Break-Up Of Bromance – The Latest Fault Of The Indian Wife

Break-Up Of Bromance – The Latest Fault Of The Indian Wife

Wives have traditionally been put second by husbands, after their in laws and his extended family, and now after a bromance too?

Year 2011: A movie titled ‘Pyaar ka punchnama’ had released. After watching it, I had told a male friend how I did not like the portrayal of women.

“Why don’t you protest when all movies show men as villains? Haan? This movie shows the reality of women!”

Read more.

A Senseless Tragedy Reveals The Misogynist Horror Of ‘Incels’

Yesterday morning I read the news of the horrifying van attack in Toronto. What kind of a person would do something like that, is the thought that came to my mind.  Later during the day there were viral videos circulating on the internet titled ‘The cop who did not shoot’.  Yes, the cop  could have easily shot the suspect who was attempting a ‘suicide by cop’ situation but instead he acted calmly and made him surrender despite the suspect shouting ‘Shoot me’.

By the end of the day, before I went to bed, I read that the attack was allegedly carried out by a young 25 year old man who had published a post on Facebook before carrying out the attack. What I read next was so disturbing, and something I had not known before.

Who are the Incels?

The suspect of the attack identified himself as an Incel.  ‘Incel’ is short for ‘Involuntary Celibate’. This is a community of men who feel that women do not give them sex, and as a result they are single or in other words celibate without a choice. They blame women for choosing conventionally more attractive partners as sexual companions leaving them alone and sexually frustrated. They refer to such women as ‘Stacy’ who will reject them, and instead have sex with a hotter guy who they refer to as ‘Chad’. The Incels also refer to the people who end up dating and having normal, sexual relationships as ‘Normies’.

The post of the suspect read as follows:

“The Incel Rebellion has already begun. We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys. All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger.”

Who was Elliot Rodger?

Was this the first ‘Incel attack’? No.

In 2014, A 22 year old killed six people in California.  He wanted revenge because women had denied him sex and love although in his own words he was a good guy. He believed he was the true victim.

Girls gave their affection and sex and love to other men but never to me,” he said. “I’m 22 years old, and I’m still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl.”

“If I can’t have you, girls, I will destroy you,” said Rodger in his  video.

What is the manosphere?

The incel is just one of the communities online that feel that men are the true victims of modern society’s ‘feminism’. There are other groups that feel that men are at a disadvantage now owing to women’s sexual liberation.

Incels, on the other hand, believe themselves to be so undesirable that they’ll never be successful when it comes to love or sexbecause of how they were born and how they look,” said Natasha Kini,a New York-based journalist . Gaining dating experience or learning pick-up techniques won’t help, they believe.”

Toxic masculinity

If you search on the internet, you would find out that some of the Incels believe in  “punishing” women through mass rapes, stalking ,acid attacks and other violent ways.

What is more disturbing is that there are people who may not believe support killing of women, but they do place the responsibility on women to prevent such attacks! They believe that women should be “nicer” to average looking men.

Where does this sense of entitlement come from? In my article ‘Be a virgin until marriage, but a whore thereafter’ I had written “The universe does not owe you sex because you are a man”.

Obviously, these killers do not feel that way. They feel that they are entitled to sex and any women who does not have sex with them is a a whore who has sex with someone else. I have heard this line from so many self proclaimed “good guys” that men are the “true victims” now.

Is it because they days women actually have a choice? Traditionally they got married and became subservient to men.

Through this “rebellion”, the alleged Incels want women to feel scared and go back to their place in society where they were voiceless, choiceless and powerless and the social order, and equality would get restored. How dare women decide who they like, and who they have sex with? If they have sex with another guy, they are of course sluts! If they do not have sex with a guy, they are arrogant and deserve to be punished for rejecting a poor guy’s feelings!

How can women even think that they own their bodies? They were created for the pleasure of men. How dare they deny men of it?  That too such “good guys’?

Loneliness is a terrible, terrible thing. Wanting to have a romantic relationship, and not being able to find a partner for the same is also terrible.  Rejection hurts. It hurts men, and it hurts women. But this!! I am speechless. I have written on a lot of sensitive topics, but this one has made me feel nauseated.


What do you feel about the recent amendment to POSCO Act?

The President has approved the ordinance to make the POSCO Act more stringent.

Here is what you need to know:

What is POSCO?

Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences

What are the amendments?

  • Increase in minimum punishment from 7 to 10 years extendable to life imprisonment
  • If the victim is under 16, minimum punishment has been increased to 20 years
  • In case of gangrape of victim under 16, minimum punishment has been amended to a life term
  • In case victim is under 12, minimum punishment has been increased to 20 years or life term or death penalty

Also, they are looking at a mechanism for speedy disposal of rape cases within six months. The Cabinet prescribed that there will be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl under 16 years.

What I feel

Obviously, this is a welcome step. However, I would like to clarify that while all headlines read ‘Death penalty for rape of a child below 12 years’, it is in fact ONE of the other punishments. It does not necessarily mean that rapist of a child below 12 years will be given a capital punishment, it could also be a life term or 20 years imprisonment.

I felt the punishment should have been death penalty irrespective of the age of the victim, and there should not have been any loophole. We have seen in cases that when it is at the discretion of the court, death penalty is usually not awarded. I remember the murder of a lawyer in her own flat by the security guard, who had attempted to rape her. The judge had not given him a death penalty because she felt it was not “rarest of the rare case”. The guy had stabbed the girl 16 times and slit her throat. Was that not enough for death penalty?  I also read later that the accused had managed to jump parole but got arrested later. The judgment in this case had not just disappointed me, but disgusted me. Human right activists who have a problem with death penalty, please feel free to keep such demons in your house. You are free to adopt them, and take care of them and confine them within your house if you are so concerned about their rights. Please do not contaminate the society with their presence, and your stupidity.

Yes, I know this is a good step. But still, I am disappointed.  This is not enough in my view. Please do share your views.




So What Is Your Hichki?

Earlier this week somebody I saw the video of the new ‘Ek do teen’ from Baghi 2. Jacqueline Fernandes’ outfit, her expressions, men ogling at her made me cringe so much that I swore Bollywood can do nothing better than objectifying women.

Yesterday I watched ‘Hichki’. I did not know much about the movie except that Rani Mukherjee, one of my favorite actresses plays a teacher.  I remember reading the name Sidharth  Malhotra in the newspaper in the context of the movie. Of course I missed the ‘P’ in the name, and the fact that he is the director. I told my mother that Sidharth Malhotra is the hero of the movie!! I was sure I read right, and kept waiting for his appearance until ‘The End’ when my mother told me ‘Tumhare Sidharth Malhotra ka to guest appearance bhi nahi tha’!

Just when I had completely given up on Bollywood, here was a movie about a woman who wanted to be a teacher. She has Tourette syndrome and cannot complete a sentence makes involuntary sounds like ‘Chaa Cha Waa Waa’ .  Not a very glamourous thing to do, and I do not think any actress could have pulled it off (maybe Vidya Balan). She is fully covered throughout the movie, has her own struggle, but has learnt to accept it and focus on her strengths. There is no romantic angle in the movie (what a relief)! The songs are in the background and help the pace of the film.

The movie has an underlying message:

Accept yourself! We all have something which we consider as a ‘flaw’. Get over it! Because if you don’t you get stuck with it. Your ‘flaw’ does not restrict your potential. But your own complex does.’

For someone it is stammering. For someone else it is their poverty.

I was touched by the movie. I googled ‘Tourette syndrome’ and watched videos of people who live with it.  Some have a flinch, others make some sound. It is called ‘tics’. I am sharing a video of a woman who involuntarily says ‘Biscuit’ in every sentence. She is quite happy and cool and motivates other people to have the ability to laugh at herself.

Zindagi tere ghum ne hamein rishte naye samjhaye

We continue to live with our shallow concerns such as how we look and how other people are going on better vacations that us.  We don’t like our color, or height, or weight and we also reject people of the opposite sex based on that. And then there are people who just want to be accepted. So, what if they are a little different. Aren’t we all different from each other? That is what the little girl (young Naina Mathuri) said to the teacher – Just treat me like everyone else.

I especially liked the way the ending of the movie. Rani’s acting was brilliant. The kids were also all a superb fit for their role. Bollywood has seen ‘school’ stories before with the likes of ‘Student of the Year’ kind of garbage. Rich, good looking kids who come to school only to fall in love. This was a real school story. I felt nostalgic and remembered the convent school I attended.  Sparsh Khanchandani had an important role. I kept telling my mother this is the same girl as Ichcha from Uttaran. She recognized her by the time half of the movie was over. Supriya and Sachin, real life couple played Naina Mathur’s parents role with much conviction. While Naina’s mother was supportive of her and loved her unconditionally, her father was embarrassed by her condition. I am a fan of Supriya and Sachin and it was a treat to watch them on screen. Other kids also acted brilliantly. Another girl, Natasha who played a rich kid is already a TV actress (my mother told me) but I don’t think I watch enough TV to know who she is.

The kids in this movie were getting a good opportunity through the ‘Right to education’ Act. But they were not willing to utilize it. They felt like victims, and that they would never be equal to the privileged kids, no matter what.  Naina Mathur tells them that there is only a difference of one thought to take the step from ‘Why’ to ‘Why not’. I loved that line. All of us have some hichki or another. Accept it. Get over it. Move on and live your life. Because it is not the hichki that stops you, but your own mindset.

Thank you to the makers of this movie. This was beautiful. Loved it. Please keep making sensible cinema and please stop making romantic movies with idiotic songs!!

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Bollywood! False Masculinity And Abuse of Women

One of the most vibrant movies of Sridevi, Chaalbaaz was on Zee Classic over the weekend. Watching Sridevi on screen has always been a delight. But ever since her untimely death, it has been all the more hard to resist watching her movies, knowing that such magic cannot be recreated again.

I don’t know how many times I would have watched Chaalbaaz as a kid. I have it memorized. My mother and I were discussing how we like Seeta Aur Geeta more than Chaalbaz. Father disagreed. He said Sridevi’s acting was far beyond excellence.   I went to the kitchen and missed a scene. My father called out to me, “Did you just see that? He grabbed her hair!”

I quickly ran back to the living room. Here was an angry Sunny Deol grabbing Sridevi by her hair. Reason: He thought he had seen her (her twin) with Rajnikanth, walking together!

He said to her something like, “Main to tumse sharafat se baat kar raha hoon. Aisa karne se to yahaan qatal ho jate hain”.

What a shareef guy! He did not kill her! Just abused her verbally and physically!

He said it so matter-of-factly as if killing a woman for cheating was a rule and not killing her was nice of him! Sharing the link. Scroll to 2:04.

All these movies I loved as a kid have been completely ruined for me now. Violence against women was so normalized! The recent killing of a woman who was stabbed multiple times, and its coverage in media brings us back to the stone age.

I was reading through some of the comments of how some men believed that when a guy cares and loves a woman so much, spends all his money on her, yet she leaves him or cheats on him what is he supposed to do! Some men even wrote that there is no place for “nice guys” in this world that has been taken over by “faminists”!

Unfortunately, relationships don’t come with a guarantee card. As unfair as it may be, people can leave. At any time. Men. Or women. If a woman cheats on you, please feel free to leave her. But her life is not yours to take.

I remember having a conversation with two of my male colleagues about an article I had written on “honour killing”. These two educated, modern-looking men who I interacted with daily, had lunch with argued that “in that situation any man would feel so angry that he would want to kill the woman!”  One of the the guys said that if his long – term girlfriend  cheats on him, his first reaction would be to kill her too! Obviously, the women were shocked. So these guys ended up changing their statements later. They said we misunderstood. They were just trying to speak from the killer’s perspective, what goes in his head!!!

Bollywood has created so much crap during my childhood that took so long to unlearn. It did much damage to our mindsets. The fact that I do not remember this scene as something objectionable means I probably found it okay. I remember another movie in which Aamir Khan had slapped Madhuri Dixit and he now truly regrets being part of such show of false sense of masculinity. Not only this, women like me also grew up believing we deserve abuse!

Mindsets take time to change. But  some people love to be stuck in the 13th century even today.

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Yeh Mausam Chale Gaye To Hum Fariyaad Kareinge

Like most people who woke up to this news today, I thought it was a hoax. The whatsapp groups were flooded. And so was the Facebook Newsfeed. Few searches on Google confirmed it. When I switched on the news channels, it was so real.

In sapnon ki tasveeron se, in yaadon ki zanjeeron se Apne dil ko kaise, hum azad kareinge

When I was in school, my elder sister and her best friend had a fan club of Sridevi Vs Madhuri Dixit respectively.  I guess our generation was lucky enough to have two reigning female superstars. I usually copied my sister for everything. But this was one of the times I would make my own choice.

“I like Madhuri Dixit even more than Sridevi”. I would say. Hum Aapke Hain Kaun was my favourite movie. And Salman Khan was my favourite hero.

My earliest memories of Sridevi’s movies is of my sister telling me the story in a nutshell. I watched them much later in life. Or probably I had watched them when I was younger. But I understood them much later. Because they were all so meaningful.

Sachcha Koi Sapna Deja Mujhko Koi Apna Deja

A child will not understand the meaning of this song. When you grow up, you would understand how loneliness will make you crave for just anyone…Yes. Anyone!

Koi Kash Dil Pe Zara Hath Rakh Le Mere Dil Ke Tukdoh Ko Ik Sath Kar Le

Was it just me who sympathized more with Vinod Khanna in the last scene?

Main to hoon pagal munda, tu hai meri soni kudi. Yaaaah

Army was one of those movies that was not as famous as her other ones. But I just loved this song! There was another movie called Mr. Bechara. Again one of the lesser known ones. It would come on television frequently . I loved that one too. It had a funny song, “Lage mujhe sundar har ladki. Ho paise wali ya kadki.” I liked that song also because I believed that Sridevi finds all girls pretty. She would find me pretty too if she ever meets me.

Another not so famous movie that I would watch on television was Aulaad!  I used to feel so bad for both the mothers. I don’t even remember the ending.

When Laadla had come out, I had learnt something new. “You understand. You better understand!”  Whenever I would fight with my sister  I would end the argument with that statement. I had loved the last scene of the movie when Sridevi becomes all domesticated, wears a sari and says to Anil Kapoor while handing over a tiffin box “Shaam ko ghar jaldi aayega”. (I was too young to be a feminist then).. 

But I think my favourite movie of Sridevi remains Lamhe.

Tera man tarsa re, paani kyun barsa re, tune kisko yaad kiya

“Anil Kapoor loves Sridevi. She dies. Then her daughter grows up and falls in love with him!” – My sister had told me the story.

“What!” I had replied. Way ahead of its times, this was a masterpiece! Every scene was a visual treat. It was again one of those movies I watched and understood after becoming a teenager. No woman from our generation had completed school without dancing to ‘Morni baga maa bole aadhi raat maa’.

I love all the songs from that movie. They are in my pen drive. And downloaded from Gaana too. For me ‘Kabhi main kahoon’ would be one of the most romantic song ever.

Beauty. Acting. Dancing. Grace. Can any actress of this generation even compare?

Hotho se honth mile na bhale chahe mile na bahe bahon se, do dil zinda reh sakte hain chahat ki bhari nigaho se  

The answer is No. They can wear the skimpiest clothes possible. And do a 100 kissing scenes. They will not look half as sensuous as Sridevi in her plain red sari and white sari.

Actresses do a come-back after a break. Their movies are at best forgettable. Sridevi gave us English Vinglish.

“Mujhe pyaar ki kami nahi hai. Bus thodi izzat chahiye.” Every woman could relate.  Navrai majhi became the national wedding anthem.

I had to write a review for Mom. I had  watched it within a day of release.  When I wrote the first draft of the review, I had gone completely carried away by Sridevi’s performance. I had written that the scene in which she sees her daughter in the hospital for the first time should be shown in acting schools as a lesson on how to emote grief. I had dedicated some two – three paragraphs on how Sridevi is the best! Nobody can match her in any way!  I was asked to rework. I had completely overlooked the word limit and spoiler consideration! But such is the impact Sridevi had on everyone.

Why did she have to go?

 Main vaapas aaunga mai vaapas aaunga, jaa rahaa hun mai yahaan jaan apni chhod  ke 

My heart goes out to her young daughters whose lives have not even begun yet.  Mona Kapoor had also passed away just before Arjun’s Kapoor debut release. The same thing happened to Jahanvi.

Judaai judaai kabhi aaye na judaai.

The people who are commenting about drugs, surgeries, pressure to look slim that “killed her”, please have some respect. She has not even been laid to rest yet. She is not alive to refute you or speak for herself.  Just because she is famous does not mean her death is for you and me to  analyse. She is a person who died. Leaving behind a family.

Bijli girane main hoon aayi, kehte hain mujhko hawa hawai

Sridevi ji, you will be the only Diva for me, and for millions of others. Your eyes. Your smile. Your face, your grace.  Your dance. Your movies. You acted at a time when people used to comment on how some heroines look better in Indian vs Western. You were exquisite in both. Your acting was mesmerizing  in the last two movies of your life, as it was 10-20 years ago. You played your age. And you did it beautifully.  You had beauty. You had substance. You had talent. You were born to shine.

I had blogged  after Reema Lagoo ji had passed away. I will say it again.  Everything good associated with my childhood is gone.

Ye lamhe ye pal hum, barson yaad karenge, yeh mausam chale gaye to, hum fariyaad kareinge.

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Padman: Dragged In The Second Half, But A Good One Overall

I watched Padman yesterday.

I had watched a video of Arunachalam Muruganantham  before Twinkle Khanna had come up with her book or Akshay Kumar with the movie. It was very impactful.   It is not easy to did what he did.  I have immense respect for him. Since, I had seen his story, I knew that a lot of things shown in the movie was in fact true.

I love Akshay Kumar! I think a lot of girls had a crush on him since the ‘Chura ke dil mera goriiya chali’ days. I feel his career graph has been amazing. Commercial success along with a social message is not an easy thing to achieve.  And he had done it with ‘Airlift, ‘Toilet’ etc. Movies that show how gratifying it is to think about something / someone other than us.

What worked for me:

  • The first half is quite entertaining. Interesting premise.
  • Radhika Apte was apt for her role! This is the first movie of hers that I have seen! I may have seen parts of Badlapur.
  • The audience would completely sympathise with Laxmi’s character. Poor guy is trying to help. He talks about logic and hygiene. But the stupid villagers are not willing to accept anything beyond their backward beliefs. I will not call them illiterate because even Arunachalam Muruganantham is a school dropout. Education is a good start but it does not guarantee anything. It is a lost cause on many! Our society is full of people who hold on to their regressive beliefs for dear life and do not care about much else. I guess it is a combination of ego, bullying by elders, hypocrisy, resistance to logic and unconditional love for stupidity!
  • When Laxmi’s “product” gets rejected by his wife as “bekar” or with other women being skeptical to try it on, you really feel for the guy. It reminded me of the movie, ‘Toilet’ when they had broken the washroom he had contracted within his house! It was such a nice washroom with tiles and even a jet spray faucet!!
  • The way women are treated during “those days” is well depicted in the movie. Even so called modern, women (who have access to sanitary napkins) are not allowed to visit temples or performing pujas during periods. People do not realize that these rules were made at a time when there no access to hygiene. They do not apply anymore.
  • Radhika Apte (Gayatri)’s dialogue “Hum aurateein ke liye bimari se marna, sharam se marne se behtar hai.”.  I think stupidity may the biggest disease in India!
  • There is a scene in which Gayatri leaves her husband is back to her brother’s house because everybody (including she herself) thinks Laxmi is crazy. There, her Bhabhi falls down in the bathroom. Her brother taunts his wife for being fat, eating too much and breaking the pipe as the poor woman is struggling in pain. Gayatri looks at her insensitive, rude, mean, brother in horror who is a contrast to her husband, who was so sweet and caring. This was a very impactful scene. Girls, we may fight with our boyfriends, husbands for whatever reason but ultimately if your guy treats you nicely and cares for you, it is what matters. There are enough horrible men like this idiot!

What did not work for me:

  • Sonam Kapoor! I don’t know why she was there in the movie. The one-sided love angle was completely forced and unnecessary. The movie dragged in the second half. I don’t know why Bollywood always has to have two women to show contrast between the gaon ki gori, bholi bhali girl vs the modern, English speaking shehar ki ladki. Sonam Kapoor (Pari) is playing herself. A privileged woman with an accent who says “Ashir what?” There was a girl from the medical college who was sympathetic towards Lakshmi. I think it would have been more credible if Sonam’s role was given to her.
  • Pari’s father is a widower who raised her alone. He cooks for her, and they both seem to have a very honest, friendly relationship. In an absurd dialogue he says to Laxmi, “Baap hone ka asli ehsaas / maza maa ban kar hi aata hai!” “Aur mard hone ka asli maza aurat ho ka ata hai”. The writers may be trying to make a progressive movie but they carry their gender stereotypes to work. A father cannot cook for her daughter! If he is doing so he is being like a mother! Wow! Why can’t we just let good fathers be good fathers! They can be appreciated as fathers also.
  • Laxmi’s speech towards the end should not have been made so comic. I did not find it funny but annoying, and corny. What I did find funny was Sonam Kapoor’s kiss before, and an unsuccessful attempt after! It was not romantic. It made me laugh. Why Bollywood! Why!

Towards the last 15 minutes I was just waiting for the movie to be over. Maybe the movie dragged. Maybe I should not go for a night show! Maybe when Akshay Kumar was delivering his ‘Linglish’ speech, all I could think of was the original Padman’s speech. I could not find the video which I had seen years ago, but I did find this Ted Talk link.  Do watch it. He talks about how after making lots of money, people think about philanthropy. Why not do it from he start! Very inspirational video.

Overall, I understand that spreading a message is important. But in order to reach more people, our Bollywood keeps commercial success and  commercial constraints in mind! Chalo koi nahi. What is important is that now everybody knows Arunachalam Muruganantham. A great man who did what probably no other man could. And who does not care about money! Respect! What is important is we are breaking the taboo around periods. Bollywood, we forgive your flaws, as long as the cause is good. Padman is definitely better than most Bollywood movies!

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What is it about women laughing that makes men angry?

This was the headline of one of the many rubbish articles that propaganda driven publications could not refrain from publishing. This is what I understood:

A woman mocking, disrespecting someone with a loud, non-stop laughter, almost interrupting his speech, making him inaudible on an honourable platform is okay.

But God forbid, if a man asks her to behave, or makes a sarcastic comment in response he is a misogynist!

This was not about gender. This was about basic respect.

Every day I read articles on how feminism has gone too far. I always jump in defense. Feminism is needed.  Women do not get basic respect, I say.  Our society is chauvinistic, and misogynist,  I believe.

Some feminist writers have used this opportunity to write about how women are taught not to laugh and how the country in general is intolerant to women laughing! I found it quite ridiculous.  It reminded me of a comedy scene from the movie, ‘Tanu weds Manu returns’. Tanu says something like “500 saalon se auraton pe atyachar ho raha hai.” Manu says “To mujh akele se badla logi kya?”

I do not know on what planet that kind of a laughter was acceptable in the context. I am not supporting the remark made. I just don’t like it when the “woman card” is used in a way where it completely defeats the purpose of equality. A woman can be disrespectful because for centuries, we have been suppressed?? But a man should not because she is a woman!!

Yes, women have been taught that laughing out loud is unfeminine. Our laughter should be a little sweet, a little soft, a little cute.  A slight giggle probably.  Pleasing to the ears.  I agree it is sexist. It is unfair. However, this was not like that!!

If we cannot distinguish between laughing and laughing at someone with the intention of mocking and insulting, then I don’t think we should be talking about feminism. Maybe step 1 would be to talk about basic human behavior and interactions, and respect.

Yes. I know. Freedom of speech. Freedom of expression. Unfortunately, it is a double-edged sword.




An Open Letter To Ms. Swara Bhaskar – A Response To Padmaavat

Dear Ms. Bhaskar,

I used to be a fan of you. You  were terrific in Raanjhana (a movie that validated stalking)  and Tanu Weds Manu – I and II.  I loved your acting. In ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’ when you said, “Ghar wala sab dimag kharab kar diya tha, 4 saal ho gaya hai. Bachcha nahi ho raha hai, kyun nahi ho raha hai” or “Tanu ne to aajevan kuch sahi nahi kiya hai” I felt like YOU Swara Bhaskar are such a sensible, funny, relatable person.

It is a mistake that we often make as an audience. We fall in love with the character and forget that it is just cinema and an actor playing a role. Probably the same mistake you made when you as an audience watched ‘Padmaavat’. You probably did not realize that Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the director had made a movie. A period film. Set in the 13th century.

I watched the movie yesterday. At a time when your open letter became old news. And the latest from you was:

“There’s a real problem of intolerance of opinion in India. We see difference of opinion as dissent and dissent as sedition.

Everything is in my letter. I stand 100 percent with what I said,”

I am so sorry that you “felt reduced to a vagina” after watching the movie. Before watching the movie I had thought your statement was out of context and therefore, stupid. But after watching the movie, I thought it was not just stupid, but judgmental and insensitive. In your own words:

“It would be nice if the vaginas are respected; but in the unfortunate case that they are not, a woman can continue to live. She need not be punished with death, because another person disrespected her vagina without her consent.”

Ofcourse. Could not agree more. I just cannot place it in the context of 13th century. How many men were there – reaching the castle “ready to disrespect the vagina” of these women? Hundreds? Thousands? Lakhs?  I cannot tell but what I did understand was there were many. Ruthless. Violent. Obsessive. Merciless, entitled men. What would these men have done to these women?  Not once. Not twice. But for the remainder of their lives? Who did they have for support? The men they knew were already killed. The women they know would become sex slaves themselves.  They did not have the option to pop an I-pill. Or go to court. Or go to a counsellor for support.  Or a hospital for abortion.  Or treatment. There would be no journalists or ordinary,  aware citizens trying to get them justice in case the legal system failed them. It was the time of war.  Entire kingdoms were wiped out.

“I felt my existence was illegitimate because God forbid anything untoward happened to me, I would do everything in my power to sneak out of that fiery pit– even if that meant being enslaved to a monster like Khilji forever.”

Madam, you sound so judgmental and insensitive. It is very easy to watch a movie in the 21st century and say that YOU would have done something else. I do not think it was so simple to “sneak out”. I do not think it was so simple to be “enslaved to a monster like Khilji forever.” The women chose death because it was a better option that being raped all their lives with EVERYONE they could reach out to for love or support gone.  Does not sound like a life anyone would like to lead.

“No Sir; Rajasthan in the 13th century with its cruel practices is merely the historical setting of the ballad you have adapted into the film Padmaavat. The context of your film is India in the 21st century; where five years ago, a girl was gang-raped brutally in the country’s capital inside a moving bus. She didn’t commit suicide because her honour had been desecrated, Sir. She fought her six rapists. She fought them so hard that one of those monsters shoved an iron rod up her vagina. She was found on the road with her intestines spilling out. Apologies for the graphic details, Sir, but this is the real ‘context’ of your film.”

You would have felt happy if Mr. Bhansali had changed the ending and infact shown a gory account of the women getting raped, yet surviving? Do you think that would have been an empowered ending? Or you wanted him to forget the time period completely – and show a legal recourse and them getting justice? You had said that you had supported the movie until you watched it. I don’t know what you were expecting in the end? You thought the johar angle would have been changed and that was the suspense factor of the movie?  I do not understand what you were thinking.

I do not think the movie was misogynist and it did not portray women as weak. The Rani was smart. She strategized. She did not listen blindly to her husband. She fooled Khilji with her intelligence. She ignored the men and did what she felt was right.  Khilji’s wife was also shown  taking a decision herself, defying her husband’s wish. And after watching all of this, you felt reduced to a vagina? Madam, that is  EXACTLY what the Rani and the rest of the women would have been reduced to, if they had not committed jauhar – a vagina.

“You will say that you put out a disclaimer at the beginning of the film claiming that the film did not support Sati or Jauhar. Sure Sir, but you followed that up with a two-hour-45-minute-long paean on Rajput honour, and the bravery of honourable Rajput women who chose happily to sacrifice their lives in raging flames, than to be touched by enemy men who were not their husbands but were incidentally Muslim.”

Two of my closest friends are incidentally of a different religion.  They watched the movie before I did.  We discussed the movie. They told me the movie was not as good as Bajirao Mastani. They said it got  a little too long. They told me that the girl who played Khilji’s wife, Aditi Rao looked prettier than Deepika. I did not seem to remember who she was. They told me that she is the girl in the song, Ankhiyon ne likhe love letter,’ a song which I love. They also told me that the girl who played the first wife of the Raja was in the recent movie, ‘Tiger Zinda hai.’  I joked that thankfully Mr. Bhansali did not make Deepika and Aditi dance together.  They did not say anything about being offended because Khilji was shown in the bad light. Maybe they have read about him. Maybe they are not ignorant. Maybe we do not find unnecessary reasons to spread communal hate in a country that has already seen enough of it.  Maybe none of us saw what you saw.

There was a disclaimer in the beginning of the film that the movie does not support sati. You said it did not matter because the rest of the movie glorified it.

“Maybe in the 13th century that was the case, but in the 21st century we do not need to subscribe to these limiting ideas. We certainly do not need to glorify them.”

Madam, it was integral for the story line to glorify the jauhar given the time period. It was impactful. It was the truth.  It was history. Can you please tell me why in your own movie, ‘Raanjhana’ stalking was glorified? What was the excuse? That was fiction right? Set in the 21st century? The chances of young men getting influenced by that movie and stalking women is much higher than women getting inspired to kill themselves god forbid, if raped after watching this movie.  Why did not you not think about this when you agreed to be a part of Raanjhana?

  • “Women have the right to live, despite being raped sir.
  • Women have the right to live, despite the death of their husbands, male ‘protectors’, ‘owners’, ‘controllers of their sexuality’.. whatever you understand the men to be.
  • Women have the right to live — independent of whether men are living or not.
  • Women have the right to live. Period.”

I agree 100 percent. So, does Mr. Bhansali. He did not personally place the honour of these women in their vagina and decided that they should die in case it was violated. Neither did I. Nor did the people who disagreed with their views, who you called intolerant. But this movie was not about you and me. Women from the 21st century. It was a tribute to the women from the 13th century.   It was something that happened during that time. Horrific times. Times so nightmarish that jumping into fire seems less painful than the painful life that lies ahead of them. They did what they could. Something you and I cannot imagine. And cannot change.


A woman from the 21st Century who does not judge women from the 13th Century.



















Happy New Year! A Time Of Gratefulness And New Beginnings

Wish you all a very Happy New Year!!

I feel New Year’s eve is the most overrated time of the year. We feel that we MUST do something. If we don’t, we feel we are missing out on all the fun.  When we plan a party, or vacation everything is overpriced, and may not even be worth it! Then there are safety concerns with people going crazy on alcohol.

For single people, the holidays and New Year’s eve is quite a downer! Torturous may be. It is depressing to see so many lights, love, brightness, buzz, life around which only further brings out the emptiness in your own lives, or memories of better days that are now over. No matter what you do – quiet, house party or loud pub party the connection that you long for with another human being is still missing!  Been single for long, became single recently, not single last year but found yourself single this year? I don’t know which time of the year is toughest for singles – birthdays, valentine’s day or new year’s. I would say, Christmas holidays till New years.

I know some of you were feeling very low during this time. I received messages.  Hope you are feeling better now. I was also feeling low little after Christmas. It was mainly because I was missing my niece who was visiting the week before.

I was not at home around the New Year’s time. I was out and my grandmother (who is very old and forgets a lot) kept asking my parents for me every time she heard any sound. Even when someone moved a chair. She did not realize how long I was gone or whether I had been out for a day or two. Whether it was a holiday or I was at work or sleeping or just locked up inside my room. She just knew she had not seen me for what seemed to her like a while (she does not have much track of time) and was asking for me again and again.

I remember showing one of my childhood photos with my grandmother to my best friend, a few years ago who lived in the US.. She had lived there all her life. She was not in touch with her father’s side of the family who lived in her home country. And her grandmother from her mother’s side had passed away. In the picture, I had just started walking, and my grandmother was pointing towards me and beaming.

“Wow,” she said. “She has loved you for so long!” I was about 20 at that time. When she said this, I had realized how lucky I was to be loved by my grandmother. It is one of those things we take for granted.

Coming back to the present, when I finally came home after New Year’s I gave a big hug to my grandmother. Her face lit up. Looking at her, and her eagerness to meet me, an image flashed before my eyes. Of a grandfather who lost his 28-year-old granddaughter in the fire in Mumbai. She was celebrating her birthday.  I could not read the article and had put the paper away. But the picture I could not forget. God can be so cruel?

The fire tragedy in Mumbai was unbelievable and cruel. My office used to be in Kamala Mills about seven – eight years ago.  I don’t know why nothing changes in our country. The families of the victims of Uphaar tragedy, and the Carlton Towers fire have dedicated their lives to working for fire safety. I have been following their work. Still, human life is not precious here. One preventable accident after another.. There were other horrible incidents around the country too around which I would not get into..

With so many negative feelings and mixed thoughts, I was pretty sure I will have a crappy new year’s. But to my biggest surprise, I ended up having a great time. Probably one of the best in recent times. Something I had not expected in the days before. It was like a roller coaster ride from very low to very high.  If I can sum up my thoughts, I would say this:

Be grateful for everything.  Cherish what you have. You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Life can change any moment.

Keep hope.  Good things will happen. Bad days will not go on forever. You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Life can change any moment.