Dil Chahta Hai, 3 Idiots, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Rang De Basanti – apart from being popular Bollywood films, what do they all have in common? They’re centred around some really strong male bonding, or “bromance”s, as they’re now called. Now, try and recall Indian films that revolve around a similar fierce bond between women. Having trouble?
Charul Prabhakar, a young poet from Delhi, recognised the unfairness of the situation, and wrote a poem to remind people of the importance of the bond that women share (video above). The poem – Prabhakar told Scroll.in that she prefers not using titles, though the phrase My Girls and I was constantly in her head while she wrote it – captures the ferocity and beauty with which women support each other, while attempting to debunk the gender stereotypes associated with female friendships.
“I’ve always had issues with how female bonds are portrayed and talked about. Rather, how little they are talked about,” Prabhakar told Scroll.in. Referring to films like Pyaar ka Punchnama and ZNMD, she laid out how bromances were portrayed as being attractive and cool, while women were shown as being all about planning weddings, pedicure sessions, ruining the male bonding, being domesticated and, the worst, being judgemental about one another.
“It’s extremely problematic,” said Prabhakar. “Friendships, regardless of gender are of critical importance. Sisterhood more, because many of our problems are seldom familiar to men, even the supportive ones. I have experienced and have been privy to female friends who have helped each other out of something as grave as mental illness, or friendships wherein girls have never been introduced to any kind of familial support and have only turned to their girls for help.”
It was her own such experiences that inspired the 25-year-old to write the poem. From random, unsolicited advice in the ladies’ room or positive comments from strangers in the trial room, to being taught video games and mixing spirits, her poem highlights the kind of support women give each other, with a pertinent message: “This sisterhood is here for us, it always will be. We are connected...timelessly.”
Although it was Prabhakar who wrote the verses, the poem was performed by VJ Ramona Arena as part of a series called The Poetist.