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OTT Clash On Women’s Day

There are  two big ladies’ specials  lined  for streaming this Women’s Day.So which one  will you watch  first, Netflix’s Bombay Begums or Alt-Balajee’s   A Married Woman?

Though  the two  share a  couple  of  similarities—there is a  lesbian theme  running through both  and Naseeruddin Shah’s  elder  son Imaad features  in  both—the  two serial’s are acutely divergent experiences, the one(A Married Woman) a literary  adaptation, the  other(Bombay Begums) an original screenplay.

What is refreshing is to see these series  addressing the  hitherto taboo subject  of women’s sexuality. In  Bombay Begums, a very young girl tells her  mother who’s in an extra-marital  affair, “It’s okay , whom you want to sleep with is your business.” Another girl in her early 20s  from a small town isn’t sure whether she  likes  boys or girls.So she sleeps with both.

The  theme  of  a lonely housewife  finding tenderness and compassion in another woman’s arms is not new to  Indian cinema.  Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das  had  played such  women in Deepa Mehta’s Fire  in  1996. Now it’s Riddhi Dogra and Monica Dogra  in A  Married Woman.

 Has  there been a shift in the  way society and cinema look at same-sex  relationships?

Comments Deepa Mehta,  “In some ways I do think we have progressed. But not enough. Homosexuality is  still illegal in certain places, like Sri Lanka where mu new film Funny Boy is set. And there are so many who live in fear,  just because they are being oppressed on the basis of who they love. With pride  celebrations and social organisations, there’s definitely more of a dialogue today  than there was years ago. But it’s a long way to go.I loved Call Me By Your Name and Falling. Both very brave and well made. As are  films like Moonlight and My Brother Nikhil. The more cinema brings such stories  into the spotlight, the greater the dialogue. And that’s what the world needs to  bring about change.”

  Pooja  Bhatt who  plays  the most important  role  in Bombay Begums feels, “The  very fact that we’re now addressing a woman’s  sexual needs and desires without getting uncomfortable  shows a shift in what  constitutes  a taboo subject.”

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