None of the characters or situations depicted in this film are imaginary, really speaking. They are echoes of what is happening all around us in our so-called civilized society. At best, these voices- cries and shrieks, pleas and whispers- have been amplified for deaf people to take note. After all the greatness of a civilization can only be measured by the status of its women.
this is the screen at the start of rajkumar santoshi’s lajja.
nota bene: it doesn’t say that the typical “names of characters are fictional and imaginary…”
lajja showcases the plight of women in india. the film satirizes the honor with which women are placed in society and the restrictions on them. The fact that the four women’s names (maithali, janaki, ramdulhari, and vaidehi) are all versions of sita, the ideal Hindu woman’s name, is a message in itself.
although lajja recounts the story of four women, with a top star cast in hindi cinema – rekha, madhuri dixit, manisha koirala, mahima chaudhry, jackie shroff, anil kapoor, samir soni, ajay devgn, urmila matondkar & sonali bendre – it was a flop at the box office in india. however, it was a commercial success outside india.
it even copped some awards for great female performances.
when you put into perspective a case like the recent gang-rape in delhi of a 23 yr old in a bus, you understand why lajja didn’t do well eleven years ago.
according to the indiatimes the anger against the delhi gang rape has caused hundreds of women protesters to take to the streets in the last two days to demand stringent punishment for the rapists and a safer environment for women…a lawyer jainaben pawar said: “women are no longer ready to take this kind of treatment meted out by a system that connives with the accused.”
the gang rape is also an example of what can happen when women try to say ‘no’ or shriek, or shout ‘stop’ to a come-on in a bus. a recent tweet from newslaundry “after sonia gandhi’s angry letter, home minister meets cops. he didn’t know without madam telling him?” says volumes about indian politics.
women are silenced by ministers [not doing anything or enough to quell such acts] and courts of law etc.
the victim’s father tweeted on 12/23/12 that his daughter is a fighter. she has overcome many obstacles be it poverty or in her studies and she will keep fighting / bravo.
but what if she wasnt a fighter? would this be just another rape case forgotten in the annals of patriarchal court history?
what is the fate of the women who live to speak up? recent crimes on malala, gul meena, nirbhaya [as the delhi rape victim has been symbolically called] show their fates are only sealed with more silence.
do more women have to suffer rape and other shaming and shameful acts before they are heard or before something is done to stop such heinous crimes against women?
it is hard to imagine that in the world’s largest democracy a woman cannot be all she wants to for fear of… man!
[see “why rapes don’t stop” at http://www.asianage.com/columnists/rape-death-349%5D