Gender, Sexuality, Family

As we talked about Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in class on Tuesday, I began to think about the way the Anjali was portrayed during her time in college versus how she was portrayed when she is engaged later on in the movie. Being a female athlete, it is enjoyable to be able to identify with a character who might be somewhat like myself. Though the way I dress now might not be considered as “tomboy” as Anjali’s dress was, female athletes are still often seen as acting like “tomboys.” I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing – I like to watch most sports and talk about themand if the only person with which I had to talk about sports was a man, I would still have something to say.

Again, for a movie to have multiple characters with which to identify is a good thing. But, when viewers meet Anjali in the “present,” she has lost that sense of “tomboy.” In fact, her whole persona has changed. It is almost as if the writers and producers of the movie felt as if they had to show that a girl could grow out of the tomboy stage. In college, we never  saw Anjali wearing the traditional dress, instead more popular and “in style” clothing. She has the short hair cut, she plays basketball, and her best friend is a man. Now that she is engaged, it seems extremely far fetched that she would do any of these things. Why can’t a young girl watching Kuch Kuch Hota Hai see that Anjali was able to find a someone to marry without changing who she is? It seems as though she has to completely alter herself to find love.

While thinking about Kuch Kuch Hota HaiI was reminded of a movie I used to watch when I was younger, called Bend it Like Beckham. This movie is about an Indian family living in London. The youngest daughter in the family is not like her sisters. She plays soccer, wears sweat suits and t-shirts instead of a sari, and has a white best friend. The movie involves the soccer playing daughter trying to break free from her traditional family. They do not approve of the way she dresses, or that she plays soccer. Her family even goes so far as to question her sexuality because of the way she dresses and her status as an athlete. She is straight of course – the movie wouldn’t take it that far, but it has a different ending than Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. At the end of the movie, we find that the girl has found a relationship with a white man, without changing the way she acts or dresses. I think Bend it Like Beckham does a much better job of portraying a “tomboy” than Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, showing that a girl does not have to change to find love.


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