Reel Reflections-4: Deja-vu Dosti

So. Yet another movie about yet another male trio. Kai Po Che may be based on a book, but it’s only the latest in a long line of films with multiple central characters , all of whom happen to be male and twenty-ish. This ‘bromance’ genre has taken off mightly in Bollypur, especially since it seems to garner a lot of box-office moolah.

Off the top of my head, I can think of Dil Chahta Hai (the first and the best), Delhi Belly, 3 Idiots, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara,Pyaar Ka Punchnama and Rock On. Most of them have done exceedingly well- granted they had what it took in terms on plot , but the dynamics of bonding were definitely centrestage.

One reason for the abundance of films in this genre is that the theme is universal and popular.Make a movie about friends,the crowds will come.

Friendship/’dosti’ is seen in India as something purer than even ‘pyaar’/romantic love. This lofty pedestal, however, is reserved only for male friendship, if Bollywood is to believed. 

The only movie I can think of , with some depiction of female friendship was perhaps Aisha, but honestly, the friendship angle was so underdeveloped that it does not even count as a true example.

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What gives Bollywood?

How long do I have to wait for THIS movie to be made- the *definitive* female-protagonist driven movie about friendship and coming of age?

You know, where you take three young girls and document their stories- the class bunking,the road-trips, the philosophic conversations in scenic settings , the drunken declarations, the ‘finding’ of themselves (or whatever self-actualisation stunt you want to pull). May be you will have to include the bits about their paths to love, but hopefully you can do that without making them ditch their friends enroute to the altar.

Discomfited with my ‘narration’? If you think we collectively bought into the 80’s and 90’s bharatiya nari BS that you dished out, think again.

I know I am probably biased because I have gone to college with some truly fun female friends in my time, and am a little aggrieved that only boys get to have all the (onscreen) fun.

Anyhow, dear all-of-Bollywood, if you decide that there’s something to this after all, you know whom to hire for the script:)

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5 thoughts on “Reel Reflections-4: Deja-vu Dosti

  1. Ugh, the annoying bro-mance formula. If they made these with female protagonists, the only socially acceptable thing to show would be the women staying at home until getting married and returning home before 7 pm every evening. Anything else would make them ‘bad’ girls or would require lots of male chaperones to be present around them to make it acceptable.

    Also now that you mention it, I can’t think of any movies with the female lead having a significant friendship angle.. they only obsess about their families/ lovers/ husbands. Maybe Jane tu ya jane na, but even then she was secretly in love with her friend. Cocktail had a friendship angle but the whole movie was really mixed up and weird and not realy about friendship (loved your post on it) so that doesn’t count either. Wow, only boys need friends. Who knew!

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    • The funny thing is that they are creating more realistic/quirky female characters with ‘modern’ flaws et all- but these girls are usually restricted to one per movie – and so tend not to have other similar female friends.
      That being said, I think the writers have a lot to do with what characters are shown in movies. The day we have more female writers will also be the day we have more, and different female characters.

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      • “The day we have more female writers will also be the day we have more, and different female characters.”

        So true. Reminds of a comment on one of IHM’s posts about the importance of having women as historians and writers. That is the way to inject some female perspective and balance into these areas. I saw a talk about how this inherent lack of perspective affects things as important as medical research (http://www.ted.com/talks/noel_bairey_merz_the_single_biggest_health_threat_women_face.html). Some commenters objected to the gender angle in the talk, but to me it was very interested that even being in the field of biological research, I did not perceive heart disease as a major risk for women (compared to heart disease in men or breast cancer).

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  2. One of the ironies of Bollywood is that the most realistic, human and fleshed out portrayals of women characters were in some of the famous negative or semi-negative roles. Those familiar with the internals of Bollywood would know that despite the outwardly sophistication and westernized posturing of Bollywood honchos, they are essentially very sexist. At almost every level, from the cameraman to many of the new generation directors. I am not sure if its a cultural thing or because their personal interactions with women are essentially one dimensional.
     
    Perhaps, as you said, Bollywood needs some decent women scriptwriters. Why don’t you take a proactive role and give a try?

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    • To be honest I think Bollywood characters (both male and female) are getting more interesting with each passing year; so I shall remain hopeful (and try to write that script too 🙂
      A friend pointed out to me that TV is the complete opposite of Bollywood- the majority of TV content is produced and aimed almost exclusively at women. Too bad so much of it is c**p.
      I wonder how this dichotomy came to exist- movies for men, soaps for women–surely making some movies for women and some TV shows for men should be profitable.

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