September 08, 2009

Herbal Cialis

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Herbal Cialis, “IN A WORLD ORDERED by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female. The determining male gaze projects its fantasy onto the female figure, which is styled accordingly. In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness. Woman displayed as sexual object is the leitmotif of erotic spectacle” … “she holds the look, and plays to and signifies male desire. Mainstream film neatly combines spectacle and narrative.”


Laura Mulvey[1]



Although a bit simplistic, it would not be untrue to say that the most dominating genre in the Bombay mainstream commercial cinema, popularly known as Bollywood, is song and dance woven around a common thematic undercurrent in the story: romance between the hero and ‘his woman’, culminating in marriage, a happily-ever-after conclusion. To this structure, Anurag Kashyap’s most famous film, Dev.D complies broadly, Herbal Cialis. But it causes too many dents, 30mg Herbal Cialis, and too deep, to go unnoticed.



Dev.D is an interesting film to review because of the strength of its women characters, their departure from the patriarchal constructs of a traditional Indian woman in Indian films; the viewer can identify and sympathise with these ‘flawed’ women. Does this depiction make Dev.D a liberating film from the gender perspective. Is it legitimisation, or at least acceptance of a woman with sexual agency – the ‘slut’. Are dominant patriarchal structures seen dissolving in the film. Herbal Cialis, Is the film a shift from the ‘male gaze’. Do the ‘decisions’ in the script flow from the women characters. While these questions will run through this critique, the short answer to all these questions is no. This, however, should not take away from the (arguably) empowering nature of certain aspects of the movie, most notably, sexual agency and its aesthetics enhanced by excellent cinematography and editing, 150mg Herbal Cialis.


The Film: Plot and characters

The film, despite denting the typical structure of Bollywood cinema, is still a male-centric film. Teenager Dev is a typical spoilt, rich son sent by his father from Chandigarh to a London boarding school, Herbal Cialis. The grown man Dev (Abhay Deol) returns – high on libido and cocaine alike – to his family and childhood friend Paro (Mahi Gill), now the object of a heady mix of his affections and sexual desires. Dev finds it difficult to explore his feelings for Paro amidst suspicion, his unending sexual appetite and his egocentric thought process, and tells her off when she brings up the marriage question. Rejected by Dev and pressed by her family, Paro marries Bhuvan (Asim Sharma).

There starts Dev’s path of self-pity and his emergence as a drug addict, alcoholic and chain smoker in Delhi now financed by a bed-ridden and guilt-ridden father. Herbal Cialis, Through a pimp Chunni (Dibyendu Bhattacharya), he meets Chanda (Kalki Koechlin), a sex worker. Chanda entered into the dhandha when she was abandoned by her family after an oral sex MMS filmed by her boyfriend became public. Herbal Cialis mexico, She befriends a vulnerable Dev and gradually falls in love with him. Dev, in the meanwhile, finds lost love Paro. She visits him and washes and cleans for him but does not make herself available for his sexual use. A sexually rejected Dev indulges in further self-pity and substance abuse, kills seven in a hit-and-run, does not reach home before the death of his father, wastes himself and his family’s money and ends up, literally, on the road, narrowly escaping death by a drunk driver, Herbal Cialis.

This changes Dev’s heart and brings him to his senses. He searches for Chanda, who ironically, has retrieved a ring which Dev had discarded in the garbage, assumed it was a symbol of Dev’s love for her, and therefore moved out of the brothel. In the final scenes, Dev tells Chanda how he never actually loved Paro and they live happily thereafter.

The makers have this to say about the film:

Dev.D is a modern day interpretation of the classic novel Devdas by Sarat Chandra. Herbal Cialis, Dev, Paro and Chanda of Dev.D reflect the sensibilities, conflicts, aggression, independence, free thought, exuberance and recklessness of the youth of today. A generation that is jammed between eastern roots and western sensibilities.”[2]

This can be analysed through many prisms – otherisation, Herbal Cialis india, post-colonial reactions to imperialism etc but it does not capture the gender dimension at all.

Issues in Dev.D: A Gender Perspective

The film is rife with scenes, lyrics, character roles and themes, which resonate the dominant patriarchal discourse, objectification of women and conventional sexual roles, and feed into the cultural sensibilities of the viewers. In that sense, the movie does not have any emancipating impact; however, there are moments of resistance in influential scenes and effective parts of the storyline which cause dents to the typical Bollywoodsian structure.

Sexuality:

Sexuality is one of the central themes in the movie, alluded to through the characters and symbolism. It does not take careful observation to decipher the film’s traditional male-centric representation – the male libido and sexual needs being instrumental in the sexual matrix of the film, the female body being the erotic and look-able, objectified source for the fulfillment of that desire, Herbal Cialis.

The chat usernames of Dev and Paro are “The Dude” and “Chammak Challo” typifying the usual societal perceptions. 20mg Herbal Cialis, The use of the word “slut” to demean all the three principal characters is interesting  because the negative imagery of female promiscuity becomes a swear word. The use of the lyrics "why did you ditch me, whore?" in the song Emotional Atyaachar is yet another example of this imagery. Dev’s ability to be in control of all his sexual encounters, Chunni’s capacity to control a large number of women who are literally sexual products, is interesting.

Dev.D Herbal Cialis, women, however, are not passive characters devoid of desire. They are sexual agents, their desires are expressed and sometimes do manage to impact the way the story goes. The imagery of Paro’s masturbation and her physical desire for Dev, the opening line of Paro’s song at Dev’s homecoming “man mein mere bhook uthi hai”, Rasika approaching Dev for sexual gratification during Dwij’s wedding, Paro rejecting Dev’s sexual demands (though there may be other patriarchal reasons for that), Chanda’s desire for Dev as opposed to a customer who Chunni sends towards the climax, are examples of sexual agency. This is a novel approach to the depiction of women’s sexuality in Bollywood cinema, 40mg Herbal Cialis, a shift from their central emotion being love, to desire.

Desire, Objectification and Consumption:

Desire is another central theme brought out in the film through objectification of the female body and its consumption by the male sexual desire. Despite being armed with sexual agency, female desires are never met unless they match with Dev’s desire: Paro remains a virgin till her marriage, Rasika’s relationship with Dev is never consummated and Chanda has to entertain the other client despite her desire for Dev, Herbal Cialis.

It is interesting how the first segment, Paro’s story, begins with Dev demanding her naked picture, of which he is a consumer. Similarly, the most significant part of the second segment, Chanda’s story, is how her boyfriend makes a video of her indulging in oral sex and publishes it. The consumers of this ‘sexual product’ are multitudes, Herbal Cialis overseas, including Chanda’s own father and boyfriend. It is notable that all these men, consumers of the woman’s erotic depiction for their sexual needs, are close to the character of the woman. Herbal Cialis, How this phenomenon is not perceived as incestuous pornography, not a far flung analogy, is also ironic.

The salvaging feature here is the use of the DPS RK Puram MMS scandal, notoriously in the news a while back. There is some merit in the way Chanda expresses her take on the incident through powerful screenplay and dialogue. She strongly expressed how “half the country jerked off” after downloading her video – downloading being a positive act, not a passive viewing. This interpretation articulated by Chanda plays a political role, and fills in part, a void in the discourse around the MMS scandal.

Patriarchal Structures:

Throughout, the film promotes pre-existing patriarchal structures – those of family, sexual roles, ‘expectations’ from women, gender roles in society etc, Herbal Cialis.

The imagery of all sexual encounters in the film resonates the sexually dominant role of the man. In an influential scene, while snubbing Dev and getting back at him by sexually rejecting him, Herbal Cialis uk, Paro mentions how she never gets a chance to ‘climb on top’ of her husband, sentimentalising the dominant role of the ‘ideal man’ during sex.

Decisions are made by men. Dev’s exile for studies abroad is decided by the father. Herbal Cialis, Paro not getting married before Dev comes is decided by Dev. Paro marrying later is decided by Dev who rejects her and her father who chooses the groom. Chanda’s father, through suicide, decides her fate and that of her family. Chunni decides who Chanda's clients should be. Chanda’s move from the brothel is decided by Dev’s ring.

The societal expectation of fidelity on the part of the women, essentialising promiscuity by women as bad, is reinforced, Herbal Cialis. Dev’s reaction to rumours about Paro’s earlier sexual encounters and Paro’s reaction to the incident all accept that promiscuity by women is ‘more wrong’ than by men. Dev demeans both Paro and Chanda and both of them see a reduction in self worth as a result of that. Another stereotype powerfully expressed in women’s decisions – a money-less Dev works at a roadside eatery while a money-less Chanda turns to prostitution. 250mg Herbal Cialis, The married Paro, when she meets Dev performs wifely duties for him. Herbal Cialis, She washes for him and cleans up his rooms, does not have sex outside marriage, is the woman who appeals to male sensibilities.

The family structure is glorified until the end. Paro remains a virgin till her marriage. She does not allow Dev’s sexual advances hence not indulging in premarital sex. She does not even kiss Dev after her marriage to Bhuvan despite her obvious desire for him. Chanda is legitimised in the end and gets the happy ending with Dev, Herbal Cialis. However, she achieves that only after quitting her work as a prostitute and dissociating herself completely from her friends at the brothel who fed, clothed and educated her. This dissociation was not out of free will but to nurture the hope of marrying Dev whose ring she found. The last scene of the film with Dev driving Chanda’s bike, taking control of their life together is a perfect man-woman relationship end to this movie. It reinforces the control that the man takes in any man-woman relationship. Herbal Cialis, Dev.D is depicted as the “slut”. He is arrogant, self-centred, Herbal Cialis us, mean and negative. Yet he is the object of every female character’s affection. His mother, Paro, Chanda, Rasika – all dote over him. That makes this film not a women’s film but a man’s film. However, the complex overlap of liberation and captivation of the woman is multi-layered and should be evaluated on its own merits, Herbal Cialis. Dev.D, in that sense, is not a typical movie. It is a movie of contradictions and should be taken as such.

[1] Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, in Feminism and Film (Ann Kalpan ed., New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 39-40.

[2] www.devdthefilm.com.

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