dub review


Back in the director’s chair after Dhobi Ghat (2010), Kiran Rao takes over the cinema by serving the right blend of simplicity, humor, and wit in a cup of gentle feminism.

Significantly departing from the typical Indian cinema landscape, which often perpetuates regressive and hypermasculine ideals, Kiran Rao’s film embraces a nuanced form of feminism, delicately highlighting the uncomfortable realities within society that often silence women and strip them of agency in various aspects of life. The film beautifully captures the journey of ‘Laapata Ladies’ (Lost Women) who ultimately discover their true selves and emerge empowered by the end.

Written by Sneha Desai, the story is set up in the fictitious central state of Nirmal Pradesh, where Kumar (Srivastava) is on his way back home after marrying Phool Kumari (Goel). Amidst the hurried chaos of changing trains at night, he mistakenly grabs Pushpa’s hand and rushes off the train with her. It’s only upon reaching the village that he realizes the bride swap, setting off a series of comedic and heartfelt moments. Throughout the movie, the ‘tamboo-jaisa ghoonghat‘ or veil remains a powerful symbol of societal constraints, yet it is not held accountable by the elders for the challenges it poses in identifying women, ultimately leading to the swap. As the story unfolds, Jaya finds herself in Deepak’s joint family by mistake, while Phool is left stranded at the charming Pateela railway station. Here, Phool forms a unique bond with the station’s residents, including the firm yet empathetic tea kiosk owner, Manju Mai (Chhaya Kadam).

The two brides, Pushpa and Phool, are portrayed with distinct personalities. Pushpa’s mysterious nature attracts suspicion from Shyam Manohar, who closely monitors her activities. On the other hand, Phool, feeling out of place at the railway station, forms friendships with individuals working at Manju Mai’s. Kiran Rao’s perspective in the film shines through in her portrayal of empowerment for women on both sides of the spectrum: those who venture out to study and pursue their dreams, as well as those who find empowerment and fulfillment in being homemakers, departing from the ideals of a bashing feminism that solely focuses on women stepping out.

Breaking away from the conventional narrative of “aurat hi aurat ki dushman hoti hai” (women are each other’s enemies), the film also beautifully showcases the power of women bonding and supporting each other. Whether it’s through Manju Mai’s direct conversations with Phool, Jaya’s determined efforts to bring her back home, or Jaya refusing to be lost in the monotony of daily life and helping to uncover the hidden artistic talent of Poonam’s drawing in the process, Kiran Rao skillfully explores the theme of women bonding in the film.

Beyond the female characters, it’s also the male characters that become the heart of the film. Shyam Manohar (Ravi Kishan), the village cop, delivers some witty one-liners and punchlines, keeping the audience laughing out loud throughout the film. It was even Kishan’s transformation depicted in the end who proved to be a greasy-police officer but also someone whose conscience has not been completely corrupted. Srivastav’s portrayal of Deepak in the perfect shades is flawless. Despite occasional fumbles, his profound English and responsible actions toward Pushpa, despite missing Phool, define him as a well-rounded character. His stellar performance adds up to capturing the audience’s hearts.

The film not only captures the lows of the village, highlighting pesticide-driven crops, corruption, and the sickened societal mindset, but also artfully captures the nostalgic essence and romanticism associated with railways. It portrays not only the trains and stations but also offers us samosas and chai. Additionally, it transports viewers to the charming aspects of rural life, spanning from the era of Nokia mobile phones in the early 2000s to Mai’s bread-pakoras, with a little scold on asking for extra green chutney again!

The beauty of ‘Laapata Ladies’ lies in its ‘addressal’ of various issues of gender dynamics, marriage, dowry, education, individual rights, agriculture, and scientific thinking, but without becoming overly preachy or trivializing the gravity of these concerns. The essence of Rao’s film is in its carefree spirit, playful and lively tone, and ability to approach serious topics with a light touch. Exemplifying a cinema that is astute and thoughtful yet spontaneous and genuine, “Laapata Ladies” is akin to a comforting chai-pakora experience. It tackles pertinent issues while also embracing the audience with a giant, warm hug.

Read Also: An Attempt at Feminist Validation: Animal

Featured Image Credits: Kindling Pictures/Aamir Khan Productions/Jio Studios

Dhairya Chhabra

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“Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!” When the young resist and “rebel,” people in positions of power often try to “deal” with them in their own way. Why is resistance often regarded as a menace?

It was the summer of 2015 when I first discovered the world of Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins as a pre-teen in 6th grade. The Hunger Games introduced me to the world of dystopian fantasy and were as culturally impactful as they were personally influential. In the past couple of months, I have fully regressed back into my 11-year-old self and re-entered my Hunger Games era. Although I had read and watched each installation of the series multiple times, they felt different when I jumped into that world once again after the release of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

I experienced something more as someone on the cusp of adulthood than I did the first time around. It isn’t that the politics of the Hunger Games universe are subtle, because they just aren’t. It’s impossible to describe the plot without discussing authoritarian regimes and, in response, political revolutions.

People recognise that the whole idea of the Hunger Games is a commentary on authoritarian regimes, specifically the non-democratic ones. But in the contemporary political landscape, we can all agree that democratic regimes, although not as blatantly authoritarian as the Capitol, are still effectively restraining freedom and cracking down on dissent, our country being not so distant from it.

Re-reading the books as a young adult who, like many others my age, is becoming more disillusioned with the entirety of the Indian political system with each passing news headline led me to inevitably draw some comparisons. Before anyone locks horns with me and argues that drawing comparisons between the Indian political system, specifically its manifestation in Delhi University, and the Hunger Games is ridiculous, yes, I know that we do not have a reality television show being run by power-hungry adults where children kill each other for entertainment.

I also know that the Indian government’s power, whether past regimes or the current one, does not flow from one individual, that it does not have two opposing political parties willing to abandon morality for power, and that its force doesn’t track down and kill dissenters, stripping them of a livelihood—well, actually…

The last few pages of Mockingjay called into question all sorts of philosophical tenets and how they unfortunately manifest in our lived reality. Particularly moving is Katniss’ realisation that the leader of the revolution, President Coin, is as morally deplorable as the fallen dictator, President Snow. She realises that, although Coin’s initial intentions may have been pure, her desire for power and revenge corrupted her, replacing one oppressive regime with another. Katniss is suspicious of her from the start, often drawing parallels between the way Coin runs District 13 and how Snow controls the Capitol.

Try not to look down on people who had to choose between death and disgrace.

Suzanne Collins, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Hunger Games are an annual tradition instituted by the Capitol in order to suppress the districts and remind them of the Capitol’s absolute power. The districts must each send one female and one male tribute to fight to the death as a form of entertainment for Capitol audiences, highlighting how the oppressed are just disposable to the oppressors.

The author introduces a patronising and oppressive fictional government, one that only retains control through fear-mongering. She describes a class divide that is undeniably perverse: some are forced to hunt illegally for survival, while others drink vomit-inducing poison just so they can eat again. Panem’s government and class divisions are not as alien as we are initially led to believe. In our world, we have witnessed such abuse of power, corruption, and controlling people’s voices. To draw parallels with the government’s actions or the university administration or not to draw any, I leave that task to you, the reader.

What is Democracy when the Choices are Bad and Worse?

The main difference between Panem and modern-day India is democracy. Although the leader of Panem uses the title of President, he rules as an absolute dictator. President Snow manipulates allies, kills enemies, and terrorises his citizens in order to keep power. The story warns us of the danger of leaving too much power in the hands of the few. I believe it was the sacred nature of democracy that Collins really wanted to leave the reader with. If we take it for granted, our own Hunger Games may soon be upon us—or are we too late?

The key idea in The Hunger Games trilogy and its prequel is how violence can be used to control a nation. President Snow uses the Hunger Games as a way to remind the districts of their helplessness while also feeding his constituents’ unceasing appetite for entertainment. The story sheds light on oppression and resistance, how the youth of a nation are controlled, and the way the people in positions of power “deal” with them when they “rebel.”.

Class division, inequality between citizens, governmental oppression, human suffering, corruption, destruction of buildings, and revolution—all of these issues raised in the Hunger Games universe serve as bridges between today’s “modern” India or even the world and the fictional nation of Panem.

Democracy is certainly backsliding at our university, which was once known to lead the students’ resistance against the authoritarian British colonial government. In the institution where popular protests against authoritarian regimes in an independent India were led, be it participating in the Jayaprakash Narayan Movement or resisting the National Emergency of 1975, we are now in a time when even documentary screenings are banned, because dare we question the government in a democracy?

In August this year, Sabyasachi Das, a member of the faculty of the Economics Department at Ashoka University, resigned following a controversy over his research paper, ‘Democratic Backsliding in the World’s Largest Democracy’. I believe the fact of this incident itself affirms the title of the research paper.

The one unfortunate point of commonality between dystopian literature and the real world is how we are desensitised to the extent that we become silent spectators to atrocities being committed in front of us, just like the Capitol citizens.

The Mockingjay Sings

The allegory of the Mockingjays of District 12 is the inability of the government to control these creatures, making them an inspiration and a symbol for the rebellion. Though these are fictional species, they do represent revolution and rebellion and can be associated with the current political landscape. Because the youth will certainly rise when the old are busy in a tussle of proving why the other person is worse, instead of actually working for the people, as “stupid people are dangerous.”

Through Katniss and Lucy, we see two distinct representations of society (with Lucy Gray being an “alleged” ancestor of Katniss). Sometimes soldiers are forced to be artists, and artists are forced to be soldiers, as Lucy Gray Baird was forced to fight in the Hunger Games as a mockingjay whose voice was taken away from her. Katniss Everdeen, on the other hand, was made into a spectacle when she was actually a soldier, willing to fight for her district and its people, but reduced to a set piece for entertainment.

Delving into the world of the Hunger Games from the perspective of Snow, we explore the human side of a villain. I believe that from the author’s perspective, she tries to showcase that people like Snow are not necessarily ‘monsters’ to their core, but rather real human beings who are willing to choose greed and power for their own self-interest. This is certainly representative of the larger political system in most modern-day democracies, including India, where it’s just people in positions of power constantly choosing to exploit their power and suppressing voices of revolt. But as is illustrated in the world of the Hunger Games, irrespective of the restrictive boundaries of any cage, the Mockingjay sings.

When Katniss sings “The Hanging Tree” to Pollux and the Mockingjays, she points out that she hasn’t sung it “out loud for ten years because it’s forbidden,” implying that it’s not only banned in the Everdeen house but essentially in Panem. Perhaps her father sang it around town to subtly alert the residents of District 12 that he was revolutionary, willing to do whatever it took to stand up to the Capitol.

“They say he murdered three,” the song chants, its words asserting the often-manipulative accusations of the Capitol. This song was a voice of rebellion, concocted not about a desperate lover but about a revolutionary whose plea was for his neighbours to follow him towards a fight for freedom, no matter the cost. Even if it meant they might end up hanging by his side.

Read also: Saffronisation out in the Open, Finally!

Featured Image Credits: CBS News

Gauri Garg
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What unfolds when the fate of an ordinary reporter at the pinnacle of her career suddenly changes as she is forced to face the harsh reality of prison? “Scoop” offers all the answers.

“Scoop” is an engrossing crime drama series that follows the journey of a reporter chasing a case from a newsroom to spending days in prison as a suspected criminal. The six-episode series, directed by Hansal Mehta and Mrunmayee Lagoo Waikul, is available on Netflix for viewers.

The show is an adaptation of journalist Jigna Vora’s memoir, “Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison.” In the lead role of Jagruti Pathak, a character closely based on Jigna Vora, actress Karishma Tanna delivers a compelling performance. She breathes life into the character, infusing it with a sense of simplicity. Jagruti is portrayed as a woman from an ordinary Gujarati family. The show provides a captivating glimpse into her thrilling and passionate life as a crime reporter at Eastern Age, who is always on the hunt for the next big scoop. It’s her story of struggle and personal sacrifices as a single mother and the sole breadwinner for her family. The latter part of the series takes a tragic turn, focusing on her life events when she was accused of the murder of a fellow journalist and allegations of connections with an underworld gangster. The series boasts an exceptional supporting cast, including actors like Harman Baweja and Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub, who deliver outstanding performances.

“Scoop” has emerged as one of this year’s most popular shows, owing to its exceptional cinematography and storytelling style. The creators have skillfully intertwined the harsh realities of the world of crime with the dynamic realm of journalism. The two contrasting but dark realities culminate in a tragedy where Jagruti Pathak finds herself as the prime suspect in a high-profile murder case. This results in the loss of her job, a tarnished reputation, and the withdrawal of support from her community. She then endures challenging months behind bars, anxiously awaiting the possibility of bail.

“Scoop” not only excels in compelling storytelling, it also has powerful dialogues. It provides the viewers with a glimpse into the complex world of journalism, where the line between ethics and exaggeration often blurs the truth. The show highlights the moral conundrum that journalists encounter when deciding whether to back Jagruti in her fight for justice or use her as a ‘scoop’ for their headlines. In the backdrop of a newsroom where jealousy and fierce competition for a spot on the front page prevail, the show challenges viewers to contemplate the fine balance between relentlessly chasing a story and the wisdom of knowing when to step back.

One particularly striking line in the show, delivered by Imraan (played by Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub), the editor-in-chief of Eastern Age, summarizes the essence of true journalism: “If someone says it’s raining and someone says it’s dry, it is our job to look outside your window and decide which is true.” This thought-provoking line invites the audience to reflect on the quality of journalism they encounter in their daily lives. The dramatic twist of events in Jagruti’s life, from dominating the headlines as a respected crime reporter to becoming the headline herself as a crime suspect, is what makes “Scoop” an incredibly compelling and engaging watch.

“Scoop” stands as a top recommendation for anyone seeking to grasp the value and significance of quality, ethical journalism in a world often consumed by the thirst for power and wealth.

Read Also: DUB Review: Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani

Image Credits – Google Images

Priya Agrawal

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Harper Lee’s magnum opus is perhaps one of the most widely read books today. However, it often finds itself under scrutiny for some of its themes.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel that everyone has either read or feigned familiarity with. Originally anticipated to achieve only modest sales, the book is recognised today as a timeless classic. The seemingly uneventful plot and the deliberate, unhurried pacing are common points of criticism. However, it can be argued that these very attributes are the source of its strength.

The novel is narrated in the first person by our narrator, Scout Finch, a little girl from the 1930s American South. Along with her brother, she takes us through the mundane life in her small town, which gradually reveals an atmosphere of gender and racial prejudice, reflecting the prevailing attitudes of that time. The story follows the experiences of these siblings and their friend as they gradually learn about the social norms and values of society. The racist and sexist ideologies of the time are depicted through various supporting characters, who are portrayed realistically as one would imagine for that time in America.


Scout is a spirited young girl who doesn’t just accept what she sees or hears from the town folk and constantly demands explanations from her father, Atticus Finch. Atticus, hailed as the novel’s hero, is a very virtuous man who embodies unwavering moral integrity. He consistently imparts wisdom to his children on delicate subjects instead of avoiding the challenge like other adults would. Young Scout, often oblivious and unaware, serves as the perfect receptacle for Atticus’s guidance. Atticus is a lawyer representing a black man falsely accused of rape. He does so in the face of judgement from both his family and the townspeople, who, during a period when the word of a black man held little sway over that of a white person, questioned his beliefs.

Through the trial that follows, the kids gain insight into the deeply ingrained prejudices of their society. They come to realise that the seemingly straightforward act of kindness and standing up for what’s right is, in reality, a complicated endeavor. Watching the story unfold from the perspective of a little child who doesn’t get why some people are treated differently leaves the reader with a deeper understanding of the absurdity of it all. The novel, through its simple and often amusing writing, leaves one thinking about the power of kindness, compassion, and the pursuit of justice.

The book is undeniably a literary classic but often finds itself under scrutiny in the educational landscape due to its use of racial slurs and the sensitive topic of rape. While the novel does employ racial slurs liberally, it is important to remember that it’s set in a specific historical context where the use of certain words was unfortunately prevalent. Moreover, the novel’s portrayal of the subject of rape is remarkably subtle, with no sensationalism. This approach has made it easier for the reader to better explore the broader themes of innocence, morality, and injustice.

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ retains its relevance as it continues to convey the fundamental message that being a compassionate human being matters. And, given the world’s circumstances today, that is a lesson humanity should never grow tired of appreciating and practicing.

Read also: The Lesser Known History of Majnu Ka Tilla 

Featured image source: Bookstr

Arshiya Pathania
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This article is an insight on ‘Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani’ and how it delves to the social paradigm of our country.

As I walked out of the theatre feeling that I have been called poor by Karan Johar in 3 languages I couldn’t help but wonder, are over the top popcorn flicks the one stop solution of inducting social cues in the Indian audience.
Beneath Flashy costumes and larger than life setting Rocky and Rani ki prem kahani slips in commentaries on social hierarchies and prejudices . Be it the textbook feminist Rani Chatterjee’s relentless pursuit of a ghoonghat free Randhawa palace, Rocky’s glamour doing a solid uno reverse the overt sexualization of female heroines in Bollywood or the gender no bar kathak performances, the movie does not shy away from inclusion.

One might find the rom-com a little dismissive about matters that set televisions reporters (and seemingly the nation) on fire, be it the discourse on racism , profiling of gender restrictive talents or patriarchal set ups in general. Through the clash between a stereotypical ghoonghat clad loud Punjabi family with a high end cultured Bengali intellectuals, the subtle undertone that hit was about how quick we are to dismiss notions that do not quantify well in our spectrum. For example Rocky Randhawa’s speech after Rani’s father’s classical performance is publicly shamed by the hip Punjabi audience is one for which the dialogue writer deserves a raise if not a superior mandate into any conversation that mentions the ‘woke culture’ in the Indian society . What really struck a chord in his monologue was how accurately it portrayed the cultural bias we have nurtured
through our social settings. The contemptuous outlook at everything that doesn’t resonate with our presumably superior understanding of the world deserves nothing but a dismissal followed by a grunt.

The lionising of culture contrasted with the seemingly steep curve of understanding presented a dilemma that any diversified culture would relate to. Him reiterating again and again the need to have a more comprehensive understanding of different point of views hits the bullseye in the current social climate , given that every contentious issue divides the public into three spheres where one group hold the higher ground of intellectual injunction, the other of dogmatic persistence and the third being the ones who are at this point too afraid to jump into the complex web battling information and misinformation. The fear of being ‘cancelled’ by the woke culture leaves little to no room for them to inculcate new world views, something that our protagonist seemingly struggled with through half of the movie and culminated into a quirky yet thought provoking monologue.

I’m afraid that the monologue in  Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani has done more for West Delhi gym guys than for feminism. Although the reactions to the movie can range from the audience bursting into loud ‘awws’, to scornful side eyes to the melodramatic social messages, the movie does provide a handful of insights that serve well to the ‘Dharma-tic’ audience.

Image Credits: Mint

Priya Shandilya
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What distinguishes Taali is that it is one of the first biographical works that focuses on the challenges and life of a transgender person, therefore providing a glimpse into their tough lives from their own perspective.

Taali is a biographical drama series based on the life of Shree Gauri Sawant, a transgender activist played by Sushmita Sen. The series, directed by Ravi Jadhav, lasts for three hours and is broken into six thirty-minute parts. It is available on the Jio Cinema platform in India. I was thrilled to watch the show after watching the teaser for the first time and being aware of the real-life inspiration. While inclusion of the LGBTQA+ population in mainstream films and series has expanded recently, there are a few that highlight the realities of the transgender community, such as – Laxmii, Super Deluxe.

What distinguishes Taali is that it is one of the first biographical works that focuses on the challenges and life of a transgender person, therefore providing a glimpse into their tough lives from their own perspective. Many notable biopics based on the lives of athletes, freedom fighters, army officers have been produced by the film industry. Taali thus adds a feather to the cap because it is innovative in its approach to raising awareness and praising the efforts of many such activists who seek to improve the status of the Third gender in India. This is certainly one of the most compelling reasons to watch this series.

Before we go any further, here is a quick summary of the transgender activist as to why she is remarkable –

Shree Gauri Savant is a transgender activist from Mumbai who has been working diligently for the transgender community for many years. Gauri established the Sakhi Char Chowghi Trust in 2000. The NGO encourages safe sex and offers transsexual counselling. In 2014, she was the first transgender person to petition the Supreme Court of India for transgender adoption rights.  She was a petitioner in the case of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), in which the Supreme Court declared transgender as a third gender. She also starred in an affectionate Vicks commercial and in Kaun Banega Crorepati. In 2019, she was appointed as the Maharashtra Election Commission’s goodwill ambassador.

Taali, focusing on the Supreme Court’s watershed decision in 2014, which officially recognized the third gender, It flashes back and forth in time to Gauri Sawant’s life, from her days as a child battling with identity to her days as a mother advocating for equality. The show seeks to cover major events in her life, such as her childhood and troubles with her father, gender affirming surgery, adopting a child, and handling the atrocities of the society. In the first episode, named Teesri ladai, she explains how her battle is separated into three stages: struggle for identity, struggle for survival, and struggle for equality, with the final one referring to the Landmark Case.

Krutika Deo’s performance as Young Gauri, known as Ganesh, helped viewers connect to the character’s predicament of feeling unfit. Her desire to be a mother, which no one around her understands, her loneliness after her mother passed away and her father’s reluctance to accept her identity are all major points where the audience can relate to the helplessness faced by young Gauri trapped in the body of a boy, wishing to be a girl.

Sushmita Sen, who plays a grown-up Gauri, does a fantastic job in the part. Her performance was a combination of grace and aggression, accurately calibrated to the necessities of the scene. Sen is depicted in the story’s midsection, where Gauri works with an NGO and as a waiter to earn and teach at the same time. These were the rare sequences where Sen seemed out of place in huge Kurtas, shirt trousers and even a fake moustache.

The story progresses from her days of survival to finally founding her own non-profit organization, dealing with other transgender people. The affection and warmth between Gauri and her new family could be seen in these specific scenes. Sheetal Kale’s performance as Nargis, a fellow transgender, was another highlight for me. Her friendship with Gauri, from once saving her life to presenting her a neckless that Gauri tressures as a trophy, are heartwarming experiences that will also have an impact on Gauri’s life.

Aside from the impressive performances, the show had its own set of flaws. To begin, despite the fact that the show drew out Gauri’s life across six episodes, it failed to give greater space to crucial moments that required more creativity, more time for viewers to absorb it and appreciate the depth of it. Factors such as Gauri’s transformation as a mother and her struggle to gain support from her own community were mentioned but not adequately developed. There are several situations in which Gauri faces adversity and hatred from members of her own community who believe that her work is harming their daily lives, even to the point where a fellow transgender tries to poison Gauri. However, these scenes are addressed with dialogues such as Mere paas na dushmano ki directory nahi dictionary milegi (you won’t either the directory or the dictionary of enemies with me) or inhone mera makeup kiya hai mei inka pack up karwati hoon (they did my makeup, I will do their pack up).

What was missing was a genuine confrontation moment to really show why many transgender people believed Gauri’s work was harming them, and it could’ve led the viewers to the real issue of why many of them are resistant to these changes. This alternate perspective was not properly explored.

Another letdown was the addition of sequences that felt like an attempt to inject some drama into the show. Scene of Gauri celebrating the commencement of her womanhood while dressed as a bride, was paralleled by her father performing Ganesh’s final rites. This was done to symbolically represent Gauri’s father’s reluctance to embrace her new reality.  Instead of this addition, it would have been good to devote more screen time to Gauri’s metamorphosis.

Other attempts at eliciting emotions were made with background music and almost poetic dialogues. It seemed as though Gauri’s every response was designed to be an inspiring statement. Gauri’s more open exchanges with people, such as the flight attendant on a trip to the United States or the school principal, were much appreciated.

Taali provided to the audience something that they had already seen on the internet and in the news. There was a lack of artistically narrating the story so that viewers could better comprehend the perspectives of the third gender. Taali remains an amazing first-of-its-kind biopic packed with a number of profound performances, and we hope that mainstream cinema brings out more work of such activists while providing LGBTQ people the opportunity to play these parts.


Read Also : https://dubeat.com/2016/09/03/transgender-accepting-the-non-conformist/

Featured Image Credits: JioCinema

Priya Agrawal

Heartstopper, the on-screen adaptation of a well-known graphic book by Alice Oseman, debuted its second season on Netflix on August 3, 2023. The television show, much like the first season, reshapes representation by delicately examining topics of love, identity, and friendship while offering a genuine and multidimensional picture of queer lives. Here is a careful examination of some of the themes that the show so wonderfully explores, thereby casting them in a new light.

Heartstopper, the acclaimed LGBTQ+ series, has emerged as a trailblazer in reshaping the portrayal of queer relationships, love, identity, diversity within the community, and friendship in a world where representation and diversity are becoming increasingly important and where representation is based on misconceptions and stereotypes in literature and cinema. The show has challenged these deep-rooted clichés by depicting its characters as diverse individuals whose sexual orientation or gender identity is only one aspect of their existence.

Heartstopper is centred on two primary protagonists, Nick and Charlie, as they navigate their way through love, self-discovery, friendship, and acceptance. However, the series covers much more. Whereas mainstream LGBT representation in films and television shows often focuses solely on two cis-guys falling in love and their sexual relationships, Heartstopper delves deeper. It highlights trans representation, lesbian relationships, self-discovery and acceptance, asexuality, disability, normalising older queer relationships, dilemmas in friendships, eating disorders, consent, healthy relationships and friendships, and highlighting that coming out is a personal choice and that it is not mandatory to come out.

While Kit Connor and Joe Locke steal the show as romantic leads Nick and Charlie, recognition is also due to the creation of characters such as friends Elle, Tao, Tara, and Darcy, perfectly crafted parents, and even attentive teachers. Heartstopper succeeds because it is such a well-rounded and balanced narrative about preteens navigating the challenges of a same-sex relationship.


Trans Representation

Transgender representation in both literature and cinema is sorely sidelined or completely absent. Most transgender representation in literature and film only touches the tip of the iceberg, as trans characters are portrayed as “supporting characters” or “the best friends of gay protagonists.” Moreover, trans roles in film continue to be mainly acted by cis individuals, eliminating the very purpose of representation. However, in Heartstopper, Elle was presented as more than that. The series digs into Elle’s life and emphasises that her transgender identity does not define her.

Heartstopper sends the message that trans people are allowed to fall in love and be loved. That they too experience all the wide range of emotions we all do.


Elle and Tao’s tale is equally lovely. The dilemma of admitting your love to your closest friend, as well as the dread of losing them as a result, is well expressed. The bond between Tao’s mother and Elle is one of the most lovely aspects of the story. Tao’s mother’s reaction when she learns that her son and Elle are dating is heartwarming to say the least.

Bisexual Representation

There are many misunderstandings about the bisexual community, both within and outside the queer community. Bisexual individuals are frequently questioned about their sexuality, with the assumption that one cannot be bi if one prefers one gender over the other.

Nick had to constantly tell people he’s bi just goes to show how many people dismiss his sexuality and how disregarded bisexual people are in general within their queer community. He has every right to be loud and proud about his sexuality. don’t take that away from him.

-a Twitter user

This portrayal and discussion of Nick’s bisexuality sends a clear and loud message that bisexual people who have only dated people of the same gender are just as valid as bisexual people who have dated more than one gender or haven’t dated anyone at all.

Lesbian Representation

Queer representation in films and literature has been traditionally dominated by the narrative of two homosexual protagonists. When it comes to WLW relationships, a lot of stigma and misconceptions permeate society. Tara and Darcy’s story is just as important and eloquently depicted as Nick and Charlie’s. Season 2 showed Darcy’s connection with her mother and how queer people face a lot of alienation and hatred from their loved ones.

The reoccurring animation of darker colours flooding Darcy’s house, because it’s such a negative place for her, is so. It’s not safe, it’s not her home; when she’s there, it feels like she has a storm cloud over her head like she can’t be herself at all, and my heart breaks for her.

-Twitter user @spring_nwinter

Asexual Representation

The portrayal of asexuality and aromanticism is one of the most brilliantly crafted sections of Heartstopper. Isaac’s frustration at his friends for assuming a romantic relationship between him and James demonstrates how asexual people have to go through a lot to come to grips with their sexuality. The series emphasises the value of platonic love, demonstrating that romantic or sexual desire is not constant but fluid.

Isaac getting his own “heartstopper moment” as he clutches a book on being ace means so much to me. As an aspec person seeing that little thing reserved for moments of love symbolises his first steps in working out who he means a lot. self-acceptance is a form of love.

-Twitter user @clingynelson

The Dilemma of Coming Out

Coming out is never easy for queer people. In season one, Nick is coming to terms with his sexuality and is torn between wanting to come out and being afraid of doing so. The best aspect is the support he received from his friends and his boyfriend.

I want you to come out when and how you want to

-Charlie to Nick

Coming out as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community can be a complex and deeply personal process, often accompanied by various emotions and challenges. While it can be liberating and help individuals live authentically, it also comes with potential risks and considerations.

Normalising Older Queer Relationships

Older queer relationships are not free from societal stigma, a stigma they face from not only those outside the community but also from the younger generation of the community.

Queer people of all ages exist. It will always be so important to show that the way Heartstopper manages to pull it off is so beautiful. I love queer happiness. It gives you hope for the future, you know?”

-Twitter user @spring_nwinter

Families and Queer Acceptance, or Lack Thereof

Having a supportive family may be quite beneficial for queer individuals, but it can also be a deep challenge if the situation is reversed. The fact that season 2 gave us a glimpse of everyone’s family, whether supportive like Elle’s parents, Tao’s mother, Nick’s mother, and Charlie’s sister, or not supportive and hostile like Darcy’s mother and Nick’s brother, these small characters had such a large impact on the series and the emotions its viewers felt.

I appreciated that Elle got her stereotypical girl come down the stairs moment while her parents were interrogating her date. She gets to have all of these movie-worthy girl experiences, and it makes my heart feel so full. It’s something so small but so special to me.

-Twitter user @spring_nwinter

Friendships and Queer Platonic Love

Heartstopper discusses not just love and the queer community but also the importance of platonic love and friendship.

I will always praise Heartstopper for how they show such healthy friendships. how they show platonic love can be just as strong as romantic. Charlie and Taos’ bond is something so important to both of them and so familiar. they’ve got each other’s backs and always have.

-Twitter user @clingynelson

Healthy Relationships

Heartsopper discusses the characteristics of healthy relationships, both platonic and romantic. Whether it’s Tara confessing her love for Darcy or Charlie being the shield for Nick when Nick was deciding to come out.

I love you. That’s not me asking you to say it back or anything.

-Tara to Darcy

I am gonna do everything I can so that Nick doesn’t have to deal with what I did (in reference to bullying).

-Charlie to his sister

Eating Disorders


Heartstopper season 2 slowly introduces the conversation on eating disorders. By examining disordered eating in one of its main characters, who represents a wide range of identities and experiences, Heartstopper Season 2 defies preconceptions. The series deftly addresses compulsive eating, gradually bringing it to light as Charlie’s boyfriend, Nick, becomes aware of his eating habits. Heartstopper explores a variety of aspects of disordered eating, stressing how it affects relationships and loved ones and underscoring the value of open communication and support.


In essence, Heartstopper is more than just a straightforward love story. It represents a push for accurate and inclusive representation. The series bridges understanding barriers, develops empathy, and promotes a more inclusive society with its multiple characters and relevant situations. Discussions regarding the value of recognising queer relationships and people’s freedom to live truthfully are made possible through this.

In both cinema and literature, Heartstopper is a transformational force that has changed how queer relationships, love, identity, and friendships are portrayed. The show sparks dialogue and questions social conventions by emphasising the universal features of human connection while accurately depicting LGBTQ+ experiences. Heartstopper not only presents a moving narrative but also advances a more forgiving and accepting future in a society where varied perspectives are respected evermore.

Featured Image Credits: Heartstopper on Netflix

Read Also: Where are the Queer Movies, Bollywood?

Dhruv Bhati


A collection of poems, ‘Kyun-Dastan Khoj ki’ by author Suraj Singh discusses fundamental aspects of life ranging from wealth to love and friendship. Read on to learn more. 

‘Kyun?- Daastan Khoj Ki’ is a thought-provoking book that delves into the profound question of “why” and its significance in our lives. With a target audience of young adults, college students, and university goers, the book aims to inspire and guide readers as they navigate their aspirational goals and explore the depths of their curiosities.

The book’s investigation of the “why” question is one of its central themes. Although, it encourages readers to contemplate the reasons behind the major aspects of life, invites them to embark on a journey of self-discovery and understanding. And challenges them to seek answers, unravel mysteries, and find their own unique perspectives. The book severely suffers from a lack of coherence and thematic consistency. The poems seem disconnected and randomly placed, making it difficult for readers to find a unifying thread or sense of purpose throughout the collection. The absence of a strong thematic foundation leaves the reader feeling disjointed and disengaged, preventing any meaningful connection with the poetry.

The author, Sooraj Singh, a recent graduate of Hindu College, University of Delhi has demonstrated a empathetic understanding of the target audience, recognizing their aspirations, dreams, and challenges in the book. Through his poems, he aims to inspire and motivate young individuals to question, explore, and pursue their passions.

Additionally, Singh tries to spark readers’ curiosity by incorporating the “why” question throughout the book. This is done in the hopes that the readers’ future endeavors will be guided and shaped by their curiosity. Often times, though, these lines come out as unoriginal and overused, lacking the inventive wording and novel analogies that make poetry engrossing.

In conclusion, “Kyun Dastan Khoj Ki” by Suraj Singh is a good read  for those who enjoy contemplating profound questions and exploring certain aspects of philosophy, but is not recommended for those who are seeking an impactful exploration of Thematically-rich Hindi poetry.

DU Beat

An ultra-rich backdrop, razor sharp dialogue, and stellar acting is what makes Succession the gold standard for television right now.


Jesse Armstrong’s multiple-Emmy winning series has a deceptively simple premise – the patriarch of media conglomerate Waystar RoyCo is ageing and must choose an heir to his business empire. Thus, the stage is set for an endless game of musical chairs between his children for the throne – power-hungry Kendall, derisive Roman, politically-savvy Shiv and estranged oldest son Connor. Power-struggles, corporate backstabbing and constant plotting ensues between the siblings and a host of well-fleshed out and complicated side characters who form the heart of the show throughout its four-season run.

Succession’s portrayal of the wealthy and influential is both captivating and horrifying. ‘Multi-faceted’ is one way to describe the narcissistic and money-obsessed characters who reek of upper-class privilege and can manipulate the course of the nation as per their whims and fancies. Yet, despite the absolutely vile character arcs, it is impossible not to root for them in their achingly-tender moments of humanity. This is a testament to the masterclass in acting done by the ensemble of actors who deliver the show’s signature sharp and biting dialogue to perfection. There is something revolting yet fascinating in the obscene, and hilariously vulgar lines.

Besides the personal narratives of each character, the show also provides insightful commentary on wider social issues such as influence of media and technology on society, politics, culture, and identity. It calls out the power-mongering and under the table lifestyle of the luxurious. Familial influences and power structures dictate the living of the top 1%. This adds a fresh layer of analysis to the already complex individual storylines, making the show a wonderful mix of satire and insight on capitalism and American corporatism.

Exceptional locations, cinematography, background scores and production value – the hits keep coming. The glorious theme song (this plays in my head 24/7 on repeat) and opening credits hook you in for a wildly funny, tragic and jaw-dropping ride. The music perfectly captures the mood of the show – sinister, dark and greedy but whimsical when need be. Another standout is the work of the costumes department. The lack of ostentatious displays of wealthy but quiet luxury at its finest where a single cap costs millions of dollars is an absolute stroke of genius. The symbols of wealth like the fleet of black SUVs, the helicopters, the elaborate real estate and the constant entourage just add to the sensory delight of the show.

Succession is a much watch for fans of pitch-black comedy and suspense. It is a gift that keeps giving and the fascinating character-driven plot keeps you hooked despite your utter disgust for the characters. After all, the ultimate question remains – who shall be the successor and nab the top job?

Come for the family and corporate intrigue, stay for the absolute finest filmmaking seen in recent times. Be right back, going to make Nicholas Britell’s Succession theme song my new ringtone.

Feature Image Source: Pinterest

Read Also: Film Criticism: Of Subjectivity and Stars

Bhavya Nayak

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