Bollywood made misogyny SO adorable in Pyaar ka Punchnaama!
Little (not so little anymore, though, with the BJP all lovin’ on him) buck-toothed Kartik Aryaan (he’s got his teeth fixed since then, hasn’t he, the adorable sputtering henpecked hero?), aka Bugs Bunny, shot to Bollywood stardom (Number 1, I hear? Though on this see the ending of Pathaan!) after this rant in Pyaar ka Punchnaama (2011), Bollywood’s sick laddism attempt.
Here, all young women whom the current political junta doesn’t like–westernized, assertive, working girls with their own plans–are represented as ball-crushing fiends.
You’ll get it all here. Woman as Pandora; Woman as the Door to Hell; Woman as Harpy; Woman as Vagina Dentata
And in case that isn’t enough, the director added in a little bonus malicious homophobia: the simpering “Gay Banday” mime mid-speech, by beta Aaryan.
This is what made me write No Country for Young Women in Sky Island Journal (Thanks again, Editors!)
But I really am starting to wonder–Can I, a no longer young woman, ever go back and live in my homeland?
I wonder: Is it a country for any women of any age at all?
What do you all advise? Let me know in Comments.
The itty bitties:
Folks, I was born and raised in India and have called the United States my second continent for the last thirty-odd years. Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve generally turned to books for the answers to life’s questions, big or small (that includes philosophy and recipes). My first novel Love’s Garden was published in October 2020. Some nice people have said some nice things about it (Buzzfeed; Medium.com; Foreword Reviews; Goodreads). I’m currently working on Homeland Blues, my second novel, about love, colorism, racism and xenophobia in post-Donald Trump America.
My short stories have been published or will be in in Oyster River Pages, Sky Island Journal, the Saturday Evening Post Best Short Stories from the Great American Fiction Contest Anthology 2021, the Good Cop/Bad Cop Anthology (Flowersong Press, 2021), the Gardan Anthology of the Craigardan Artists Residency, Funny Pearls, The Bombay Review, Meat for Tea: the Valley Review, Storyscape Journal, Raising Mothers, The Bangalore Review, PANK, OyeDrum, and more. I’ve attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Workshop, the Vermont Studio Center residency, the VONA residency, Centrum Writer’s Residency, and others. I was first runner-up for the Los Angeles Review Flash Fiction contest (2017-2018), long-listed for the Disquiet International Literary Prize (2019 and 2020), a finalist for the Reynolds-Price International Women’s Literary Award (2019), and received Honorable Mention for the Saturday Evening Post Great American Stories Contest, 2021.
In a related avatar, I’m Professor of English at Texas A&M University, USA and teach and write about English literature, South Asia Studies, Indian Cinema, Postcolonial Studies, Colonial Discourse Analysis, Gender Theory, Film Studies, and Critical Theory. I founded and directed (2007-2017) the South Asia Working Group of the Glasscock Humanities Center at Texas A&M University, and rom 2012 -2014 directed the Graduate Studies program of the English department at Texas A&M University. I’ve published three academic monographs and many articles on film, world literature, feminism and visual culture, colonial and postcolonial discourse analyses of literature from the eighteenth century onwards, gender in South Asia, and travel writing. The latest of these is Hindi Cinema: Repeating the Subject (Routledge 2012). I’ve received grants and fellowships from the Huntington Library Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship, the Regional Worlds Program of the Globalization Project (Ford Foundation) at the Chicago Humanities Institute, and the Lilly Foundation.
I also play at Youtube; Amazon; Author’s Guild; Twitter; Instagram; Facebook; Blog; LinkedIn; Goodreads; and Nandini’s Writing, Treehugging and Reading Outfit
I was sighted at these spots recently:
Invited Featured Speaker at the Washington DC South Asian Literary Festival; 60-minute reading, and Q&A on my novelLove’ Garden; Moderator Dr. Betty Joseph, Professor of English, Rice University, April 16, 2022
Moderator and Commentator, Featured Speaker Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni reading from The Last Queen, at the Washington DC South Asia Literary Festival; April 17, 2022
Featured Panelist on “Shapes of History” panel, 3rd Tasveer South Asian LitFest (TSAL), part of Tasveer Festival: Watch, Read, Talk; October 1st-24th, 2021; also available here with a ticket or pass; October 19th, 2021, 9 pm CST
Featured Reading of Love’s Garden, Bright Hill Press Reading, July 8, 2021
Invited Reading at Lit Balm: an Interactive Livestream Reading Series, February 27, 2021
Invited Workshop and Reading with a focus on Love’s Garden at Dev Samaj College for Women, Panjab University, India, February 2, 2021
Featured Reading from Love’s Garden in the Hidden Timber Book Reading Series, January 24, 2021
Reading from Love’s Garden at Readings on the Pike, December 10, 2020, 7-8 PM EST
Reading at the KGB Bar, New York City, Nov 15, 2020, 7-9 PM EST
Reading at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Nov 13, 6-7 PM CST
Book Launch at Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX, Oct 27, 2020, 7–8 PM CST
Cambridge Writers Workshop and IEE Benefit Reading, July 24, 8-9 PM:
Podcasts: Desi Books Episode 21
Interviews: Nandini Bhattacharya speaks on “Tell Me Your Story” Digital Conversation, April 10, 2021, 8 am CDT, on MONEY/MOOLAH/THAT THING THAT THEY SAY MAKES THE WORLD GO AROUND, and Colonialism, Gender and Writing; Oyedrum; Lois Lane Investigates; Tupelo Quarterly; Critical Flame
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