Aitraaz: When a Woman Sexually Assaults a Man


Aitraaz (India, 2004)

Seen: Tuesday, 23rd December 2008 (DVD - a magazine edition)
Runtime: 163′
Polish Distributor: doesn’t seem to be one - the one on the box is American…
Director: Abbas-Mustan
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Paresh Rawal
Production House: Mukta Arts Ltd.
Plot: The story of a guy who is sexually harassed at his workplace by an ex-girlfriend.


Impressions In Short
An amusing and curious idea, but not pulled off that well and the film could easily be accused of sexism (or maybe I’m just being over-sensitive - more about that below *grin*).

Some Details
This is basically one of Abbas-Mustan’s crazy creations (they’re the people responsible for films like Baadshah or Baazigar ;)). It has the advantages of all the Abbas-Mustan films I’ve seen - a crazy and unusual plot told with a pinch of salt, but also the shortcomings - a messy script with too much formulaic dialogue and it’s a bit short on production values.
As for the actors, Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor are ok - neither amazing nor bad, just what they normally do. But Priyanka Chopra is awesome - very sexy and very evil *grin*
The main problem I had with this film was that I felt it was sexist. I mean it’s a nice idea for a film to have a female character who sexually harasses a man and I’m sure that sort of thing does happen in real life as well. The thing is that the villain of the piece (Priyanka) is the only emancipated woman in the film. It’s like you’re either evil or you’re the sort of woman who will leave her job the moment she gets married just so she can concentrate on taking care of her husband. There were two (moral) women other than Priyanka who occupied enough screen time to be noticed as characters and both of them left their jobs the moment they got married. I probably would have accepted the situation if they had left their jobs after their kids were born, but no - they left their careers the moment they got married. What’s more Kareena’s character studied law and had high qualifications. She clearly had some career ambitions. But she never got to realize any of them because she got married. She eventually defends her husband in court, but only after his first lawyer dies! And there’s no mention of her continuing with law after the case. It sounds like she just goes back to being the good wife who never leaves home.
Until then I would have possibly assumed that it was just because of script shortcomings - maybe they were too busy with other parts of the plot to write in jobs for those women ;-P But unfortunately there’s even a scene in court when the harassed man’s lawyer (who we’re clearly supposed to like) says something along the lines that women have an obligation to behave in a certain way and have certain borders they must adhere to and in the context in which he said it for me it meant they should stay home :]
Most of the Bollywood films I’ve watched have been rather feminist if they’ve made any comments on gender issues at all, so I was surprised!

Definitely not for people who aren’t already into Bollywood - too much sentimentality, formulaic speeches and so on. But if you are into Bollywood you might like to give it a go - it’s amusing and a little different.
A must if you’re a fan of Priyanka Chopra cause she’s awesome in this. She’s great to watch also if, like me, you’re into female villains (interesting female villain parts are so rare *sigh*).
The film is not very overtly sexist, but personally I did feel like it was “putting women in their place” - so you might want to take that into consideration also.

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