I was going to make the headline “Is this really feminist?”, but then I realized that isn’t really the question. Because yes! It is definitely feminist! Kareena’s character is an individual who has the ability to make choices about her own life, so yep! Definitely! The bigger question is really, is it actually breaking gender roles?
Here is the link to the trailer (limited to the ErosNow website for now, so I am embedding a link to a link).
It definitely looks like a fun well-made film. But, based purely on the trailer, I don’t know if I would say it is really “questioning” gender roles. It’s still using the exact same roles, it’s just flipping the sex of the person who is fulfilling them. As someone who has many many radical feminist friends, I know that “gender” means your societal function, whereas “sex” means your actual biological position. To question “gender” roles, would mean saying that “husband” and “wife” have no meaning at all any more, not just that you can switch the sex of the person fulfilling those roles.
But the thing is, I am pretty sure R. Balki has some extreme feminist friends and knows the difference between those two terms as well. So I wouldn’t be surprised if this trailer is just the buzzy fun version of the actual plot. The bit that intrigues me is in the middle, when Arjun, the “wife”, beats up a bunch of guys on a bus to defend Kareena. That’s the kind of thing I would be interested in, showing how a guy can be the homemaker but still be the protector. Or, from the still at the top of this post, you can be the breadwinner and head of the household, but still find it romantic to be carried in your husband’s arms. What I would love, is if they start off with a simple “ha-ha, you be the ‘wife’ and I’ll be the ‘husband'” plan, and then as time goes on, they realize that it is never that simple and relationships and people are more complicated than that.
With any other director, I wouldn’t get my hopes up, but this is the guy who made Cheeni Kum and produced English-Vinglish. He clearly does not believe in the typical kind of man-woman character types. Even Paa, which was more about the father-son relationship, had a strong single mother who was clearly the head of her household and did not need a man (although a man would still be nice to have).
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