Aging women’s sexuality is normal and Indian films should accept it with dignity
The creation of streaming in India has all the time modified the grammar of movie making and what’s suited on screen. Older women-younger men romance and the exploration of aging women’s sexuality are no longer reduced to and offered as trashy thirst traps. They are given the dignity they deserve. Remember Akshay Kumar, Rekha, and Raveena Tandon starrer 1996 action mystery Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi? Rekha and Kumar’s thirsty track was only meant to titillate moviegoers and upload a bit of sauce and steam to the movie. Even by searching on the movie’s posters, you may gauge its intention—it didn’t need you to take Kumar and Rekha’s pairing significantly or assume that something could emerge as of it. But Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi is just too dated. Let’s study Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, which launched six years ago. It was a big part of the marketing strategy of Dharma Productions, which blew it out of proportion simply to get people talking. Bachchan and Kapoor shot for magazine covers, all attractive and smoldering, stoking people’s interest. But even before the Karan Johar movie was launched, it changed into amply clean that Anushka Sharma, and not Bachchan, is the woman lead, the woman our hero is hopelessly in love with in Indian films.
Older women-younger men romances have continually suffered stigma in Hindi films. The gaze with which filmmakers chose to look at them has nearly continually been non-serious, if not out rightly flippant or derogatory. They noticed them as a ploy, a side to add a bit of oomph and spice to their otherwise bland serving. They loved to milk it however also did not pass moral judgment and tell you by the manner they cooked it on screen. Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil are a simply popular examples.
The waters run deep. Fortunately, the advent of streaming in India has forever modified the grammar of moviemaking and what’s acceptable on screen. In the closing seven years, the manner we devour cinema has converted irrevocably, forcing filmmakers to rethink, discard jaded thoughts of morality, and recalibrate according to current sensibilities and syntax. Now older women-younger men romance and the exploration of aging women’s sexuality are no longer taboo—reduced to and offered as trashy thirst traps. They are given the dignity they deserve, treated as another living, breathing love story, and made with a whole lot of thought, heart, and care.
The sexuality of older women, which was painfully invisible on the screen thus far, is finding area and being portrayed in all its complexity with heart-warming sensitivity. The latest examples are many and morale-boosting. Alankrita Srivastava’s movies Lipstick Under My Burkha and Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare, My Beautiful Wrinkles—a great brief headlined through Sarika from Amazon Prime Video’s latest anthology series Modern Love Mumbai, Konkona Sen Sharma’s directorial debut A Death in the Gunj, Mira Nair’s A Suitable Boy, and now Jasmeet K Reen’s Darlings. It’s now no longer a coincidence that all those films and series were made through women. Because no man, regardless of how gifted, can never translate on display screen they lived enjoyment of being a women’s sexuality. The poignancy. The hunger. The fire. The ache. The judgment. The stigma. The unfairness of it all. It takes a woman to inform our stories in the manner they want to be told.
If you examine it, the song of Shutu (a beautiful, extraordinary Vikrant Massey) and Mimi (Kalki Koechlin) in A Death in the Gunj or Dolly (Konkona Sen Sharma) and Osman (Amol Parashar) in Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare, or Shamsunissa (Shefali Shah) and Zulfi (Roshan Mathew) in Darlings aren’t relevant to their movies. But cast off them and those films will not be the same. You may also like Nair’s A Suitable Boy or may also find it too sprawling, however, there’s no denying that the subliminal love tale of courtesan Saeeda Bai (a bubbling Tabu) and Maan Kapoor (Ishaan Khatter) eclipses everything else in the excellent length drama. Similarly, Lipstick Under My Burkha could have lost its throbbing heart if Rosy Buaji’s (Ratna Pathak Shah) tale were left out. Desire—sexual or otherwise—doesn’t disappear in women with age; its handiest matures.