Feminist analyzes on Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (Indian Movie)
“Women Characters trapped in secondary roles as some body’s wives, somebody’s daughters or some body’s love interest but never their own selves. i.e never as woman individuals in their own right” ( Mathur, 66). The above quote suggests the position of women in the Indian cinema. The significance of the Indian Cinema Industry is to show that the women need to have support from men. At the same time, Bindu Nair said, “The stories played out on the screen are the men’s- their conflict, their dreams, their aspirations, their tragedies, their revenge, their desires and their heroism” (Nair, 52). Women need a space in the Indian cinema in order to prove men’s superior and the extra ordinary power such as, heroism and fighting with a large amount of people.
In this paper, I would critically explore the ways that woman, gender and sexuality are represented in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ). DDLJ is a Hindi film which was released on 20th October 1995, with famous actors such as, Shahrukh Khan, Kajol, Anupam Kher and Amrish Puri. The movie location starts from London and it ends up in India. Over all, this movie tells us how women’s lives dominated under men’s power.
According to my own perspective, I would say that throughout the movie Patriarchal society has been explored. As Vrinda Mathur stated that, “The Indian cinema’s failure to emphasize the significance of woman participation in the general scheme of human advancement and progress is its singularly weak point” (Mathur, 68). Her statements strongly emphasize that though women become part of the movie, their participations do not reach the audience as men do. For example, Baldev is a traditional Punjab patriarch man who left India and went to London. He is the father of the Heroine who was called as Simeran. He expects his wife and his daughters to live the way that he thinks. When Baldev goes out of the home Simeran and her sister plays western music, and Lajjo, Baldev’s wife too dances for the music in the kitchen. When Baldev returns home, they switch the music to traditional and pretend like reading books. It framed that house members should react according to man’s desire and decisions. Even women at home do not have the rights to listen music they live a secret life in order to full fill their desires.
Moreover, Vrinda Mathur said, “She learns to be a good daughter, a good wife, a good mother, a good love interest, but never a good individual at peace with herself, her world of her interest” (Mathur, 69). Above quote goes with situation when Baldev does not care about Kajol’s wish or dream about her marriage life. Without Kajol’s word, Baldev promises to give the hand of his daughter to the son of an old friend in Punjab, India. This issue portrays that women do not have the equal rights to take important decisions as man. When Simeran reads the letter from Baldev’s friend about her marriage she got upset. Mean while Baldev was proud of himself because Baldev thought that Simeran was shy to talk about the marriage. Baldev himself wrongly recognizes and feels himself proud, that Simeran was shy and his daughter has learned about the culture of India. The same point illustrate in the by Anupama “ Baldev is ecstatic because he thinks she is feeling shy- a sure sign that he has brought her up well” ( Anupama,81). I wonder that Simeran framed as a modern girl with courage and brave, but when she comes in front of her father she fails to keep her personalities.
In addition, in the whole movie women were portrayed as properties. When Simeran tells to Raj to take her away from the village, Raj replied, “I haven’t come here to elope with you or to steal you. I might be born in England but I am Hindustani. I’ve come here to make you my bride. I’ll take you from here only when your Bauji given me your hand in marriage” (DDLJ, 76). It means that Raj wants to marry Simeran when her father approved both of them to marry which implies that, Raj treated Simeran as a property and he need it to be transfer to him legally. In the view of feminist we can appreciate Simran’s courage to run with Raj, but it was ruined by Raj’s concept of legal exchange of property. As Vrinda Mathur pointed, that “The vitalizing power of the women characters is always absolutely ignored” (Mathur, 66).
Moreover, though in the beginning the whole movie is full of man power and extreme level of domination on women, but after the intermission Lajio and Simeran also kind of break the traditional rules and overcome from the patriarchal customs. For example, When Lajio came to know that Simeran has fallen in love with Raj, she advised her to forget him, but at last she decided to let Simeran to go with Raj. The mile stone of the movie is the moment that shows Lajio breaks an ideal traditional women role and accepts her daughter’s wish. In this situation lajio as well portrayed as an example of not only proving the courage of women but also stating the power of motherhood. Adding to that situation, Vrinda Mathur said, “ Mother goddess can be interpreted as expressing ideas of power, autonomy and primary in the widest sense of the terms…..she conveys a world view in which the creative power of femininity is central” ( Mathur, 66). At the same time, Simeran also told Raj “take me away from here” (DDLJ, 74), strongly suggests that her courage. She did not act in this way when she was back in London. She took decision by herself in order to live with Raj.
In conclusion, no one can define the reasons for the DDLJ to be popular since 1995. The director of the movie brought up some reality issues in the movie to give a chance for the audience to think about the scene sequences. But in the way of feminist side the movie fails to address the equal rights to women which cannot accept by nowadays world. This movie addresses the difference between modern vs tradition, men vs women, and oppressor vs Oppressed. However, in this movie fail to address the desires and real life of women.
Chopra, Anupama (2002), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, British Film
Jain, Jasbir. and Rai Sudha (2002). Films and feminism: Essays in Indian cinema, Rawat Publications.