Listening to this song from Autograph, I was mesmerized by the voices of the people singing it and lost in memories of watching this movie with K when a couple of lines I was humming along jumped out at me. The harmony was lost and my train of thoughts went down a different path. Actually many different paths.
Stereotypes have always bothered me. Specially when I am the one who is stereotyping. Most times I am not aware and when I do realize I stop midway, take a pause and try to unlearn my behavior. The lyrics that bothered me went something like this. “I’d love to learn Tamil. I am learning to be coy like a proper Tamil girl…” The lyrics repeat in the form of the guy asking the girl if she wants to learn or wants to be shy and her replying yes indeed. I am not sure if there is something similar in that song which indicates if the guy wants to imbibe some of mallu culture in him.
While this is a fun song and the intention probably was not to irk me, sometimes I stop and wonder about all the visual and verbal cues we imbibe growing up from our family, friends, media and such. We tell ourselves (specially women) that we have to mould ourselves to fit in other’s lives. We give up our identity and pride ourselves in picking new ones. It is not necessarily wrong but it hits me that more often than not, it is the woman who changes. Changes her name, her religion, her food habits, her ideas of modesty, her fiscal habits. Everything. We do it in the name of love and respect.
While ruminating on this song, I was reminded of the other irritant in movies. I remember this clip from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai where Kajol is this fun loving, free spirit. Towards the end of the movie, as soon as she is in love and Sharukh falls for her, she is this vision in a saree, petite, coy and submissive. It’s all symbolic I know. Till date, each time I see it it bothers me. Irrespective of what the director had in mind at the time he made the movie, I wonder how many young girls aspired giving up their free independent nature so as to be appealing to the guys they had a crush on. I saw that again in Main Hoon Na where Amrita suddenly changes into feminine salwar suits and such to woo the hero.
With Mother’s day coming up, I am already dreading the ads for Jewelry, flowers and everything dainty on TV. I wish there would be ads for fitness training packages and sports shoes or anything a smart woman might need and possibly benefit from. I wish Mothers would get this day to start a new hobby, expand their circle, take time off from parenting and just be themselves.