Special 26 1

Woman 1 looks admiringly at the men around her, con-men/police/politicians, and says, “The real work is being done by these people. We are only getting …” The audience sniggers.

Woman 2 weeps silently while she makes eyes at a man who lives in the house opposite hers. They exchange love notes and sit by the sea. A schoolchild wishes her “Good Morning, Miss!” in a corridor, she smiles, we realise she is a school teacher. Her grandmother prays while admonishing her. She is engaged to a man her grandmother likes. She waits for her lover to rescue her, while her family goes ahead with wedding preparations. Perhaps she does not take her lover to her family because her father might say, “He is old enough to be your …” The audience may or may not laugh.

Somewhere at the other end of the country, in Punjab, another grandmother prays while a large family sleeps on the floor around her, in a hall as big as a railway station lobby, and a grandson steps out for a con job, after touching her feet.

A wife yells at her husband while he washes the clothes, and sleeps while he folds washed clothes, before leaving for a con job. She detests him because she cannot earn enough for them to afford domestic help. The audience laughs.

In another house, a woman takes care of a large brood of children and is pregnant with yet another, even after her older daughter is married off, and her husband would have retired if he had a job but is still working because he is a conman.

A politician’s overweight wife feeds her overweight teenage son with her hands, and panics more than her husband when the CBI raids their house, and finds their huge stash of black money and gold.

One candidate for a CBI interview is called Kamini, wears a flower in her hair, and recites her vital statistics. The audience laughs.

Another plainer candidate speaks of fighting corruption. The hero asks her if she is going to uproot it. She replies that they can uproot it together. In Hindi the word is more vulgar, and has another connotation. The audience laughs.

A CBI’s officer’s wife runs out to the gate with a phone and a message for her husband. He looks at her cleavage, and asks her in a proprietary manner where her dupatta is. The next time she slips up again, and he glares at her. The audience laughs.

In another film, Woman 1 leaves her job, family, country, friends, to be with a man she loves in another country. She seems sensible, smart, but when she begins to suspect his fidelity, she quickly becomes moronic. Even though she looks at some drawings from time to time, to show us that she is an architect.

Woman 2 is single, poor, and falls in love with the same man after she sees him drunk and senseless. I wonder if I am missing something, but then it may be because he is rich and famous.

I wish I could elaborate more on the stupid things done by these women, which include eating canned food from 1947, but can’t as it would completely reveal the plot.

In the heist film, the women seem to be merely types. In the murder thriller, they are integral to the plot, besides showing a lot of beautiful skin. In both cases, any resemblance to real women seems merely coincidental. I collect these strands with female characters from the films and wonder what women really mean to these film makers, what they mean to the audiences these films are made for.