Crown The Brown Review: Motichoor Chaknachoor
Crown The Brown: Motichoor Chaknachoor. 15 November 2019 brought the release of the Bollywood film Motichoor Chaknachoor. The movie featured actress Athiya Shetty (character: Annie/ Anitha) and actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui (character: Pushpinder). We were pretty excited to watch this movie. Athiya Shetty is surely more than just a pretty face and surely has killer on-screen skills. Nawazuddin is known for his amazing acting skills! The two together is a sure fire combination but the story line felt a bit backwards. Motichoor Chaknachoor basically tells the typical tale of arranged marriage. A male desperate for marriage and a female desperate to settle abroad. The two certainly find common ground but we couldn’t help but notice how problematic this movie was. Here are 5 reasons why this movie is problematic in this day and age, as well as not worth the watch!
1. Body Shaming and Colorism is still NOT COOL or HUMOROUS!
In the movie, Pushpinder (Nawazuddin) has a potential proposal from a rich family. The daughter tends to be on the heavier side and this does not go unnoticed in the movie. The potential “wife” is dark-skinned, plus size and the character is “eager to eat”! Once again, a fat stereotype that we always see on screen. Fat = Food? Ridiculous! The character ‘Anitha’ (Athiya) tells him that she heard his potential wife is fat and that nobody desires a fat wife! #FATSHAMING
The girl is compared to a baby elephant and her potential is ridiculed because of her weight. Athiya’s character goes on to say that every man desires a slim and fair bride. What a load of BULLSHIT! A man desires a wife that has the potential to be a wife! Her complexion and body size has nothing to do it. Yes, it is a movie but it perpetuates everything that we are trying to break down. How do we expect the Indian community to change their perceptions if we are portraying that narrow-mindedness on-screen? Can anyone scream HYPOCRISY! It is not cool and it will never be!
2. A man is not your ticket to independence
Athiya’s character ‘Annie’ has the desire to settle abroad. Ani wants to get out of her small community and spread her wings. Unfortunately, she decides that the only way this will happen is through an arranged marriage. This backwards thinking perpetuates women as being solely dependent on men. She plans her entire independence on the idea of marriage. This results in a misconstrued idea of marriage and the values behind it. For a community that believes in the importance of marriage, we surely have the wrong reasons behind it in every story line!
Nawazuddin’s character, Pushpinder has a gold digger as a mother, who truly believes that the only thing worth value is dowry! Money, money and money! She doesn’t contribute towards it but expects her children to bring all the financial stability in her household! This level of dependency is perpetuated in many movies and showcases the familial pressure that exists in brown households and how children are forced into situations to gain acceptance and respect from their elders.
Pushpinder feels the pressure and does not even express his own dreams or sense of fulfillment. He certainly goes the extra mile for his family but what about his own dreams? He was not happy in his occupation or his marital status because he was being forced due to the idea that if he was not married, no other sibling could be married. It’s sad and extremely backwards but in some small communities this still exists!
3. The character “Annie” is Emotionally Abusive and Manipulative
We often see men portrayed as abrasive and manipulative on-screen depicting real stories but how often do we see women in this character? Athiya’s character Anitha manipulates Pushpinder into marrying her for her own vengeful benefit. This is normalized and nobody acknowledges her problematic behaviour but when it’s a male, then he is continuously described as the ‘bad guy’. We fight for equality yet we don’t acknowledge women who are abusive in today’s day and age. Women can abuse you as well! Annie’s character surely portrays this behaviour and the movie would have had some sense of direction if it was acknowledged in the story line.
4. Lastly, The main character “Annie” relies solely on her beauty to get her everything that she wants
Motichoor Chaknachoor, Tall, slim and fair. No surprise in a Bollywood movie right? Can someone say Eurocentric beauty standards?? The movie perfectly accentuates the beauty barriers that we are trying to break down. What makes it even worse is that Annie openly says “I’m fair, slim and beautiful. I can get anything right”. She makes it clear that her beauty is all she needs to get what she wants in the world.
Her own mother-in-law says that she can control her husband with her beauty. It perpetuates the idea that girls who do not look like that, do not have the ability to go after anything that they want in this world. It showcases a lack of acceptance or diversity regarding beauty standards. She is completely dependent on her looks with regards to her future. It is extremely problematic. A woman is more than just a face, torso and legs!
I would give the movie a rating of 3/10. This movie rating is solely based on the story line and not the actors. Athiya and Nawazuddin are certainly great on-screen! Personally, the music was not bad. I enjoyed the theme songs but the story line had me running for the hills. We cannot disagree that Athiya and Nawazuddin are really A-grade actors but the story definitely set us back a few good years! It is disappointing that with such a killer cast, the story line had to ruin such a classic on-screen love. It is easy to say that a movie is just a movie but a lot of what is portrayed on screen is influential to our youth and these kind of movies normalize certain issues and taboos that we are attempting to eradicate! Better luck next time.
CROWN THE BROWN