Pink:Its Power and Politics

Women fleeing.Women scared.Women winning.Women crying.Women falling apart.Women surviving.

Women as have rarely been seen on screen before.Not weak women,or strong women.Just women,as they are,struggling to live as they please,failing,and winning.

Pink is woman-centric with a vengeance, and yet at its centre is a man.Strikingly enough,a man central to a woman-centric film,in a capacity other than romantic.

At its skeletal,Pink is a film about sexual violence.It is about three women’s quest for justice,and one man’s fight to get them just that.

What Pink becomes,ultimately,is a film that remarkably captures the reality of being female in India.The constant fear that dogs the steps of the three women in the film is symbolic of the larger terror that women,too often,live in the throes of-as an actual reality,or as the possbility of what awaits a woman if they do not tow the line.

In the figure of the senile lawyer Sehgal,played by Amitabh Bachhan, the women’s unlikely ally,one sees the potential that becomes reality when the powerful,the ones within time-honoured institutions,challenge the notions that too many accept as an unquestionable truth.

Pink is wonderfully feminist in its assertions-in the education it has to impart,about morality,about consent,about agency. What it also handles wonderfully is the theme of intersectionality-targeting the regional,racist discrimination of women from,for example,the North-East,and the dehumanisation of sex workers.

Pink is also a film that gloriously captures female solidarity-three women standing up for each other,of women standing against women but ultimately realising their mistakes.Yet it does not tap into the trope of the strong,all powerful,invincible women-too often an erasure of the insurmountable odds the patriarchy presents before women.

Yet the realities which reinforce a gory reality for women do not always look like significant catastrophe.Pink shows the countless microaggressions women encounter on a daily basis,and how these serve to reinforce the reality of oppression.It shows how victim-blaming,slut shaming-all the familiar discourses about how women bring on sexual violence upon themselves,and how these serve to building a fundamentally hostile world for women to inhabit.

Pink is not  a film that says what we do not already know.Yet it drives home the precise gravity of the situation,and the need of the hour.In the process of being so,what Pink emerges as is not a film that is easy to watch,but one that demands to be watched.

 

 

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This blog gets more introspective (ridiculously self indulgent?) with every new post,and more personal than I had ever planned on letting it be.

And still,the old cliches,how much the personal is really shaped by the not-so-personal:the social,the economic,the political-at the risk of sounding like a throwback to class 11’s social science courses.

When I think of those “externals” shaping me, I can’t help resorting to the cliche of this city-the remnants of a fractured, not-so-old culture still bubbling in the cauldron.

I am always dreaming of leaving this city. I love this city.But to belong to this city the way I do-to be girl,to be then,woman,to be hopelessly middle-class here means to be largely excluded from this city and all the chaotic glory it has to offer. That is the paradox of my love affair  with  my hometown-I love it,I wish to inhabit it for good,more of it than just this cramped apartment and a sprawling,yet not big enough campus.And the violence,the misogyny,the patriarchal codes of conduct keeping me from doing so are just as much part of this city as anything else.

I want to take metros and buses and trams to explore every corner of this city-dig my nose into every shadow of glory past, peep into every glimmer of hope future. Capture all the ugly,all the beauty,all the shame,all the majesty.And maybe someday I can,I will-the only condition then being to detach myself from what fiercely anchors me to the city now,know this city as a hometown.The tourist knows the city extensively perhaps, the resident is claustrophobic with intensive knowledge- in knowing too much of the bits to which she is confined.I want both-not the claustrophobia,of course,but to know as much as I can and yet the unfiltered realities,all those details you miss by not really belonging,by only ever looking for a way out even in your time here.Am I in love with the city for what it is or for the possibilities of what was,what could have been,what might be?All the was-es and the could have-s,the eternal romanticism they say ruined Bengalis for good.

To love and to need to leave,if only to come back,to only ever really belong by not belonging.Among all the paradoxes this city is teaming with,this particular one seems to have seeped right into my soul.

 

Everything is a blur. I remember bits and pieces of black left behind from the last seven years of so.Am I sick? Ma says everyone gets sad, it’s nothing to worry about. I have a cold and she fusses over it,though everyone gets those too.I try to tell her how difficult it is getting to breathe and why but I am tired of seeing confusion and fear everywhere so I stop myself.

I’m where I wanted to be.And all I can think of is escape-only I run out of plans everyday.Part of me wants to run but I am tired in that most frustrating tired-out-from-nothing-way.And part of me wants to bury myself right here.

And I wonder if my life is always going to be a series of preparations to run away-always chased by an undefined something and pulled in by another imperceptible nothing?Am I always to trudge from one trampled down dream to another and never really be at peace with the moment?

Yet is making peace with the here and the now the death of all dreaming,the start of complete stagnation?All through school my life was propelled,it seems by the idea of a better future-college,English Honours and now I’m here and I’m tired and all I am doing is chasing new dreams to chase.Or,in failing to do so,striving to build new ones-not easy when your imagination folds in on itself.

Is all the beauty really in the journeying,and no destination as rosy as it seems on the map directing us there-just the idea of something better round the corner deluding us into thinking the effort to get there worth it?

I lie in bed with a clogged,unyielding mind and promise to pull myself together tomorrow,and I am beginning to feel absurdly withered,absurdly old for someone my age.Is there any such thing as deliverance,is there a way out,is there deliverance.

 

Someone asked me about my blog a while back,and I told them I don’t update anymore.I liked blogging while I was at it,I really did but then I stopped because that’s the kind of person I am,never sticking to things and too lazy for the things that make me happy.

But things are getting bad again,and I need to write-perhaps writing here is the best because it isn’t Facebook where I am perpetually on my guard,and it isn’t a diary-still public enough to keep me from pouring out thoughts which I will still be cringing at, years down the line. What the public nature of all my venting forums cannot save me from,however,is living with those thoughts and those truths I will never quite be proud of.

Here’s the deal: I don’t know who I am anymore,I have been consciously trying to be something I am not but that probably stops soon-yet I can never go back to the person I used to be,I am  not sure I want to.

Facebook memories showed me a post from 5 years back where I said I was depressed “all the time” but I am nineteen,pretty much where I wanted to be-I was supposed to be happy by now.

Amidst a cocktail of loathing and distaste,the most overpowering is this distaste for my own self-absorption,yet one feeds of the other.

I read a post somewhere-Facebook,was it,or Tumblr-where they said selfish people are sad,and selfless people happy but what if it is our sadness that makes us selfish?Sadness can be crippling yet it is time perhaps we stop attaching value judgements to our emotions,prioritising one over the other.

Maybe happiness isn’t an accomplishment,maybe the best it is is fleeting,maybe it is overprioritised,maybe it is a fairytale-the last of the castles we keep on searching for,the demons in our mind the last ones we never quite slay. It’s just that things have been this way for a while now,and I am a little tired.