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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Submarine

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In a complex unfolding of events,Alex Turner and Submarine led me to each other.

It was like this-listening to Alex’s solo work for the film was what made me fall decisively in love with him,and the music got me interested in the film.

The distinct aesthetic-purposefully juvenile,a quirky understated one-of the film caught my eye in fan made music videos for the songs,and it held my gaze once again when I watched the film.

The protagonist is a high school boy-awkward,cowardly,sometimes mean and selfish,sometimes not but definitely unheroic. He belongs to the inherently flawed,seemingly causelessly tormented trope of adolescent so popularly seen in coming of age narratives-determined to seem okay,determined to fit in.

He lives in a village in England with his parents and has a love interest in his classmate,Jordana.

Oliver’s world seems a calm.orderly one and largely stays so,but there are events here and there that cause ripples in otherwise calm water-betraying a bewildering turbulence behind the apparently unremarkable and mundane.

Submarine isn’t a film about the ostensibly exemplary. It shows an unremarkable boy’s unremarkable life,and in doing so,it does a lovely job of capturing the adolescence experience.

It doesn’t show you anything that hasn’t already been seen,tell you much that hasn’t already been talked about at length.

It is,however,beautifully shot,beautifully made and monumentally heartwarming.

The characters are lifelike,flaws and all,and endearing for all that.

What Submarine promises is more an experience than a movie-the music and the visuals unite to bring to the audience a vividly realistic slice of life,as it is known and lived by a teenage boy who clambers awkwardly on the way to adulthood,falling and scraping his knees,it is true but learning and never ceasing to move along,aware though he may or may not be of the fact.