Discussion Post Courtesy of Shreyans! What Characters Would We Dislike/Like If They Were The Reverse Gender? And Which Would We Feel the Same?

Yes! We are all going to THINK! Even though it is December, and FilmiKudhi is having a baby, and Eva and I are in mourning, and just in general life is insane (Genevieve, I’m I remembering right that you are in the midst of a sweep of birthdays?), we are still going to DISCUSS and THINK and STUFF.

Shreyans suggested this and, from his description, I think the original post was more about “confront your gender prejudices and realize that what you dislike in female characters you would applaud in male characters”. But this is the little island of DCIB where we hate men by default and love women, so in fact the reverse is more often true for us!

Okay, I’ll be fancy for a second. Because of The Patriarchy, women are at a handicap within any narrative. A female character can and should be forgiven actions that a man should not. Sometimes she has to lie, to steal, to cheat. Sometimes she makes bad decisions because she never had the social power to learn how to make good decisions. Sometimes she should even be applauded for taking a step to the selfish and immoral because that’s also a first step out of the cage of gender expectations.

I don’t think we are really going to get into an argument here, because DCIB is a lovely place of peace and harmony on almost all topics (I STILL THINK THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE HAD SEX IN BBB AND YOU CAN’T CHANGE MY MIND!!!!), but I think we can each contribute new different ways to think of things!

For example, let’s look at Simran in DDLJ!!!

25 Years of DDLJ: Kajol believes Simran was little old-fashioned but cool |  Filmfare.com

As a woman, she is one of my all time favorite characters. She was trained to always please men, and also fear men. To live within a small boundary of acceptable behavior. So the whole movie is her swinging between her “forbidden” desires (having fun on vacation, getting drunk, joking with SRK, etc.) and what she feels like she should be feeling. Until the second half when she blossoms and confidently demands the right to have what she wants for her own life.

As a man, what a HORRIBLE PERSON!!!! He judges everyone around him, then gets drunk and acts worse than all of them, then reverts to being judgey, and then is all demanding and selfish in how he wants things to happen in the second half.

Isn’t that interesting? How the gender differences in the backstory change the whole feel of the character?

Next one that occurs to me!!! Arjun Reddy/Kabir Singh! Isn’t that interesting to think of gender reversed? It’s still a tale of an angry young confused relationship with addiction issues, but if you flip the gender power dynamic, suddenly it’s not a big statement on male-female relationships, it’s just about this one relationship between a fearless angry outspoken rich person and a quiet powerless less rich person.

Kiara Advani feels it's unfair that people reduced Kabir Singh to 'one  slap', says she anticipated the backlash | Bollywood - Hindustan Times

And finally, Tamasha/Rockstar! Which, for me, I would hate EQUALLY if they were gender flipped! It’s still a superprivilaged person who thinks that Suffering for Art is the most important thing EVER.

Tamasha': Film Review – The Hollywood Reporter

Okay, what are you interested in looking at in this flipped genders kind of way?

JHMS?

Kal Ho Na Ho?

Dostana?

Hopefully something I haven’t thought of yet which would be really interesting?

17 thoughts on “Discussion Post Courtesy of Shreyans! What Characters Would We Dislike/Like If They Were The Reverse Gender? And Which Would We Feel the Same?

  1. I’m a huge hypocrite but I would like Tamasha a lot more if it was a women’s story. As then it could be related to the idea of girls always have to do better than boys and the pressure to be exceptional. Plus the pressures in India to be a women and to handle your love life well. Also Deepika would be the main character and I like Deepika more than Ranbir!

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    • That’s not a hypocrite! That’s logical! As it is, my biggest problem with Tamasha is that Ranbir is such a whiney little crybaby who truly has no reason he CAN’T follow his dreams. But if you make it a female character, we understand a lot faster the social pressures and fears and barriers that would make her not want to follow her dreams.

      And a big BIG ditto on Dips instead of Ranbir!!!

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      • yeah Ali showed it in LAK 2 and boom it failed……indian audience u see…hypocrisy at its best…..they will crib he does not make women oriented and when he does, they troll them.

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  2. Manmarziyan would be a pretty typical, boring movie if you flipped the genders, instead of one that felt transgressive and empowering. Feel like that’s true of a lot of Taapsee movies, their power is in a woman being given the kind of centrality and agency that male protagonists usually have.

    Speaking of which, what about Haseen Dilruba if we kept the same actors but swapped roles? How would we feel about Taapsee beating up Vikrant and him being into her because of it? And them teaming up to murder his female lover?

    Other ideas:
    – Chennai Express could be awesome as a gender flip, though you’d have to come up with some reason that SRK’s family is murderously protective of his virtue. And not sure Dips would prove her worth through tests of strength and fighting. Maybe dancing and conflict resolution.
    – Jab We Met: Geet would be unbearable as a guy, and Aditya’s stoicism and silent grudges would just be standard issue rich heroine behavior.
    – Raja Hindustani: Raja’s innocent manly pride is difficult to imagine in a female version, and I can’t think of many male parallels to Aarti’s winsomeness.

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    • I would love to see flipped version of Haseen Dilruba. Probably I wouldn’t like it as I like the original because the best part for me was seeing Vikrant playing the sweetest husband, but it would be interesting.

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      • Yes, but imagine Vikrant going from sexual and frustrated, to modest and dutiful and loving?

        On Tue, Dec 7, 2021 at 3:22 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Agree about Manmarziyan. Suddenly Vicky’s character becomes the most interesting, the sexually wild but emotionally stunted girl next door. And Taapsee is just kind of gross, stringing both of them along, instead of being sympathetic as we understand the powerless situation she is in.

      Haseena Dilruba would be FASCINATING!!! Especially because Vikrant already takes so much of the “female” role, with cooking and cleaning and caring. And then using household accidents to abuse her instead of physical power.

      Chennai Express would work so well as a gender flip! Which I think is a sign of how un-gendered the two characters already are. They both have typically “male” and “female” traits already.

      On Tue, Dec 7, 2021 at 1:18 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. Jow about Dum Laga Ke Haisha? Ayushman’s character was very annoying but how a woman would be? Forced to marry a man who she doesn’t like or find attractive.

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    • YES! That always bothered me about Dum Laga. Because I thought Ayushmann had legitimate feelings and the film seemed to discount them. But if it were a woman, we would be all sympathetic to him.

      On Tue, Dec 7, 2021 at 3:27 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. So many women characters would be awful as men….Here are my ideas –

    Poo (K3G) as a man would be awful…just awful… I shudder to even think about it.

    Alia Bhatt (Gully Boy) as a man would be just another possessive/jealous boyfriend who goes around beating all the other men his GF happens to talk to.

    Alia Bhatt again (Dear Zindagi) as a man would be a privileged entitled man who needs to stop whining and just get a grip (i.e. would become a Rnabir character)

    Deepika (YJHD) – a man who won’t give up his career for the woman he loves…expects that
    successful woman to give up her international traveling career and settle down for him

    Ratna Pathak Shah (Lipstick Burkha) as a man would be so creepy…a frustrated old man who lusts after his younger swimming instructor…ewww.

    Tapsee (Thappad) a man who wants to leave his wife over one slap…clearly his fragile male ego has been shattered

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    • Yes, totally agree with the first four. Haven’t seen Lipstick Burkha but that pot sounds hideous gender flipped.

      Thappad is an interesting one though. I feel like the reason her choice seems correct is that the slap is surrounded by a whole patriarchal power structure that demands subordination. That’s harder to gender flip. Maybe a rich woman-servant marriage with class standing in for patriarchy?

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      • Now I kind of want to see a gender flip Thappad! Because of course abusive relationships can go either way. And a man suffering emotional abuse from his wife would be a story India REALLY doesn’t want to think about. You’d have to do it just right, but there would be a way to establish long term emotional abuse which makes the one slap just the final straw. Not in a “male ego” kind of way, but in a legitimate spousal abuse kind of way.

        On Tue, Dec 7, 2021 at 8:58 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • YES!!! All of these characters only work in the context of the patriarchy. When their behavior/struggles are put within a whole structure that abuses them, we are rooting for them. When they are the ones in power, why are they whining so much?

      On Tue, Dec 7, 2021 at 5:04 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • It’s a rare situation where a film can pull off a woman having power over a man, and do it without falling into stereotypes… like marital abuse, but of a man by his wife, or a female boss being condescending to her male subordinate… I feel if someone were to do that it might easily turn into a caricature?

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  5. Regarding gender reversal in kabir singh….even if it was intact, it still was a simple relationship hampered by a patriarchial and misogynist father who cant accept that his daughter has developed a choice….i dont get it why people cant see her father as the real antagonist in the movie? I mean who does that kinda insulting behaviour multiple times with your daughter’s choice of a good looking, loyal, confident and competent orthopaedician from an upper middle class family?

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