Monday, 24 March 2014

Coming Of Age, Indian Style

I liked Queen. In fact as I think about it again and again, I loved Queen. For me, it is one of the best ‘coming of age’ movies Bollywood has produced in a long time.

Rani could have been a neighbour or a classmate – the many girls I have known for whom, there has never been a concept of ‘adolescence’ as we know it. Girls from families which adorn themselves in modern garbs but with many feudal hues. Such is their upbringing that they are perfectly comfortable passing through their entire teenage years without ever rebelling against parental authority or giving into the temptation of forming ‘deep connections’ with members of the opposite gender. For them, marriage is THE rite of passage.
For some of us fortunate few, ‘marriage as a rite of passage’ is an alien concept but for the majority of middle class Indians, it is THE defining moment.The smell of marigold, the sound of shehnai and chanting of Shlokas marks their ‘coming of age’.  Marriage is the license to explore their own minds and bodies and if really lucky, stand up for their own rights and voice their opinion.   
Cinema has often been criticized for being a corrupting influence on society. For the sake of the many Ranis in India, I hope it is true. I hope every girl watching this movie will begin to understand that marriage is not the be all and end all of life. I hope they will see what it is to find a backbone, forge true friendships, be independent, enjoy freedom and above all have the confidence to walk away from all the trappings of a ‘happy life’ with a smile. 

Here's to many more films which celebrate liberation!

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