Kambakht Ishq (KI) is a truly landmark movie in Bollywood. One which raises the bar on portrayal of women empowerment in Hindi Cinema. Truth be told, I am surprised that the Ram Sene didn’t object to its screening and our parliamentarians didn’t want to ban it outright.
For starters, there is the leading lady. Whose characterization on the script would have been just two words: “hates men.” But why would she wear skimpy outfits and come dolled up like a tart, you may be tempted to ask. And that, dear perverted MCP viewer, is the first sign of empowerment. Unlike the male of the species which hits the gym to develop six packs in the name of fitness, when the true reason is to attract chicks, the female of the species dresses up because she likes to look good. And feel good. Not for you to ogle at and grope. Unfortunately, Bollywood has so far upheld the male-centric ‘sajna hai mujhe sajna ke liye' view. And dear Bebo shatters that myth with a six inch heel.
Second, the lady is a doctor. And a surgeon at that. (mind you, not plastic!!!). And she moonlights as a model to pay for medical school. Doesn’t go, “papa/bhaiya/mamaji, mujhe paise chahiye”. In one shot, she destroys the myth that women cannot be financially independent. And proves that you no longer have to be the vamp in the movie to earn money by your looks. Another yay for the sisterhood!
Although they don’t mention that she is also an MBA, I think she is. When she makes an operational mistake, she rectifies it with a strategic plan. She doesn’t go begging for forgiveness. Instead, she tricks the hero into falling in love with her. Even if she has to shimmy down a boat wearing a black one-piece. (I was about to say tight black one-piece but remembered that nothing looks tight on a size zero). She has no qualms bedding him to achieve her goal. And the hero makes a weepy speech about love for a change.
And just when you thought this movie have reached the stratosphere of super sisterhood, they end it with a bang (not that bang, you perverts!). The lady smooches the hero to shut him up. Just like he did to shut her up at the start of the movie. (On that note, imagine if the ticket checker in Jab We Met had done it to achieve the same result!). While snooty reviewers (who probably sat in the first bench all their school life) may deride this as ‘pandering to the front benchers', it is another wow moment for the sisterhood. A gal can give it back twice as good as she gets. She can bastard you every time you bitch her. She can kiss you twice for the one you gave.
If only she had kicked the baddies' asses also. But then, why would you want to snatch away poor Sly Stallone’s retirement benefit fund?
Not since Madame Mallika walked up to the medical shop and asked for a condom in Khwaish, not since Rani sold her soul in LCMD, not since Preity had a live-in pregnancy in Salaam Namaste has a movie been so vocal about women and their innate power.
So, gals, what are you waiting for? Drag your boyfriend / husband to the nearest movie theatre and show him what stern stuff you are made of.
All in all, an eye-opening experience.
PS1: Ladies, please don’t read this. Guys, it has chicks in bikinis and minis, long kisses, Denise Richards climbing out of a pool (remember Wild Things?)... a must watch with a beer pack, a pirated DVD (to pause at the right scenes) and a bunch of guys who can hoot and whistle at every pause. All in all, a fly-opening experience.
PS2: The movie made me introspect too... When Bebo goes, "Who would want to marry a sick bastard like you?", I felt she was talking to me and not Akshay!
PS3: For the tams who are probably gloating “ha, one more indhi padam remake”, remember KI is as different from PKS as I am from the real Shahrukh Khan. After all, what could be more different than veteran actor Kamal playing a hanuman-bhakt than veteran non-actor Akshay playing a kambakht?