Vidya Balan once exclaimed in an interview, “What amazed me about Srijit Mukherjee was the amount of planning and preparation that went into the shoot, which is why we could finish in 32 days”. Srijit Mukherjee, in another interview, famously stated, “I have a lot of stories to tell and there is little time in hand”.
You know what would’ve been a better idea? If only Srijit Mukherjee had spent some more time (we repeat: time) developing his half-baked ideas into something more substantial, especially when he decided to undertake some major responsibility of creating a woman-centric film that’s supposed to be a mirror to the society (and is touted to be an eye-opener of sorts), would he have really succeeded in his endeavour.
Because contrary to what Vidya Balan’s interview stated, Begum Jaan was a really shallow approach to feminism and female empowerment. Srijit, in the opening credits, raised our expectations by dedicating his creation to great feminist writers such as Ismat Chughtai and Saadat Hasan Manto. But within the first scene itself, we realized that his concept of feminism and empowerment was flawed and he definitely needed to delve deep into the topic (live with the script and characters in his head for the longest time ever) before he even began filming.
But having said that, we aren’t denying the fact that there have been a lot of directors who’ve worked on women-centric themes and whose films have managed to sensitize the audience about gender equality. But you can’t say the same about Begum Jaan and a few other films. Here’s a list of some films, like Begum Jaan, that got feminism all wrong.
The problem with most filmmakers is that when they want to depict strong women, all they come up with is a woman who is a taekwondo queen, who can beat up the bad guys and become saviours for the weak. A very flawed understanding of feminism.
The director of Naam Shabana was heavily inspired by the phrase: hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Because Naam Shabana was all about a woman seeking revenge for the murder of the man she loved.
Universally applauded, Parched was directed by Leena Yadav and was touted as one of the most promising films of 2016. Even though it did well and garnered a whole lot of critical acclaim, the basic flaw of the film lay in the superficiality of its treatment. There were moments when the actors (and probably the director too) couldn’t really fit into their characters and there was some major lack of realism.
Touted as a feminist film which dealt with the sensitive issue of child molestation, the entire film had Vidya Balan in a state of coma and if not, then her role comprised lots of whining and shrieking. Unfortunately, the social message that the makers wished to convey was lost with all the unnecessary melodrama.