My Cinema Woman

Jigna Kothari

I am a lost girl of eighties. Much like the eighties I didn’t know what I wanted to become, where I wanted to go, who I was and why was I studying the topography of Sudan?  I ended the eighties deciding to became a Fauji (Army Personnel) as Shah Rukh Khan, that time known by his character Abhimanyu from the serial Fauji was my favorite.

But as much as I am a girl of a lost decade, I also am a woman that found herself in the nineties. And in the journey from girl to woman Shah Rukh Khan again played a major role. Though as I found my way into the cinema in the nineties I much idolized Shah Rukh Khan more off screen then onscreen.

However, I never did find a women character to relate to off or on screen. In some way this connect was important for me as cinema was slowly but surely becoming my focus. As an independent women I was trying to find a woman who had similar bearings like I had – honesty, self respect, love, empathy and at times sympathy.  There were many women characters that had some of the virtues I was looking for but could not find all in one.  There were versions of what could have been my idol but now were too diluted with the changing times.

My persistent efforts to dig up one such character paid off. It happened while I was revisiting old movies with all new perspectives gained when I found Vidya in Shree 420.

She was my starting point. From her I could start my journey of a woman.  Vidya (Nargis) was a self-respecting woman who stood by what she believed in and what she knew was right. An independent women of the fifties, she was a teacher in the film who led her life with her rules. She does fall in love with a Raj (Raj Kapoor) who somewhere loses his way but she stands on her own and waits for him to separate the wrong from the right.

When I saw the song Ichak Daana Pichak dana, it just summed up life for me. It defined an understanding that gives one a perception of life. As a woman in love “pyar Hua Ikraar hua” is an epitome of passion, independence, self belief and sexuality.

Vidya was the woman for me. I could start my journey from her. She is pure in the sense of her belief and I will try and keep that alive in my heart. Though I know I will change, I will find her newer versions. But for now I can start with her. Here’s to Vidya, here’s to Nargis.

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