Cat fight reports: Sexist bytes blown out of proportion or genuine ego tiffs
Cat fights are a normal occurrence in the tinsel town of Bollywood. Every second day, there is a piece in media platforms, whether digital or print, regarding a tiff between two Bollywood actresses. Whether a debutante or a successful actor of mettle, nearly all the actresses have featured in these supposed ‘cat fights’. However, the strange thing is, nobody reports when two male actors are in a tiff. Why such biased attitude? Why is it that during interviews, the actress has to answer one mandatory question on her supposed fight with another actress, while that chance could have been utilised to ask her about her acting chops and upcoming projects?
Today, we came across two such statements from two successful actresses of the industry. While Priyanka Chopra opened up on her supposed fight with Deepika Padukone, ‘Rock On 2’ actress Prachi Desai too retorted when asked if she had some problem with co-star Shraddha Kapoor. Priyanka was bold and brash when she told a reporter, “Why are women always reduced to cat fights? We all have so much more to do than to waste time on ‘cat fights’. We all have our own chosen paths. As far as I’m concerned, they are – as you put it – rumours. ”
Prachi, on the other hand, was more subtle about it, but it was quite evident that at an event where people were supposed to talk about her performance, they were more concerned in making a scoop out of her cat fight with Shraddha. She said, “This really doesn’t amuse me any more. The films that I have done and the ones which I haven’t done, I keep reading these reports when there are two female actors involved. I just keep wondering why people want to make a scapegoat or a laughing stock out of women? Why don’t we say such things about the guys? Now I just laugh it off. It is just a PR exercise that some machinery do or may be the press does. We are not 10 year old who would fight. I don’t think Shraddha and I owe any explanation to anyone. We meet so often, whether it is the shoot, parties or promotions and we really have a gala time. We just laugh about it.”
Well, if you read between the words, be it Priyanka’s agitation or even Prachi’s plea, they are not entirely wrong. These fights are purely based on media speculation and in turn take away the attention from all the hard work they have put in in their respective projects.
On the other hand, we don’t find much news floating around a juicy scoop, about tiffs and fights between male actors. Is it because they do not fight, or is it because of the fact that such fights will be considered too trivial for their macho and masculine image? We may not know the reason, but the fact remains that this too is a sexist issue that no one talks about. No one paid much attention when Karan Johar said that the reason for the remake of ‘Ram Lakhan’ getting shelved was that two actors were not ready to work together. Also, rumours of Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh having issues with each other stalled the shoot schedule of ‘Padmavati’ for a long time. Though these were quashed later on, but even when these were being reported, there was no silly triviality attached to it, like it is done in the case of actresses, as if the ‘cat fight’ is the only thing of interest to talk about, not their role, not their hard work.
Well, we feel that two actresses fighting is not silly, silly is the way of reporting it, and giving it a sexist angle. Silly is when you take the attention away from their work and focus just on some rumour. Silly is when two actresses have worked together, and you intentionally ask them if they are or not on good terms, and then if they hesitate, you blow it out of proportion and paint the Page 3 read. That, my fellow peeps, is silly.
We are not denying the fact that there are no tiffs between the actresses. There are, they are human, after all. However, it is not something that should be given importance over their work and talent, and yes, a little precision and professionalism while reporting the same should be exercised too.
Kapoor & Sons: Caught the plight of homosexuals tenderly and yet made 'coming out' look doable
Kapoor & Sons – Since 1921. The house proudly flaunted that to the world, nestled in the greens of Coonoor. No one knew the darkness that was inside, the demons that were individually dealt with. But then, isn’t every family like that?
Two years have passed by since this Shakun Batra-directorial, story of a dysfunctional family had come to our lives. However, amongst the various themes that tore apart the family and eventually brought it together, one that truly had the power to transform, was that of homosexuality.
Not many know, that the role played by Fawad Khan, that of family’s elder son, a successful author, was actually offered to many A-listers, who turned it down, eventually leading him to step into the shoes of Rahul. And it was, indeed, a very big step on his part. He was venturing out of his territory, a man who has such a huge female-fan following, and comes from a country with religion as its main running philosophy. He did the role and brought such conviction to it that we were forced to stand up and applaud, his courage, and the beauty with which his character was carved.
Since times immemorial, all our memories of gay characters on screen have been that of carelessly effeminate and unimportant roles, which are just there to add a comic element. The stereotype has been high to an extent that often the champions of the same channelise it and promote it, for it is wrapped in the shiny paper of presentation. The biggest example of this was ‘Dostana’, which was an amazing story of friendship, still used homosexuality as humour, as its backdrop. Ironically, it came from the same production house, though nearly eight years before that.
But ‘Kapoor & Sons’ begged to differ here. The character here was real, someone who was hiding himself, for the society, his family. There was surreality to the theme of homosexuality here, which had the power to jar us inside out; and that, it did.
Two scenes from the movie specifically hit me. First one is when Sunita (Ratna Patak Shah) finds out that her ideal elder son, whom she adores and is proud of, is not straight. The aftereffects of the same jolt you, because the reaction is just what an Indian mother gives, in any situation that is beyond her control; uncontrollable anger at the offspring, and then uncontrollable guilt, of blaming herself and her upbringing. The scene is filmed so beautifully, that your eyes sting. The way Fawad’s facade falls and his fear is marked across his face, which is then replaced by the anger of hiding himself for all those years, and mother’s dilemma and hurt, it all comes out in a naked and real manner.
Another sequence is when Rahul (Fawad Khan) comes back home after the showdown with his mother and the death of his father totally uproots whatever sanity his family possessed. He sits with his mother, with whom his last encounter was one of his coming out, and she asks, hesitatingly, about his partner. A subtle way of expressing acceptance, the way they hold hands, without saying anything, it stays with you.
It may not be one masterpiece, but ‘Kapoor & Sons’ will forever remain a favourite for finally breaking the mainstream stereotype of a gay man, in Bollywood. And for that, no matter how many bans, I will forever be waiting for Fawad Khan to come back, and give us more performances; with dare and conviction.
An ode to Sridevi, the queen who inspired the queers long before it became mainstream
“I am a kid from the 90s but still can’t forget those days when, me-myself was not out and proud about my preferences. And inside my own sweet world would dance in front of the mirror on many songs, but majorly on ‘Hawa Hawai’ and ‘Main Teri Dushman, Dushman Tu Mera’. These songs were just not tunes for me, it made me feel exactly what I was; a QUEERby birth”.
The news of the legendary diva Sridevi being no more with us is still hard to believe, as she was part of my and every queer’s childhood memories. While in the late 90s my bunch of friends would idolise a star from the West as their gay icon, me being a full-fledged Bollywood fanatic was in love with Sridevi and she was a diva I used to worship (and will forever). Her golden costume and perfectly done makeup in ‘Hawa Hawai’ made me feel, “Yes! There is someone like me out there who loves bling and all things loud.” Her feather headgear in one of the songs from ‘Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja’, touched my drag Queen‘s soul. One of the lines from her song ‘Hawa Hawai’ which is ‘Soorat Hi Maine Aisi Paayi’ transported me into a world where I thought that there is someone narcissist just like me. Sridevi’s charm was on my mind and the feminine side in me just wanted to be a replica of her.
The gone actress has not only given a lot to the Indian cinema, but her sass and talent of naturally moulding herself into any character gave her an upper hand in whatever she used to do. When many gay men were struggling and were confused about their sexual orientation they found a connection to their on-going pain in Sridevi’s roles. Whether it was Sridevi as a meek Anju and ferocious Manju fighting for everything wrong in ‘ChaalBaaz’ (1989), Pooja’s mutiny against the everlasting societal conditions in ‘Lamhe’ (1991), Seema’s confidence-filled and fearless dance in the ‘Mr. India’ (1987) song ‘Hawa Hawaai’ or her role of a naagin (snake) coming out to the world about her dual identity in ‘Nagina’ (1986), Sri’s roles had a deep connection and were etched in every GAY man’s mind.
And how can one miss ‘Kate Nahin Kat Te’ song of Sridevi from ‘Mr. India’, where she owned the song and made every gay guy’s dream to dance on it once with his man. This particular song was wild, seductive and equal parts bold. Sridevi draped in a sky-blue coloured saree with a matching bindi and of course adding fuel to the fire was her dancing moves. Even at the end of the song, a fully wet in rainwater, Sridevi stretching herself on a pile of hay – ‘Tumne jo li angdayi hai’ – where the diva nibbles on straws with a drenched fire in her eyes, leaving Mr. Kapoor to chivalrously lie on a distant haystack.
While mostly when the film fraternity was in a zone where feminine men were used as a tool to add fun elements on the silver screen, Sridevi was a ray of hope for the LGBTQ community. She was like a powerful symbol for the QUEERS. Her role resonated each and every gays struggle, and also echoed their dysphoria into her characters. And with her, all the queer children surpassed the narrow-minded stereotypes which they were labelled with. Lastly, she might be gone, but the colourful rainbow universe she opened for all the fellow LGBTQ people remains there intact..
Hail the QUEEN! RIP Sridevi.