Thursday, April 28, 2011
Review of Bunti Aur Babli Review
Shruti's analysis of Bunty Aur Babli was a really provocative read. The aspect of "Relative Property", as we discussed in class, makes living at a lower standard than others much more difficult. We see 'Relative Poverty' not so much within the villages that Bunty and Babli come from, but in the exposed media. Babli cuts out pictures of models and hangs them in her doorway, Bunty refers to the larger cities where people are making their own way and escalating in society. This function of the media, as increasing the felt stratification in relative poverty, has made Indians less welcoming of westernized media sources.This has, in general, fed India’s skepticism of the west and its imposition of capitalist mindsets.
Bunty and Babli’s escape to the city would seem appropriate in an American movie-- the idea of pulling oneself up by their own boot straps and “The American Dream” is what America prides itself on. And I will admit, watching this movie I felt excited about their efforts, their agency. However, this is my cultural perception. This, in some ways, would probably seem like reckless, ungrateful behavior in India. They deny their place in society, and probably their caste. They challenge Dharma. Shruti’s point about the cop ACP Dasrath is pretty brilliant. He personifies King Dasratha of the Ramayana, continually on the verge of catching up with the two deniers of his way. Bunty and Babli’s disruption of things ultimately returns to order as the abstract and personified forms of Dharma catch up with them. Dasrath finds Bunty and Babli once they’ve already married and had a child, completing their family obligations in society. Shruti’s other observation about Babli’s traditional dress is also really important. She is visually identified with India, she also through Miss India pageantry seeks international acknowledgement like India.India throughout the movies we’ve watched is always feminized, most noticeably in Mother India. Babli is also the emotional embodiment of suffering, her crying in the train station is particularly loud and drawn out. Like Shruti described, this associates her with Sita of the Ramayana, who also suffered gravely.
Overall, the film adopted a paradoxical roll. Bunty and Babli took the system into their own hands, but ended up returning to the more ‘mundane’ life that they originally abhorred. They returned to dharma. I guess the difference in the end is that they ‘chose’ or returned to the more basic family life, instead of it simply being an imposition. But the underlying message of the story really ends up like “you can challenge things but you’re going to end up in the same place anyway.” Realistic or hegemonic, I’m not sure which, it’s all up to the capitalist and agentic beliefs of the person watching.