History Had





History Had

Chandni Bar is a Hindu based film written and directed by Bhandarkar Madhur and produced by Mohan Lata in 2001. Starring Tabu, Atul Kulkarni, Rajpal Yadav and Khare Ananya as the main characters, the film depicts the rough life in Mumbai. It uncovers controversial issues such as gun crime, prostitution and dance bars. This reveals the underlying nature of the Mumbai underworld while portraying the phenomenon that culture does not change because individuals desire to change it. The circumstances surrounding one influence their actions to a point where they perform actions, which do not portray their cultural values. Based on the same context, the film presents a situation where the main character’s situation forces her to perform actions that are against her personal beliefs. Analysis of Chandni Bar presents controversial issues pertaining to gender.

Historical Context

Madhur’s film introduces the audience to a sympathetic situation involving a young girl, Mumtaz, orphaned by communal riots. Disoriented by the sudden killings of her parents, the village girl runs out of survival tactics and options. Along with her only surviving relative, Irfaan Mama, she moves to the city. According to her perceived notion, moving to the city would present her with better opportunities of survival. However, this is not the case for the naïve village girl. Her uncle manages to persuade her niece into being a bar lass against her own will. After several personal consultations, she finally gave in to her uncle’s suggestion and worked in Chandni Bar in order to fend for her personal needs and basic sustenance. Her involvement with other bar dancers unravels the terrible realities associated with her work. Nonetheless, her uncle fails to keep his promise of getting another job. On the contrary, he lives on her earnings while drinking it away despite acknowledging his niece’s hard work and perseverance in her current job. Additionally, he commits another unforgivable act when he rapes her while drunk.

As expected, Mumtaz’s beauty attracted customers from all lifestyles and this gained her popularity in the region as well as attention. Among her acquired admirers is a local gangster, Sawat Potiya. He befriends her and gains her trust to a point where she shares personal information with him. It is during one of their talks that Mumtaz tells him about her uncle’s disgraceful act. The underworld henchman decides to defend her honor and shoots him dead. Life in the dangerous slums becomes more difficult since she lacks male protection. In order to solve this issue, Mumtaz opted to marry Potiya. Consequently, she resorts to stay at home guarding her two children and quits her job. She safeguards her children with the ideology that the world is full of sinful acts such as prostitution. However, her previous attempts fail when Potiya dies. History repeats itself when Mumtaz decided to go back to dancing in the bar. She failed to fulfill the promise she made to herself about protecting her children. Eventually, her situation exposes both her children to world crimes where her daughter ends up as a bar dancer and a prostitute while her son becomes a killer. Her son’s career decision pushes her to turn into prostitution in order to save her.

Geographic Context

The film presents the audience with two different geographical positioning. It presents unique geographical transitions while explaining the misfortunes faced by the protagonist. According to the film, the protagonist lived in the rural areas in the beginning of the stories. This is not until when misfortunes hit her and she loses her family to the riots present in her village. In a bid to move the viewers from the rural setting to the urban sector, the writer presents forth her uncle who convinces her to move to the urban region. The film serves the purpose of displaying how culture erodes over the years. Similar to Mumtav’s experience, most individuals move to the urban areas with the ideology that they would be able to earn a living. However, most people end up disappointed because the urban areas are full of difficulties in terms of employment where only the qualified ones are able to earn sensible employment. Therefore, the hard conditions force them to change their cultural beliefs and adopt new ones.

Social Context

Mumtav moved to the urban area without any additional advantages that would earn her a sensible job such as education, work experience or special talents. She lacked both the resources and basic needs for her upkeep. Eventually, she only managed to secure a job as bar dancer at Chandni bar. This is a symbolic representation of people from the lower class society. A person’s social status not only displays his or her living conditions but also their capabilities regarding different subjects. Psychological models in the society shapes the ideology that social status defines an individual. Furthermore, these perceptions eventually actualize into an individual’s mind where they tend to accept the society’s ideology. This explains the main reason why Mumtav settled to go back to dancing in the bar and prostitution when Potiya died. The fact that Mumtav went back to doing the job she did only shows that history repeats itself in most cases. Therefore, the society tends to accept an individual judging from his or her social class.

Family Context

Clearly, the director tries to bring out the phenomenon that men have an omnipotent power over women in the Indian society. Mumtav’s uncle was able to extort money from her without using any type of force. She willingly accepts t o sleep with the men in the bar in order to earn a living. This shows the power men have over women in the society. According to the Indian culture, men dominate over the females, they have to abide by all the rules, and expectations set by the males. Additionally, the film presents yet another theme, only powerful women have power the men in terms of sexuality. This features when Potiya pulls away from her wife when she treats in the same way as she did with other clients.

 Ethical Context

The unspeakable desolate film portrays its most evident theme of sexual betrayal. There are distinct incidences that present the viewer with grief, sympathy and empathy towards the protagonist. On numerous occasions, she receives unfair treatment filled within the harsh environment presented before her from the beginning. The fact the riots killed her family is unethical. Killing itself is a criminal act and making an individual an orphan is definitely unethical. Her uncle also treats her unfairly when she uses up her hard-earned salary to drink while constantly lying that he would try to get a job. Potiya’s and Deepa’s decisions to kill Mumtav’s uncle and her best friend respectively presents unethical circumstances. Unethical issues hit the peak in the film when cases of rape occurred. Mumtav’s uncle raped her while her son became victim to the same crime when raped by two men. Additionally, officials from the bar force her to carry out repeated abortions. All these cases portray unethical issues within the film.

Chandni Bar presents the audience with the ideological history of individuals based on the Indian context. The unspeakable film diverts its audience through different perspectives ranging from historical, geographical, and family to ethical contexts. These techniques help in explaining the themes and chronological events of the film. Additionally, it brings out the phenomenon that individuals do not change their culture but the circumstances they are going through that force them. This fact together with other gender-based issues represents the history in the Indian society.

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