Juice review: Neeraj Ghaywan puts everyday misogyny in sharp focus. Watch video
Neeraj Ghaywan’s Juice review: Women do not have to necessarily absolve themselves of traditional duties to feel equal, all they need is to feel and act as equals in both responsibilities and privileges.tv Updated: Nov 26, 2017 15:15 IST
Every time you play Neraj Ghyaywan’s latest , Juice on YouTube, Swara Bhaskar’s ad for Iodex plays before you can watch the short film. Swara is a lower middle class housewife who wants to balance her kitchen duties while earning money through a dance class. The reason? She wants to share the burden of the home loan, because she also shares the house with her husband. Exactly the point Ghaywan tries to draw in his film - women do not have to necessarily absolve themselves of traditional duties to feel equal, all they need is to feel and act as equals in both responsibilities and privileges.
After impressing critics and audiences alike with his National award-winning feature film Masaan and the transgender empowerment advertisement video, filmmaker Neeraj Ghaywan is back with yet another hard-hitting piece of work. His short film, Juice, was released online recently and is getting well-deserved appreciation from all quarters. The video has garnered 2.8 lakh views in three days.
Neeraj creates the perfect stage for traditional misogyny almost in-built in our blood.
The short film opens in a living room where four men are talking about the perils of having a female boss. Mr Singh (Manish Choudhary) is the host and while he sits chatting with his friends, his wife Manju is clearing up the table. If you are a middle-class Indian, you already know why there are no women in the room. They are all gathered in the kitchen, helping out their hostess or just talking.
They, on their part, are discussing how a pregnant woman among them will have to give up her job now that the baby is due to arrive. As men continue to diss Hillary Clinton, discuss Donald Trump and call out to women to take the kids away so that they can chat in peace, women are caught up with more mundane stuff in unbearable heat -- preparing yummy snacks and dinner for everyone. Not an iota of the aloofness you’d expect from a “modern household” guest - each woman is carelessly using the dupatta or pallu to wipe the sweat off her forehead as she makes the dough or fries the veggies.
Shift to the kids’ room and we realise how deep our patriarchy is - there is one girl among four boys and she wants to play video game. Her brother, however, tells her, “Video game mera hai.” It doesn’t “belong” to the girl.
It is only towards the end that Manju bursts - no dialogues or tantrums, of course. After struggling with a table fan while trying to fix the heat in kitchen for her guests and trying her best to get the husband to fix it, Manju pours herself a glass of orange juice, drags a chair right in front of the air cooler in the drawing room and enjoys the break even as the men, including her husband, stare at her with stunned expressions on their faces.
Interestingly, Manju’s “rebellion” does not happen just as a reaction to what she faces. She is perturbed that the women gathered in the kitchen are brainwashing a young woman to become a mom, not because she wants to but because that’s how you “save” your marriage after the “spark” is gone. She is disturbed to see a young girl being asked to serve her brothers who are busy with their video game.
The understated tone and demeanour of the entire film is perhaps the best part - rebellion alone does not always work - confidence and realisation are all you need to grab the much-deserved equality. Manju does not need a glass of alcohol for her moment of entitlement, just sitting carelessly yet confidently in front of the air cooler is statement enough.
But then, understated is Neeraj’s style of sending across strong and hard-hitting messages.
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First Published: Nov 26, 2017 15:13 IST