Who could have thought that Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu will spark off dazzling dinner table debates at home? I saw the movie with mom, dad, sis and Geet (yeah! Polly has been rechristened Geet. It was long overdue). Although the movie was above average, it broke many boundaries around how girls are expected to behave in our society. The movie projected the female protagonist as someone who had 6 past relationships, who had a great capacity for beer, who likes her personal space, is not worried that she is 27 and not married and can talk freely of sex and can rate a guy’s and her own butt.
I loved the fact that even though the guy acted like a typical guy and took she-is-roaming-with-me-and-introducing-me-to-her-family as she-loves-me, the girl stood her ground and did not buckle under the pressure. She wanted him as a friend and that’s that. They still annul their marriage. And she does not care that he is super rich.
We have seen similar movies before – Salaam Namaste, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Kya Kehna, Jab We Met and many others where the female leads are strong. Similarly Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu made the female protagonist much powerful than her male counterpart which is very rare in Bollywood movies. It gave her the right to decide in the end.
Now, before I indulge you with our dinner table debates, I must tell you that dad is quite cool with guys and girls befriending each other and going out for movies and parties. He has never stopped me or my sister from enjoying ourselves, although they are more cautious with sis. They are also comfortable with the whole girlfriend-boyfriend-affair-shaffair scenarios. Of course, dad and mom say things like it’s against our culture and stuff but they hardly believe it themselves. They just have to say it to maintain the Indian-culture façade (the same way you mechanically brush your teeth when you wake up) so that we don’t mistake them to be dangerously liberal.
The whole debate was about Dad having a problem with couples staying together without marriage. Okay, I know this doesn’t go with what happened in the movie but he was commenting about Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan. He could not understand Bipasha and John also who were together since the Big bang and then separated. He might have a point here but then I reminded him that everyone in question were adults and we do not have any right to question what they do in their personal lives. You know where this is going right?
Dad thinks that we live in a society and we have to live by its rules. Why do you have to live with a guy for 5 years and then jump partners after you get bored with him (he meant – after you had sex with him)? There is nothing sacrosanct in the whole affair.
I told him (in less obvious terms) that maintaining your virginity before marriage does not make the whole affair sacrosanct. That is a bit outdated. Secondly, everyone look out for new partners if things do not work out between couples. You don’t have to turn into a nun after your first breakup. Thirdly, our society is the most nosey and hypocrite society in this world. We are fine with girl infanticide, child labor, rapes, corruption, riots, dowry and so many other evils but we find it very objectionable when two consenting adults (who have the right to choose our Prime Minister) live together. It’s actually none of our business. *mom, sis and Geet nodded vigorously*
And this went on and on. It was funny because although dad saw my point in the end, my parents find it very hard to believe that our society has changed so much. I did not tell them that a lot of people have sex with their partners before they get married. I also did not tell them that Geet and I saw a college going couple kissing each other for 1 ½ hours as we watched Source Code in the theatre. It might be too much for them.
I can understand where he is coming from. He was brought up by a disciplinarian who locked up his daughter in the toilet if he found her talking to a boy. My parents were not very liberal with me and my sis initially. They had their apprehensions. Giving their son certain freedom might lead to their daughter asking something similar. But they loosened up and thankfully so. They still raise their eyebrows at sis at times, but she is a maverick. And I am outside their radar ever since I married Geet.
Frankly speaking, I myself would not have been very comfortable about a live-in but that certainly does not mean that I would pass judgment on anyone choosing it. It is also important to understand that movies like Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu explore just one end of the spectrum. India is too diverse in its thoughts and opinions that accepting what happened in the movie as a norm would be foolish. Also, we have to understand that only a small percentage of our generation (especially urban) has moved ahead and understood that the nose is to smell the roses and not to poke in someone’s affairs. The rest of the present generation and a majority of the older one is tied to its belief system. They live in a matrix of society, wired into its complicated circuit.
But yes, whether we like it or not, there is a change and it’s happening right under our nose.