Women on top

Women on top
7 Nov 2008, 0000 hrs IST, SUBHASH K JHA ,TNN

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When Aishwarya Bachchan turned 35 last week, I became worried for my dear friend Preity Zinta.

When will Preity get married? I could hear her groan of protest all the way from Mumbai to Patna. “I don’t feel it’s the right time to get married… not after what I’ve gone through in my marriage on screen,” Preity joked about Deepa Mehta’s Heaven On Earth, which opened to rave reviews across Toronto last month.

Strange are the roles that are thrust on us by destiny. Suddenly, Preity is the global ambassador of domestic discord. She’s busy attending seminars attending symposiums and giving gyan on kitchen politics.

Deepa Mehta is one of the finest filmmakers. She paints the colours of life in the most vivid shades. I hated Deepa’s Fire. I didn’t believe in the basic premise. Lonely housewives don’t become lesbians, for God’s sake! Then came 1947 Earth. And the wonderfully lyrical Water where Deepa actually made Lisa Ray look incandescent. Heaven On Earth works, not just as a film on domestic violence. Its beauty lies in the splendid samjhauta that the newly-married Punjabi bride makes with life in her sasural. Preity breathes life into her character’s soul by making the traumatised wife’s violence an out-of-body experience.

The finest aspect is that the husband, played by Deep Bhardwaj, is not just a mass of brute force. He’s a victim. A victim of work and home pressures, trying hard to balance his mother’s possessiveness with his wife’s defiant vulnerability.

It isn’t difficult to see the new actor slip into his role. But what about Preity? What prompted her to go so deep into the wife’s character? It’s hard to believe this is the same diva from the Karan Johar movies, who seemed born into the lap of luxury. Many times in the movie I was reminded of the battered wife in Roddy Doyle’s novel The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, who tells her friends she gets injured because she walks into closed doors.

Ironically, Preity has just opened a new door to her career. And a lot of her colleagues are doing the same. Priyanka Chopra in Fashion is a revelation. After playing glamour doll, she sinks her teeth into this role. After Priyanka, there’s Eesha Koppikhar reprising Rakhi Gulzar’s role from the weepy Tapasya.

Yes, the season of female-heroism is upon us. Preity plays the hero of Jahnu Barua’s Har Pal. Even Golmaal Returns was sold to the audience as a Kareena Kapoor film, though she hardly had much to do in it.
Aishwarya, Preity, Priyanka, Kareena… the era of female superstars is certainly not over. Even a new entrant into the arena, is no kamsin haseena. Mugdha Godse tells me she won’t do insubstantial roles after Fashion. And so what if she has the figure of a ramp queen? If she just wanted to be a decorative doll she would have continued modelling.

The women of substance are here. Instead of treating them like meat, give the ladies meat in their roles. And see where they go.

(Views expressed by columnists in Bombay Times are their own, and not that of the paper.)

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2 Responses to Women on top

  1. noove says:

    thanxx i really love this artical 🙂

  2. luna says:

    congrats for the new blog!!

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