Fire

[Screenshot]Again I return to the Indian drama, since it’s a lot more digestible to my sensibilities than the musicals are. This is not exactly Chandni Bar; it’s a lot less cautious with its characterization. and its themes, and sets up straw men to be knocked down by a rather unsubtle lesbianism-saves-the-day element.

I don’t have a problem with gay themes, and I’ve historically found a lot of films that took them interesting places, but there are serious problems in the construction of Fire, that every single male character in the film is a bad person, ranging from Ashok at the best (whose celibacy is not a problem, but his objectification of Radha is), to Jatin (whose adultery is at least convincingly portrayed) to Mundu (who’s simply cartoonishly evil). This may be demonstrative of a certain kind of family life, and it provides a useful social context in which Radha and Sita’s relationship faces emphatic hostility, but as a backdrop for gay self-discovery, it’s actively harmful, since it makes Radhu and Sita’s relationship less “discovering where their true attractions lie” and more “pursuing romantic involvement with the only person in each of their lives who is not obviously horrible”. In spite of all that, there’s some good chemistry, and when it’s just the two of them on the screen, one can believe that they actually fell in love with each other rather than settling for each other. But all in all, despite the good chemistry between the leads and the tension between their love and their societal role, I have real problems recommending this one.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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