An honest crook is any day better than a pious hypocrite.

Why despite being a woman I still loved watching Dangal
Blog #MovieChat Thursday, December 29, 2016 - 14:57

Going by the numerous social media posts of outrage, ‘Dangal’ seems to have touched a raw nerve in many. Why then do I not share the same sense of righteous wrath directed against the Amir Khan-starrer?

The movie is more or less a truthful representation (with a cinematic leeway here ‘n there) of what actually happened in the life of a sportswoman hailing from the rural heartland, where patriarchy is a given.

I seriously doubt whether the director intended to take on the blatant misogyny inherent in a son vs daughter, boy vs girl, coach vs father kinda movie.

Why then can we not view the movie as something that mirrors what actually happens everyday in almost all villages (and cities too) across India, rather than spew venom on why it continues to rake in the moolah at the box-office?

We all love to be hopping mad at restrictions galore on how a girl or woman is supposed to look, behave, act, react in any given circumstance. But I am yet to see the same sense of moral indignation translate into equal treatment meted out to the female members in countless homesteads.

Tell me, how many of those who rage against the father’s thrusting of his own will on his daughters actually not do the same when confronted with their mothers, sisters, wives or daughters in a similar scenario.

Just the other day, I heard a very close relative snub my nephew, asking him to stop crying like a girl…and how he should have been born a girl the way he keeps messing up! What on earth is that even supposed to mean!

I personally know quite a few dearly loved ones who have pooh-poohed the movie behave the same in real life. Why is it then that Dangal seems to have rubbed them the wrong way? Is it because the truth has hit much closer home than they anticipated…to make the conscience twinge a wee bit longer?

Is that why we have all these vocal supporters of equality between the sexes raining brickbats at a movie that glorifies the moulding of two women wrestlers (Geeta and Babita Phogat) by a father who tweaks patriarchy to zero in on fulfilling a long cherished dream to win sporting laurels for the country.

I assume none of these critics do the same in real life. They -I am sure- go about ensuring at all times that the women in their life are spared the masculine shit that keeps dripping all over the feminine bodies they keep covered within the safe confines of the house. Naturally, they need to know who is Mahavir Phogat (the protagonist’s father) to act otherwise?

In such an idealistic scenario, one cannot really blame them. But if it were not so, and we are honest enough to unmask the hypocritical stoning of the movie, it would be nice if we were able to approach it with a liberal sprinkling of salt.

It is life as you and I in India deal with on a daily basis. That Mahavir Phogat chose to pursue his dreams aggressively at the expense of his daughters is something we all need to ruminate upon.

At least the guy was honest enough to do so, rather than hold himself ransom to what the society of his times expected of him. And that definitely calls for a huge applause. The moral implications of the same should be a subject matter of another movie –not this one. An honest crook is any day better than a pious hypocrite. 

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