Abishek Raaja



Heroine, nayanthara


No wonder heroine and heroin have almost similar spellings. In the film industry, a role given to enthusiastic female artists is just an excuse and is basically aimed at intoxicating the audience.


When women are at par with men with regard to emotional and financial competency, why are the female leads pampered and glorified only during the songs? When I don’t see a girl dressed like a heroine in a daily life, is it a ploy to downsize their costumes and restrict them to mere eye-candies and show-dolls?   


For once, can I have the audacity to bring about this comparison? Why are heroines objectified? If we need directors like Madhur Bandarkar to revisit the position of women in cinema, it is high time somebody starts realizing how heroines get represented and respected in films. When was the last time you genuinely noticed and appreciated the effort of a lady artist? From mobile wallpapers to notebooks to posters to the magazines in your bathroom shelf, you need heroines to flaunt their assets, but she will just be an object to be ogled at? This column is a reaction to the outrageously amateurish comments in online social-media space about heroines.  


Women artists have worked their way up after years of patience and hard-work, but all that we do is have an opinion on their wardrobe and looks. ‘kezhavi da adhu’, ‘pisaasu maadhri irukku paaren’, ‘ayoo mokka piece’, ‘you better stop acting ma’, are the types of irrational comments from the chauvinists. When you really don’t know why the women in your house suffer from stomach cramps now and then, why do you want to know who the actress is spending time with? Heroines are well-bred, educated and talented and most of all, have a heart and life of their own.


Working in the show-business, putting one’s privacy at stake and entertaining people are no easy task. While the hero fully covers him and voices the lyrics, here is the heroine completely exposed to the spine-chilling weather in the coldest of conditions giving you another chance to gaze at her. Madhavi was one of the very first Tamil heroines to sport a bikini for a sequence in the movie Tik Tik Tik, with regard to time and the acceptance level of the hypocrites around. All the same, heroines have managed to transcend borders and horizons to showcase their beauty and talent. When it comes to our mothers, sisters and wives and female Gods, we have a different approach but if it’s a heroine, she is a sex toy and there is no respect to her.


If an actress loses her shape and gets married, she suddenly becomes an aunty. If Nayanthara takes a selfie, that becomes your headlines for the day; Andrea kisses somebody, you judge her; Vasundhara’s private pictures will be in your hidden files; Nazriya becomes fat, you have a problem; Vishaka Singh gives it back to a comment, you sensationalize it.


As creators, every storywriter has a responsibility and a purpose while characterizing and representing women on screen. Unless a collective decision by all the female artists to exercise a level of caution and maturity over the kind of roles and scenes they want to be part of, films will continue to use their chattels for promotion. There is more to women than how they look. From what we see on screen, beauty is no more a perception, it is size-zero now. Men also on the contrary expect their partners to be nothing less than a heroine.


A heroine can’t be used as a stove to cook an egg or asked to pick up a coin or use her dupatta to flag a train to enable intended camera angles. She is a full grown lady with some self respect and esteem earned over a period of time. However, I hereby cannot wholesomely conclude that, Play Boy magazines need to be burnt or no women can afford to expose, but the context needs justification. 


When you go and watch 50 Shades of Grey sitting in the third row, why do you have a problem when a heroine ends a relationship, tries new attire, decides to get married or even get obvious about an opinion? With somebody like Trisha calling off a marriage was her personal choice, we stoop down vouching for gossip, conduct a debate on her marital status.                           


Due recognition and admiration has to be given to any kind of a lady performer irrespective of their age and the experience. Unless a degree of sensibility is practiced by the filmmakers and the viewers, heroines will continue to be puppets.   

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