Contrary to popular opinion (based on its opening day reviews), “Ribbon” is one of those movies that has the power to really speak to a particular set of Indians who constitute about a little less than a quarter of the nation’s population. It is for those young Indian adults who are still ripe in their early years out of the protective nest of family and student environment. It is for the “not-so-niche-anymore” set of latest adults who impress in their corporate jobs, managing the other “not-so-young” adults during the day; and frequent music gigs and stand up comedy acts as they swig their brewed beer or wine at night. It is for those just married out of love found in college or just starting to get serious with the one they are currently with. I retract my statement that it is for them. This is about them. This is them.
The plot highlights several widespread but lesser known troubles of the modern Indian society. It shows how the sophisticated Indian offices are still not so sympathetic towards a women’s basic right to a maternity leave. The male chauvinist still cannot help but jump upon a chance to step past and stomp the female on his way up the office ranks, making sure that she does not get back up and pose a threat again, in fear that in absence of her unfair circumstances, she might actually beat him to the throne when it comes down to raw talent and intelligence. A behaviour in line with the oppression of the weaker sex practiced since time immemorial in rural households of urban cities.
The story depicts the relationship of the modern Indian adult very well. Unlike the conventional teaching that two individuals should think and act like one under wedlock, the men and women of today have a well established understanding and awareness about their own personal space and freedom. They never forget that they are independent individuals at the end of the day. They loathe dependency. They know it as the enemy. They are well aware of their rights. In some cases, even too aware for their own good. But, that does not mean these relationships are doomed to fail. These are very interesting human beings and they know how to keep each other entertained. It will be foolish to undermine the importance of that. They also happen to have a much broader mindset with a capacity to be much more understanding and hence, completely skipping some of the potential fights that can wreck marriages. The movie shows the unadulterated version of the cute Indian romance. It gives a peek into the formation and life of a nuclear family in India today. We get to see that the young Indian adult today is impulsive. One unfortunate incident due to neither of their fault, nullifies all the happiness they created over the years, makes them turn on each other and even jump to separation, all in one single night’s argument. This is followed up by the new found Indian maturity where they have the ability to organise their jumbled thoughts, think objectively and in silent understanding, undo any foolish statements made in haste.
The plot twister in the movie is about a discouragingly widespread crime of child molestation. We can clearly see the unanticipated nature of this offence as the parents are left taking wild guesses while they run over the list of people their precious daughter comes in contact with in a day, all trusted guardians they have known for years. There is the society’s resistance to accept the occurrence of the crime itself, then the blame game and finally, the repression of the act itself because the ones affected, do not think the possibility for justice is worth scarring their daughter for life.
This movie has a very relatable narration and some powerful questions alongside it.
Which pages are we missing from the books of Indra Nooyi or Angela Merkel? Or is it the Indian men who need to take a page out of someone else’s book?
The sufferings of the young Indian adults, with their fancy cars and take out food, are often dismissed in front of the millions of others who “really struggle” to put even a square meal on their family’s plates. But is it really a reasonable comparison or excuse to downplay their issues? If the poor get their quota, then don’t the “privileged” get to keep their problems?
Which punishment fits the crime of child molestation? Who will provide justice, when the lady responsible currently is blindfolded?