It’s been an hour or so since the last of the credits rolled away and Mr. Bachchan’s baritone, urging me to find my wajood, faded out.
I’m still shaking at intervals and the odd unshed tear is still finding its way out.
I could tell you blandly that it is the story of 3 young women. 3 young men. An evening out. An accident. Egoes.Intimidation.Threats.Character assassination. An eccentric but effective lawyer.
I could say well written. Well directed. Well cast. Superbly enacted.
I tell you instead that the film depicts starkly the prejudices and mindsets of our times. Nothing we don’t already know. No new information. A lot of it lived by urban women. It just puts them there in our faces. Brutally.
That how difficult it is for educated, independent women to be accepted without the trimmings of husband, children or parents. To have choices.
That if three young women set up home together, the world around them will not hesitate to gawk at their lingerie in the balcony and peep through curtains. If they have male friends visiting them and they party, then the same world, will unhesitatingly declare them characterless at the first suggestion. That drinking is a mere “’health hazard” for men, but defines the character of a woman.
That a woman who drinks and has gone out partying to a rock show, smiles and laughs and cracks jokes becomes a commodity to be pawed with and played with and she does not have the right to say NO. And when she does say a violent NO, the male ego is so hurt that you threaten her and abduct her and molest her. When she does not get cowed down but goes to the police, terrified as she is, you file a counter report and vilify her character and have her branded as a prostitute.
That the first line of advice to a woman is to always scare her into submission and make the incident her fault.
That a single woman is “easy”.
That a lot of men clearly have their private parts and brains interchanged (so neither satisfies) and cannot accept that from a Prostitute to a Pujaran-Women have the right to say NO.
I said tears at the beginning.Tears because the palpable fear of the young women in the film is something women all over have all experienced . I know I have. Intimidation has various forms. When we walk down dark alleys and hear wolf whistles. Or are alone in elevators with only men. When we get obscene calls at all hours. When we are stalked. When unwelcome suitors throw acid on our faces. When cars slow down at the sight of us walking. When we are pinched and groped in crowded places. When our chests are stared at openly and appraised as meat would be.
The fear didn’t stop the ladies in the film. The fear is not stopping women today from going places. Or working. Or making choices.
My wish in an equal world is that men feel a similar fear too. Just to even things out a bit.
Watch Pink. Make your sons watch it several times. Take your daughters for it.
And stay for the credits.