For those who came in late, Sultan is Salman Khan’s latest film that has managed to surpass all box office records. To be fair, while it is yet another massy film with Bhai at the centre of all action, this one at least tries to have a plot line. But the problem with this film is the very plot line itself!
Soon after the film’s release, one of the most prominent criticisms was:
‘Why would Aarfa give up on her dreams of being an Olympic champion? Just because she sees her husband is elated with the news of a child, why would she forget all that she worked for all her life?’
Recently, the film’s director Ali Abbas Zafar gave an interview to Film Companion where he spoke at length about the ‘struggle’ he went through to get Salman in a langot, among other things.
Anupama Chopra asked him about the decision that Aarfa takes in the film, to give up her wrestling for the birth of her child and what the director said shows the misogynistic approach he took to kill the aspirations of a strong female character.
A film like Sultan, which is seen by millions of people across the country, where people consider Bhai‘s word to be the ultimate statement, would be a lot different if Aarfa (Anushka’s character) was dealt with in a different way. But this article is not about that. A director has the right to tell a story he wants and the way he wants and it is not necessary for him to mould his characters so that all sections of society can be happy with it because let’s face it, one can’t make a film that everybody agrees with.
But it is in his defense that his chauvinist, crudely sexist approach comes in. And that is the REAL problem here.
Ali Abbas Zafar blatantly puts it out that once a working woman gets pregnant she has to give up her work.
No, Mr. Zafar, pregnancy is not a handicap that forces a woman to stay at home while her man goes on a ‘hunt’. It is not a shackle that forces a woman to give up on a dream she has nurtured all her life.
The director continues to expand on his thought by explaining how a strong, independent woman can give up her flourishing career because now she’s going to have a baby.
He continues to say that the ultimate dream of every married couple is to have a child. Mr. Zafar, a marriage or a companionship is not the means to just procreate and do nothing else.
Here is the whole interview..