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Priya Prakash Varrier’s One Wink to Rule Them All

The song itself talks about how Prophet Mohammed’s wife fell in love with him at first sight and took the initiative to propose marriage. Wow! Who knew that the Prophet’s wife may have been the first feminist? And would such a spirited lady have approved of these fatwas

Sayoni Aiyar | CNN-News18

Updated:February 16, 2018, 8:38 AM IST
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Priya Prakash Varrier’s One Wink to Rule Them All
Image: Instagram/ Priya Prakash Varrier
In 30 seconds, Priya Varrier has achieved a thousand milestones. The short clip of a schoolgirl and a schoolboy exchanging flirtatious glances has not only become 2018’s biggest meme, it’s made a debutant actress a social media sensation overnight.

The video winked its way into the headlines for an audience which was thirsting for some relief from terror and ‘neech’ politics. It made us feel- for a brief 30 seconds- that we weren’t our cynical, grey-haired (well, some of us), insecure selves but passionate, confident, joyous and above all, young. Ah, to be sixteen and to have the whole world before you in a mad sweep of potential. And to be totally and confidently unaware of it too. That’s the real secret of the eyebrows that launched a thousand memes. Not the mash-ups with Arvind Kejriwal and Donald Trump (and to be honest, once you’ve seen one politician raising his eyebrows, you’ve seen them all) but the way it presses rewind on our collective consciousness.

But this is India. Politics is mother’s milk to us. And if you can’t raise eyebrows with a video of raising eyebrows, well, you may as well go to Pakistan. So within 24 hours of Priya Varrier’s TV interviews, the slugfests were in full swing.

Islamic groups demanded a ban on the song featuring Priya Varrier’s dancing eyebrows, not really because of the eyebrows, but because of the lyrics of the song. It’s a rendition of an old Mappila song, performed by a student at a school fest- as other students are shown discovering love. The song itself talks about how Prophet Mohammed’s wife fell in love with him at first sight and took the initiative to propose marriage. Wow! Who knew that the Prophet’s wife may have been the first feminist? And would such a spirited lady have approved of these fatwas? I think not. Particularly appropriate then, that the character played by Priya Varrier appears to be taking the initiative too. As the young actress told CNN-News18 in an interview well before the fatwas, and the frothing at the mouth began- ‘Why should boys have all the fun?’ Or, to put it another way, why should the patriarchs get to issue all the fatwas?

Now we owe it, not just to Priya Varrier, but to our young, optimistic pasts and to our older but wiser futures, to take the song in the spirit it’s meant. Those eyebrows didn’t mean any disrespect, let’s keep them dancing.

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