Dil Dhadakne Do won our hearts for multiple reasons – and the portrayal of a flawed Indian family was just one. The film gave us characters that were harsh and real. And there are scenes and dialogues that left us with a reality check. It was a satire on how we are constantly controlled by ‘log kya kahenge’ and maintaining a certain unreal image in the society or how us desis like to call it – ‘duniyadari’.
The film even portrayed the emotions that the Mehra family didn’t directly address. And the scene, where Shefali Shah’s character Neelu binges on desserts while crying, is a powerful example. There’s no conversation or confrontation in the specific scene, but it still manages to say a lot.
This happens after Neelu is almost heartbroken by Kamal’s behaviour and treatment towards her. She observes him flirting with a friend on the cruise, and given the fact that he has continuously cheated on her, it triggers her. Neelu points out and asks Kamal to stop, specifically when there are friends around and it’s their anniversary. Kamal’s response not only makes her sad but also acts as an emotional trigger to what she had already been feeling for a long time. And for comfort, she relies on food.
We all rely on things and people to vent or express our emotions, but we do not always have a listener. And it’s only normal to depend on things that bring us the comfort or solace, that we want. For some people, it can be food. We all have different relationships with our bodies, and hence even food habits vary from person to person. As someone, who’s mood changes just by eating something that I love, food feels like a hug or a friend that I trust.
People don’t always understand or relate to it and hence, cannot sympathize with the practice. Some people even start commenting on one’s food habits, when they see them binge. But, if a person controls their emotions using food and bingeing on it, then following an ‘appropriate diet’ becomes a secondary factor – and that’s understandable.
Even in another scenes from the film, Anil Kapoor’s character Kamal, comments on Neelu’s ‘weight loss’ and how it’s unhealthy to not ‘diet’.
He even goes on and takes a dig on her, in front of their friends, but Neelu gives it back to him – rightly so. The fact that Neelu generally eats what she likes, doesn’t mean that she isn’t concerned about her health. She’s shown as someone who also looks after herself, which is in fact healthier than Kamal, who wants an unrealistic ‘younger body’.
When we live in a society like ours, people always have an opinion on everything. So, even when it comes to eating what we like – they have something to say. I’ve constantly been told that I gained weight after the lockdown, which I’m aware about – given that it’s my body that changed. And, I’ve always been the kind of person who chooses to eat, when there’s a lot going on, emotionally. Clearly, the pandemic was not a good time for most of us. So, when people tell me that eating to stay happy is ‘unhealthy’, it feels plain toxic.
Even if someone points out on one’s eating habits, with love or concern, there should be some boundaries involved. And it should definitely not be something to laugh or joke about. We’re already forced with unrealistic standards of beauty, specifically when it comes to women. So, to pile up and add on to the pressure, is opposite of love and concern.
Eating to lift up one’s mood or letting out our emotions while bingeing on food is a normal practice. And the brilliance of Shefali Shah as an actor and Zoya Akhtar as a director, can be reflected in this scene. It is real and honest in its portrayal of breakdown, without any melodrama or even a dialogue, for that matter.
There’s enough toxicity in the world and we shouldn’t be expected to stop choosing things that make us happy. Even if it is something as simple as food.
Toh khao aur khaane do.