“Shame-less”-Indian Cinema Against Body-Shaming
Do not get the heading wrong. Shaming as in body shaming, that’s what this discussion is about. For all those who don’t know what body shaming is, it is simply any act humiliating a person based on his/her color, size, or any other physical features. It is a product of patriarchy and social norms that have dictated our lives for a really long time. A good proportion of people 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 us 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 piercing to the heart. Deprived of self-love they go as far as killing themselves to escape the shame. It won’t be wrong to say that the mere act of body shaming is itself a criminal act.
Remember when elephant rumbling was played in the background every time a fat person made an entrance in many 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 minds 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 have spoken against body shaming. These 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. It’s a story of a very sweet loving wife who receives nothing but ignorance from her husband because of her weight. How the couple develop love and respect for each other regardless of the appearance that once separated them is what the movie is all about. Dum Laga Ke Haisha is a very sweet and simple Bollywood movie.
Anil Kapoor starter Fanney Khan (2018) also revolves around the “side-effects” of having an oversized body. Prashant Sharma’s (Anil Kapoor) daughter Lata Sharma (Pihu Sand) loses singing opportunities and faces extreme humiliation because of her weight. This leaves 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 Thamasha(2019) with my friends. Funny, entertaining, and a feel-good film.
But above all the quality that the movie tries to convey and how beautifully it conveys, is where the brilliance of the film lies. Though the film is named Thamasha, what the film deals with is not at all funny- 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 (Vinay Forrt), 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.
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.
Also, there is a particular scene in Kumbalangi Nights (I know this movie deals with an entirely different theme) that caught my attention and would be a sin if I don’t mention it here.
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 is 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 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 Prasanth’s looks as a likable feature about her fiancé.
Like every common citizen, celebrities too have been subjected 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? Drop your suggestions and views in the comment box.
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