Pink is a 2016 Bollywood film that challenges the attitudes of a male dominated society. The film is a courtroom drama about three women who are victims of unwelcome sexual advances. It is considered an important drama in India where sexual violence against women has constantly hit the headlines.
The star of the film is Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan. VOA News reports that the star stated, “I think Pink is not a film, it has become a movement.”
Bollywood films have come under fire in recent years for the way they depict the treatment of women by men. The BBC states in a report on the film that in many “Bollywood movies the hero will often pursue the heroine with a vengeance. He will stare at her, wolf whistle and stalk her relentlessly.” One critic was quoted as saying that the Bollywood Stalker had evolved from ‘nominal villain to an outright hero’.
In Pink, the violence against the three women is very clear yet the film shows how easy it can be for men to try and cover up what they did. The boys who assault the girls are all from influential positions and try to use this to their advantage. In their review of the film the Indian Express commended the film for dealing with issues that women across the world can relate to. The reviewer comments on how it took Bollywood so long to make a film where ‘no means no’. The reviewer praises the film for having the courage to tackle a difficult subject.
Women’s portrayal in media has always been a point of discussion. In many cases, they are presented merely as a character who needs to be rescued or as a love interest for the main male character. However, in the past decades, there has been a shift across all entertainment platforms to present a stronger woman. One area that has been very successful in changing attitudes is the gaming industry. The Guardian wrote a list of strong female characters in video games who are not just judged on their looks or appearance but as fully developed characters. Included in the list were heroines from action games to horror games (where the woman is typically the victim). What the list shows is that leading female characters are a strong pull for audiences. In the online gaming industry, this can also be seen with gaming platforms such as Pocket fruity using the image of Cleopatra to front their games. Cleopatra is considered a woman before her time and that the gaming platform is using her in a typically male dominated sector showing how attitudes are changing.
The power of the film Pink is that it challenges what is considered a social norm and turns it into a powerful piece of drama. The film makes for uncomfortable viewing and wants the audience to challenge their own perceptions on the issue of sexual assault and unwanted harassment. There is hope that this film could be a turning point for Bollywood productions and India as a country.