PINK: Talking About Sexual Assault in Bollywood Films

“No. No isn’t just a word, it’s a complete sentence. It doesn’t need any further explanations. ‘No’ means no […] and when someone says so, you stop.”

My whole life I’ve watched Bollywood movies. My mom has been obsessed with them ever since she was a little kid and it’s a love that she cultivated in me, as well. But Bollywood movies, while fantastic and outrageous and sometimes even a little obnoxious, have always been modest. There never even used to be kissing! Kissing! It was always a super passionate … hug. Yup, a hug.

But all jokes aside, it’s not as though Hollywood talks much about sexual assault, either. Pink is a film about three young women attempting to live their lives while under the stifling thumb of societies expectations of women. They story starts the night of rock concert where the three roommates get in to an altercation with a group of guys they meet at a rock concert. The film goes on to document their experience dealing with, not only the assault and the continued presence of the men who did it, but also a society that refuses to acknowledge what happened to them and instead paints them as criminals. As the case goes to trial we see how people, both authority figures and regular citizens, act to diminish what they went through by attempting paint the women as deserving of the crime.

What I appreciate about the film is that even though people attempt to lessen what happened to the women by claiming that they were sex workers, their lawyer (played by Amitabh Buchchan) continues to advocate for consent. It is important to me that the film acknowledges that consent applies to sex workers, and it applies to women who live alone, and it applies to women who go to mens hotel rooms. Everyone gets a choice and everyone gets to say no and that doesn’t matter less because of what you do or who you are.

Pink is available on Netflix, and I really recommend including it in your weekend plans.

1 Comment

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