How Sakshi Malik’s win challenged Anushka Sharma aka Aarfa in ‘Sultan’

Sakshi Malik won a bronze, and left a golden print across the hearts of countrymen. We were not yet over the exhilaration and P.V.Sindhu assured a Silver medal as she now aims for Gold, by sashaying into the finals of badminton. These are two women of substance, who, despite all odds, made it to the Olympics, did not back down, and won laurels for the country, for themselves, and for a million women across the nation, who dream of making it big, despite patriarchy looming over their heads, day and night, threatening to crush their dreams.

Amongst all the laurels that came pouring in, one tweet caught our attention. Take a look.

This particular tweet, by comic artist Sorabh Pant, got us thinking. Just sometime back, Salman Khan’s ‘Sultan’ released into the cinema halls, to a thunderous response from movie goers, with the viewers loving Bhai’s performance and shedding tears over the rise of a seemingly failed wrestling champion, from ashes. But, there was one more wrestler in that movie, and that was Aarfa, Sultan’s wife and the reason he took up the sport. They were the star couple who was making the nation proud by winning medals, but it was Aarfa’s dream, right from her childhood, a dream which had been instilled by her father, who considered his daughter not dainty, but tough enough to master a sport like wrestling.

After a long time, we were refreshed to see that the actress was not a damsel in distress, but herself can Kick an ass or two, when in trouble. Aarfa’s character was tough, yet soft enough to fall in love, and focused enough to know that her target was winning an Olympic medal for her father, for her country. But the movie, and our expectations were cut short brutally, when Aarfa finds out that she is pregnant, and immediately lets go of her Olympic dream. What even left us dumbstruck was her dreamy expression when she said she wanted Sultan to live her dream.

Later, Anushka Sharma stated that the freedom to choose between career and family lies entirely with the woman and that is what Aarfa did. Indeed, and we completely respect that the freedom of choice lies with the woman, but, we also feel that a movie like ‘Sultan’ had a lot of potential to make a difference in the life of a woman who wants to choose her passion in sports, over family. Had that been done, maybe Aarfa would have gone on to win the Olympic medal that she always dreamt of doing.

We agree that the freedom to choose should lie with the woman, then why are we afraid to show that her choice could have been the opposite one? Why couldn’t the movie show that Aarfa chose her lifelong dream over her child? Or maybe, they could have chosen protection and this choice would not have arisen at all, giving the lady a fair chance of winning. The point being, that for the first time in many years, one Bollywood movie had the chance to showcase the choice of a woman in a revolutionary way, but they fell prey to yet another set of cliché, leading to a blockbuster of masses, but a failure in woman empowerment.

With all due respect, we did like the movie, and the performances of Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma, but we do think that the movie could have been one of a kind, had Aarfa not been in such a dilemma. She could have created history on-screen, and somewhere in a remote village, another Sakshi Malik would have gotten the courage to fight for, and pursue her dream of winning the Olympic medal.