Another day closer to release of a big-ticket Bollywood film, and another complaint against its makers. After someone with a lot of free time complained about the apathetic depiction of Indian jails in the trailer, the National Commission For Women (NCW) has filed a complaint for the film’s ‘cheap dialogues’ against sex workers and women.
For those a little foggy on the details, let’s jog down memory lane and understand the exact moment that irked the NCW. At a particular moment in the trailer Anuskha Sharma (who plays a biographer) asks Ranbir Kapoor’s Sanjay Dutt, “how many women have you slept with?” To which he replies, “Should I count the prostitutes or let them be? I remember till about 308… say 350, to be on the safe side” – Sharma looks on with a hint of shock and admiration.
The person representing the NCW, Advocate Gaurav Gulati, submitted a written complain that said, “As per the trailer, there are highly outrageous and derogatory dialogues between Ranbir Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt. In the name of a biography, these Bollywood celebrities are mocking the under-privileged sex workers as well as misguiding the youth just to polish the image of a person. By watching the trailer, it is crystal clear that they are showing women as sex slaves and changed the whole identity of the women.”
It needs to be reiterated that the complainant has inferred all of these, from the trailer alone. The entire complaint is based on that one word that Ranbir Kapoor’s Sanjay Dutt uses to describe the sex workers. He uses ‘prostitute’ instead of a sex worker, but then again Sanjay Dutt isn’t known to be the most sensitive individual who choose his words with care.
Having said that, it needs to be clarified that one definitely needs to show sensitivity while referring to those with fewer privileges and limited opportunities. But one should also possibly check whether that sensitivity fits into the bigger scheme of the film scene?
There is context to the scene, where an actor is speaking to his biographer in the privacy of his home. How often does one carefully pick their words in a setting like that? Especially someone like Sanjay Dutt, who openly endorses manliness and homophobia for brands?
As unfortunate as it is, this is just another of those complaints that has little merit. And it seems to be aimed at getting the organisation some visibility, before the release of a film. Perhaps, the more sensible thing on the NCW’s behalf would have been to wait till after the release of the film before raising objections. Instead, they seem intent on soiling their image with vacuous complaints like these.