Female friendship is one of the most underrated and glossed over relationships in media and pop culture. There are very few mainstream films and television shows that celebrate female friendship in its truest form. In fact, the word female is redundant as there is no difference between female and male friendship. The graph of every male and female friendship evolves and strengthens over time with a plethora of disagreements, jealousy, greed, selfishness, anger and competitiveness in between. The negative emotions stated above are glorified in the portrayal of female friendship. Films often narrate female friendships by putting them in a bracket or stereotyping them, thereby dismissing other positive emotions or experiences that connect them and bring them back together. Films reduce female friendship to catfights over a guy and rarely depict them supporting each other’s personal and career goals.
Romedy now is undoubtedly one of my favourite television channels. Bridesmaids, Bride Wars, Notting Hill, Eat Pray Love, The Notebook and Sex and the city et cetera. Whilst all these female-centric films have its own set of pitfalls and contradictions, they are fun and classic films. I want to draw attention to one recent ” not a chick-flick film” Veere Di Wedding.
My take on Veere Di Wedding
- Why are “female-centric” films put under a magnifying glass?
I feel there is so much scrutiny surrounding all female-cast films. They are pressured to be morally and politically correct. The film did not reduce feminism to profanity, alcohol and sex because feminism is about choice and all the four female protagonists took their own decisions for the same. The film tried to make a fun film about female friendship and its ups and downs. Why should fun be gendered?
Sonam Kapoor addressed this hypocrisy in one of her interviews during the promotion of the film. No one asks Anurag Kashyap why his characters swear so much? No one bats an eye when a film like Pyaar Ka Punchama celebrates male friendship via misogynistic dialogues ( not to forget profanity, alcohol and sex). No one questioned whether men were reduced to be woman-hating and commitment-phobic?
- The Bedchel test
The crux of the film revolved around the eternal bond of four women who do not engage in a catfight over the same man. All four of them stuck to each other during thick and thin. There were mini battles but no wars. In fact, their disagreements and mini-battles made their bond stronger and deeper.
However, I think the film merely passed the Bedchel test. Conversations amongst the four friends were restricted to the men in their lives, their sex lives and their hookups. Their career and personal goals took a setback during a conversation. Nevertheless, a mainstream Bollywood film showing female characters talking about sex and not conforming to the conventional, coy and submissive norm is a leap forward.
- The fat woman typecast
Fat- the other f-word apart from feminism. From Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids to Shikha Talsania in Veere Di Wedding has one specific purpose in a film. All the other ” beautiful” women need to cajole and make this so perceived less attractive woman understand that she is desirable as well in most films.