Out of one box into another: Are women in OTT space in danger of being stereotyped?


There isn’t any denying that OTT platforms have performed an enormous function in liberating women from pickle jars and poori prisons. In a rustic the place mainstream tv reveals nonetheless have protagonists being both victims or vixens, digital content material allowed women to do common stuff like date, drink, smoke, mess up, marry, divorce, have intercourse (kya! Kya! Kya!) and truly take into account life choices aside from profitable essentially the most sanskaari of all of them pageant.

It additionally opened the doorways to topics like little one sexual abuse, home violence and the sexual assault of women that are difficult for GEC channels to work with, provided that tv packages are often for household viewing.

There have been some actually great tales and feminine characters on streaming platforms this 12 months, giving some immensely gifted actors a possibility to shine. And but if you concentrate on reveals and movies like Bulbbul, Guilty, She, Mirzapur 2, Masaba Masaba, Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives, Aarya, and Bhaag Beanie Bhaag, amongst others, one can’t assist however surprise, have OTT platforms ended up slotting women and their tales as effectively?

Why is it that the preferred or extremely publicised reveals and flicks with feminine protagonists had main women who had been both victims taking revenge, victims taking a stand, or clearly privileged women having enjoyable with a aspect dose of ambition?

Consider this. Kiara’s character Nanki in Guilty has been abused as a baby, and she or he is struggling to manage whilst an grownup. In She, Aaditi Pohankar performed Bhumika Pardeshi, a lady who has turned frigid after being abused as a baby and managed by society’s expectations of morally acceptable behaviour. In non-fiction present What the Love, a participant shared that she had been abused as little one. This was simply in the primary three months of 2020. Guilty and She, in reality, launched in the identical month on Netflix.

In Bulbbul, which was a chudail origin story of kinds, Tripti Dimri performed a baby bride who’s assaulted viciously by her husband and raped by her brother-in-law earlier than she turns into a vigilante killing abusive males. Beena in Mirzapur 1 is manipulative, however solely after or as a result of her father-in-law rapes her on the finish of Season 1, does she actually come into significance in Season 2. Even the inarguably sensible Delhi Crime might sadly be made as a result of it advised the story of maybe essentially the most brutal case of assault on a lady in latest occasions.

The bodily, sexual and emotional abuse of women and kids is painfully rampant world wide and positively must be addressed. But abuse isn’t a ceremony of passage {that a} character must undergo to offer her objective or make her story price sharing. Rape, homicide or little one sexual abuse can’t change into a handy backstory machine to elucidate away a lady’s psychological or bodily well being points, or to make her attention-grabbing/edgy sufficient to be participating.

On the opposite finish of the spectrum are the enjoyable women. Women who’re ditsy/cool, good trying, educated, working people. These women are residents, or newcomers to the massive metropolis. They gown effectively, go to bars, get drunk, have informal intercourse, are confused about their careers and private lives, and are privileged sufficient to be coming of age in their thirties, forties and even in their fifties.

Whether its Masaba in her eponymous present, the women from Four More Shots Please, the fabulous Bollywood wives, or Swara Bhasker in Bhaag Beanie Bhaag, these are all totally different variations of the confused/coming of age fashionable city Indian girl.

None of these traits is an issue or a judgement. But reality stays, it’s all getting fairly acquainted. It is a wrestle to search out tales the place the character isn’t taking part in the aspirational picture of a ‘liberated’ girl who’s mainly doing what her male counterparts had been allowed to do for many years.

There are, little question, totally different genres of content material, however we have to discover a method by which women might be one thing aside from being indignant or not so indignant. If we will get pleasure from Orange is the New Black, Grace and Frankie, Stranger Things, Crown, House of Cards, Marvellous Mrs. Maisel and 13 Reasons Why – all reveals that function women in lead roles however inform utterly totally different tales, why can we wrestle to create differentiated content material that includes women in an Indian context? Is it as a result of we’re nonetheless going by means of a hangover from Hindi GEC or as a result of makers are sticking to a method that’s working?

Perhaps the reply isn’t so simple as the query appears, however I actually do want that in 2021 we use the huge potential of OTT platforms to showcase the plurality and variety of what it means to be a lady in India. Let’s hope that content material creators push the envelope and increase the chances of female-driven narratives, as an alternative of succumbing to the temptation of compartmentalising women into straightforward to ‘manage’ containers.


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