A while ago, I watched Veer-Zaara for the first time.
Yes, I am years late on it. I’m awful when it comes watching movies on time – I even just watched Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge for the first time very recently. That, however, is a whole other issue.
Veer-Zaara was a great movie, and I can definitely see why it was such a hit. The plot was interesting, the music was entrancing, and of course, the cast was filled with amazing actors.
There was one thing about the movie that really stuck with me though.
Veer and Zaara were wonderful, their romance was what every desi girl’s dreams are based off, and so on. The character I liked most, though, was Rani Mukherji’s: the lawyer, Saamiya Siddiqui.
As I was watching this movie, I couldn’t stop thinking about this character. I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that her character’s main motivation behind winning this first case of hers was to prove that women can be just as successful as men.
South Asian movies constantly try to portray the female characters as damsels in distress, and this was so different and refreshing. While Saamiya might not have been the main character, while it might still have been a typical bollywood love story, I loved this aspect of it.
I think it’s high time that we start to see more characters like this.
The movie industry influences people in so many ways – people like the idea of basing their real lives off reel lives. The things that people see on screen can affect the way they think and act in real life. When they see female characters who seem weak and always need to be saved by the male protagonist, they think that this is what is supposed to happen in real life as well. Similarly, if we choose to instead show female characters who are strong and independent, who know how to take care of themselves, viewers will start to realize that one gender is not necessarily weaker than the other.
It might seem like a small thing, adding in more strong female characters, but I believe it can make a real difference. It can change the misogynistic mindset that women are weak, that they are never as important, and I think this is a change that is very, very necessary in South Asia.
I sincerely hope that we start seeing less of the “damsel in distress” sort of female characters and more Saamiya Siddiquis in South Asian cinema.