Greta Gerwig’s long-publicized film took theatres by storm this Summer and has become one of the highest-grossing movies of all time.

After months of rigorous marketing and anticipation, people expected grandeur from Barbie and that’s what it delivers. Apart from its over-the-top production, Barbie also manages to bring a fresh concept to the fantasy genre which had started to seem repetitive and saturated. The movie has been carefully crafted in order to cater to all kinds of audiences, irrespective of age.

The film follows the Mattel doll ‘stereotypical Barbie’ and her many variants, who live in a whimsical world where everything is monotonous and perfect. When Barbie starts noticing human traits such as thoughts about mortality, body image issues, she and Ken go to the real world to figure out how to ‘fix’ her. She discovers that unlike Barbieland, which is run by all the empowered dolls Mattel released, the real world is patriarchal and a much harsher place for women. Ken, however, is overjoyed by how much power men have in the real world and heads back to rule Barbieland with the other Kens.

The film is ridiculously witty and has done satire really well. There are unique comedic elements such as the break of the fourth wall or jokes about real issues such as Mattel’s incapacities and Ruth Handler’s problems with the IRS. The dig at the ‘Pride and Prejudice watching depressed Barbie’ caters to a very specific niche and shows that the makers of the movie knew their main audience really well. The costume design of the show is impressive as it remakes actual doll clothes that were released by Mattel throughout the years and is a treat for fashion enthusiasts. The performances by Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling are stellar. The cameos and the musical aspect also add significantly to the overall allure of Barbie.

While the movie ends by portraying the obviously rightful message regarding how no gender should overshadow the other, it does so bleakly. The feminist ideals and dialogues presented are not fresh. But what compensates for it is the unique medium through which a familiar message has been reiterated. The creation of dolls in the image of powerful women and their idolization is inspiring but does not change anything for women in reality. In fact, it sets the precedent for women to “appreciate” the opportunities they now have and make the most of them when women shouldn’t have to always do something extraordinary in order to be paid mind to. This message from America Ferrera’s character is the main power of the film.

Greta’s artistic vision to deliver such a new idea is laudable and so is Mattel’s involvement and accountability. Considering how wide of an audience this movie reached, even if the main point stayed a bit two-dimensional, for many people it might just have been the first step toward understanding the nuances of feminism.

Overall, ‘Barbie’ is a fun, visually stunning and hilarious movie with great performances that leave you inspired. What is that if not cinema at its best?

Read also: The Pitfalls of Therapy-Speak

Featured image credits: Elle Magazine

Arshiya Pathania

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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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Should the historically skewed representation of women in pop culture stemming from male dominance in media suggest the need for their alienation from the field, or does the solution lie in battling the age-old perpetuated stereotypes? Do men make insanely horrible movies on women’s stories? Is it intentional or is it a byproduct of our flawed socialization? How do we combat this?

There is no denying that Men have historically been the gender with the upper hand in every avenue known to humans. This historical gendered privilege has not hesitated to trickle down into contemporary scenarios which have resulted in men still assuming control and leadership in both public and private spheres. Mansplaining is a product of this skewed social construct. Many men have, and even today, continue to believe in the superiority of their gender. Even if this complex has been watered down, the mere assumption that their perspective and decisions matter more still thrives.

It is irrefutable, to say the least, that plenty of mass media, since its inception, owing to the lack of female perspective and the obvious dominance of men in filmmaking have repeatedly objectified women. Such media largely caters to the male gaze and is deeply patronizing. Women’s bodies have been commodified and capitalized upon since times immemorial in advertisements – be it selling Maaza, bikes, or the angels falling for a macho man in axe deodorant ads. The narrative of a “good woman” and a “bad woman” also largely stems from the historically perpetuated male-dictated ideals of an ideal woman. Be it our soap operas or the big screen media, a good woman is always shown fully covered from head to toe, draped in a saree, adhering to all customary norms. Whereas the villainess is always shown to be wearing promiscuous attires with a “pick-me-girl” demeanor. The latter is also the women who generally are independent, shamelessly unapologetic, and break away from the shackles of stereotypes. But does this historical defect justify the absolute abstention of men from making movies on women?

Let us first talk about what these women-centric films look like. These definitely as the name suggests are films with female protagonists, aimed at breaking the age-old gender stereotypes. They move away from the conventional ancient media which has largely portrayed a cis-male as the hero. Such media become channels for marginalized women whose stories have long remained unknown. Witnessing the long-due representation has been nothing short of empowering for all women.

The primary argument presented by proponents of those who believe men shouldn’t make women-centric movies is that men being the historical oppressor will fail to understand the nuances of the struggles of being a woman. They barely share common experiences, and any man attempting to recreate their story on the big screen is bound to trivialize their hardships. Also, men have a greater propensity of projecting women in a way that sexualizes them, thereby creating something appealing to the male gaze and patronizing women in general. But, one also needs to realize that media as an entity is itself vulnerable to being scrutinized or called out for anything problematic being exhibited. The onus then falls upon the general audience to hold the troublemakers accountable. This is a struggle against gendered stereotypes and not gender. Mere exclusion of men from a particular domain will not solve the problem.

Also, the sheer assumption that everyone belonging to a particular gender identity will have shared experiences is flawed. A rich upper-class woman will never be able to actualize the harsh realities of the life of a poor Dalit woman. Intersectional identities cut across and shape the experiences of people from the same gender in very diverse ways. The thriving misconception that a woman will always be empathetic to the oppressive experiences of another woman is broken when one looks at how in many parts of the world, it is women who have kept age-old patriarchal misogynistic traditions alive. Be it child marriage, dowry, sati, or female foeticide – women often emerge as the biggest perpetrators in these crimes against girls.

Additionally, the exclusion of nearly half the population from indulging in making films on a particular subject does more harm than good. The number of people indulging in unraveling the stories of these women immediately gets reduced to half. Secondly, when one propagates the narrative that – only women should be allowed to direct women’s movies because of their shared gendered experiences, all women’s issues get reduced to being only “women’s problems” and not the “society’s problem”. Combating deeply entrenched patriarchal norms requires society to take a stake. Such issues cannot be solved in isolation by one gender alone. Be it the feminist movement, LGBTQ movement, Dalit rights movement or Black lives matter; no battle can be won by a single identity alone. Collective action is critical for a successful outcome.

It is also important to note that many of the strong female characters that we celebrate were either written or directed by men. Be it Kangana’s character in Vikas Bahl’s Queen, Katarina Stratford in Gil Junger’s 10 Things I hate about you, Elle Woods’ in Robert Luketic’s Legally Blonde or Mark Andrew’s Brave – the female leads in these movies are known to be headstrong, unapologetic and at every step assert their autonomy thereby breaking stereotypes.

Furthermore, when men who take up the initiative to make such movies gain accolades and appreciation for their work, the resultant domino effect leads to a greater number of people now pedestalizing sensitive feminist men, as opposed to idolizing a patronizing Macho man. Come on, who doesn’t love Imtiaz Ali for giving us characters like Geet from Jab We Met or Veera from Highway? Such movies with strong female leads often have a caring, sensitive, and extremely lovable side male character. Be it Shah in Dear Zindagi, Irrfan Khan in Piku, Vikrant Massey in Chapaak, or Pankaj Tripathi in Mimi – all these male characters are very hard to not fall in love with. Writing, and directing such roles becomes a cathartic and liberating experience for the scriptwriters, movie makers, and in general everyone involved in the movie-making process. The amount of sensitization delivered through such experiences is unmatchable.

Ergo despite conceding to the fact that to date, even though some men continue to be the biggest flag bearers of male chauvinism, others willing to change should be given a chance for redemption. Our battle lies in fighting the stereotypes, and not the gender. Simply denying men such experiences only based on their gender would be nothing short of criminal.

Feature Image Source: Pinterest

Rubani Sandhu

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Holiday season sees a saturation of the cinematic market with an influx of wholesome but cringe-worthy holiday movies. Is it the audience that asks for it or is the industry too used to churning out “tidings of comfort and joy”? Read more to find out.

Be it “Rang Barse” or “Last Christmas”, festivals end up being not just a part of our real lives but also our reel lives. In the 20th century, cinema is not barred to only reflecting reality but rather moves beyond that ambit to build upon our lived realities and create an alternate world as believed by media studies scholar John Mundy. Every festive season is accompanied by an influx of new or repeated holiday cinema against a backdrop of the belief that this is the time when everything is right in the world. 

But can the cinema industry be completely blamed for this saturation of the market during the holidays? In the end, it is only catering to a society that was deeply embedded into the concept of religious festivities and now finds itself dependent upon a highly glamourous, minutely religious rendition of the same traditions. Rather than being restricted to religious beliefs, festivals have been gaining traction as events having aesthetic appeal and a more universal characteristic, the most all-consuming being Christmas.

…being a part of a family that doesn’t really celebrate (Christmas), the day often ends up being a bit disheartening. So, I have made it a tradition to find and watch that perfect Christmas movie every year because it helps bring that sense of joy, comfort, and “Christmas cheer” that I can’t find in my immediate vicinity.”, explains Hitanshi Jain, a first-year student at DCAC.

Psychologists have gone on to distinguish happiness into two types: hedonic and eudaimonic. The former is more transitory and refers to the sensations of pleasure and enjoyment, whereas the latter is a more resonating and long-lasting feeling, rising from experiences that carry a sense of meaning and purpose. Both of these kinds of happiness are considered important for the overall well-being of humans and this is what the cinematic industry has been tapping into: with its humour, traditions, decorations, and backdrops catering to the hedonic approach and the plotline of happiness over misery catering to the eudaimonic.

Most Christmas movies are created around the same storyline: family issues, conflicts, chaos, and negative emotions; all of them getting wrapped up with a happy ending where everyone finds joy and hope occupies the center stage. This craze has not only been fueled by the audience but also by the production companies itself with entities like MarVista Entertainment investing 50% of its development funds on holiday movies alone. When exploring the science of the why behind this, we come upon Christopher Deacy’s statement in his 2016 book “Christmas as Religion” about how Christmas movies act as a “barometer of how we might want to live and how we might see and measure ourselves”, tapping into the feeling of belongingness, familiarity, or the idea of “home”. In the opinion of Penne Restad in her book ‘Christmas in America’, she describes how many movies like ‘Holiday Inn’ (1942) were created from the perspective of providing another line of thought and emotions to the war-stricken atmosphere in America, showcasing a world which “has no dark side”. This notion has extended over the last century into every holiday cinema experience, promoting emotional wealth over materialist or consumerist tendencies and glorifying the essential happiness of humankind while disregarding the misery surrounding it.

The essence of these movies is that they don’t make you feel that you are alone during the holiday season and that you belong somewhere, to someone or to something.”, says Srivarsha Bhukya, a first-year student at LSR.

Each holiday movie ends up being this blank canvas that we know will end up in only the most beautiful colours, barring any possibility of messes, chaos, or disappointment. In a very Dr. Suess accent— these movies make us see that the flawed mirror still reflects that golden light, that the teared-up gift wrappers contained happiness inside, and that everything considered, it’s a wonderful life.


Read also “How to Kill Time Until Reopening” https://dubeat.com/2022/01/how-to-kill-time-until-reopening/


Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives


Manasvi Kadian

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On the occasion of Teacher’s Day here is looking at one of the most loved scenes of comedy, from one of the most beloved comedies of our times and asking if we realise the cost of the humour we so amply glorify.

It was genuinely all fun and games.

Every time people, peers, and elders, would sit down to discuss 3 Idiots, the film, invariably the Teacher’s Day speech would come up. Look at how Rancho so smartly explains his point to Raju. Did you see how Chatur was put in place? Serves him right. Love watching Virus being put in his place, it’s such fun!

Growing up around people who revered the now cult classic as a rip-roaring comedy on the farcical nature of our education system and parental expectations from children, aspects of the film ever hardly struck me as odd. Until recently while speaking to one of my high-school teachers I was pleasantly taken aback to hear,

I have no respect for a film that makes such comedy out of a public humiliation of teachers and that too by making them the butt end of rape jokes. It is obscene and crude.

Here was a man, a teacher at that, who disliked what is arguably one of the most impactful and successful films of recent years. Not because it spoke about herd mentality, and emphasised excellence over success, but because of the way it treated it’s teachers in the process of proving a point.

Of course not all teachers deserve to be worshipped on altars. Some are mean, insensitive and just bad at their job. But is it okay to make an entire nation laugh by making your professor the butt end of rape jokes? Think about it.

The scene in question serves a dual purpose in the narrative of the film. It is to explain to Raju the importance of excellence and enjoying your curriculum as opposed to rote learning the same. But at the same time it is yet another widely lauded vilification of the figure of the nerd, who is close to his professors, knows nothing but studying, is socially awkward and of course is the butt end of bullying and abuse. And in the context of the film, this very same stooge of the professor becomes the instrument by which the cool students get back at the professors they hate so much.

My argument is simple. In no way am I endorsing a cut-throat competitive world or a teaching persona who believes your life is of no worth unless you pursue engineering or medicine. My problem is simple and different. How can we, as a society come together to hate b laughing at them and making them the butt end of rape jokes? The perpetrators of the crime literally go on to celebrate the victory of the same in the next scene and by the end of the film are hailed as heroes. The nerd is the one who is made to appear in poor light.

Humour is tricky business. Comedy is purposely designed to critique societal norms and the establishment but if the core purpose of comedy is to relieve through laughter then isn’t it important to question where that humour or laughter is coming from? Really think about it. Sexual harassment and abuse in academia is a widespread problem across the world. Horror stories of students, male and female, being abused by professors and teachers galore. We all have that one friend who confided in us about that one evening, in one empty tuition class, when the teacher they revered for so long transgressed from all acceptable social norms.

Another, easily overlooked aspect of the scene in question is the use of language as a tool of oppression. The student in question, Chatur, grew up in Pondicherry and Uganda and speaks, quite unconvincingly, broken hindi. How is it alright to use this as an excuse to vilify him and the teachers he so deeply adores? As a student of a university as large as Delhi University, every day I see students from distant parts of the country, struggling to convey the most basic of questions. Why? They do not know Hindi and their English is not perfect. But they still try. And even as they try and helplessly request people to not speak in hindi, there are people in abundance who think it fun to reply to their questions in hindi just for the sake of a few laughs. It is 2021 and yet linguistic chauvinism is a tool of abuse in the student community.

In the post-MeToo scenario, films, especially cult classics like the one in question, need to be recognised for their casual humouring of abuse. As an outcast nerd myself, I do not know how long it will take for society to actually come around to stop vilifying us. But that is a different issue altogether. But what we can start off, as students, is to recognise these instances of trivialisation of deeply troubling issues such as abuse in educational spaces. Our teachers are not without their faults and by god we are part of a deeply fundamentally flawed education system. But really our teachers and by large our students deserve better representation than this.

Now that I think, is it really all fun and games?

Anwesh Banerjee

[email protected]

A brief outlay of what goes into perceiving film criticism as one of the most misunderstood and least credited forms of entertainment journalism

 Entertainment journalism is probably the least taken seriously category of journalism in most mainstream discourses on the same. People diss it off in terms of it being something that works primarily on exercising unsolicited opinions. Film critics specifically are called people whose failure at being professionals of cinema led to them choosing lives as critics who find it inherently impossible to break upon the scene as real artists. To warrant a ‘positive’ review the film itself needs to emerge from a certain generic space – preferably indie – whereas those belonging to genres more mainstream will always remain sidelined in terms of the adulaton they receive from critics (clearly people don’t read reviews coming out of film festivals).

In a post-paparazzi world, the act of recording itself has been essentially reduced to its barest levels whereby entire film reviews are just sent out through character limited tweets are limited to a string of adjectives which are incoherently strung together to create what could only be possibly labelled as a mood piece gone horribly wrong. There is much less consideration of film criticism as an evolved form of journalism that requires an in-depth understanding of the material at hand – not only on a narrative level but also in terms of technicalities such as editing, cinematography and sound – to name a few. The dilution of entertainment criticism is also largely owing to the social media boom where every person not only has an opinion but also a space to offer that opinion at; and hence opinions – mostly under-researched and unfounded, start masquerading as ‘reviews’ with no credibility.

Over the years a variety of outstanding critics (sadly mostly Western) have made their mark in the field by developing styles unique to themselves such as the balanced, seemingly objective outlook of someone like Roger Ebert, displaying a child-like joy and enjoyment of the medium as opposed to someone like Pauline Kael who took a much personal, feisty and passionate look at every film she reviewed turning her reviews of the films into as deeply personal experiences as the film itself.

Another massive negating point of film criticism is the lack of appreciating subjective standpoints. While on grounds of technicality one can take an objective stance and comment on badly edited sequences of out-of-sync sound sequences – the final response to film as a piece of art is something that is deeply individual and subjective. 2001: A Space Odyssey termed by Ebert as one of the greatest films ever made is undoubtedly two hours of technical brilliance but I am allowed to espouse my opinion with regard to how deeply boring I found the film.

Which brings us to the question of rating films. It is very easy to end an opinion piece on any film we see with a string of stars lying at the end like a discarded appendage without an universal metric system to ensure that star ratings are uniform. While people reduce the reviews to their final star ratings to have an essential understanding of the critic’s viewpoint they fail to realise that the existence of the star rating is perhaps the most subjective derivative of the act of film criticism. As Shah Rukh Khan had famously said in the first edition of the FCCA, why must our film experiences be akin to five star hotels? Can’t we do better than this?

Anwesh Banerjee

[email protected]

With exams just around the corner, this piece is an aim to inspire you to study on of your off days where you’ve given up on your books and just need a break. Hopefully, these movies will motivate you more than Sandeep Maheshwari. 

Films have been long overlooked as an educational tool. Cinema is just an anecdote of the literature of the world. We tend to forget that what often spurs the imagination is both visual and auditory. For many of us, watching movies is an escape. After 5 hours of comprehending the political theory, even Kuch Kuch Hota Hai acts as a relief. The power of cinema is boundless. Movies on this list have all one thing in common, value for education and not a conventional way to prove it. Thus, making them great breaks between your study sessions. And more than that, great tools to uncover your hidden love for art and knowledge.

Take a journey with these lead characters that will provoke you to take a journey with your books. These movies will motivate you not just for these exams but will act as a reminder of how education isn’t just for a degree.


  1. Freedom Writers:

Freedom Writers is a frank and formulaic entry in the inspirational inner-city teacher genre, with an energetic Hilary Swank. It’s an inspiring drama that touches on many themes of power, violence, and casteism. Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank) arrives for her first day of teaching at Wilson High, a school which once was at pinnacle of academic performance now is filled with underprivileged students who use drugs, live on streets where people are killed regularly and have even served time in prison. Erin’s commitment to transforming her students by writing and reading is what is inspirational of all. This doesn’t just celebrate great teachers but the unity that arises out of diversity once all walls of discrimination are broken.


  1. Dead Poets Society: 

There are some films that, if you watch then for the first time at the right age, have the capacity to inspire and embolden you: Dead Poets Society is one such film. Its uncynical, idealistic and hopeful making it not resonate with film snobs, but what it lacks in critical kudos, it has recouped in audience appreciation. Robin Williams is on top form as the iconoclastic John Keating, the unconventional English teacher who uses his love of poetry and classic literature to break down barriers at the oppressive Welton Academy. Keating inspires his young charges to ‘seize the day’, challenge the school’s strict rules, and truly be themselves. The film is packed with emotionally-charged, touching scenes but the one that won’t fail to make the hairs on your arm stand up is this one where Keating’s students demonstrate what he means to them – “Oh Captain, My Captain…”


  1. The Pursuit of Happiness:

It’s a magnificent real-life tale that teaches you to not give up, irrespective of whatever happens. The perfect elixir you need when you have to do the entire syllabus in one week. Never miss an opportunity and studying hard, after a few years, Chris works his way up the career ladder from medical equipment salesman to financial hotshot. If there’s one story that demonstrates that you should never give up, no matter how bad things get, it’s Chris’.


  1. Good Will Hunting:

Matt Damon masterfully plays the eponymous role of Will Hunting a 20-year-old mathematical prodigy with a rough past, a tendency for street fighting and run-ins with the law. The film shows how an underachiever can turn things around. People who have always had problems with focus and concentration this one is for you. This movie familiarises you with the concept of heartbreak. The heartbreak one feels when appreciating a true genius but to fall short of it yourself. The film stars Matt Damon as a janitor at MIT who likes to party and hang in the old neighbourhood and loves reading things of the Internet and imbibe them into his photographic memory. Even though it follows a predictable narrative arc, Good Will Hunting adds enough quirks to the journey and is loaded with enough powerful performances that it remains an entertaining and emotionally rich drama.


  1. School of Rock:

In this movie, the irrepressible Jack Black plays a down-on-his-luck musician who makes use of a combination of creative interview techniques, Led Zeppelin riffs, crazy love for music, and a ridiculous amount of ‘winging it’ to transform a class of upper-class unhappy kids into a real group of tiny rock Gods.  While the movie was never going to challenge for the Best Picture Oscar, it’s a fantastic off-beat example of how education can inspire really positive change amongst the most unlikely looking people.


  1. Stand and Deliver:

Another inspirational film made for those who might not be able to concentrate cause of family troubles, societal troubles and other out of hand issues. This movie leads a powerful narrative of how that academic success is not out of reach just because of their background or their current struggles. The story demonstrates the possibilities open to anyone no matter what they may have been told in the past. With Ramon Menendez as the director, the film is much less clichéd than La Bamba. 


  1. Sister Act 2:

Back in the Habit: A nun reprises her role in the music scene by joining a Catholic school’s mission to take their choir further in the state championships. The lesson in this film is that any student can find their place with the right encouragement. And if you don’t grove to the songs and if they don’t stick to your head while attempting your exams, you may take a box of Ferrero Rocher from my house.


Featured Image Credits: Vulture


Chhavi Bahmba 

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Bollywood influences and almost the entire population of the nation, and the Hindi movie industry’s understanding of freedom is embarrassing and this is reflected on what they decide to show us on Independence Day.

National holidays are always a reason to celebrate. Even if they do not come with a festival, they prove to be a holiday we never knew we needed. A breathing space, quite similar to a Sunday, but incredibly precious. While our lazy brain cells debate whether or not to spend the day holed up binging on a senseless television show, corporations are at work.

If we could rank holidays on the basis of which can be most easily capitalised, Independence Day would surely be at the top. It does not just carry meaning; it carries immense emotion and history, too. It also helps that independence is a spectrum – any incident in our lives could be loosely tied to the idea of freedom. The sheer number of products and the brands they belong to hence find different ways of associating themselves with this day, and frankly the results are incredibly creative and inclusive. For example, last year Ola’s campaign, #MyIndependenceDay followed Meghna Sahoo, their first transgender driver, getting ready for the day’s work or #UnitedByHope from Benetton.

Although these advertisements are produced by corporations that value profit more than anything else, they push the boundaries and very often start conversations. It is important for imaginations to be filled with myriad notions of freedom and patriotism. Bollywood, on the other hand, seems insistent on feeding us one type of patriotism and one idea of freedom. Judging by what the industry has been serving on Independence Day for the past few years, they seem obsessed with an aggressive and predominantly masculine brand of patriotism.

Let’s consider Independence Day releases of the past five years. Here’s a list for your reference-

2019 – Mission Mangal, Batla House, and 


2018 – Toilet- Ek Prem Katha

2017 – Rustom

2016 – Brothers

2015 – Singham 2

It doesn’t take a lot to notice that the protagonist is almost always a dedicated male soldier, a dedicated male police officer, a dedicated father, etc. It’s one man’s fight to save a city or the country.

Mission Mangal stands out presenting a different brand of patriotism, one that involves the use of intelligence and team-work. Even though the poster makes it very clear that the male scientist is more important and hence takes roughly the amount of space given to five female pivotal characters, it is refreshing to see that, for once, it is not one man’s fight to make the country proud. In fact, a lot of people were involved and all of them had equally important roles to play.

Isn’t that a much more holistic and realistic approach to understanding what being a patriot is? The ability to collectively make the country a better place? The decision to release these movies on Independence Day has consequences.

They begin to set the rules for what defines patriotism for popular imagination as they set the standard. People fill theatres on Independence Day, expecting this standard and then production houses continue making this brand of movies to suit this standard. It is a vicious cycle.

Another problem with these movies is that they always end well. That one man does succeed to save the city (no surprises there). Independence Day is a happy and proud occasion but independence is a process. It did not end on 15th August and it does not end when the credits start rolling.Bollywood barely tries to scratch the surface on the idea of freedom. The amount of influence they hold on public consciousness is no secret. Yet, they steer clear of uncomfortable conversations. Mainstream production houses never produce films that make you squirm in your seats. Look at the wasted opportunity, our country still houses communities who are yet to achieve an independent existence.

Our movies need to reflect realities, they need to urge us to define our own patriotism by making decisions that benefit the country in some way. We need to stop being fed stories that make us believe that there is no work left to be done, or even if there is, there is a muscular man out there to do it.

Feature Image Credits: The Times of India


Pragati Thapa

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Different films have been loved and hated over the years for different reason,s and by different people. What remains standing over the years is the debate over Movies versus Morality.

Movies are called a basic source of entertainment; couples watch Romantic-comedies for their movie dates, families enjoy Dramatic-comedies for their family outings, and a group of friends go out to watch their favourite fantasy franchise films that come out. An average middle-class family spends 200 bucks per ticket for plain and pure entertainment purpose, so in this scenario does morality even play a part?

How does it affect a cinemagoer that the film they are watching is regressive, politically or socially incorrect, and offensive to a section of people, misogynistic or plain problematic? The bitter truth is that it doesn’t. We go watch a comedy movie which uses derogatory slangs, laugh at these “jokes”, have a gala time and come back unaffected. Some films fat shame, some are insensitive towards the LGBTQ+ community, while some just do not evoke a sense of diversity, but they are still loved and famous. Old classics like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham or Pretty Woman are good examples of such films.

Even recent Bollywood Rom-coms or Dramedies like Lukka Chuppi or De De Pyaar De use derogatory slurs to invoke humour. Many found them funny, they did well on the box-office and the question remained the same, should these films be given the benefit of the doubt for the sake of humour?

The obvious answer is no, some might say otherwise, that comedy requires one to be free of judgement and in doing so,  they perpetuate societal stigmas. But anything that does not respect one’s identity is not funny, it is just problematic. I was six when my family went to watch Partner in the multiplex. It came out in 2007 and the experience was fun: the over-priced pop corn, large screen, the whole family together watching a funny movie. At the age of six I laughed at a grown male pretending to be a transgender to enter into a wedding as a wedding planner and this stereotypical representation engrained in my brain. The process of unlearning began early for me to understand that this representation is problematic but, for many this remains funny forever.

Unlike the popular notions, films like The Big Sick, Always Be My Maybe and Bareilly Ki Barfi prove that simpler narratives can also remain funny and distinct without depicting anything blatantly wrong. The former two get representation of diverse American population right, while the latter uses societal norms to critique the basics of our upbringing while remaining funny.

Many critics comment that not all films can have a moral base, the target audience matters along with the budgeting and production. All that remaining, I wonder why many cannot even try to put an effort to get the basics right. Yes, every film cannot be a Raazi, Piku or a Pink but the basics of being funny without hurting any sentiments, that is not a lot to achieve, specially when many shows, movies, and short films already have.

Feature Image Credits: IMDB

Sakshi Arora

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Bollywood movies are something that most of us love and Fridays are the days which we look up to. Being excited for every new release to being disappointed by a bad movie has become a part of our lives. Today’s youth follows Bollywood like holy books. This article talks about some of the movies which influenced the youth.

Today, cinema is the one of the most powerful media for mass communication. We go to a movie for three hours of entertainment but there are some movies that cause something more than entertainment. They leave a lasting impact on our minds which may be good or bad. On one hand, some movies are responsible for bringing a revolution whereas on the other hand there are some movies which provoke people in their life. Teenagers and college students are the most easily influenced group in our society.

There are various movies which show unreal and impossible scenes that most people are crazy behind. It makes many people believe that lives can be as perfect as shown in movies and leads to disappointment when it doesn’t turn out to be the actual case.

The perfect college scenes of Karan Johar’s movies increased our expectations and made us all believe that college life is as happening as shown in movies like Student of the Year. The movie that revolves around lavish lives of three privileged kids shows everything apart from studying, and it surely made us believe that college is all about having fun and chilling around. But the reality is something very different from that. College, in real life, is more about studies, assessments, internals and externals, and much less about the glorified chilling around.

Romance is another aspect shown in Bollywood movies in unrealistic ways. Such movies make us believe that our love lives can be as perfect as the love lives of the lead actors. But love in real life is full of ups and downs. Movies like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge make us believe that our Raj will come from continents apart and propose in the mustard fields. But this doesn’t happen in real life (SPOILER ALERT: Love is not everything that you have in real life.). Life has much more to it. Not all girls will give up all they have just for love and no prince charming will come riding a white horse to take you with him.

Movies like Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara left most of the audience dreaming of a perfect trip with friends. But planning trips is not as easy as shown in the movies. It takes a lot of things to plan such trips. Firstly, you need money. Nobody can go to Spain and live the best of their lives if they do not have finances. A Goa trip is something that we all want to go to at least once in the three years of college. At times, students are denied permission by parents which leads to a negative impact on their minds.

Many movies make the youth believe that smoking, drinking, and attending parties makes them look cool and those who focus more on studying are not so cool. This has also become a cause behind youth indulging into drinks and drugs. Movies portray that having a social life is must and those who don’t have a social life are not living their lives in the correct way. All these things tend to create a negative impact on the audience and make people spend lots of money on parties and forces them to show the world what they are doing, where they are, and who they are with. Social media becomes a platform for this. People do everything for that perfect shot to be uploaded on Instagram. Lives start to revolve around the perfect and colourful world of Instagram.

Some movies also show that girls who wear pretty clothes and dress up in a conventionally girly way are more desirable and liked by boys more often. For instance, Anjali in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is not liked by Rahul in her tomboyish look and he goes after Tina who looks wears pretty dresses and looks more ‘girly’. But the same Rahul falls for Anjali and finds her to be desirable when she wears saree and looks more like a conventionally typified girl of his conditioned beliefs.

However, not all movies leave a negative impact on the audience. There are a few movies which impact our minds positively and teaches us some very important life lessons.

Gully Boy is a movie praised vastly by the audience. The movie has done wonders and has left a message that we should not always run after the mainstream professions and we should follow our dreams. It shows that poverty is not something that can stop you from achieving your goals. It is not the end of the world but an obstacle that we all can cross. The movie teaches us that no dream is impossible and we can become what we dream of.

Dear Zindagi teaches us a number of beautiful life lessons. The most important of which is that you should always move on and once we take charge of our lives and start understanding ourselves then other’s opinions don’t matter. Another important lesson is to not let your past ruin your present or a beautiful future and never let the memories of your past haunt you.

Another movie that left people with something that they carried with them outside the theatre is Tamasha. It is a movie with a heart that beats in every frame. The biggest lesson that it teaches us is that we need to stop trying to fit in the world the way it wants us to; rather we should become what we want to be. It also teaches us that it is impossible to run away from who we are as it will keep returning to us in ways we can’t imagine. Tamasha is not just a movie but an emotion and words can never be enough to explain it.

It can be concluded that all the movies have both positive as well as a negative factors, and it depends on our minds on how to interpret it. We should try to take the good lessons and ignore the bad lessons. We need to understand the difference between the reel and real life and we need to know that what’s shown on the reel cannot always be implemented in real life. However, the good thing about Bollywood movies these days is that a lot of movies are now based on social causes which tend to influence the audience in a positive way and are responsible for bringing a change in the mind-set of the audience.

Feature Image Credits: Rishabh Gogoi for DU Beat

Priya Chauhan

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