Stereotypes, Songs and Musings

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.

11 comments

  1. Hi Laksh
    You’ll be happy to know that my mother’s day present is me joining a hula-hooping class. It starts tomorrow and runs for 6 weeks – I can’t wait! I totally agree with you about the jewellery and dainty gifts – I’m just not into them. But I have to admit, flowers once in awhile does put a smile on my face 🙂

  2. Oh yes! The KKHH transformation of Kajol was pretty sad…she was so much more of an interesting character in the 1st half. She even loses to Shahrukh in basketball in the 2nd half! Bad one.

  3. Nice one, very thoughtful but made me smile since the N9 saw Kuch kuch hota hain together and we all and the same pblm why does Sharuk not love the bubbly Kajol. Well though I am not into dainty gifts but flowers and chocolates are always nice :). As always lovely Post Laksh.

  4. I full heartedly agree with you. I wish people need not change everything about themselves, just because they are married or want to be loved by someone. I feel it is like losing your identity.

  5. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai… I dont like the movie… if I were in Kajol’s place I would have rather married Salman Khan who loves her for who she is than to marry Shah Rukh who only wants her to be a substitute for Rani… sometimes life isnt fair at all…

  6. I have always cried in KKHH scene where he dumps the bubbly Kajol and also for Dil to Pagal hai scene when Karishma professes her love for SRK. Of course there are reasons and memories attached to that..but I totally agree with what you say.

    And regarding flowers and dainty gifts for Mother’s day…I don’t know what to say. Never ever has R taken the hint of celebrating my motherhood. Any celebration is welcome!!

  7. Laksh… playing the devil’s advocate here. While at a personal level I cringe at stereotyping, I can understand why movie makers resort to it. Movies are meant for mass appeal, not to suit the taste of the minority. Look at some of the contrarion movies – kalki and some of other Balachandar movies come to mind. They bombed at the box office. What I am trying to say is while you and I have control over whether we want conform or not to stereotyping, it is but natural for businesses to leverage on what goes well with the crowd…! will come back to comment on your last para. Nice post.

  8. @bavani: Yayy for you! Keep us posted on how it goes.
    @JS: 🙂 Thank you!
    @INdhu: Thanks for delurking! Like I said on your blog. Love the blog title.
    @Small Talk: I know! I still wonder.
    @Mads: Thank you. I remember seeing this movie in Bangalore too. And Akay and I had the same conversation then.
    @Hemani: Absolutely spot on.
    @Selvi: Life sure ain’t fair!
    @Manchus: You should make R read your comment. Maybe he will take your hint! :0
    @Suman: I agree, movie makers have reasons to make a movie commercially saleable. I guess my point is where do we draw the line. If this is the message we are going to reinforce with each generation, there have to be a turning point somewhere.

  9. This is a wonderful post. If only we care to look, we can see a million things around us that have shaped us over the years. I think movies are a biggie. The little words in the songs, the ads for success with a fairer skin, the shy girl = good girl, and loud girl = loose girl, someone who drinks wine or wears a particular type of dress = again loose girl.

    I am not in India, but it seems like there is a change going on, sometimes I feel it may be happening a bit tooo fast, but still its happening, so it probably is a good sign.

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