The final (and most important) awards post: Awards for ME!!!!! I am a guaranteed winner, because I am only competing against myself. But let’s see what I won FOR! Oh, and the most exciting news, thanks to these posts I have a good start on indexing the TGIF and FanFic posts, so look for those indexes to be going up sometime soon.
It’s a 5-Way Tie!
My choice, Sexy Angel:
And finally at the end of the song, in the middle of another family dinner, Shahid asks everyone to be quiet for a moment. And he says “Rani, I want you to know something. I love your son. And I love your daughter. And I love your mother-in-law and your little apartment and your broken fridge and your wobbly table. And I love your husband, wherever he is, because he was the father of these wonderful children and the son of this wonderful mother. And most of all, I love you. Please please be my wife.” The kids are all “say yes say yes!!!!” Rani looks at Farida, who kind of smiles and softly agrees “Say yes daughter.” And then Angel Shahrukh flickers into existence one last time and whispers in her ear “say yes”. And Rani finally smiles a big smile and says “Yes!” As Shahid is reaching for her and the kids and jumping around, Shahrukh steps back and looks at them all and says one last time to each of them “you are beautiful and smart and I love you”, “you are handsome and smart and I love you”, “you aren’t very smart but you are the most beautiful of all and I love you”, and finally he bends down to take a blessing from Farida. No one else hears him, even Rani, they are too caught up in their joy, but Farida has a shadow on her face for just a moment as she feels his touch, and looks away from the others, before forcing a smile and turning back. And slowly Shahrukh turns away, towards Boman Irani who has flickered in to being, and asks him “Are you ready to move on to your next mission?” And Shahrukh silently nods and walks away, fading out as the happy scene stays behind him.
My Sister’s choice, the Three Part Christmas Story:
Until finally, their wedding night, Mary is all sweetly shy and so is Madhavan. He offers to let her rest, she must not feel like being with him right now. Mary looks down and says very softly that actually he is all she has been thinking about for the past two weeks. He is touched, reminds her that he is a lot older than she is, he knows he is lucky a woman like her would want him, that she doesn’t have to feel grateful or anything. Mary keeps looking down and says even more softly “It’s not gratitude. I like your hands…and your eyes….and your smile. And I am so sorry that I ruined everything by letting someone I didn’t like half as much touch me first.” And of course Madhavan has to go to her then and reassure her “you didn’t ruin anything”. And fade out to a sweet love song.
They leave the next day, traveling to the remote region where he will have to do his surveys. They are greeted by a nice older woman who blesses them and congratulates them on being pregnant and Madhavan doesn’t say anything. After a few days, he finally has an outburst when Mary asks him to pick a mango for her, says “Have the father of your baby pick mangos for you!” Mary is hurt but hides it. He apologizes, she says he doesn’t have to say sorry, he is right. She has been thinking about it, it isn’t right for him to raise another man’s child, she is going to give the baby away. Madhavan doesn’t say anything, just drives on in silence.
Angie’s choice, Hindi Jane Eyre:
And then the famous scene, Kalki calmly bringing in the milk, hesitating when she sees Shahrukh’s scarred face and sling, then coming forward. Shahrukh noticing that her tread is lighter than usual, that she smiles different, and finally calling her by name and grabbing her as she passes and pulling her down into the chair next to him. Adorable conversation, where he starts by holding her and professing his love for her, and then controlling himself and correcting that of course she can’t love him, he is now old and injured (but he still keeps holding her). Kalki goes along with this with a teasing smile, yes he is much older than her, and not terribly handsome. Shahrukh suggests that perhaps she might marry him out of pity, after all a small plain thing like herself couldn’t get many offers. Kalki says that in fact she does have an offer, from a very intelligent and virtuous man. Shahrukh suggests virtuous, but perhaps not that handsome? Kalki says no, very handsome, very tall, very pale, very young. Shahrukh suggests that she might want to perhaps leave his chair, as he should not be sitting so close to an engaged woman. Kalki declares that it is true, but she thinks it is acceptable to sit so close to a woman to whom you yourself are engaged. Shahrukh asks in surprise if her fiance is here with them now. Kalki says yes. Shahrukh looks around, tries to address him, and says “You are a very very lucky man”. And then keeps going, saying that he should always care for Kalki, better than Shahrukh could, who drove her out into the world with nothing more than the clothes on her back. He would have given her everything, this house, his fortune, and left her life forever. But she didn’t know, she left instead taking nothing with her. Kalki is crying now, and so is Shahrukh. She finally reaches out to put her hand over his lips, and tell him that her fiance is in the room, but it is not Siddharth. It is a different man, an older man, who is not that tall and not that handsome, and yet she loves him so much, has loved him for years, and just can’t give him up. Shahrukh finally figures it out, and reaches out to hold her again.
Datablue’s choice, Dark Dilwale:
In the end, Varun returns when Anwar and Shakti have called him home. Shahrukh has neglected the business, he is constantly showing up hungover and covered in bruises, one night he even came banging on their door to wake them up at midnight with a bullet wound. And at 3am Kajol showed up looking for him and demanding to take him home with her.
Varun tries to talk to Shahrukh, but Shahrukh isn’t hearing him. Varun says “this isn’t you!”, and finally Shahrukh lays it on the line “This is me! Those past 10 years when I was living for you, that wasn’t me, but now I have found myself again and I won’t give it up. Not even for you. Not for anyone.” At the same time Kriti is talking to Kajol, telling her that she has to stop this, she is driving Shahrukh to do things he doesn’t want. And Kajol lays it out for her “You think I want this? I would be happy living a simple life in a simple house so long as I had the man I loved! But I was losing him, he needs the danger, and wouldn’t even admit it to himself. ”
And finally, Procrastinatrix voted for All Karan Johar’s Endings Fixed:
After the other big scenes, Siddharth letting Varun win the scholarship competition, Rishi being confronted by his hypocrisy, and so on, I want to see Alia and Siddharth standing in front of the school. He looks at her, looks away, looks at her, looks away, their love theme starts, and finally he goes over to her and asks “Where are you off to now?” Alia says “Oh, Goa, Venice, London, where ever Mummy feels like taking me. The Rolls should be arriving any moment.” Siddharth nods and says “I’m waiting for a rickshaw.” Alia says “I’ve never traveled in a rickshaw.” Just then, his rickshaw arrives, Siddharth gets in, then turns around and holds out his hand, “would you like to try traveling with me now?” Alia hesitates, Siddharth says “we may be starting in a rickshaw but a promise we will be traveling in a rolls within 5 years”, and he looks all earnest and sensitive. Alia melts, takes his hand, and says “rickshaw or rolls, it makes no difference to me”. And then we fade into them arriving at the hospital in the present day, still holding hands, in a rolls royce as promised.
No clear winner hear, but everyone mentioned “Cuddly” as either their final choice or a runner up, so cuddly it is! Too celebrate the cuddly domination, here is Madhavan taking his victory walk:
A clear winner here! Two votes for Feminism Versus Feminist Film Criticism, while all the others were divided.
For me, this is what I look for when I am looking at female characters in film:
Presence means, are they even there onscreen! Most Indian films easily pass this test. This is the reason the required romance plot is a good thing, from the feminist media criticism perspective. It means at least the woman has to be there in the film in order for the romance to take place. The same is true of the “mother” character. Yes, love interest and mother roles are not the best or most interesting parts, but it does mean a woman is there in the filmic world. Unlike in American films such as 12 Angry Men, Apocalypse Now (yes, the village women and the Playboy bunnies, but just barely), all the movies about the angry divorced guy who lives alone.
Voice means the woman has her own perspective, her own hopes and dreams and ideals, and the are shown to the audience. Many Indian films do not pass this test. But many do, still more than American films. Something like Kareena’s character in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, it is a very small character, but she is able to express what she wants in life and what she thinks about the world. Or Preity in Lakshya, she isn’t the hero of the film, but she does get to express her thoughts and dreams. The film can have a male hero and be male focused, and still give voice to the female characters. Unlike, for instance, Katrina Kaif in Dhoom 3, who never fully says what she wants in life. Or Deepika in Tamasha. She exists only in relation to the hero, we don’t hear her “voice” on its own.
And then there is agency, the ability to take those desires and turn them into changes in the world. This is the part where Indian films most often (and frustratingly) fail. As does Indian society, the right of a woman to do what makes her happy just because it makes her happy is ever illusive. Is the woman able to take her voice and put it into actions, make something happen that she wants? Or is it her place to go along with what happens to her, always reacting instead of acting? Think of Sonakshi in Dabangg. Yes, she has voice, she tells Salman that she will not marry while her father is alive. But then Salman and her father together decide how this marriage will happen, and she is just silently dragged along. Sonam in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo would be another one. Gracy Singh in Munna Bhai MBBS. And dozens of others.
And that’s it! The final awards! 2017 is done and dusted! And we are all winners. So to celebrate, sing along with this, my favorite celebration of success song: