Saturday, June 13, 2015

Jyothi Lakshmi… A Charmme Production.

I said the other day that I've been thinking a lot about Heroes recently but watching this trailer for Jyothi Lakshmi reminds me of the old debate about "female Heroes" in films. What's the difference between an "author-backed role" for a heroine, a "woman-centric film", and a "female hero"? I feel like we have strong heroines, who may even be the protagonist, like Katrina Kaif in Bang Bang, but they are still heroines. "Women-centric film" is usually the tag put on those dull, Miramax-ish movies where the lead role goes to an actress either looking to break out of heroine-ing or an actress past her heroine-ing prime but who still attracts media interest. (YAWN!)

A female hero is something different. It's something in the way the camera films her. The way she faces the audience. We can desire her, as we desire male heroes, but we also want to be her. Male heroes aren't all powerful nor are they always in control. And they can be fetishized by the camera as much as any item girl can be but there is something in the way a hero is portrayed… a magnetism. To see a woman in the same light. I think that's what Puri Jagannadh manages to capture with Charmme in this trailer. You can't take your eyes off her.

At least I couldn't.


Moimeme said...

Have you seen Charmee's debut film in Telugu -- Sri Anjaneyam? A good film on its own, but there also she played a very feisty character, not the typical heroine. I read that she got typecast as the feisty type after that film for a while.

I don't have time to say all that I want to, but here's something you can investigate. I don't know if you're aware that that chanting they have going on toward the end, when Charmee starts fighting the bad guys, is actually a hymn to the goddess Parvati, who is the strongest of all the Hindu goddesses, and has taken several forms/avatars to rid the world of various demons, just as Vishnu did. This hymn describes the various avatars she took and her exploits in those forms. Now using that hymn as the background when a female character goes on a rampage is already a bit of a cliche in Telugu films. It goes along with the saying (which is known all over India, not just in the Telugu speaking areas) that "Woman is the personification of Shakti." So what I'm trying to get at is that the idea of the "female hero" is already embedded in the Hindu tradition of having strong female goddesses, as well as strong human females who attain power through their spiritual advancement. So it isn't really such a new idea in Indian films.

If you're not familiar with the films of Vijaya Shanti, you might want to check them out to see another actress (of the 1980's) who was lauded for her "female hero" roles.

8th wonder said...

"katrina kaif a strong heroine in bang bang"cracked me up lol.Maybe some of the indian media should take a look at your blog for a different perspective on katrina

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