Dr Gopa Nayak is a writer and an academician. She has a DPhil from the University of Oxford and her first Master’s degree is in Sociology from Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi. She writes in both Odia and English and her poems have been included in anthologies of poetry of women. She can be contacted at gopanayak[at]gmail.com.
‘Haider’ the movie had been in news and the reviews from both casual movie goers and professional reviewers tempted me to spend a Saturday evening cooped to a narrow place named termed as a seat in an expensive INOX theatre. With people trying to make way between your legs and their lehengas sounds of munching popcorns and the smell of fried fat I kept my attention focused on the screen. What struck me most about the movie is the display of feminine emotions through one single character played so efficiently by Tabu. She took recourse to many strategies sometimes through the puffing of eyes and sometimes through stoic expression and occasionally through the dark glasses she wore in the movie.
The movie portrays the very common and yet least understood inner ramblings of a woman as a wife, a mother and a beloved. A woman by her very nature is adaptable flowing on like a river through life making every hurdle that comes her way as her own. And the main female character in the movie reflects this. As a wife she tries to spend her life with a busy husband by keeping herself contented in teaching young kids. However, she can’t help being horrified with her husband’s ideologies and practices which makes their sweet home vulnerable.
As a mother she uses all her emotional power to blackmail her son to go away to a safer place away from home in the pretext of higher studies. A sacrifice, only bold women do ungrudgingly. Last but not the least, the woman as a beloved falling for the charms of a dotting lover. Persistence works for the human heart and she lovingly accepts life through what she thinks is devoted love.
The movie stands apart in portraying the common yet unconventional movie plots around women. The woman in this movie although appearing weak conveys the powerful inner forces of a woman’s psyche. As a wife, mother and beloved she is somehow convinced that she could build her life around her men tying them with her safety net of love. Perhaps, women, as the harbinger of creation cannot naturally nourish negativity. In the movie she does not have ill feelings against any of the men around her. She hopes that all of them would understand her. Unfortunately, not one of the men in her life lives up to her expectation. The husband does not feel the need to heed to his wife’s cautionary notes. The son fails to understand her situation when he sees her enjoying life with another man.
He makes demands on her expecting from her the same kind of sadness and revenge that he has for his father. The love of a child for the parents can never be same for that of a partner and yet as a mother she falls in grace in the eyes of her son for not mourning a missing husband. Last but not the least the lover whom she never mistrusts. Even after she becomes aware of his evil ways there is no sign of any revenge, but only remorse.
The movie, as it seems to me, has reflected the true spirit of the feminine. The woman in the movie wades through life accepting the inevitable and struggles to keep her loved ones safe only to witness all her effort go in vain. In her effort to keep her men away from danger she battles with everything that comes her way. Yet her defeat bears testimony to the fact that the negative emotions of wrath and revenge are more powerful than love and faith. The resilience of the feminine reflected in her adaptability in accepting life should not be interpreted as treachery and hence unforgiving. Rather her ability to make peace with contradictions should be cherished because it is these incongruities that lie at the heart of creation.
This movie had done a commendable job in reflecting the subtlety of the feminine emotions that often goes unnoticed in mankind’s struggle for existence. However, without the feminine spirit of sustenance and resilience as reflected in love and acceptance of the inevitable humanity would not have survived. That love should be cherished and reverberate through every human heart, not necessarily feminine, is the essence of humanity and perhaps of the movie.