laaga.jpgA clichéd story, with a clichéd message, brought to the silver screen one more time in a different setting, a different music and a new look with new faces…..But so what if the story is clichéd, so what if it is told over and over again, this only points to the fact that no solutions have been reached and the questions raised remain largely unanswered. The storylines of the many films made on this subject makes one wonder as to why is it that only the reputation of the woman which is tainted while the man lives footloose and fancy free? We may hate him and condemn him but the bottom-line (and the story line) still remains that the reputation and person of the man hardly suffers a dent.

Every one talks about how the institution of prostitution and flesh trade has penetrated into almost every strata of society today, be it the sophisticated escort of the upper class or the random call girl or even the more traditional forms of this trade. The issue is that we as a society are aware of the problem but we only talk about it with disgust and disapproval and don’t do anything about it. Unfortunately, very little thought effort goes into understanding and reasoning out the factors that actually help perpetuate this institution. The element of ‘majboori’ and compulsion is what demands and requires our attention. We need to address the root cause of the issue and believe you me banning dance bars and ordinances of the like are a very superficial solution if considered a solution at all!

One of the primary reasons why the concept of prostitution is considered ‘low’ or demeaning is because of the tag of immorality attached to it. But come to think of it, as in the case of Badki ( Rani Mukherjee ) of Laga, when your family is deep in debt and your father on his death bed all sense of morality takes a back seat and all powers of discretion die a silent death. What would a girl who has failed 10th standard and has no qualification to fall back upon do in a situation like that? Ideally, she would take any means that comes her way and rescue herself and her family from the situation. Who are we then to sit in judgment and loudly voice our proclamations? How can we decide what is right or wrong? Moral or immoral?

What this entire issue ultimately boils down to is the plight of that one woman, the inadequacy of the education system and the condition of employment in our country which stares us in the face in the form of this ugly reality. Most of you would sigh as the mention of poverty alleviation and imparting education, write these issues off as clichéd or repetitive. But, these are the foundation stones of a society. In fact of the same society which loves talking and pointing fingers at the plight of those girls/women who have been pushed into flesh trade, but the same society will sit and twiddle their thumbs and do nothing about it. Times have changed, dimensions of economics have put us on the path of progress but it is this attitude of ours which has perpetuated stagnation in the social sphere. We haven’t been able to outgrow our hypocrisy.

We need a revolution in our thinking. We need to wake up to the realities of these women. Just because the first citizen of India is a woman doesn’t change the ground reality of these women. This is in no way, a feminist or male bashing perspective, it’s just a plea inspired by a celluloid venture to pull back the pointed finger and take some real action. But, yes if we can’t take any action then we certainly don’t have the right to pin point or look down upon the plight of those women who we can’t help and whose plight we cannot change. The least we as a society can do is; not deny them their due space and respect in society…..

Rishika Baruah