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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Do Hanso Ka Joda - Reaffirming the stereotype of the ‘good boy’!

The process of image building and image sustenance is a part of modern day entertainment media. Advertisements, films, serials, and public relations-all these businesses are in the business of creating stereotypes of images, institutions and characters. Suryakamal’s entire ‘look’ for the character of a ‘good’ boy reaffirms this fact. He is dressed in monochrome colours of a single shade with black heavy framed spectacles, a moustache and oil slick hair. His stride is hesitant and he smoothes his hair ever so often to hide his shyness. He is a classis example of the preconceived notions that is attached to ‘goodness’ and the way media goes on reinforcing the stereotype rather than destroy it.

Preeti’s first reaction of dislike for her to-be-husband, Suryakamal stemmed from the way he looked. Had he been a cool T-shirt and jeans wearing ‘dude’, her reactions would have been far more favourable. This totally irrelevant correlation between looks and values has been the cause of many a heartbreak and misunderstanding as it is between the lead characters of the serial. Can a person be good only if he/she dresses in a particular way and sports a particular look? Are we not propagating a certain myth about ‘goodness’ by dressing it up in a certain way? Preeti’s response to Suryakamal is a very good pointer to what image construction does to human psyche.

Preeti has grown up on a strong does of Hindi films and her head is full of notions of love that are straight out of a film. Of course she dreams of a man who will at least in the looks department strongly resemble all her favourite heroes. Her dreams are shattered when she is married off to Suryakamal who is a far cry from all her dreams. Yes, he has a heart of gold. But does a heart of gold always have to come in a package so lacklustre? Can not a decent looking, smartly attired guy also have a good heart and soul? Why do the two notions of looks and character have to be mutually exclusive? If you have one, you cannot or rather you are not supposed to have the other. The good guy does not have to be a ‘Greek god’ in his looks but he also does not have to be doormat in the looks department. Let us just focus on the book and focus out its cover; for what matters is what is inside.

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