By Ruqia Ganaie
Ghar ki Murgi Dal Barabar, the famous Hindi phrase which has been a central theme of many sit coms since Shriman Shrimati. The show which was indeed one of its kind and unique because it was based on the slapstick humour of loving the wife of a neighbour. The show is light hearted and ensures comedy with Keshav Kulkarni (Jatin Kanakia) and Dilruba (Rakesh Bedi) Male leads trying their level best to woo and flirt with each other’s wives Kokila Kulkarni (Reema Lagoo) and Prema Shalini (Archana Puran Singh) secretly.Shriman Shrimati- Keshav Kulkarni gets attracted to actress Prema Shalini who lives with her effeminate husband Dilruba, while Dilruba finds Keshav’s elegant wife Kokila attractive.
Although, the show proclaims the men never cross the line with each other’s wives, nonetheless the act of pursuing other’s wife is crossing a line itself. It does romanticize, humour perversion and the fact that it’s okay to woo and flirt other’s wife. The concept is mundane as it is because it promotes infidelity and male gaze shamelessly. As a society we often confuse infidelity with adultery. The show certainly does not engage in adultery but does lie on infidelity (which could be both physical and emotional). Point is Infidelity is not always but emotional. Besides, this open and cash idea has surprisingly not offended anyone. Instead the show Shriman Shrimati has inspired many shows and one of them is Bhabhi Ji Ghar par Hai airing since 2015. The relevance of the theme is profound even in the contemporary tv era of mythology, folklore, and Sci-Fi shows like Nagin, etc.
The shows based on perversion plots are even now relevant, entertaining and audience loving! The show Bhabhi Ji Ghar Par Hain is centred around a similar plot of two men Vibhuti Narayan and Manmohan Tiwari flirting with each other’s wives Anita Narayan and Angoori Tiwari and the show is touted as a ‘family entertainer’. Mulvey’s essay is a powerful and insightful analysis of how mainstream film form has been shaped by a patriarchal society. She argues that women are often portrayed as an object of male fantasy and desire, and are denied the ability to be an active participant in the narrative. Mulvey suggests that the only way to create a more progressive and feminine cinema is to allow women to be the makers of meaning, rather than just the bearers of it. She emphasizes the importance of analysing the specific aspects of the cinematographic system in order to better understand how ideology shapes the subjectivity of individuals. Her argument is compelling and thought-provoking, and provides a valuable perspective on the need for greater representation of women in film.Such shows are not sexist but misogynistic as well. The narrative on popular culture in the current socio-political state where women are constantly fighting for respect more than anything else bears the question of that must such content be allowed to be run. It ruins the sanctity of relationships and their boundaries. It annihilates the dignity of women and the work done for feminine or women’s rights.
Mulvey explains that pleasure derived from these forms of looking “can be threatening in context, and it is a woman as representation/image that crystallizes this paradox”. Basically in cinema women are there to be looked at by men. The makers need to understand the line which does only concern the characters and their relationships but the main thought behind the show and not cross it. As viewers, we need not appreciate it and applaud it in the name of comedy, art, or entertainment. Popular Culture is the biggest and most influential medium. Its impact and effect Are profound and significant and evident in the behaviour of its audience.Mulvey also commented on the structure and relation of mainstream films/tv with its audience. As a popular culture, an advanced system of representation (like language and the unconscious), its structure reflects and reinforces the prevailing patriarchy which is structured by the desires of man. According to her, this is not just a necessary part of film form, but the presence of women in film disrupts the narrative by “freez[ing] the flow of action in moments of erotic contemplation.
The relation between the female character the role played within the narrative and the perspective of viewers as an object of desire, thereby uniting her role as an object of desire of viewers with her role on screen. Male characters with whom the audience associates, film narratives are further structured in an active/passive patriarchy, men active and females passive.Mulvey understood, that woman as an object upon which to look and that of male-protagonist with which to identify, a woman’s image “always threatens to evoke the anxiety it originally signified”. Thus concludes by arguing that “cinema builds the way [woman] is to be looked at into the spectacle itself,” indicating that cinema is built upon a patriarchal system that promotes the active/passive division of power along patriarchal lines.