Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Women of Bollywood

Has anybody seen 'Dil To Pagal Hai'? 
Relax, thats a rhetorical question. OF COURSE, everyone has.
I saw the movie almost 14 years ago and yet, I clearly remember this dialogue:
Raj (played by Shahrukh Khan) is dreaming about his perfect muse,
"Uska naam hai...XYZ.." (Her name is..XYZ)
One of his dance troupe asks, "Lekin yeh XYZ karti kya hai?"(What does this girl do?)
"Sapne dekhti hai." (She dreams)

I remember being very annoyed. Is that it? She dreams?Thats, like, her job? And dances on verdant lawns wearing spotless chiffon dresses?

Bollywood has never been known for its deep characters; but its biggest crime is stereotyping women. It is very rare that any of the leading female characters actually has a job or a career, the maximum that they can do designer. 

Lately there has been a spate of movies where the lead female character is; perky, bubbly, empty-headed, quite hot and yet, pure. Classic examples; Kira(played by Priyanka Chopra) in 'Anjaana Anjaani', 'Ayesha' (played by Sonam Kapoor) in Ayesha, Tanu in 'Tanu Weds Manu', Geet in 'Jab We Met'...

To review one movie: I actually started off liking Anjaana Anjaani, I gave full marks to the director to actually put in a character like Kira who was an alcoholic, suicidal, and co-dependent. But as the movie progressed, Kira became more and more annoying. All her problems in life were due to the oldest, most clich├ęd situation; being dumped by her fiance.  And Akaash(played by Ranbir Kapoor) only needed to meet a girl who was bubbly (yet depressed and needed his shoulder to cry on), did things on the spur of the moment(yaaay, lets go ice-skating in winter), and yet, YET had an air of mystery (the reason for her depression was not revealed for an excruciatingly LONG time). So it turns out that Kira, who was irresponsible, immature, untidy, disorganised and of dubious job-history, was still attractive to Akaash. Akaash on the other hand, is well-educated, has the balls to start his own business, has a bunch of friends who genuinely care for him. And yet...somehow, Kira and Akaash end up together. What's the message out here?

Bollywood shapes a lot of perceptions out there, and is this really the impression we want to make? Of women being decorative dolls? Most the women I know are educated, with good careers, and yet thoughtful, put-together, well-read, and interesting. If movies reflect life, why aren't there more movies which show women to actually have a personality of their own?

Hollywood actually has a term for shallow women whose sole purpose in life is to look pretty, act ridiculous and live on someone else's kindness: the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. As I read the article, I realized that this phenomenon is not restricted to Hollywood. Bollywood has its share of MPDGs too. And its gotta stop, seriously.

(Note: This article/rant has been inspired by this one.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Roti-making for the dummies

I recently have managed to make rotis, so here are my handy hints for all you roti-making amateurs out there.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Another shoe-comic

My love for good shoes is well-known, though I am not exactly Carrie Bradshaw.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Comics I like

These are some of the comics I have been reading recently.

Meh Comics This is a journal comic of a Chinese origin Dutch girl living in Germany and working for Nintendo. I love her sense of humour, and her quirky observations, and most of all, her experiments with cooking! ;-)

Stop Paying Attention Superbly talented comic artist, even has a book out called "French Milk". She publishes like, once a month, but awesome and detailed drawings.

Invade Everything Two best friends, one a comedian, the other an illustrator create these comics. They are a treat to read; ironic, and funny and somewhat poignant.

Stuff No One Told you About I have just started reading this comic. I really like the drawing style and the "stuff" he tells you.

Pigs in Maputo An animal comic, its about a marriage between a pig and a bear. Witty and observant.

Kevin and Kell Written by a husband-wife team this is apparently one of the oldest webcomics. It has over 4000 strips online! Do check it out, its quite cool.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Portraits without faces

So here's the deal, I suck at drawing faces. Ergo, making potraits was never my forte. But I am good at something else, observing the quirks in a person.

I was working with some awesome people on a project, when one of them goes, "hey maybe you can make a drawing of us all together."

So this is the first concept sketch I made,

And everyone thought it was really nice. So I went ahead and made another drawing.

Its still unfinished but I am quite happy with the result. I have managed to create portraits without actually drawing any facial features.