Saturday, August 23, 2014

Why a movie with central woman character is titled "Mardaani"?

First time when I saw some news related with this movie called 'Mardani' I thought this was some B or C grade typical massala film. The news was about first 'A' rated film from Yashraj production and I was little surprised that how come such a big production house like Yashraj is  prodicing such a movie. I was wondering why some movie getting an 'A' certificate (means for adults only in India or R rated in US) is such a big deal. But then I came to know that this is a Rani Mukharjee starer film, that too produced by Yashraj so definitely it is going to create some news for one reason or other. After reading some reviews I also came to know that the Rani's character which is also a central character of this film is based on a real life police officer from Mumbai crime branch who was instrumental in solving various child trafficking cases in the city. The title 'Mardaani' means 'manly or mannish', so one can ask why a movie with central character of woman police cop is titled 'Mardaani'? Why the makers of the movie felt the need to use a male specific adjective to describe a brave lady? Why can't be they use a female specific word to describe a brave female cop or a brave woman? Actually there is a dearth of female adjectives which describe qualities like bravery, even I can't think of any but I am not expert in Hindi or English language, I will be interested in knowing if there are any such adjectives.

The issue here is not what should be the title of the movie, makers of this movie have complete freedom to give their movie whatever name they want, it is their right to name their product. I am sure the reason they labeled this product like this is because they know that in popular culture there is no parallel world which can project the bravery of a woman, even the famous poem to praise great queen of Jhansi Rani Lakshmi Bai goes something like this, 'Khoob ladi mardani, woh to Jhansi wali rani thi (खूब लड़ी मर्दानी, वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी). They know that our society associates bravery with adjectives which mostly project masculinity. Somehow our society never bothered to invent the words who can project brave side of females. We have many words which can describe their beauty, love, compassion, dedication, tolerance, obedience, but not bravery. I am sure no one can imagine that the movie with title 'Janani' (opposite of mardani, meaning feminine) can tell a story of a bravery of a male character, they just cannot associate these two things together (the word feminine and bravery). This is the problem of stereotyping both the genders and exclusively associating certain attributes to particular gender. Because of years of brain washing our minds have become so conditioned that we don't see anything wrong in associating particular characteristics only with particular gender. The tile of this movie specifically projects and nurtures this mindset. This movie is a commercial project so off course they will follow the trend which allows them to market it well. But I am glad that at least a story of a brave woman police officer is shared in this movie. We need to have more female super heroes, we need to have more stories where princess also rescues the prince so that this concept of bravery associated exclusively with male characters goes away and it becomes a gender neutral. Until this happens enjoy the movies which show the tale of brave women, doesn't matter what is their title, just enjoy the show.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

Links:
1. Mardaani: Packs a punch

1 comment:

  1. "Actually there is a dearth of female adjectives which describe qualities like bravery, even I can't think of any but I am not expert in Hindi or English language, I will be interested in knowing if there are any such adjectives."

    I can remember at least 1 word Vinay which associates women with bravery. The word is Amazon. Here's the link to refer:

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=amazon

    But then again, the word originates from 'a' + 'mazos', a = without, and mazos = breast. So may be one can argue that 'without breast' again points towards it being 'man-like'. Ha ha ha!!! So what you said above again holds. Thanks.

    Varun

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