A dolphin movie hit the big screens in India with audiences from across the country on Sunday.
The movie was made by a company called Animal, and the stars of the show were played by the likes of Rajdeep Sardesai and Ajay Devgn.
The film also featured a young Indian actress named Durga, and an Indian man named Nandita Sreejani.
The star power of the movie, however, is in the fact that there was no Indian male actor playing the title character.
Instead, Durga and Nanditsai are played by two different Indian women, Kailash Satyanarayana and Preeti Bhushan.
The fact that this was the first Indian film made with Indian women in the lead role did not help the film, as the director had initially planned for it to be a story about two women.
But that was not enough for the movie’s critics.
“In the beginning, I was a bit nervous about the movie because it’s not a traditional Indian film,” said Jai Biju, who reviewed the film for The Times of India.
“I think there were many people who didn’t understand what the film was about and what the Indian story is.”
Satyananayana, who was originally cast as the role of Durga in the first film, was also not impressed by the way the film handled the subject matter.
“She’s a damsel in distress,” she told The Times Of India.
Bijuan also questioned the choice of an Indian woman for the lead in the film.
“It is a bit too easy to say that an Indian male would be the best lead in India,” he said.
“But what is the Indian female in India?”
He added that the film’s depiction of the dolphin’s struggle was not realistic.
“The Indian girl is very naive and easy to get into trouble,” he added.
Baju also criticized the way Indian men were portrayed in the movie.
“There was a lot of talk in the early stages about why women should not play the lead,” he pointed out.
“Durga is a pretty feminine character.
But in the end, it seems that they decided that the only thing that would make her believable would be a man.”
But the Indian audience was not entirely opposed to the film and sat in raptures at the sight of the two female lead actors.
“This is the first time a movie starring Indian women has been made,” said Preetiya Singh, who went to the screening with her family.
“You could say that it’s a very brave move for a film company to make a movie with Indian actors in the title role.”
A video of the opening scene went viral on social media, and Satyanashram Bijwan, the director, said that they had received over 1,000 comments on the movie so far.
“People who don’t understand the story are very critical,” he told The Indian Express.
“They ask why we chose an Indian female as the lead?
They say, ‘Why is she not Indian?’
They say that this is just a story of a girl, but that is wrong.
We had to make this film with Indian men, and this is our first attempt at making a movie.”
The video also went viral.
“We were also told that the Indian man was the worst actor in the history of Indian cinema,” Bijwa told The Telegraph.
“He was just too soft and he didn’t give us the performance that we wanted.”
While the Indian women’s role in the story is not an original one, the movie has stirred debate in India.
In March this year, a similar movie, called The River’s Son, also went on the bigscreen, and many wondered why it was not given the same treatment.
“What’s the use of Indian actors if we won’t see any Indian women as protagonists?
Is it really worth making a film about Indian men?” tweeted Akshay Sharma, who is currently studying film at a film school in Mumbai.
“If Indian men are not part of this, why is it we have no Indian female characters?” wrote Vishal Mehta, who goes by the Twitter handle @Megalist.
“Is it because India is a patriarchal society?
Or is it because Indian cinema is too masculine?” asked Deepa Bhagat, who tweets under the handle @DasLitAchcha.
“Why are we making Indian films only for men?,” asked Akshaya Jain, a former student of the Jawaharlal Nehru University and a filmmaker who wrote a book about Indian cinema.
“Indian films are about empowerment, equality, and self-expression.
Why is it only a woman in the Indian male role?”
Akshayan also posted on Facebook about the controversy.
“Not only is the female lead in this film the