Directed by Sanjay Leela Bansali, Devdas  released in 2002 and is based on Sarat Chandra Chatterjee's romance novel of the same name. 

The plotline is predominantly about Devdas Mukherjee's (Shah Rukh Khan) tragic life. However, his romantic interests, Parvati Chakraborty (Aishwarya Rai) and Chandramukhi (Madhuri Dixit), are equally brilliant characters whose friendship is worth learning from. 

Why you ask? Well for one, based on the time period the story is set in, we know one thing for sure, no woman in the Devdas universe was free from the weight of patriarchy. 

Aishwarya Rai from Devdas
Source: Pinterest

Parvati Chakraborty AKA Paro was heavily weighed down by class, caste and sexism. She was pressured into breaking it off with Devdas and marrying a much older man who denied her of love and a sex life in order to preserve her family honour. 

And Chandramukhi was a courtesan and sex-worker who was unfortunately, never even given a chance at having basic respect. She was marginalized from society for being an object of male desire. 

If we've learnt anything about patriarchy, it's this; women are pitted against each, we're taught to compete for male validation and basically, dislike each other. 

We've also seen that patriarchy likes to stereotype and label women. A woman who's been labelled as promiscuous is hardy ever seen as "marriage material" (whatever that means). 

Chandramukhi from Devdas
Source: Tenor

And sadly, women with different labels are taught to always be at war with each other. So, seeing Chandramukhi and Paro, women who represented two different kinds of stereotypes in a patriarchal society, find it in their hearts to respect and understand each other was spectacular!

Paro and Chandramukhi from Devdas
Source: YouTube

They both loved the same person, yet didn't see each other as competitors. And, even though Paro first met Chandramukhi with hostility, she soon came to realise that Chandramukhi was as human as she was (despite what she must've grown up learning about sex-workers). 

Paro and Chandramukhi from Devdas
Source: YouTube

Not only was their friendship an act of magnificent rebellion against patriarchy, both Parvati and Chandramukhi were equally strong people in their own right. 

Because, how can we forget the come back Chandramukhi had for Kali babu's vile double standards? How she called him out for being an agent of the patriarchy by telling society that sex-workers and wives are two different breeds of women who don't belong in the same room? 

Chandramukhi

Or for that matter, how Paro put him back in his place when he tried to feel her up like an absolute creep? Because, no sir, you cannot go around violating women like that!

Parvati Chakraborty even checked her husband and mother-in-law real quick towards the end of the film. She questioned how her husband, Bhuvan Choudhry, could shame her for falling in love with someone before they got married, when he himself told her he could never love anyone other than his first wife (AFTER they got married, mind you). 

Clearly both Paro and Chandramukhi were destined for a friendship! I mean, they even had a shared dislike for Kali Babu. 

These two defied patriarchy together. Especially by seeing each other  for who they truly were. Just two women learning to survive in a system that was actively working against them.