I just returned from watching Cinderella, the movie and must agree it is a flick with beautiful looking actors and actresses, gorgeous dresses, breathtaking cinematography and some amazing lines. Feature this one – Have courage and be kind, a simple line but has such deep meaning attached to it. And this is where my review of the movie stops and my analysis starts.
Why do all fairy tales need to have a girl who is beautiful but financially devoid waiting for a prince to come and rescue her from her poor condition and then they get to live happily ever after. Is there truly anything like ‘happily ever after’? I read somewhere we must read out fairy tales to kids so they become intelligent. Agreed. But don’t you think sometimes at least there must be logic to every fairy tale?
In Cinderella, Ella needs a fairy godmother to turn a pumpkin in to a carriage, a beautiful blue-colored gown and glass slippers (or whatever they are called). How many of us will get one in real life? But perhaps by selling a thousand pumpkins per year (or maybe more), many Ellas can get a carriage out of the money they make. Or maybe they can make some other wise decision rather than buying a carriage. Almost every other fairy tale shows a beautiful, delicate girl with a tiny waist and a handsome prince eyeing on her. But life is more than a slender waist and a beautiful gown. There aren’t just slender, white girls. There are girls like you and me. We are stocky, thin and fat. We are white, black and brown. We may or may not have a figure to die for but definitely have a heart wanting to be loved.
However the filmmakers and the fairy tale writers never thought from this angle. Beauty is beautiful because she is slim and fair, Cinderella is beautiful because she is slim and fair, and Snow white is beautiful because, ah, you guessed it right! Where does this end? In the story it ends in the arms of the prince but reality is stark different.
I have nothing against these fairy tales but with changing times the fairy tales have to change. They are no longer relevant. I completely disagree the way Ella took all the crap from her step mother just because she felt obliged to the promise she gave to her parents. In reality we all know what would have happened – her step mother would have got her married to an old dying suitor or worse sold her off at a brothel. We have to teach our girls to stand up and fight against the wrongs forced on them. Courage lies in confronting the situation and thinking intelligently to move out of it. In the movie Ella was kind and there is no doubt about this but she wasn’t courageous. She didn’t even open the doors of her windows when the prince came with his soldiers. The mice had to do that. For me that was blasphemy. No mice or goose or lizard will change the situation for you. Your own self-confidence would definitely do that. And this self-confidence is magic. We don’t need a fairy godmother but our inner strength which will change our current situation. I don’t promise the change will be good but I can definitely say it will be worth the effort.
The movie does make an important statement though – Just because it’s what’s done doesn’t mean it’s what should be done! My point exactly, why did you go the conventional way Mr. Director? Why not chart this story unconventionally? Why this Cinderella didn’t make an effort to run away from her house? Why didn’t she expose the atrocities of her step mother when she met the prince at the ball? Why didn’t she use the opportunities at hand? Why was she so conventional? Why wasn’t she like Joan of Arc or Rani of Jhansi? Both these women didn’t cow down to the circumstances imposed on them rather fought like warriors and this is what makes them beautiful. Not their external beauty but their will to fight against all odds whether they lose or win this is what makes them gorgeous.
Ella was gorgeous but for me she was a dupe. I wouldn’t want to be Ella. I can’t see myself at the mercy of others. If I can’t protect myself how will I ever protect my people? In the end the movie does preach – we must be our self. But we must be what we are not just once a day or twice a month. It is not a medicine. We must be our self every minute, every second. There is no fun in living a pretentious life or wearing glass slippers. Life is book and you are your own character. There is no fun in playing another person or waiting for a rescue team. You are the best person to help yourself.
I would be lying if I say I don’t believe in magic. After all we are living on a blue planet that revolves around a ball of fire next to a moon that moves the sea – enough reason to believe in miracles. But miracles don’t happen by themselves. This blue planet and everything associated with it takes help from gravity. Your gravity is your self-confidence which will see you through. This self-confidence goes hand in hand with honesty. If you are honest you will always have the self-confidence to face the wrongs and then you won’t need a prince. Perhaps the prince may need you, but you will always have the choice to lead the way or help the prince.
Believe in yourself. You are the best version of yourself whichever shape, size or color you maybe.