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The Problem with Female Characters in 'Mirzapur' - They are Just Helpless Mothers and Trophy Lovers

Mirzapur is a testosterone drive where the men are the perpetrators and also the protectors. The women are well, just disgruntled mothers, helpless sisters, unsatisfied wives, and a trophy for two gangsters.

Adrija Bose | News18.com

Updated:November 29, 2018, 9:02 AM IST
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The Problem with Female Characters in 'Mirzapur' - They are Just Helpless Mothers and Trophy Lovers
Mirzapur is a testosterone drive where the men are the perpetrators and also the protectors. The women are well, just disgruntled mothers, helpless sisters, unsatisfied wives, and a trophy for two gangsters.
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In one of the episodes of 'Mirzapur', the newly released show on Amazon, Beena, wife of the self-styled king of Mirzapur Akhandanand Tripathi (Pankaj Tripathi) quips, "garam karke thanda chod dete hain." (You turn me on me but leave me dissatisfied)" after a dissatisfying lovemaking session. That was probably the only moment when a woman in the show had found a voice. However, despite the protest she doesn't do much to change that.

Amazon Prime's 'Mirzapur' is the latest talk of the town. It's got everything — violence, gore, sex, abuses, romance, bromance, and oh, and did we mention violence? But despite the obvious ingredients, the show fails to portray a single powerful woman character.

Beena, played by the very talented Rasika Dugal, is a victim of sexual abuse in her own home. Although she is not shy of talking about her sexual fantasies; and she is almost like Lady Macbeth in her game of manipulating Kaleen Bhaiya's psychotic heir Munna (Divyendu Sharma), she has no real power over her husband Kaleen Bhaiya, or Munna.

When Shweta Tripathi who plays Golu Gupta is introduced in the show, she says she finds 'swarg' right after she masturbates. When she decides to contest the elections in her college, you'd think there's finally someone to give competition to Munna, the man who is known for scaring and beating up students who contest against him. However, it soon turns out, that Golu, who finally becomes the reason why Guddu (Ali Fazal) is alive, also needed to be protected. The brawny Guddu and his contemplative brother Bablu (Vikrant Massey) who clearly had a crush on Golu, had to take matters in their own hands when she was being threatened.

Guddu and Munna's shared love interest-- Sweety (Shriya Pilgaonkar)-- also makes an apparently powerful entry. She rejects the most powerful 'son' of the town Munna and decides to become Guddu's wife. However, she too falls prey to the misogynistic men who treat her as nothing more than a trophy. The disturbing part is, she is not unhappy with being reduced to that.

Guddu and Bablu's mother starts enjoying the power that comes after her sons join the 'business', but she seems to lose all that power when Guddu threatens a shopkeeper with her gun. Their sister didn't even need to exist-- that's how unimportant her role is, so far.

If the show was to be summarised in a single sentence, it's a testosterone drive where the men are the perpetrators and also the protectors. The women are well, just disgruntled mothers, helpless sisters, unsatisfied wives, and a trophy for two gangsters.

Why couldn't Beena, with her manipulating powers, actually hold some power over her husband? Why didn't she have say in the business? Why couldn't Sweety just tell Guddu that she wants to enjoy her first night of marriage and doesn't want Guddu to 'save his energy' to show off his muscle the next day? Why couldn't Guddu and Bablu's mother be more assertive? Why couldn't their sister, who was apparently in the honest lawyer father's team, actually continue to resist the brothers and actually take a stand against them? Why wasn't Golu allowed to fight her own battles?

There's no doubt that the female characters of 'Mirzapur' pretty much summarise the reality of being a woman in a small town, but what is plain annoying is that all of them were given some share of power only to be snatched away from them.

In Netflix's 'Sacred Games', the women had to die to inspire and enthuse the men. In 'Mirzapur', the women are all victims.

Perhaps, the next season will be more about the women. At least, that's what the trailer suggests. Or, maybe we are just being too hopeful.
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