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I recently watched 'Student of the year' movie with Chia. Chia loved every dress and purse of Shanaya, character played by Alia Bhatt (lead female protagonist). Shanaya is very pretty, most popular, fragile and stupid girl in the movie. Shruti, best friend of Shanaya, is smart, intelligent, good cyclist, good swimmer and a tough competent girl. But aaw! she is neither popular nor pretty. :( Both the boys in the film want Shanaya and not Shruti. :( All songs in the film are for Shanaya and none for Shruti. :( Chia likes swimming, cycling and Shruti does both of these excellently and yet she is given no glamour and minimal importance in the film. Chia likes dancing and wow ! Shanaya dances. Now, Chia wants to be dressed like Shanaya and not like Shruti. Chia wants to be like Shanaya (loved and appreciated)and not like Shruti(self-confidence, self-motivated, smart and sensible, but unacknowledged). This film is driving Chia to the conclusion that pretty and smart don't go hand in hand but pretty and stupid do.
I watched another film named 'Mary Kom' with Chia. Tough Mary Kom character played by Priyanka chopra (lead female protagonist). Mary Kom is tough, hard working, struggler, not pretty, not glamorized, leave the popularity she is not even acknowledged. Film has so much fights and emotional torments that is just too much for a 5 year young girl. No childhood scenes or happy moments (one, those come naturally, free or easily) were in the film to make a kid feel that Mary Kom was also a happy, cute and pretty kid sometime. Chia did not like the film though she asked for boxing gloves after watching the film. :) This film drived her to the conclusion that tough girls have tougher times and they don't have any happy-sweet things in life. All of us will agree that to claim a medal we need expertise and opportunities. To get expertise we need to work hard and be consistent but for sure the hardships of Mary's life are not prerequisite. Respecting is one thing but get real who (especially 5 year kid) aspires for such a life?
These are two dimensions of female protagonists in Indian cinema. One is pretty and stupid. Other is smart and unacknowledged. I have seen many films and they majorly portray woman like either of these two. Little minds are made to believe that girls are popular and are loved when they are stupid and pretty. So, Chia and many other girls of her age are into make-up thing from this early age. When going to a birthday party Chia wants to wear lipstick, kajal and nail paint. After applying all this she doesn't ask if she is looking prettier....but she declares that now I am looking pretty like Alia or Deepika. I don't know for looking stupid or being stupid what are the plans of these little minds.
A lot many questions asked by Chia made me realise that she is struggling to understand why a pretty, popular face does not have intelligence and endurance? She wants to be loved, popular and pretty but she is evaluating if her smartness and toughness are trivial things? She wants very genuine reason for fragility the pretty girl in the film is carrying. Why Shanaya did not stand up and climb the stairs again after she fell down once? On the other hand Abhimanyu (one of the two lead male protagonists) also fell down but he stood up again and won that race. And Shruti who climbed all the stairs and rang the bell was not loved by any of the two boys? Moreover, Shruti is perceived as wicked and mean girl by all other characters in the film.
In my view it all comes down to glamour. The way our film industry is glamorizing a woman has not matured. We adults understand and more than us the film industry understands that glamour is not quality but it is a deception. It works like a magic spell. They cast glamour at technical, psychological and behavioral level to sell their films. It is very much like when a witch cast a magic spell on you,it is not in your self-interest but it was to get you to act against your self-interest. I want the film fraternity to be little more responsible and realistic and diverse while sketching female characters. I hate to see them as bad magicians or witches.
I am constantly trying to answer my kid with good answers but sometimes it is the complexity of the matter to be discussed at her age, makes me clueless about what to say. She looks around and finds many different types of women but certainly none can match Alia or Deepika. These role models from films are framed in secret desires of little minds. Their appearance and luck is something these kids want to achieve that none has achieved around them.
I ask you my friends, how you cope with such situation?