Culture

“Shame-less” Movies – Indian Cinema Against Body Shaming

     Do not get the heading wrong. Shaming as in body shaming, that’s what this discussion is aboutFor all those who don’t know what body shaming is, it is simply any act humiliating a person based on his color, size, or any other features. It is a product of Indian patriarchy and social norms. Almost eighty-five percent of us have either been a part of it or been victimized by it.
     
     We grew up seeing on television that “fair and lovely” is pretty and any other skin color is ugly; that “size-zero” is what makes a girl attractive. And for men, masculinity was defined by his muscular physique to a certain extent. We grew up believing that only these features will make you acceptable by society. Well does it?
       
      Every time we mock a person for his socially unacceptable feature what we actually do is kill their confidence just as quickly as a bullet to the heart. Deprived of self-love they end up killing themselves. It won’t be wrong to say that the mere act of body shaming is itself a criminal act.
          
       Remember when elephant trumpet was played in the background every time a fat guy made an entry in those old movies? Remember how the actor cringed his face on seeing a dark girl? All these are the same comic elements to which all of us once laughed. These somehow framed our mind into believing that being fat, skinny, dark, etc is actually funny. Well, it is not. 

What is more fascinating is that the same movie industry is clearing off the mess it once created. In the past few years, a number of movies spoke against body shaming.   The movies beautifully unveil the tenderness and true self of the people beyond their shape and physical appearance.  

I guess the wave of change started from Dum Laga Ke Haisha. A very sweet loving wife receives nothing but ignorance from her husband because of her weight. How the couple finds each other regardless of the appearance that once separated them is what the movie all about. A very sweet and simple movie.
      
dum laga ke haisha
A still from Dum Laga ke Haisha

       

         Fanney Khan(2018) too revolves around the “side-effects” of having an oversized body.  Lata Sharma loses opportunities and faces extreme humiliation leaving her self-confidence broken. It’s a reflection of many true stories. 
  
       Let’s come down to Mollywood which is hitting this shore of social stigma with back to back movies speaking loudly against body shaming. I recently watched Tamasha(2019) with my friends. Funny, entertaining, and feel-good film.

 But above all the quality that the movie tries to convey and how beautifully it conveys, that’s where the making brilliance lies. Though the film is named Tamasha, what the film deals with is not at all funny-the the act of body shaming. Our society, marriageable age, not so attractive looks- trust me, a combination like this can give you the worst nightmare. 

Sreeni, our male lead, bald, 31, and not so good looking goes through such a trauma. He is constantly struggling to find a  lady love to bless him but gets turned down every time. The film says that it is very important to have a confident attitude to shut all those verbal jabs.  Instead of being in a qualm, it is necessary that you love and celebrate yourself.
A still from Thamasha

         Another recent movie Kakshi Ammini Pilla(2019)deals with a similar plot. The titular character Ammini Pilla lashes out on his wife just because she is fat. At some point, we can find the movie lot similar to Dum Laga Ke Haisha.

     
bodyshaming movies
A still from Kakshi Amminipilla 

       

      Also, there is a scene in KumbalangiNights. I know this movie deals with an entirely different theme. But this scene from the movie caught my attention and would be wrong if not mentioned. 

When Sumisha(Riya Saira) replies to Bobby-“ Oru Vinayakan look ille”( Doesn’t he look like Vinayakan) when Bobby(Shane Nigam) mocks his friend Prasanth(Sooraj Pops) for his appearance reflects that it is all about how we deal with it and how we like to see ourselves. 

Vinayakan, the same actor who was used as a template for humor due to his dark and skinny appearance in many decade-old movies. The same actor who rose beyond his dark and skinny structure and emerged as one of the finest actors our industry could ever have. 

Rather than shrinking his worth based on his appearance Sumisha in this scene highlights it as a likable feature about her fiancé. 
       Like every common citizen celebrities too have been subject to harassment based on their appearance. Vidya Balan is a perfect example of this. She recently released a video smashing out the trollers who abused her for her weight in which she confidently flaunts her curvy body shutting up all those who body-shamed her. 
       A person’s body is his/her own choice. Curvy, fat, skinny, muscular, dark, dull no matter what, no one has the right to tell someone about how they should look. We are not living here to look the way others want us rather we are living to be and look the way we want and to love ourselves beyond anything.
    
      What are your views on this? Dropdown your suggestions and views in the comment box.    

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