“Where the walls are not the boundaries, but the protective power;
Where the ribbon is the strangling weapon of Beauty;
Where the color of her lips doesn’t lure, but scare the Beast away;
Where the nails with all its polka dots, notches and scars the bad flesh and dumps it off in the garbage of sins;
Where the drink isn’t sparkling sensual hues, but is washing the Social mind;
Where the color keeps my fear away; I’d love to bleed PINK.”
‘Pink’ is a girly color, and there is no logical reasoning behind it, except for yet another scholastic, authoritative information by our society; in fact, boys wearing ‘Pink’ is a stigma; it tarnishes their masculinity. The shade which beautifies the roses and marks the flesh as fresh; the one that sweetens the candy floss and bubbles the blood of the sacrificial goat, becomes just another metaphor for effeminate qualities, thanks to our well-versed and extremely intellectual society.
The ambiguity of ideas related to Pink have been well narrated in a scenic version by Shoojit Sircar and Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury. The story is quite simple and predictable; revolves around three working women of current time, sharing a flat on rent, free of personal and social biases, in short, having all the characteristics of the so-called ‘outgoing and adamant’ women rather than independent and individualistic women of society. As a matter of fact, they get into trouble with some rich, influential chauvinistic guys, and hence follows a molestation episode with an elaborate trial session (which is the real part of the plot) of course, of the girls, not the guys.
The girls file a complaint, and in return, they are made to stand on the deck with contradicting charges against them. The idea seems familiar? Yes indeed it is; we have faced such stark, realistic court room sessions with women, in graver situations like Rituparno Ghosh’s Dahan(1997), B.R. Chopra’s Insaaf Ka Tarazu (1980), Tapan Sinha’s Adalat O Ekti Meye(1982), and not to forget the real story of Suzette Jordan, the victim of Park Street incident in 2012. The above mentioned fictions as well as the true incident, draws a verisimilitude of ideas, where the victim herself was asked for the testimony of her character, in the medical examination room, in the police station and finally in the court. Rather, the film showed what its trailer showed, unlike films like Drishyam, which had already revealed the story through its trailer, but had kept something ‘yet to know’, through its plot structure. Besides, the questions asked and raised today are synonymous to those asked 30 years back, so what has changed? But in spite of this being true, Pink (2016) stands out among them, in various aspects-
1. The story is framed in a contemporary society, the characters are relevant, they are real, and have the ability to fight their fears. It is true, we are scared to take a step forward opposite crime; the unjust seems quite demonic.
However, not only the brave girls stand up against their fears, but also an old man, who had lost all hopes for himself and his profession (because of his inappropriate psychological disposition), gets an opportunity to prove his expertise, and he does so proficiently, fighting his fear in the process. Here comes the excellence of Sree Amitabh Bachchan who subtly manages to give his expressions as a willing, yet, weak person. (due to age and disturbed mental health) When the court room session begins in the second half, we expect that Amitabh Bachchan will hit on the prosecution immediately, but unfortunately, the old Mr. Sehgal has the finesse of a lawyer, but lacks the confidence to present his case, due to the long time-gap, and disconnection from practice, he gradually develops and musters himself through the proceedings which is a commendable thing to note.
2. The film bridges the gap of mentalities between the past and the present; it falsifies the notion that people from the past generation have orthodox ideas about social norms which is basically a promotion of patriarchy; in this film, a 74-year old lawyer Deepak Sehgal believes and stands by the three young girls, for truth, justice and righteousness, while the majority of so-called the present learned, enlightened contemporary society, is still in the darkness of rotten assumptions, regarding what a girl should do and what she should not.
3. Director constantly intrigues our senses with contradictions and open-ended situations. The film has been named PINK, which is a creative contradiction to the operative thought process of society, that the color symbolizes weakness, coyness, submission, grace, elegance and anything delicate. From the ironic title, we know that what it is going to show will be completely opposite, and it IS the story of bravery, courage, uprightness and all qualities that mean strong. Minal’s molestation is kept a ‘?’, and I think this has been done on purpose to keep us on our toes, the open-ended nature of this incident has been harped on with the cinematography, as well as through dialogue delivery of barrister Sehgal, who mistakenly calls it ‘raped’ first and then corrects it to ‘molested’, so that we as audience, are unsure of what the fact actually is, whether she is raped or molested? Also the open-ended beginning of the movie, where the actual event of the rock concert night is never clearly shown, until the end, tickles the audiences’ thought process.
4. Unlike the other films, mentioned above, this one shows a positive beginning for the society; justice is finally served; please note, the Pink saree of Dahan, became a weak point for the court proceedings, the Pink rays of sunset in Gopalpur, marked the shameful and humiliating ordeal of an enlightening, but defeated woman in Adalat O ekti Meye, but the Pink bra of Minal made all of us proud as women, it fought back with courage and enthusiasm; it preserved lives, and that is how the film is different, in spite of being same.
Pink is different because it shows fight back. Minal doesn’t succumb to her fate but hits the bottle on the brat, which is a great thing; The instinctive fear to move, the fear to stand up, the fear to push and the fear to hit hard that a woman absorbs within her, when she is being badly touched by a male, has been obliterated in this film. A girl for the first time, doesn’t submit to the patriarchal beliefs, but hits them hard till they bleed badly; the courage to break the bottle is important; when you are being attacked, the natural defence mechanism is important; the consequences will follow; now imagine, if Minal had given up strength in the resort room, and had got raped, would that save her any social humiliation, than she was having now, after being charged of attempt to murder? No. The things would be all the same; the society would taunt her and question her character even then, history proves it; so why not fight and face it! Give the thrashing and then pay for it, rather than get trampled and yet pay the price. Death should be of glory and not of shame; “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” – Mark Twain
Women, you should keep the fire ignited within, so that you can fight with honor before you die; fear will try to scare you, but never retreat, never retreat the battle of life, use the color Pink as your strength, as your weapon to behead all the ugly minds brutally.