I shifted base three months ago, from a theatre activist in Chennai (still am, a theatre activist), to Hyderabad as a teacher of dramaturgy and film studies. As part of my work, I review movies with my students every week.
A couple of weeks back, we saw Don Juan Demarco (1995). The class was thrilled, identifying with Depp instantly, and wondered aloud why such an interesting film, which addresses the ultimate male fantasy, did not run - given the fact it had a million dollar cast like Johnny Depp, Marlon Brando and Faye Dunaway.
Women seemed to arrive at Demarco's sight, gift wrapped. He merely gave them what they seemed to beg for, being extremely servicing, gracious at that.
Considering our Tamil cinema's angst for inspiration from The Big Nipple, it is surprising that this film was relatively unknown to most of us, besides those in the Torrent circuit. It was easy to pick What about Bob (1991), She Devil (1989), even Memento (1991), but not this, for it could become too close to reality - or pretended reality.
The lone woman student in my class wondered what it would be if the film was about Donna Juan Demarco. Would she have still been a good girl, allowed to retain her fantasy? Would her shrink have thrown her job in the air and joined her in her holiday?
So, I did a quick web search on Dear Santa, I have been a good girl... to see what the other women wanted this X'mas. (I know what I want!)
There were requests for perfumes, cars and lawn mowers. Even food processors and a cruise - but that told me nothing about what Donna Juan could want, need; or desperately lack.
One is thinking of films like Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) or Chasing Amy (1997), delivered as cleansed scripts, by Hollywood. Women on Top (2000), the title borrowed from Nancy Friday which my friend's husband bought for her, thinking that the book was on Women in Management, was reviewed "that audience couples will be running out of the cinema for food and bed." So much for us claiming that Article 377 has been revoked. We will continue celebrating the hetero-sexual family and its progeny. Dear Uncle Santa, May I have my gift, wrapped in rainbow colours.