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Babli Bouncer: A paradigm shift in character portrayal on screen

For a woman character portrayed on the silver screen since the time the magic of cinema was unspooled has been an aspirational journey culminating in meeting a beau with whom she will walk into the sunset, hands held hand-in-hand. BABLI BOUNCER in the 75th Year of celebration of Independence of the country has in a small way initiated the process of change, where the main female protagonist ultimately is not interested to settle down, after a heartbreak, but is more inclined to facilitate others of her ilk to stand on their feet.

When was the last time when in an opening sequence of a film the heroine is seen bashing a group of goons to pulp before being knocked off by sleight, but for BABLI BOUNCER in the world of Hindi cinema. The opening shots of the films over the years, or rather during last 75 years have shown the feminine or the beautified side of the female character, highlighting her coyness to set the character! FEARLESS NADIA may have been an exception, but there too Nadia’s fearlessness was through the hunter in her hands, but in BABLI BOUNCER Tamannaah Bhatia as Babli uses her raw muscle power to pummel the villains!

Set in a rural setting of Haryana, within the vicinity of National Capital Region of Delhi, BABLI BOUNCER is a paradigm shift in terms of character portrayal on the silver screen as it factors in the changing scenarios in terms of livelihood opportunities being created during the present times.

It was around 20 years ago when I had walked into a Bar in Chandigarh and was pleasantly surprised to see a female bouncer inside the bar. This thought always had been there at the back of my mind whether such a character would find a cinematic representation and finally it has, in the form of BABLI BOUNCER in the 75th year of Independence of the country!

Tamannaah Bhatia has lived the character and kudos to Madhur Bhandarkar for building the narrative around the roughness of the character and not allowing the element of coyness to creep in, in the character which gives it a new dimension. The facial expressions of Tamannaah, especially the smirk with which a situation is expressed by twirling the lips adds an element of innocent comic persona to the character and it is endearing.

Hindi cinema during recent times has been courageous enough, may be with an element of comedy or subtleness to bring condoms on to the screen and deconstruct them in the most harmless manner as can be possible, as it happened in the case of BABLI BOUNCER. The whole narrative of deconstructing the element of shame around condom was deconstructed in the most significant manner in JAN HIT MEIN JAARI by Nushratt Bharuccha and she took it to further accentuation through HURDANG.

Deconstructing the guilt associated with seeking a condom from the counter has been a significant way forward that has been achieved in the world of Hindi cinema during the recent times and it is a cinematic representation of liberalising attitudes towards sex that the current generation is having, the attitude building on the premise of safety, more so from the female on the screen. It is a monumental journey that Hindi cinema has travelled if one were to seek point of reference from DOOSRA AADMI where Rishi Kapoor’s character struggles to utter out the word- condom – at a medical shop!

BABLI BOUNCER in a way also tries to deconstruct an association between a boy and a girl at the level of friendship, more so from the rural area- urban representation has been done through scores of films in recent times- where the character of BABLI and her beau with whom she has been engaged is converted into friendship after urban exposure. The dialogue in the film between BABLI and her mother underlining the dilemma- when BABLI reminds her mother that according to her all the boys of the village for BABLI are brothers!

Tamannaah Bhatia needed a film like BABLI BOUNCER to give her a foothold in the Hindi film industry after the disastrous HIMMATWALA (2013) in which she had enacted the role of Sri Devi. She has got her mojo back with BABLI BOUNCER.

One needs inspiration in life, even after heartbreaks to find themselves and the purpose of life, BABLI BOUNCER is a testimony to this resolve. It is a matter of fact film where the female character does not have an iota of hesitancy to conform to societal norms and the confidence to shrug it off comes from a father who gives wings to a daughter to dream and aspire to reach the goals of her life. Saurabh Shukla’s character in BABLI BOUNCER underlines the evolution of role of fathers on the screen who support their daughters to the hilt.

BABLI BOUNCER also endears through the non-flashy sartorial portrayal of the character of the film by Madhur Bhandarkar. Masses get identified and find an organic linkage with such portrayal. Haryana as a state has led in providing wings to the dreams of the daughters in which the families support the daughter against the patriarchy, which was underlined in succinct detail through SAAND KI AANKH and now through BABLI BOUNCER. It is a study in contrast between the two neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana where women of Punjab are in all finery while women of Haryana are indeterminate in their appearance and SAAND KEE AANKH and BABLI BOUNCER underline the same.

As a matter of fact, when Tamannaah Bhatia had appeared on the Kapil Sharma show, she had carried her character as BABLI on to the TV show and enacted the role with panache during the show too. When the industry rues the fact that audience is rejecting the content being offered, they need to watch films like BABLI BOUNCER to understand how the content is changing and how the audience is lapping it up.

Times are changing in the year of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) and the content needs to change if the creators want audience to lap them up. BABLI BOUNCER has led the path and others should follow.


Hina Khan

Pooja Hegde

Himanshi Khurana

Kriti Sanon

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