Everyone on social media can finally relax. It’s time to stop fighting over whether Amitabh Bachchan is feminist or not and if his letter to his granddaughter deserves all our heartfelt love. In an interview given to The Hindu, the Big B has distanced himself from the term “feminist” just as many other Bollywood celebrities have in the past.
Bachchan has also said that “Pink”, his film which releases this Friday, is not on “rape or women empowerment”.
Asked if he was a feminist, Bachchan wanted to know the definition of the word (Arrey, we thought you had everything at your fingertips with JustDial!).
When the patient interviewer, Kennith Rosario, defined it as “Someone who believes socially, financially and politically a woman must be on par with a man?”, Bachchan still said, “I don’t categorize it with this word”. He went on to describe how Sati which was a “social and cultural norm” is now a crime, as if feminism is all about a bunch of people wanting things too soon and not willing to wait while norms change.
Oh well. Here’s another promotion for “Pink” though. Titled #AbSamjhautaNahin, it shows a bunch of women (and a few men) speaking in the voice of Amitabh Bachchan, who is sitting next to them on the same bench. The description of the film on YouTube sounds sensible enough:
#AbSamjhautaNahin shows the effect on our words, on our choices, on our decisions and reactions, that women today are a victim of judgement, of gender stereotyping, of subconscious body shaming and moral policing, more so today, than ever. So much so, we believe we’re speaking out of our own volition, backed with absolute neutrality with no shades of gender bias. But the truth is, the most harmless and functional words and sentences in our lives are the biggest testament of how a society, a dominant ideology, is forcing us to think, and speak, sometimes without our knowledge. And women, are speaking that language. Can we hear it?
In this Blush and Pink association the voice of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan is a ventriloquist, it is the voice of our society. This voice also comes back in the end to show us a mirror and to reveal the hard hitting reality.
According to "Ab Samjhauta Nahin", the patriarchal voice that emerges out of the women, is not their own it would seem. Pay discrimination, slut shaming, gendered division of labour – these are some of the issues touched upon in the video. All these issues are of great relevance to feminist movements everywhere and for which feminists – male and female – have campaigned to effect changes through the years.
Big B, though, seems dismissive of all this history. If “Pink” is a “social thriller” and has nothing to do with “women empowerment”, one wonders why all the promotions are along these lines. Why not put in a “Kala Chashma” in the trailer and ensure eyeballs? Why this yellow-belly, Mr Bachchan?
Watch the video here: