stupid when you dressed the way you did that…

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c1 (25)You can be forgiven if you think we, the people of India, have let you down,
We have deeply ingrained prejudices upon which many of us do frown;
Like an ostrich, or like the three monkeys of the Father of our Nation,
We refuse to hear, see or speak evil, or to examine our value fixation.

Our society needs to stop mistreating and tormenting those of your kind,
Killing the likes of you in the womb, denying them a healthy body and mind;
Treating them like mere toys, made to fulfill the males’ lustful impulses,
Prisoners to their patriarchical mindset, ignoring your appeals and curses.

Some of us would like to know why at all you went out on that fateful day,
Why did you have to flag a bus full of maniacs while finding your way?
Were you not being stupid when you dressed the way you did that night?
Did you not realize we will continue to mentally undress you with all our might?

Some claim that you never had the right to resist even a ‘normal’ assault,
Hoping for a shred of mercy from your tormentors was only your fault;
When they tried to force themselves on you, you were naïve to protest,
You were expected to meekly surrender and be subservient to their lust.

You stood up, you resisted, you protested, and sealed your fate,
Escaping ignonimity at the hands of your family and a future mate;
Had you lived, lawyers would have made you relive the horror repeatedly,
The butchers who disemboweled you would have gazed at you heatedly.

In your death, you have found silence and peace, an end to your suffering,
A freedom from the denial of opportunities to live life your way, with a zing;
But you have set for your sisters a new benchmark of courage and hope,
To face social prejudice, stigma and gender bias with a short rope.

Thanks to you, women are now fighting back, reporting misdeeds,
Politicos no longer sure of winning elections till they take care of your needs;
The delicately nurtured are now more aware of their situation and rights,
Standing up to be counted as citizens, demanding respect and scaling new heights.

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/an-open-letter-to-damini

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/the-anguish-of-a-soul)

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