On International Men’s Day, Let’s Look At Bollywood Male Characters Who Nailed Feminism!
It’s International Men’s Day today! While the day doesn’t get half as much hype as its counterpart, we all still must celebrate it because hey, feminism means equality! So, why should men not have an appreciation day to themselves? Of course, there’s always the fact that men have not been the nicest to women, but hey, of course there are exceptions. A lot of films and mainstream TV has seen men been portrayed in typical macho roles. The recent years, though, we have seen some positive changes. So, this Men’s Day, let’s take some time out to celebrate the changing face of masculinity. Here’s a look at some male characters who nailed what it’s like to be a feminist!
Kabir Khan from Chak De! India
For SRK who had pigeonholed himself into playing the likes of Rahul (toxic AF, FYI), this was a refreshing character. This male coach running an all-female hockey team not only fought for them to be pushed forward as a team in the sporting community, but honed each player with a certain sense of gender-blindness. He didn’t see women he had to turn into sports players. He saw sports players. Period.
Bashkor Banerjee from Piku
Sure, he wants his daughter to get married etc, but this sassy father in Piku doesn’t regard that as his life’s aim, or hers. He doesn’t belittle her, or think her worth is any less for not being in a relationship or marriage. She has a man in her life who spends nights with her at her home while her father is in the next room, making absolutely zero fuss around it. As fathers of adult daughters should.
Narottan Mishra from Bareily ki Barfi
While her mother harps on about how her “tomboy” daughter is not good enough for a man, and since she is not good enough for a man, she is not good enough, Bitti’s father gives her solid support. He not only thinks that her daughter, who hangs out with guys, smokes and drinks, is just fine the way she is, he also secretly indulges her “vices”. Why? Because he knows that these habits are considered vices only when it comes to women, and he doesn’t stand by that kind of sexism.
Lakshmikant Chauhan from PadMan
This character based on a real-life feminist icon wasn’t a male role model only because he manufactured affordable sanitary napkins in a village where they were not easily available, and inadvertently opened up employment opportunities for the women in the village. He fought the system voraciously, and that’s invaluable. But, he also fought the women in his life – his wife, sisters and mother – and their internalised misogyny. He fought for what’s a basic right for women, despite the fact that the ones he loved were ashamed of him, and unwilling to stand by him. Now, that’s the kind of passion that even many women fail to live up to.
Mahavir Singh from Dangal
He was, what I’d like to call, an accidental feminist. He spent years distraught that he didn’t have a son who could fulfil his own dreams for him. But, when he accidentally realised that his two daughters were just as capable and talented, he was not ashamed to admit that he had been wrong all this while. He immediately recognised that girls can be honed to become fighters just as much as boys can, and dedicated himself wholeheartedly to training his daughter. Often, at the opposition of his wife and fellow villagers. Another real-life hero depicted on-screen that all men must look up to!
Of course, men who respect and fight for women are not only fictional. The feminist man exists, and indeed, there are two such men in this list above. Real life influences movies, but movies also influence real life. Bollywood, we’d love to see more male characters that inspire!