For long we have been treated with heroines as objects of desire, to be just a decorative piece in a film that has the male as the super star. There have been female-oriented films in between. THE DIRTY PICTURE, KAHAANI and QUEEN for instance. AIG takes several steps forward. The women hold centre-stage and it is a very brave man who comes in for a brief moment and sparkles with his act. No qualms in placing eight fiddle. Well done Arjun Mathur. Adil Hussain as the moral cop worried more about the dress code of the girls and what they did instead on focussing on what happened, is a classic case of what our society reflects.
Here’s a brief on the story:
A tough businesss-woman juggling with the task of being a mother: This is Suranjana (Sandhya Mridul).
A free-spirited domestic help: This is Laxmi (Rajshri Deshpande).
A fashion photographer who leaves the glitz and glamour of Mumbai to settle in Goa: This is Freida (Sarah Jane-Dias).
A Delhi housewife, content and happy: This is Pamela (Pavleen Gujral).
A half-Indian, half-British girl struggling to make her mark in Bollywood: This is Joanna (Amrit Maghera).
A musician trying to break the mould: This is Madhureeta (Anushka Manchanda).
A feminist and an activist who takes issues very seriously: This is Nargis (Tannishtha Chatterjee).
On the surface, all are happy. They meet in Goa on the sudden invitation of their friend Freida. Soon they realise that she has invited them for her marriage and the girls have a time of their lives. The groom, however, is kept a secret. The story will reveal that to you.
During the course of their five-day stay they unmask their lives startling the other with the demons they are fighting. Each has a story that is diverse from the other.
As the film progresses, director Nalin explores every difficulty they face: a complex legal system; the frustrations of making it as a musician; the superficial atmosphere of the fashion world; the mind-set of the people around us; the shocking truth of how the victim gets victimised.
A fun film loaded with a harsh truth. Watch out for the scene where a sad Goan song, is turned into a happy dancing scenario, or the old lady giving her gift to the bride in the form of a dance to a reggae tune. Brilliant!
However, the moment that captures the mood of the film for me and really sets the tone is when Nalin juxtaposes the scene with Laxmi and her eve-teaser to Suranjana diving in the pool after a heated discussion in the boardroom. The sound of the splashing water mixes with the anguish of Laxmi’s would-be tormenter as he bends double to protect his jewels.
Sarah Jane-Dias packs every emotion in her face. You don’t look anywhere else. Sandhya Mridul is tough as a nut. Rajshri Deshpande is a revelation as a domestic help fighting her own battle. Pavleen Gujral as the Delhi housewife who expresses shock in her own innocent way is a delight. Watch the scene when she comes clean on her marriage. Amrit Maghera who has her eyes set on Bollywood and who connects the girl-gang with her simplistic views is realistic. Tannishtha Chatterjee and Anushka Manchanda barge in with their limited role to make an impact.
Although towards the end, the films goes in for the typical ‘masala formula’, just a wee bit, you cannot flaw the script.
ANGRY INDIAN GODDESSES highlights the prevalent mood of our society.
ANGRY INDIAN GODDESSES celebrates the breaking of cinematic mould.
ANGRY INDIAN GODDESSES is a film that no man or woman can miss.
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