So I’ve been thinking. Why doesn’t Veronica (Deepika Padukone) from Cocktail get the guy in the end? Did that have something to do with Veronica being bold, brash, modern and very independent and Meera being more timid, mild and traditional? Well, to those who don’t want to read into it so much, and just go with the obvious – maybe it was just that Gautam (Saif Ali Khan) was genuinely in love with Meera, not Veronica. Well, that’s what I thought too – until I got around to thinking about other two-women-one-man movies.
Let’s take DIl Toh Pagal Hai. We have Nisha (Karishma Kapoor), who is very forward, energetic, modern, and drinks, and we have Pooja (Madhuri Dixit), who is a little more withdrawn but friendly nevertheless and very traditional. Nisha wears jeans and tight tops, and skirts (I don’t think she ever wears any salwaars or such) while Pooja wears mostly salwaars, sarees and ghagras than jeans and tops. Who does Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) fall for in the end? Pooja of course.
It’s almost like a hidden pattern I hadn’t noticed before. Take Jab Tak Hai Jaan. God-fearing, rather sheltered, mature Meera (Katrina Kaif) and the extremely loud, dominating, devil-may-care Akira (Anushka Sharma). Who does the guy fall for? Meera.
And let’s not just make this Bollywood centeric. In the Tamil suspense thriller Ko, we have two different female characters – Saro (Piaa Bajpal) is again, very loud, wears mostly jeans and tees, is open with her feelings and frank while Renuka (Karthika Nair) is more traditional in her clothing most of the time and is more mature. No surprises as to whom the guy falls for. Renuka.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hain is pretty much the biggest example of this. Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) falls for Tina, the more held-together, mature, “womanly” one, and not Anjali, his tom-boyish, loud, effervescent best friend. You may argue, saying that the main focus of the movie was Rahul and Anjali’s love story – but you see, that’s the very thing that amuses me. Rahul only realizes his love for Anjali years later, when she has transformed into well, a long-haired, saree-wearing, bhajan-singing, woman of his dreams.
It’s funny how stereotypes creep into our everyday lives (especially in a country like ours), and in ways we don’t even realize. I wonder what such a pattern indicates. The man always falls for the traditional woman, the “womanly” woman, the woman who is definitely not loud and forward about her feelings. These are the chosen women. The “good girls”. Not Veronica or Nisha or Saro or the earlier version of Anjali. The bad girls?
I’m sorry, but I don’t think having short hair, or being loud or frank or modern or any of those qualities make a woman less womanly or less attractive. I don’t think women should change who they are, and suppress a more vibrant and colourful side of themselves just to make themselves more attractive to a man (or to another woman, whichever way you swing). Be loud, be enthusiastic, rock that short hair – it doesn’t make you less of a woman. Having said that, if you’re genuinely soft-spoken, have long hair, and traditional – that’s great too! I think women and men everywhere should embrace whoever they are, and not try and squeeze themselves into stereotypical shapes.