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Mansi Khandelwal

JWB Blogger

JLF Day 4: Javed Akhtar Discusses The Evolution Of Women In Indian Cinema

  • JWB Post
  •  January 23, 2017


And it was a full house at JLF’s Charbagh!

Well, the sea of Javed Akhtar’s fans flew into an almost no oxygen area on the fourth day of the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival at his session “After the Angry Young Man, the Traditional Woman, What?

Poet, lyricist, and screenwriter Javed Akhtar spoke in depth about Bollywood cinema, how its protagonists have evolved over time and its interpretation of the larger Indian consciousness. Giving examples from Indian cinema, Javed Akhtar examined iconic figures from cinema that questions and explain the relevance of our present day morality?

Talking about the cinema and elaborating on the various faces of both heroes and heroines he said, “Wamp ko hum wamp kehke vo saare kaam karalete the jo hum dekhna chahte the. Wamp ki brown wig hoti thi aur blue eyes, isliye ki angrez toh hote hi aise hai! Aur heroine vo hoti thi jo sari pehenti thi aur bhajan gaati thi. What was very important was the appearance of girls like Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi. They were the first heroines and it was a strange pattern that on one hand the heroine owned westernization and total confidence that she was accepted, on the other hand, at that very time we were told that the heroines need not be the traditional Indian woman. That was the time when Jaya Bahaduri changed the face of Indian cinema and opened doors for Shabana Azmi, Smitha Patil, and others.”

But gradually times changed and the face of adarsh naari changed, eventually.

Giving examples of modern day heroines he quoted Jab Tak Hai Jaan’s Katrina Kaif’s dialogue, “Mai shaadi karne se pehle duniya ki har nationality ke ek admi ke sath sona chahti hu. Bhai tum itni mehnat kyu karna chahti ho. It’s hard work.”

Citing other portrayals of female characters in films, Javed Akhtar said, “For me, Katrina Kaif in Zindagi na milegi do bara is today’s woman, who if even wearing a swimsuit is not known because of that but as a diving instructor. That is how a role of a woman has to be depicted. In the film not for once people looked at her body but at her as a trainer. She is perceived as a person, first.”

Further recalling Priyanka Chopra’s role in Dil Dhadkne Do he said, “The problem in our society is that a girl is constantly fighting to gain what was always hers.”

Commenting on the need and role of item songs in films, Javed Akhtar said, “Item song ek Bandar hai jo madari ke kandhe pe baitha hai.”

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