I have been trying to watch this movie ever since it came out in September last year since there was a lot of controversy surronding the movie and the trailer was very hard hitting. I was so excited to see this on Netflix and thanks to the new download feature could watch it on a long drive down to LA.
The movie starts off in suspense and follows 3 young ‘modern’ girls in Delhi. How do I know they are mordern? They have short hair, wear ‘mordern’ clothes and live alone while they work in Delhi. They have a chance encounter with some well connected, rich, hot headed Delhi boys and things go awry. They are helped by a retired lawyer with mental issues, Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bacchan). The story itself is compelling and relateable, these are instances our parents, aunts and schools have warned us about before. Why girls are taught to stay quiet, look the other way and dont anger the perpetrator for fear of what they might do. Because men will always reign supreme and the women should be quiet no matter what.
Tapsee Pannu did a great job as the rightfully ‘outspoken’ Meenal, who stands up for what is right and despite being a strong woman is seen broken by the patriarchal society we live in wherein even a woman police officer is bought out by money and power. The other two girls also do a great job as supporting characters.
While the movie does bring very important issues to light, there were too many extraneous things brought up: mental illness, an aging partner, a relationship with a divorcee and the inherent racism against those from the North East in India. While all of these are very important issues, the main issue of consent is only brought to light at the very end. Amitabh Bacchan’s most powerful monologue surounds the word ‘No’ and is one that every man and woman must hear and understand. I wish this point was the main focus and the others were not brought up.
I am so happy there is a movie like this to begin with, however, I hope one day we can have a story like this told with a female lawyer, where women dont need a man to save them at the end of the day but where a strong, powerful women is enough to bring justice. I can see a woman like Shabana Azmi doing this role flawlessly and that is my hope for Bollywood one day.
To any woman reading this that has been a victim of abuse: physical, verbal or emotional by the hand of a man, know that you are better than this, that you are not at fault and that you are stronger than this. Please, seek help and report an issue whenever you can. To any man reading this: ‘No’ means ‘no’ no matter if it is a stranger, friend, girlfriend or your wife.
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Favorite Song: Kaari Kaari