This domain, centered on the performative, may both deny the atomizing modernity associated with the construction of the private, but may also provide a supportive frame to its cultivation. Here, to cultivate an aesthetic of the private suggests a politics of desire in which the relationship between zones of intimacy and socio-political arrangements need not follow a model of opposition and separation of public and private experience. Thus narrative communities, both relayed and produced afresh by the cinema may provide sanction to privatized story-telling codes such as character point of view.
This is observable in the song sequence ‘Aaj sajan mohe ang laga lo’ in Pyaasa (Guru Dutt, 1957). A group of Vaishnavite singers perform the kirtan expressing Radha’s erotic longing for Krishna, authorizing the movement and look of Gulab (Waheeda Rehman), as she approaches her beloved, Vijay (Guru Dutt). The space of the scene is governed by camera movements and cuts that match the musical address and by the individualized viewpoint of the desiring woman. This scene is also an example of what I have called the enabling functions of darsana, where the icon of the beloved serves to foreground the subjectivity of the socially subordinate female character.
Sarla Thakral was first Indian woman to fly. Born in 1914, she earned an aviation pilot license in 1936 at the age of 21. After obtaining the initial license, she completed one thousand hours of flying. While she was working towards a commercial pilot license, World War II broke out and civil training was suspended. Later, her husband, the first Indian to earn an airmail pilot’s license, died in a crash. She abandoned her plans to become a commercial pilot and joined the Mayo School of Art in Lahore, where she trained in the Bengal school of painting and obtained a diploma in fine arts. (Wiki)
Harnaam was just 11 years old when the beard started appearing and she spent her teenage years desperately trying to remove it. She would try to remove it by waxing twice a week.
The primary school teaching assistant endured vile abuse at school and would be stared at in the street. She became so self conscious she refused to leave her house, except to go to lessons. At her lowest point she began self harming and even considered taking her own life.
But at the age of 16, she found the courage to accept her facial hair after being baptised as a Sikh. The religion dictates that the body should be left in its natural state and body hair must be left to grow.
Harnaam was determined to show that she was beautiful no matter what she looked like.
Well, I grew up in an atmosphere where my parents believed that art should be used as an instrument for social change; my father, through his poetry, my mother, through the choices that she made as an actor. It’s not that they were giving me lectures on it, but it was the atmosphere in the family. Children learn from example. My father was a very important member of the Progressive Writers Association.
When I started working in movies, I realized that a time comes in an actor’s life when she can no longer do the work like a nine-to-five job. You can’t be playing a person who is fighting social injustice, and then come back to your air-conditioned comfort and say I will have nothing to do with the characters that I play. Some of the residue of what you have played during the day is bound to seep into your real life as well. And so my awareness grew sharper and my sense of being able to contribute whatever I can towards that end. So it was really my background, plus the films that I did that influenced me to start doing work that offered more than just entertainment. Although, I’m not against entertainment. I think that’s an extremely important end. But crudity’s a different thing.