By Somali K Chakrabarti
Shamitabh – the movie with an unusual name formed by merging the names of the characters Daanish (played by Dhanush) and Amitabh (Bachchan), is a movie with an unusual theme.
Now before you think that this post is a review of the movie, I need to tell you it is not. This post is about the compelling thoughts conveyed beautifully through the story of Shamitabh.
A mute lad Daanish, who is obsessed with movies since he was a child, harbours the dream of becoming a film star. Akshara (played by Haasan), an assistant director, helps him to overcome his handicap and communicate through a borrowed voice with the use of technology. Amitabh Sinha, a cynical drunkard and a failed actor, with a baritone voice, who lives in a graveyard, becomes the voice of Daanish. The duo turn out to be a winning combination and Daanish, renamed as Shamitabh, becomes a superstar.
By Somali K Chakrabarti
Mard ko dard nahin hota.
Amitabh Bachchan had declared in his characteristic style in ‘Mard’, one of the memorable Bollywood blockbusters from the 1980s. Translated in English it means ‘A real man does not feel pain’.
This stereotypical projection of men in India, has time and again been exemplified by the society, perpetrated through the movies, and reinforced by many parents while raising their children.
In a thought provoking show ‘When Masculinity Harms Men’ in Satyamev Jayate’, Aamir Khan took a step towards busting the myth of manliness that exists in the Indian society.
Here is what Mr Bachchan said on the show.
To forcefully instill values in the male child to constantly act like a man or to behave violently is wrong. ~Amitabh Bachchan
A far cry from his iconic dialogue!
Power, aggression, control are classified as ‘masculine’ traits, while caring, sharing, expressing emotions or crying are the typically seen as ‘feminine’ traits.
These notions are instilled in the mind of male children right from their childhood. Any small boy, who cries, is consoled saying he shouldn’t cry like a girl, since he is physically stronger. Mothers urge their sons to beat up other children rather than get bullied or beaten up. The image of a ‘Macho‘ man endowed with enormous physical strength, gets so imprinted in the mind of male children that it often leads them to believe that “masculinity“ is about demonstration of power rather than about human consideration or sensitivity. As such, they value aggression more than reason, and at times they tend to believe that they will be more admired and can get away with whatever they do if they are more aggressive or violent.