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Analysis of The Movie Dostana

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The movie Dostana was directed by Tarun Mansukhani. Dostana tells the tale of two men who fake their sexuality, and pretend to be homosexual in order to rent out rooms in the apartment of Neha (played by Priyanka Chopra). The two men, Sam (played by Abhishek Bachchan) and Kunal (played by John Abraham), did so due to Neha’s aunt only willing to rent out to females. Using their relationship, Sam applies for a domestic partnership and trouble ensues. Sam’s conservative mother flies in to confront him about his sexuality and Neha ends up dating her boss. However, the two men have already fallen in love with their newfound best friend and thus starts their mission to break Neha and her boss up.

As seen through its plot, Dostana touches on several sensitive issues in order to engage its audience. One topic introduced was homosexuality. In the past, homosexuality was never a part of India’s culture, largely to how conservative they were, with religion also playing a role. In the film, the two male leads, who are considered the ‘heroes’ in the film, posed as a gay couple. This causes several conflicts in the movie, the main one being the reaction of Sam’s mother fainting as well as Neha’s aunt’s initial reaction of disgust. Making use of comedic elements, the film portrayed the fake couple as a strange and unnatural one, aligning with the mindsets of those in India. These comedic elements included the scene in which Sam’s mother found out about the couple. Through the usage of songs and dance, they portrayed her opinion that being a homosexual makes one more feminine, with scenes of her praying, blessing and exorcising her son in order to rid him of the ‘disease’. Even the song lyrics played a heavy role with one line stating “Your son rides the bridal palanquin”, indicating that Sam is now less of a man. In addition to that, Neha’s aunt also gave several comments in which she expressed her confusion over the sexuality of the boys. Some of the comments were “Since when have you been hero and heroine?” and “In our days our guys used to like girls.” show how appalled Neha’s aunt was with the current generation, and the juxtaposition with her generation when it came to love. She sees homosexuality as something new and has never happened before until now. This may further highlight the “misperception and misconception that Indians have that homosexuality is to be regarded as an alien thing” that came from the West due to typical Bollywood style dancing scenes but the male were instead wearing western style clothing and performing western style dancing.

Another stereotype the film heavily focused on was gender stereotypes. In the opening scenes of the film, women appeared clad in only bikinis and were thought that they could not stay in the same apartment as males, as mentioned by Neha’s aunt. This therefore gave way to the scheme of the two male leads faking as a couple. However, despite such scenes that only prove that females were thought to be modest, prim and proper, always submitting to men’s wishes, Dostana once again breaks the stereotype. Neha, although agreeing with her aunt’s wishes to only live with other women, she is still also depicted as an opinionated, strong and independent woman. Neha is very career driven, shown by how she was expecting a job promotion, and was also not afraid to speak her mind upon finding out Sam’s and Kunal’s role in typing to break her and her boss apart. She gives her honest opinion and is not worried to upset the men nor seem improper during her public argument with them.

Male stereotypes were also challenged in this film. It is not uncommon in a Bollywood film that men are depicted as the hero, and are masculine and strong. However, Dostana challenges this. Sam is known to be a nurse, an occupation thought to be a women’s occupation. Even his patient questions why he did not become a doctor when it required the same number of years in school to be a nurse. Kunal is a photographer and is always portrayed as the more feminine of the two male leads, through his flamboyant outfit choices as well as his demeanor and effeminate body language. This may have also been done to further indicate the belief of how a homosexual man behaves, more feminine tan masculine. As said by Gayatri Gopinath, the mention of homosexuality “is often achieved at the expense of the effeminate male or masculine female character”.

In addition to that, there are also several character developments in the film. Both Sam’s mother and Neha’s aunt were seen to be skeptical about their homosexuality, in accordance to their traditional beliefs. However, with constant persuasion from Neha, they have come to terms with it and are even able to accept it. This gives rise to the possibility that homosexuality may actually be regarded as the norm instead in the future, highlighting the progression the film may be pushing for.

Despite all the progression Dostana has shown, it may not actually be the film’s intent. Sensitive topics that were brought up and stereotypes that were challenged were done in an exaggerated and comedic manner. This may be partially due to the essence of Bollywood films itself, however, even the dialogues and lyrics of songs played suggest that it may not be as accepting of the modern values and cultures as it seems. Whether it was purposely done to engage a wider mass audience view, the reasons for such stereotypes to be portrayed as it was does not matter as much. Bringing these issues up in the first place has allowed Dostana to achieve many things, the main impact being bringing such taboo issues to light and forcing the audience to think of them as the norm instead, just like Neha’s aunt and Sam’s mother have done.

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Analysis Of The Movie Dostana. (2019, August 27). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from
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