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When Bollywood pauses for a cause

Widow remarriage is a big issue, but will Indian cinema succeed to change the mindset, writes Princy Jain.

india Updated: Dec 13, 2006 18:52 IST

Widow remarriage! Utter these words and don’t be surprised to see few people raising their eyebrows. Cinema is a mirror of the society and this popular medium has made many attempts to highlight the plight of the widows and convey an important message too.

Stalwarts like Raj Kapoor, Yash Chopra, Rituparno Ghosh, Deepa Mehta, Ravi Chopra and Kunal Kohli, all have tried to address this sensitive issue on the big screen.

The latest in this direction is Ravi Chopra’s Baabul, and the film’s success reiterates the fact that cinema is much more than just naach-gana.
Interestingly with the passage of time, the treatment given to the issue has changed.

If in the ’80s, Raj Kapoor showed Rishi Kapoor’s tribulations when he wanted to marry the widow Padmini Kolhapure in Prem Rog, almost a decade later in Yash Chopra’s Mohabbatein, Preeti Jhangiani and Jimmy Shergill had to face the wrath of one and all for the same reason.

More recently Rituparno Ghosh’s Choker Bali, Kunal Kohli’s Hum Tum and Deepa Mehta’s Water also made an attempt to show the widow’s plight and their the issue of their remarriages.

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh agrees, “Widow remarriages are still a taboo. However, Baabul’s script did justice to the message it wanted to convey."

Agrees National Award-winning filmmaker Manmohan Mahapatra whose first Hindi film, Bit and Pieces, has Dia Mirza in a de-glam role as a widow. “Though there is a widow in the film but we haven’t taken it further. Ours is one of the most progressive cinemas, especially the portrayal of the women has changed over the years,” says Mahapatra. Is Bollywood gearing up to take up such social issues or it is just too filmy to be believed.

Take 5 - When Bollywood pauses for a cause

1 My brother Nikhil: Onir’s debut film focused on critical issues — AIDS and homosexuality.
2 Filhaal: Meghna Gulzar’s film starring Tabu and Sushmita Sen brought forth the issue of surrogate motherhood.
3 Earth: Deepa Mehta’s film about a lesbian couple.
4 Chandni Bar: Madhur Bhandarakar’s film on bar dancers.
5Astitva: A bold attempt to bring forth the issues of fidelity in a marriage.

First Published: Dec 13, 2006 20:00 IST