The trailer of the Indian movie, Dangal, which was published on a YouTube channel in December 2016, highlights the struggles that the Indian society goes through in deciding whether male children are better than female children. The trailer captures the scenes of a man who is disappointed at his wife when he learns that the fourth child she had just given birth to was also a girl. While most people celebrate the birth of a child and perceives a newborn as a blessing, it is clear from the trailer that the man was not happy and he felt his life had come to an end. His sadness is evident since while the other people in the setting were smiling and getting closer to the newborn, he stood still with a long face, and his eyes were full of anger and hopelessness. To him, the boy he expected to carry his dream of winning the Indian wrestling team a gold medal had come to an end. However, in the scenes that follow in the trailer, there are highlights of his daughter who grows strong, learns to wrestle and as such, win a medal for the Indian wrestling team. The producers of the movie, Dangal, through this movie’s trailer manages to bring to the attention of the audience the plight that women in India goes through because of gender discrimination, and the persistent preference for male over female children because of the perception that male children are the only ones capable of carrying the dream of the family forward. Importantly, it is clear from the trailer that the discrimination of women in society does not occur outside the family. On the contrary, most societies is socialized in such a way that women are assigned the lower social stratum while they are still young even before their innate abilities have been exposed to the world.
One of the critical aspects that are persistent in the trailer is the fact that one of the characters continuous mentions how his son will carry on with his ambition to earn India a gold medal in the wrestling competition. Notably, his conversations with his friends, he notes that what he could not do with regard to earning India a gold medal, his son will do it. He was entirely obsessed with getting a son and when his wife gives birth and sees his sullen face when he comes to visit, she tells him that she could give him a son. Arguably, through the verbal conversation of the man with his friend and later with his wife, he is portrayed as a man who was entitled to getting a son, and the failure to get one is almost equated to violation of his rights as a man. The mentality that is portrayed in this movie trailer is consistent with the issues that Najar highlights in her article that was published in the New York Times newspaper in April 2017. In this regard, Najar points out the fact that there is a growing decline in the ratio of male to female children in India. “The ratio of women to men among India’s young people, which has been low compared with Western nations for decades… the number of women for every thousand men will drop to 898 in 2031 from 939 in 2011.” Najar article points out that this decline in the ratio of men to women is as a result of the persistent problem of sex-selective abortion that has been persistent in the India society. Importantly, she accounts for this decline in her argument that majority of the Indian families have a higher preference for male children over female children mainly because of the belief that male children are capable of continuing the family lineage as well as taking care of parents in their old age. This perception on the importance of male children and the role they play in the family is consistent with the arguments that emerge in the trailer of the movie, Dangal. In the trailer, the man argues that whereas his daughters, Geeta and Babita, were dear to him, they were “useless” to him as far as fulfilling his dreams was concerned because they were daughters and not a son. In addition to this, the trailer uses singularity while referring to a “son” and plural when referring to “daughters”. Therefore, it is clear that what one son was able to do for them man, his daughters combined could not achieve it for him.