[Reader-list] Film review

Shveta Sarda shveta at sarai.net
Wed Jun 16 16:35:41 IST 2004


Girlfriend may not exactly be the best film made in history (or anywhere 
close :) but it's an interesting film all the same (As I discovered on 
seeing it yesterday!)

Yes, one of the women is a self declared man-hater and this is posed as 
the explanation for her being a lesbian. But it would perhaps be 
interesting to see this in the context of Bollywood film history. We 
have several recent examples - Darr and Baazigar for instance. There is 
invariably some childhood trauma that is made part of the protagonists' 
biography. In the case of males, it is the mother leaving, or being 
thrown out of the house in childhood. In case of Tania (Boyfriend) it 
was child sexual abuse.

Interestingly, a small change in one variable (the jealous lover) is 
what produces interesting disruptions - and possibilities. While the 
audience seemed to enjoy the first song where the two women/friends 
danced and sang, there was a puzzlement about the nature of the response 
when the women had sex, or when they danced together in a party 
thereafter, or spoke about the intimacies they shared as friends. There 
were no cat-calls; and there was definitely a meditative silence during 
the intermission and when the audience left the hall after the movie.

I think perhaps there need to be more ways than viewing the film - any 
popular film for that matter - in terms of whether it was a good/bad 
representation of lesbian love. Girlfriend is interesting in the small 
disruption, hesitation in response, the puzzlement it produces. It may 
perhaps open up some spaces for conversations.


Shveta Sarda wrote:
> FWD MSG...
> Subject:
> Girlfriend Protest
> From:
> "Humjinsi Cluster" <humjinsi at hotmail.com>
> Dear all,
>  This is an urgent and serious matter. Tejal and Sheba saw the premier 
> of the film ‘Girl Friend’ yesterday. The film portrays Isha Koppikar as 
> a sexually abused, violent, obsessive, killer, psychopath lesbian. The 
> film claims to address the issue of ‘lesbianism’ but operates from a 
> totally homophobic, hetero- patriarchal viewpoint. It will do 
> unspeakable damage for the movement and simply put, it is downright 
> dangerous for those of us trying to survive in an already hateful world. 
>  The movie tears away the anonymity of lesbian existence; the word 
> lesbian is actually used in the film and the image created is a ghastly 
> and revolting one. The character is not a lesbian, she is a woman 
> hunter, a man hater, there are so many things in the film that are 
> absolutely despicable that one cannot even begin to describe them.
> The absolute folly is that this movie is going to show in movie theatres 
> all across the country. So while the film capitalizes on the lesbian 
> angle (there is even a sleazy bedroom scene) the axe comes down so fast 
> and so hard on the lesbian (she dies a gruesome death, which is 
> obviously retribution) that there is not even a sliver of doubt. Women 
> who hate men become lesbians- who are bloodthirsty, abusive killer- who 
> finally bring on their own annihilation.
> We have to take a stand and make a statement against this film and we 
> have to come up with strategies to make a strong protest. We urge all of 
> you to make time and suffer through the film this weekend so that we are 
> well aware of what we are up against.
> Tejal has reviewed this film for MID-DAY. What she has to say and that 
> reflects how the rest of us feel as well, is written below. Do go 
> through it as well.
> We urge everyone to come together. We will continue posting minutes of 
> every meeting and action taken.
> In Solidarity,
> Shruti, Tejal, Sheba, Aditi
> Humjinsi

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