'Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamaktay Sitaray'- A movie tackling gender politics
Dolly Kitty aur who chamaktay Sitare is an Indian-Hindi language movie released in 2020. The film provides a commentary on the gender politics in Indian society. It tells the story of two cousins, Dolly and Kitty who live very different lives while having similar struggles. Dolly (Konkona San Sherma) is a middle-aged Hindu woman who is married, has two kids and works in a predominantly male environment where she is expected to make tea for all her male co-workers even though it does not fall under her job description. While Dolly too has a job, she is solely responsible for taking care of the house, and the family. She is employed in the triple-shift most women are subjected to—meanwhile the husband comes home to a clean house, and cooked meals. In her office, she’s the only female in the room so she is automatically expected to make tea for everyone and her colleagues just assume that she works as a hobby, not for her career. The expectation is natural; towards the end when Dolly refuses to make tea for her manager, her small act of resistance is met with surprise “Mrs. Yadhav?, Whats gotten into you?” Hence, the film provides a good commentary on the gender roles being reinforced in the society.
The film also uses female sexuality to explain repression. Desperate to earn a living, Kitty starts work as a voice operator at Red Rose Romance App, a telephonic service for horny men. Through Kitty’s journey as a phone sex worker, the film highlights the struggles that women face in their professional lives regardless of the nature of their job. Also the idea of autonomy becomes important here—males use female sexuality to aid their own capitalist interests without paying any attention to the females they employ in the industry. What this means is, the males exercise control over female sexuality to serve male sexual appetite. Females are thus, reduced to objects working for male pleasure while their own desires are simultaneously being nullified.
In one scene, Kitty’s brother in law Amit finds about her job while using the app and complaints about Kitty not having any ‘dignity’ to her parents. Her parents then shame her on having a demeaning job to which she replies “you’re blaming me but what about Amit using the app in the first place?” suggesting that the society promotes the repression and control of female sexuality, while male sexuality is celebrated.
Thus, the film uses female sexuality to explain gender politics, wherein the female characters taking control of their own sexuality becomes an act of resistance against patriarchy. This film also attempts to change the narrative of south Asian cinema’s strongly-established structure – which is made on the heroism of men, by men and for male viewers. Politics of representation makes a real change in society – which also means that south Asian cinema has been successfully feeding patriarchal society and doling out misogyny for a long time.