Strong women aren’t simply born, they are forged through the challenges of life. With each challenge they develop mentally and emotionally. They move ahead with their head held high and a strength that cannot be denied. This was what I experienced over a weekend when I watched 2 women-centric films in the theatres.
First was a retelling of a famous story of a mother risking her life to get back to her infant son “Hirkani” and the other one a biopic “Saand ki Aankh” (Bulls Eye) based on the lives of Revolver Dadi’s (Shooter Granny’s) who took up shooting at the age of 60 and have won more than 30 National level shooting competitions.
There is not much of a difference between Hirkani and Chandro Tomar and Prakashi Tomar other than the era they come from 17th Century and late 1990’s respectively. All 3 of them did great things in life.
How did the cry of her infant baby give Hirkani the courage to descend the impossibly steep Paschim Kada that too at night? Wasn’t she afraid? One wrong step a slip here and a slip there and she wouldn’t have lived to see the sunrise.
The Tomar Dadi’s are not far behind when it comes to breaking the stereotypes. Coming from a regressive village setting where even lifting your veil was considered a crime. These Granny’s yielded guns as if they were on a war against all the patriarchs. It was a shame to watch their living conditions. They were literally baby producing machines for the men who knew nothing else other than to have sex and smoke pots of Hookah.
Hirkani a resident of the Raigadwadi a small village at the base of the magnificent Raigad fort the second capital of Swarajya ruled by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj a ruler of the Maratha kingdom. A Milkmaid by profession she used to milk her cows and take the milk up the fort for the royalty. Everyday at sunset the canon at the main entrance of the fort used to fire signalling the closure of the gate. One fine day of “Kojagiri” when Hirkani’s husband was on a scout tour of the Janjira fort, her mother in law in the neighbouring village visiting a doctor, the baby all alone at home tended by a nanny who was supposed to leave in the evening, Hirkani missed the canon and was stuck on Raigad.
Chandro and Prakashi were also stuck albeit not on a fort but in the clutches of their ruthless good for nothing husbands. They had lost 60 years of their lives giving births, changing the used Hookah pots, cleaning cow dung, working in the fields, in the brick furnaces earning money all of which was usurped by the patriarchs. Such was the suffocation in their lives.
All hopes lost for the three, they did the unthinkable. Hirkani climbed down the Paschim Kada without any formal training, fought a child killer wolf in her quest to protect her baby. The Tomars took up shooting for their daughter and granddaughter who were afraid of the gun, the society and their own family.
These women have shown us that bravery and courage lies not in brute strength but in your will power. As the curtains closed I left the theatre with moist eyes. Is there a limit to the courage, perseverance, love of a woman? I asked myself. A voice answered “There are no bounds”