The fact that Bollywood and sexism go hand-in-hand is an age old idea. Of course the wage gap still prevails and the ‘heroine’ is usually the second fiddle, but there is progress towards a better tomorrow. Or, at least there was progress up until yesterday, when the Bazaar trailer went live on YouTube. The film, directed by Gauravv K Chawla, features Saif Ali Khan, Radhika Apte and Chitrangda Singh, while introducing debutante Rohan Mehra. So what’s the problem? This:
Both Saif Ali Khan and Rohan Mehra’s names have been written as they are. Even the director’s name is written in it’s entirety. But the leading ladies of the film have been reduced to Radhika A and Chitrangda S. I do understand that YouTube has a word limit when it comes to the title. So why not make it Saif A K, Rohan M and Gauravv K C? Why have only the names of the women been reduced?
Sexism is one thing, but depriving someone of their entire identity, another. Of course I don’t mean to say that sexism is ‘cool’ or something like that but this is taking sexism to another level altogether, this is promoting patriarchy with effort and heart.
Both Radhika Apte and Chitrangda Singh have time and again proved that they are worthy of the talents they carry within themselves and bring to the screen. And even if they haven’t been able to do so – in an imaginary scenario – why have they been put as ‘not worthy of their own names’? One may argue that that is not the intention of the production house or whoever put this video up, but the title of the video draws no other connotation.
What’s shocking is that such a mishap has been promoted by the same production house that has given us films like Queen, Mary Kom, Margarita with a Straw among others – each of which is a female centric film throwing light on the power women entail within themselves. Both Apte and Singh don’t ask for their full names to be in the title of the film, but they do demand it. They demand it, not just as two talented actors, but as women, as human beings.
The fact that Saif Ali Khan or Rohan Mehra’s name is not written as ‘Saif A K’ and ‘Rohan M’ is perhaps because there would be a problem with it. But just because Apte and Singh aren’t the leading ‘men’ of the film, you don’t entitle them to their names, even?
Rohan Mehra, a debutante, hasn’t proved his worth in cinema, owing to the fact that this is his first film. But Apte has, time and again, with films like Shor In The City, Badlapur, Parched, Phobia, PadMan has shown the world that she’s here to rattle it. In this scenario, if Mehra deserves a surname mention in the title, then why does Apte not?
And as I said, it’s not about who has done how much work or how prominent someone has been in the industry. It is wholly about what, we as a society, are willing to go towards! Do we want a future, where men still dictate the lives of women, or one where there is nothing to dictate. We condemn military regimes of Hitler and Mussolini, powered by dictatorship, but isn’t patriarchy more-or-less the same thing?
Of course, this very issue is mostly unintentional, but it’s not something that can be overlooked, not in this day and age, when women like Radhika Apte are, for the lack of a better word, omnipresent…