Pink (2016) – Hindi film
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Pink (2016) is a colour that we automatically and subconsciously associate with females. This film takes on the boundaries of women’s’ rights in India and the assumptions made of females around the world. Can we trust the society, and the judicial system that we surround ourselves with?
This film’s compelling narrative forces you to think and rethink about the supposed ‘evolved’ society that we live in. While fundamentally equality is enforced, enacting equality is still just in writing and has not yet come to life. Apart, from narrating a story that tells a lot more than it says, this one also includes driven written script and meticulously-casted characters. Being, a woman, this film has made me question the idea of ‘she put this on herself’ attitude. Amitabh Bachchan’s role as a retired lawyer coming back to help clear three questionable girls, has us in awe as this is the reality of the women in India portrayed. His character makes a statement in front of the court and says “We shouldn’t protect girls from boys. We should be protecting boys from themselves.”
Three middle class independent girls, Minal, Falak and Andrea are on a normal fun night out. After a rock concert, they accept an invitation to dinner at a resort in Surajkund from boys, who have influential political connections supporting them. Regrettably, their evening becomes a sequence of ugly events after a couple of drinks. Andrea finds herself being touched inappropriately by Dumpy while Rajveer forces himself onto Minal, despite her clearly saying “No” to his advances. In self-defence she picks up a bottle and smashes it on his eye, leaving him bleeding. The girls flee the resort hoping for the unlikely probability of the night just fading away. However, they are now living in hell by the boys, they knew little about, who are intimidating and use the power they have to malign the girls in every way possible. The ultimate blow comes when Rajveer uses his powerful connections to file a false FIR against the girls labelling them prostitutes.
While being a Hindi film, this cannot be classed as a Bollywood. While there are songs used as background music in Pink, there are no breakouts of a dance routine. Which looking at the narrative and plot, really wouldn’t be acceptable due to the realism and importance of message being conveyed throughout the film. Rather than being the typical love story of the Bollywood genre, the focus that director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury leans towards is based around the themes of drama, crime, judicial system and society. The film shows themes which are real, realistic to an audience of 15 and above, as states on the BBFC website. As the film revolves around societies’ ideologies of flawless womanhood, pretence, conceit, and a sense of male pre-eminence. Chowdhury makes the themes so evident and important throughout the film because it constructs the disturbing, intriguing, repulsive and intricate plot. The realism of this film creates the understanding between the audience and the characters. Pink is a film that talks about real issues that India has to face daily, which not only makes them, themselves question their society but, is also empowers and supports women needing and wanting to have a voice which criminally, is suppressed at times. This film has a moral and lesson so powerful with the blurred line that separates the realism with this fictional narrative.
Although making his Hindi film debut, director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, who mastered Bengali films like Anuranan and Antaheen, manages the proceedings here efficiently and cinematically. To what immense amount creative producer Shoojit Sircar lent to the project is only too obvious. Carefully positioned momentary distractions like Sehgal’s sudden preoccupation with a cockroach in the courtroom or his occasional jibes or even the side track about his ailing wife, suitably serve as a breather from the intense scenes. From the soundtrack, Pakistani singer Qurat-Ul-Ain Balouch’s "Kaari Kaari" establishes the tone and conveys well the cultural disease that the lead characters are plagued by.
Pink interrogates society’s mindset on how we think about women and their morals which get questioned repeatedly, due to their social, personal and professional lives. Although it does also tell us as the audience, that no matter what line of work a woman is in - a sex-worker, wife or slave - if she says “no” then no man has the right to force himself upon her. Or outrage her modesty. Through this film we realise that a man seems to make advances thinking that the woman has given silence consent through the rule book Bachchan’s character lays out for us: 1. Don’t stay out late. 2. Don’t drink with boys. 3. Don’t smile or touch boys when talking to them, and finally 4. Don’t be independent.
The familiarity of the girls’ experience within the film is what the most disturbing. The film is most likely to impact the female audience, as they would be well aware that this could as easily be their story, were they unlucky enough to cross paths with a man with influential corrupted power and hellbent on ruining their reputations for rejecting his advances. When every part of a society is set up to protect entitled men and vilify women, what hope is there for the future? Pink forces the audience to ask these uncomfortable questions making this a big cinematic victory.
Aladdin (1992) is a film of wonders. To see it is to be either the smallest child, open-mouthed at the screen's sense of magic, or as the most knowing adult, eager to laugh at some surprisingly sly humour. To achieve either would be something, to manage them both in the same film is next to amazing and makes this film an all-rounder.
Based on the classic tale from the Eastern collection known as the Arabian Nights, Aladdin is an animated musical from the Disney empire. But not to submerge and just repeat the pattern of the hugely successful Beauty and the Beast in 1991, Aladdin expands both the visual boundaries of mainstream animation with the colourful sets and different locations, made to create the world that Aladdin lives in, and the parallel world that Princess Jasmine knows, and also its possibilities for extravagant humour. And it gives Robin Williams, who plays the genie, what may have been the role of a lifetime and the credit that actors desire.
Williams, the voice as well as the inspiration, for the Genie that comes out of a very old lamp with some very big surprises, had more than a decade's worth of film acting experience and two Academy Award nominations to his credit before this animation. But he never had a role that had showcased his genius. Which is what is displayed to the audience, for dizzying improvisational humour, and animation has never had a human partner who pushed it to its comic limits. Watching the sensibility and technology unite, is the wholesome kind of joy, impossible to either describe or forget, simply to be enjoyed and admired.
But before the Genie can make his appearance, the fairy-tale (written by producers/directors Ron Clement, John Musker, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio) must be unfolded. The desert setting is the kingdom of Agrabah, ruled by a benign Sultan (Douglas Seale) with a sheltered yet unusually headstrong daughter named Jasmine (Linda Larkin). The law says she must marry a prince, but Jasmine, consoled by Rajah; her pet tiger who truly protects her, is determined to marry for love and have a life of her own.
Also weighed down with secret plans is Jafar (Jonathan Freeman), the Sultan's grand vizier (high official). By day the model of creepy submissiveness, by night, accompanied by his hilariously obnoxious parrot Iago (played by comedian, Gilbert Gottfried), he devises dark schemes to gain control of the kingdom for himself.
One of Jafar's schemes uses black magic to awaken the monstrous lion who guards the Cave of Wonders, filled with all manner of glittering worldly treasure and one rather battered lamp. But not any ‘Tom, Dick or Harry’ can get into the cave. It must be, "a diamond in the rough" as the lion gravely roars.
Cut to the city, where that very “diamond in the rough” is, Aladdin (Scott Weinger), is occupying himself scrambling for food for himself and his pet monkey Abu (Frank Welker). A street urchin who lives by his wits, which later becomes comedic for the audience to see the Genie and Abu. Aladdin, while using his wits to steal from the market, accidentally bumps into Princess Jasmine whose disguised as an ordinary person, trying to escape and be rid of the fate that awaits at the palace. But before things can get too serious, Jafar interferes, taking Aladdin off into the cave, where fortunately for the audience Jafar doesn’t succeed with his scheme. However, Aladdin has his unexpected meeting with the Genie in the lamp.
A matchless shape-shifting Genie comes in just at the perfect time to save our hero; Aladdin. Accompanied with a stylish haircut and beard, while keeping to the blue which reflects the cool nature that this fancy ‘fairy godmother’ has. The Genie has the audience laughing from his opening line “Oy, 10",000 years will give you such a crick in the neck” and with the ability to instantaneously shift into many different forms, mirrors the imagination of the late Robin Williams' mind could summon up at the time. With Eric Goldberg, the supervising animator in control, and the brilliant lyricist Howard Ashman wrote before he died, the Genie is a flawless partner for both showstopper songs “Friends Like Me” and “Prince Ali”. Ashman, with the help of composer Alan Menken created all the songs for Beauty and the Beast, but for Aladdin half the lyrics were completed by Tim Rice. Even without reading the credits, Ashman's wickedly clever lyrics are easily told from Rice's bland ones, and the comparison makes the void Ashman's death had left in American musical theatre seem even greater.
Probably inevitably for a U-rated film, Aladdin does have its overtly sentimental aspects, particularly in the personality of the title character and his earnest, misguided rush into a romance with Jasmine. Yet the writers and animators, by filling Aladdin with self-mocking and contemporary humour, both visually and verbally, consistently undercut the anti-climaxes that we see.
Aladdin is a film that is for all ages, the humour can be interpreted in different ways. Which keeps this film a perfect one for all ages besides supporting the satiric comedic aspects which parents can enjoy, children are able to enjoy the magical journey Aladdin takes. The news of the ‘real life’ adaptation of Aladdin releasing in 2019 shall be an exciting one, and not to miss to see how the animation after 27 years has been adapted to fit the new audience and generations of this time.