Women-either on the pedestal or on the margins of the patriarchal society. Why can’t she walk the road of equality?
Recently, the film industry in particular actually tasted the reason why men and women cannot be on the same plain. The Central Board of Film Certification aka the Censor Board of India made sure that S Durga remains unscreened at International Film Festival of India. With the evolution of the rational of people, in such boards, changed the original name Sexy Durga to S Durga, where S is open to interpretations like sabhya , sushil, sanskari or SILENT.
The movie was denied exemption for certification by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for it to be screened at the Mumbai Film Festival and the beautiful irony is that I & B Ministry is headed by Smriti Irani aka Tulsi of Indian television. In 2015, addressing the women in the World Summit Smriti Irani, then HRD minister said-“women in India are not told what to wear. They are not dictated how to wear anything”. But some women in power feel entitled to decide about the choice of Indian women.
S Durga, a road movie, reflects at the hostile atmosphere a women has to face when she steps out of her comfort zone. It reminds us of the brutal reality that exist in our society in the face of Nirbhaya case and many other cases. The story starts with Garudan Thookkam, a Hindu religious festival in which men pierce their skin and suspend themselves from metal hooks to fly like a Garuda (eagle) to please the Goddess Durga and ends up telling us the gravity of gender-based violence in India and how life-threatening an Indian road can be at night for a woman traveller. Every man on the road takes the shape of a beast, ready to dive upon women whose identity is reduced to a defenceless object of desire.
This is not an isolated incidence, be it Nude, Lipstick under my burkha they all follow same pattern of censorship. The commonality among these movies is women. The sad part is that a film like S Durga still finds it hard to garner solidarity on the kind of massive scale as a Padmavati. May be because we are so much obsessed with our historical clouds that we are confused that what Durga is supposed to be silent or violent.