B-Town Wonder Women and their Wingmen

Pop Culture

B-Town Wonder Women and their Wingmen

Illustration: Akshita Monga

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ou didn’t have to wait until December 23 to hear the most affecting line in Dangal. There it was on the movie poster, “Mhaari chhoriyan chhoron se kam hain ke?” kick-starting the campaign to shape the way we would view Dangal: as a feminist film. Pick your quibbles with it, but Dangal delivers on the promise that it made on several counts: In the story that it chooses to tell at all, in centering the conflicts of its female leads, and in its refusal to sexualise their bodies for presentation.

The rhetorical question that Dangal sets out to answer over the course of two hours and forty minutes, could well serve as the tagline for a particular kind of film we saw in 2016. Movies that were premised on the struggles of their female hero/heroes – and the men who enabled them or delivered them from those troubles. Films like Pink and Dangal took off with a get-set-go feminist stance, while those like Kahaani 2 and Dear Zindagi chose to deliver the same message with subtlety – each with varying degrees of success. (Of course, four swallows do not a summer make, but who’s to prevent us from being hopeful?)

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