Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Provoked

What does it take for a woman of modest bearing, to wait till the quiet hours of the night until her husband of ten years is sound asleep, and to douse him in a carefully prepared mixture of cooking oil and other household flammable liquids, and then to drop a flaming candle at his feet, and watch in horror, and relief as the flames sieze and engulf his screaming frame!?

What does it take?

Insanity is a gleaming and rather self-righteous label designed by the self-acclaimed 'sane' and an appeasing banner to the designated who must wear it as a yoke. Why must some plead insanity to obtain justice? Or rather, as a human right's activist in the movie suggests, 'Why must women plead insanity to obtain justice, while men need only lose their tempers for the same?'

'Provoked' is the name of the movie that profiles a young Punjabi woman's plight to restore her dignity from within the confines of an abusive marriage, and in an act of being driven to temporary irrational insanity, she sets her husband on fire. He dies after some days in hospital. She is charged. This, she maintains, is her first taste of freedom.

Battered wife syndrome is, as a result of her case, a legally recognised condition.

Abuse is a messy subject, and many people will shy away from the indications to take the topic by the horns and do real battle with it. How do we break the cycle? We engage in abuse and are abused every other day when we choose to ascribe labels on each other, and when we carry those with which we might be branded. Where does it all stop? And how?

5 comments:

Azra said...

Its so sad what some women are pushed into doing. Its not like they want to, but they are forced to because he's an abusive ass. Ay, this world brings me down.

Safiyya... said...

abuse is recognised in many ways, after years its built up where it can no longer be taken...

and sometimes women are too soft thinking that maybe he will change...

KimyaShafinaaz said...

In all fairness, abuse happens both ways. But yes, its sad that a person can be brought to a point of virtual insanity... or rather thats precisely what allows them to act?!

In Provoked, it is indeed, a woman facing the onslaught (and the generalisation is drawn from this being teh major statistic)... and it starts because Kiran's (Aishwariya Rai) husband is jealous of the attention she gets from his male friend (who calls her bhabi/sisterinlaw)...

And in the beginning, everytime he slaps her, he apologises... then he starts sleeping around with other women, sends her tumbling down a flight of stairs in her pregnancy, then apologises saying 'see what you made me do'...

eventually, he starts telling her how she's just a woman, and she's nothing... and there's the acts of marital rape (in some societies, still not recognised as such)...

these are tending towards the cycle of abuse rhetoric and so we hear this kind of stuff all the time... but its a hectic shocker of a movie...

i was fascinated by the 'soft' depiction of prison life though...
its all relative...

Zahera said...

Watched this movie when it first came out with my sister and cousin. Thought it was quite amazing- simple, poignant, relevant and very well executed in all aspects. Does make you wonder doesnt it- as to what extent can an individual be pushed.

Something i wrote a very long time ago on my bloggy Kimyi- when Zesty was actually somewhat topical and didnt have baby brain mush :-P
Its somewhat related to this post but not entirely.

http://zahera.blogspot.com/2005/05/easier-said-than-done.html

KimyaShafinaaz said...

Zest, honey... How are yOu?? and the bEaN????? :P

Will check out your blog article..
i guess in many ways life presents moments where the edge of the mind and the edge of madness collide.