Andhadhun: Most Fun Watch In A Long Time

After hearing awesome things about this movie, I dared to go for the 10 pm show that too in the second row from the front. The theatre was buzzing with people. Houseful on a week day night show!  This movie is a thriller so I don’t want to spoil it. Just few thoughts:

  • The characters in the movie look ordinary but they end up doing extra ordinary things!
  • The retro songs are very well placed in the movie as one of the characters is a yesteryear actor. They add value to the feel of the movie.
  • Tabu is a delight to watch. She is brilliant! Such a versatile actress. My favourite movie of hers till date is Astitva. There is so much of drama to her character! But this drama comes naturally because of the situations. Bollywood is improving and now there are good roles for older actresses instead of the career getting over once a woman is in her 30s. It is such a breath of fresh air. We are not interested in watching colleges girls fall in love and run around trees.
  • Ayushman is one of his kind in Bollywood. He plays the role of boy next door with so much ease which makes people relate to him. Yet, has the good looks of a ‘hero’ which again makes us like him. Deadly combination!
  • Radhika Apte does justice to her role. So does the rest of the character who are perfectly cast.
  • Editing is crispy. There is no dull moment.
  • The dialogues are hilarious! There is so much going on the movie – murder, adultery, betrayal yet it will make you laugh every now and then.

Was telling my father about the movie, discussing some scenes with excitement. ‘After a long time, you seem to have enjoyed a movie so much.’ He said. That is true.  I don’t like most movies… 

Go for it! This movie is fun to watch.  Don’t miss it!

Image source

 

 

Tanushree Dutta: More Power To You

Attended an event by ‘We The Women’ yesterday where Tanushree Dutta spoke about what happened to her.  She was in conversation with Barkha Dutt and Sandhya Menon, the journalist who started a movement similar to MeToo in India where women are being encouraged to write about sexual harassment they have faced at workplace. Here is what Tanushree Dutta said:

  1. She was shooting for a movie wherein she had a solo song. Allegedly Nana Patekar manufactured a scene in that song where he was supposed to feel her. She refused. She was told she does not have a choice. She was bullied. We have all seen the view of her in the car getting attacked. She faced the consequences of saying ‘No’.
  2. Her other allegation was that Vivek Agnihotri said to her “Jao, Kapde utar kar nacho”  in the context of giving cues to Irrfan Khan for another song in another movie. Irrfan Khan supported her by saying, “Mujhe acting aati hai”. Sunil Shetty also added, “Main aaun kya cues dene?”

Some key points to note.

Was it sexual harassment?

Yes. In the first instance, at the workplace she was asked to do something without her consent and she faced consequences for refusing. The second remark was extremely demeaning and offensive. For women wondering if it was not a big deal, imagine how YOU would feel if someone told you “kapde utar ke nacho”.For men, if someone said that to your wife, would you like it? To all the people saying she did so much more in Aashiq Banaya Apne, well, that was consent! What people don’t understand is that just because a woman agrees for something one time, it does not grant a license to anyone to do it again. Consent is required each and every time. What happen to her is as bad as getting molested or raped? No. But does that mean it is not wrong? Should women only speak up when they get bruised and beaten? Why should we women continue to normalize obnoxious and crass behavior? Why can’t men start learning how to behave and talk instead? Is human decency really that difficult?

Why do you believe her?

Whatever she said sounded quite believable. For people who are saying she wanted publicity, Tanushree replied that she could have done the item song, made money, stayed in everyone’s good books and continued her career. Also, she is not coming back after 10 years. She had complained and raised her voice then too. But nobody really cared enough.

People in power dominate and abuse their power. It is the truth.  It is not even a woman vs man thing. But yes, men have been more powerful than women in most cultures.  A woman who may be very weak herself becomes a different person when she becomes a mother-in-law. Why? Power!

Another thing.  Most of the harassment happens alone between two people. There is not much proof. Unless you get raped and go to the hospital immediately. In cases of verbal harassment, groping, touching, feeling, rubbing, getting flashed in the face, there is no proof for the most part. It is the word of the victim against the perpetrator. Or the perpetrator’s word against the victim. I cannot convince anyone to believe her. Neither do I wish to.

But here is my two cents:

To all the women reading this:

Yesterday Barkha Dutt asked women from the audience to come up and share their me too story. One lady, with all due respect went on stage and narrated an incident with much conviction about bullying she faced at workplace.  It had NOTHING to do with sexual harassment. Please do not confuse the movement with getting back at employers who have not treated you right. Please go ahead and complain to your HR regarding your work-related issues.  The metoo movement is for sexual harassment at the workpace. Let us stay focused.

To all the men reading this:

Instead of reacting because of your inflated egos, and crying that not all men are bad, and that poor men are being humiliated in public, please channelize your energy to something constructive.  When your male friends crack sexist jokes, forward demeaning videos of women on that all boys group, comment on the legs of that new intern, do you even make any sound? If the answer is NO, then please continue that for our movement too. You do not speak up when you should so better keep silent now also. Not all men are rapists but many men cover up for each other, protect each other, adding to the damage.

 

 

 

 

Sui Dhaga – Finally A Bollywood Couple With Real Problems

I watched this movie last weekend. Did not get a chance to write about it then. Very quickly, here is what I thought:

  • The movie is to the point. There are no songs in dream sequence, or a flashback on how Anushka and Varun’s characters met. Great editing!
  • Their clothes, their home, Anushka’s hair everything is realistic. They look like they do not have enough money.
  • I felt so bad for the couple as they went through their struggles. The big brands do end up exploiting poor people. I was so inspired that I decided to boycott clothes from the well-known giants and instead buy from those who need more.
  • Little activities in the lives of a middle class family are very well depicted and relatable. Like the mother-in-law is critically ill, hospitalized yet all she is thinking is that the daughter -in-law should go home in time to fill up two buckets of water!
  • I loved the love story of the lead couple. Bollywood is usually very hopeless when it comes to showing a relationship realistically. Couples conveniently fall in love during a dream sequence. Their conflicts revolve around parents’ disapproval or an unconvincing love triangle or an ek tarfa pyaar which is often borderline stalking.. Recently all movies have ample amount of kissing scenes etc to establish two people are in love! Very few movies such as Abhimaan, Saathiya, etc focused on a married couple’s real issues.
  • Sui Dhaga is about a husband and a wife facing life. It is about making decisions about what kind of work you want your spouse to do, taking risks professionally, making poor judgments while taking care of ailing parents and also managing their expectations. There is a moment of blame game after which the couple immediately gets back to supporting each other as a team, and as family. Isn’t that what marriage is all about?

I am glad Bollywood is making such movies. In my view, it is absolutely recommended!

Image source

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have just one word: Inspiring!!

Sorry for the delayed post. There was some issue with Tata Sky and Set TV because of which I was not able to watch the episode on television. Finally watched it on Sony Liv app.

Binita Jain ji won Rs 1 crore. This was one of those moments that gave me immense happiness and joy. As if something good had happened to me personally…

When she saw the 1 crore question, she smiled instantly because she knew the answer. Yet, given the amount she thought about it as she did not want to take a risk. Was she thinking this is too good to be true? I will really win 1 Crore?

Binita ji played beautifully. Loved the way she spoke. So humble. So dignified. Calm. She analysed each and every question. I could not help but notice her supportive family. The camera was focusing on them a lot. Her father, who looked anxious yet confident about his daughter’s capabilities. The brother-in-law who was  looking at her with encouragement and pride. And two adorable kids. Her son was very knowledgeable himself, and helped her with the jodidar lifeline where she won Rs 50 lakh. The son was also very respectful and humble.  I loved her daughter’s expressions too. Very cute!

My heart broke for them…

Imagine having a loved one missing. No closure. You do not know what happened.  You have no answers. You wait. But how long do you wait? Do you just accept the worst one day? Or do you keep hope? What is more damaging?

All I can say is God bless this family. They have suffered enough. Binita Ji is a true inspiration for all of us. Instead of getting depressed and being a victim, she took charge of her life. And did the best she could to give it direction. She completed her studies and she also takes tuition. She is amazing.

I salute you Ma’am!

Supreme Court Quashes The Archaic Adultery Law

The landmark judgment came out some time back. People have already started complaining:

What is happening to this country!

How can adultery be legal!

Poor men! Now what will they do if the wife cheats!

What will happen to our social fabric and sanctity of marriage!

I will make an attempt at clarifying this.

Section 497 read as follows:

Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.

Yes. Read it again.  It means that if a man gets involved with a married woman without the married woman’s husband’s consent, that man can be punished. There was no punishment for the woman. Here is what was wrong with this law:

  1. Wife is the property of husband.
  2. Women have no agency and no role to play in their own “extra marital” relationship.
  3. A man seduces a woman and she is a mere victim.

Clearly this law treated men and women unequally. It was unfair to men because it made them solely responsible for a consensual relationship. It was unfair to women because it treated them as mere property without any individuality or choice of their own.

Therefore, this law has been struck down. Please note that adultery is still very much a ground for divorce.  It is not a criminal offense anymore wherein earlier it was a criminal offense only for the man who got involved with a married woman without the consent of her husband.

First 377. Then 497. Desh badal raha hai…

Some quotes from the judgment that I appreciated:

The wife can’t be treated as chattel and it’s time to say that husband is not the master of woman,”

Any law which affects individual dignity, equity of women in a civilised society invites the wrath of the Constitution.

In case of adultery, criminal law expects people to be loyal which is a command which gets into the realm of privacy

Physicality is an individual choice

Section 497 denudes women of her choice and disregards her sexual choice

Man being the seducer and women being the victim no longer exists

Source:

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/adultery-law-is-arbitrary-says-chief-justice-dents-the-individuality-of-women-1922922

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/supreme-court-verdict-on-150-year-old-adultery-law-soon-1922913

P.S.

If I have missed anything , please let me know in the comments.

 

Six Good Reasons To Watch Stree

Imagine a setting where men are told to stay home after dark as the streets are too unsafe for them. Imagine a husband telling his wife to come home soon because he is scared to be left home alone. Imagine men dressing up as women to avoid getting killed. Imagine a woman luring a man to a secluded place. Imagine men’s clothes being ripped apart…

No this is not my fantasy. This is the premise of the movie, Stree.

Is it possible to make a movie that can make you laugh, scare you, and also pass on a relevant message? This movie deserves an applause for doing just that.

A lot of people find horror amusing. And that works as advantage for Stree being a ‘horror comedy’. They themselves make fun of the Bhoot.

Some more reasons to go for it:

  1. Brilliant acting

I think most of us by now are fans of Rajkumar Rao. I had loved his performance in Bareily Ki Barfi. But in this movie, he is even better. So is the rest of the cast (very aptly selected for their roles) in this sleepy town of Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh. Shraddha Kapoor looks beautiful although acting wise she is probably overshadowed in the second half by such better actors. Still, she is mysterious and mesmerizing enough to keep her character engaging.

  1. Consent reinforced!

Bollywood is becoming much more aware. Not aware enough to get rid of item numbers. Nonetheless if you have a Pink that talks about consent, you have a Stree to complement it.

“Wo stree hai, purush nahi jo jabardasti utha le jaye. Wo pehle tumse anumati legi”

  1. People with patriarchal mindset, Beware!

 “Aurat paon ki jooti hoti hai”

If you think like that, then well you deserve to be punished! Ghosts have started targeting patriarchal, chauvinist men who do not give love and respect to women.

  1. Based on a ridiculously, true phenomenon.

Now this one line completely changes my perception of horror movies (in a good way). Probably this is the reason why I like the Conjuring series or the exorcism of Emily Rose.

I tried to google the original “legend” the movie is based on:

As spooky as this may sound, the story takes inspiration from an urban legend that had Bengaluru in its grasp sometime in the 1990s.

Legend says that a witch would come knocking at people’s doors every night and if they opened it for her, she would murder them. Why would people open their doors for a witch? Because she would speak in the voices of their friends or family members.

To ward her away, the town’s residents would write on their walls, “Nale Ba” which means ‘come tomorrow’ in Kannada. The witch would read the inscription on the walls and turn away, only to return the next day and the cycle would continue perennially.

This is all there is on every publication. 1990’s is still quite recent, so I am surprised there isn’t more on it. Anybody reading the article who was in Bengaluru at that time and knew about this, do leave your thoughts in the comments.

  1. Have a good laugh

Oh there are many!  The movie has some lose ends in the plot but still it is very entertaining.

  1. The language

The movie makes use of shuddh as well as colloquial Hindi. From “swayam sevi” to “phalana dhikana” it is indeed a treat to those who are away from their hometown and missing the North Indian flavor in conversations.

The essence of a horror movie lies in its ending. (If I can call this a horror movie). A friend and I are debating on the ending. I do not want to put spoilers in the ending so not getting into it. I read that the sequel is on way so no wonder.

Let me know your thoughts!!

Image source

Movies, Music and Nostalgia…

I watched Gold yesterday. I wish I could review the movie….

I usually do not watch a night show during the week days because I have to get up early thanks to work. But yesterday, I ended up watching the night show as there was only one show in the nearby theater and the whole family had planned to go. With the trailers and the non-smoking advertisements, these night shows easily start by 10 pm.

At home, 10 pm is the time when I mercilessly switch off television, irrespective of how engaging our current Netflix show is, and tell my husband it is time to “shut down”.

This is followed by scrubbing the kitchen slabs and gas stove…

Anyway, coming back to yesterday, here I was at 10 pm daring to watch a night show along with my family.  During the first half of the movie, I tried unsuccessfully to keep my eyes open. From whatever little I managed to watch, Amit Sadh looked good, and I found Mouni Roy’s character annoying.

After interval, I was completely asleep. I even had a dream which involved the movie.  Now, I am even more confused as to what was part of the movie, and what was part of my dream. Hubby tried his best to keep me awake by pulling my leg every time Mouni appeared on screen – “This angry wife is just like you.” But in vain. I was too sleepy to even react to him. However, in between, I would wake up and ask him,

Who is in the semi final?”

“Did the final match start yet?” 

I sounded a lot like my grandmother who does not pay any attention to TV serials but keeps disturbing everybody else who is watching intently by asking what is going on.

By the end of the movie, blissfully asleep I had forgotten where I was.  When people started getting up for the national anthem, I tried to reach my tummy to remove my seat belt, thinking I am in a flight.  Then I woke up, realizing that I am in a theater.  This awareness that I was not in an aircraft  gave me a strange sense of satisfaction because I thought at least I don’t have to travel…

This incident reminded me of the first time I had fallen asleep in the theater as a kid. I am sure I would have fallen asleep as a baby many times but this is the first time that I could remember. It was a charity show of the movie, Maachis. My parents and sister had loved the movie and the “crowd”. Those were the days of single screen theatres and not multiplexes. Families took balcony seats. There would be whistling, screaming, dancing, clapping and what not going on in the front. But being a charity show, the tickets were very expensive. Being a small town, half of the town was present and my parents and sister had spent the time before the start of the movie in socializing with acquaintances / friends they were bumping into.

I don’t think I ever watched Maachis properly after growing up.  Whenever, somebody mentions Maachis, I have a very faint memory of lots of people waiting outside the cinema hall for the movie to start. But it is a good, uplifting feeling (contrary to the serious subject of the movie).

In a recent road trip to a hill station I kept playing songs from the 90’s like Latka dikha diya tumne, Muqabla, Taal se Taal mila etc. My niece was also traveling with me and in an attempt to match up to her I had downloaded some English songs too. Since I am not up to date with anything other than Bollywood, my list started with Shape of You, and ended with Cheap Thrills. Thankfully, she had requested me to download song new songs (which I had no idea about).

I realized that our generation still knows songs from the 60’s 70’s etc but the next generation does not know any songs from the 80’s,90’s.

But why did these songs make me so happy? 

Probably because of the way they make me feel…

It is the association with songs / movies that make us like them years later.

Associations. Memories. And the games our mind plays with them…

That was then. Gold for me will always be the first movie I watched after my wedding, in which I fell asleep!

 

Featured Among Top 5 Social Impact Blogs by ImpactGuru

Honored to be featured among the “Top 5 Social Impact Blogs to be followed” by  ImpactGuru. The other four blogs include Mrs. Funnybones (Twinkle Khanna’s blog) and Indian Homemaker (Seema Rao’s blog). To see my name in this list, with such accomplished women is indeed a proud moment.

Here is a link to the article:

https://www.impactguru.com/blog/social-impact-blogs-in-india

Would like to add for anybody who is reading this, please take that step that you think may have an impact. No matter how small it may be. Do not worry about the results.

ImpactGuru.com is a crowdfunding platform helping people raise funds for their personal causes. They regularly update their blog about new events that take place with regards to crowdfunding, healthcare, social issues and other related domains.

 

Is the Hallmark Card Dream Killing Women?

I cannot get the following headlines off my mind:

“I am going to kill myself today bcoz Mayank has driven me to it. He finally let me out but I can’t repair what he has done,her last words read.

“Delhi Air Hostess Learnt About Husband’s First Marriage Month Ago.”

Her family claimed that Mr Singhvi used to physically abuse her and they also accused his parents of harassing her for dowry.

I don’t want to specifically write about Anissia because it is still too early. We do not know if it is a murder or suicide. I don’t want to judge a woman I did not know. Especially a woman who was cremated two days ago.  I also do not wish to scrutinize the life of a woman who died. Still, writing this article in the hope that it may help someone.

I read an article this morning on about how parents should support their daughters and make them get out of abusive marriages and not give dowry. I also read comments (probably from Anissia’s friends) getting defensive saying that she was very strong, and had supportive parents. Her father was in the Army.   She was financially independent and it seems that money was no motivator was her to get stuck in the marriage.

 Then what happened? Why is she dead?

Why are so many intelligent, financially independent women in our society preferring to jump or hang themselves rather than being called the D word?

A friend of mine updates her whatsapp display picture every other day with a smiling photo of her husband and herself.  What you cannot see is the bruises on her body which are concealed in her DP.  Messages are sent to friends asking for helpline numbers. What is more regular? The injury or the status updates?

Friends try to convince her to get out. She says that there are happy times too. She is not willing to leave him.

Is it our fault that she is still with him? Are we not doing enough?

If you see Anissia’s social media profile, there are so many happy, couple photos. A good-looking couple posing and holidaying at beautiful locations.

This is common.  Friends posting pictures with their husbands. Beautiful, happy pictures. People commenting:

Lovely couple!

Hottest couple!

Stay blessed!

Smileys. Emojis. Likes. Comments. Social approval.

What lies beneath?

We love the life we wish to project to the world. We are in love. We are in a blissful marriage. We are happy. We try hard to make our lives close to what we like to portray. Sometimes we believe it too.

In contrast, I have friends who are divorced or never married. They are into their 30’s, 40’s. Some of them want to get married. Others are okay being single. To the world, they may be “unmarried.”

Poor girl. She must find someone soon. Time is running out.

Bechari divorce ke baad decide ki shadi nahi karegi dobara.

Some of these women are actually living quite peaceful and joyous lives. Marital bliss is not the only bliss the universe has to offer. They may not get to flaunt holiday, couple pictures. They may not have done pre-wedding, pregnancy photoshoots. They do not get to add statuses like ‘Aww! Feeling loved with so and so!’ or ‘Woke up to this surprise from my sweetheart’. But they are still leading good lives. Every day that they wake up they don’t have somebody who makes them feel like filth. Yes, occasionally they do feel left out at family functions and weddings. But it is still better than being treated badly every day.

What am I trying to prove?

We all fall for social pressure. We envy people who seem to have love and money. We create a lie and then spend the rest of our life miserable trying to live up to it.

Don’t fall for the trap. Nobody, nobody has everything in life.  You don’t have to have everything either. It is okay to not have a partner to flaunt. It is okay to not have a vacation in Europe. It is okay to be not earning a lot of money. It is okay to be not married. It is okay to not have children. It is okay to be divorced.

What is not okay is to be dead at 39 after jumping off the terrace. What is not okay is leaving behind old parents and a brother who will spend the rest of their life attending court hearings and running ‘Justice for Anissia’ campaigns wishing they were dead too.

And what justice will they get? Even if the husband and his family get punished (which I doubt) will this woman come back?

The society does not care about you. They don’t care if you are happy or sad or rich or poor or married or single.  At least not for long.  Please do not waste your life for the society. The only thing that matters is you. Please do what is right for yourself.  I have written about this so many times before.  Please, please be strong. Please do not commit suicide for such idiots. And please do not stay with them to test how much more you can suffer.

Yes, every marriage has good days and bad days.  But if for you the bad days means getting hit and thinking about hanging yourself then it is not worth it.

Image source

Related articles link:

The Intelligent, Young Woman – Wasted In Marriage

She saved her marriage. But what about her life?

 

 

 

 

 

Lust Stories: Definitely Worth A Netflix Watch!

Finally got a chance to watch this. This movie is available on Netflix and has four stories.

  1. The one by Anurag Kashyap

The first story stars Radhika Apte and Akash Thosar. Akash was in Sairat, which I watched recently. In this movie, he looked much cuter.

Imagine a life where you get commitment from a husband who loves you “selflessly”. Yet, you get to “explore” with other guys. Separate the two. After all, you can’t find everything in one guy – stability, commitment, sexual compatibility.  The husband has no objections rather encourages the wife to have fun. Sounds like some fantasy!

Well No! Human nature is complicated. Jealousy, possessiveness, mood swings, longing for love in a hook-up!  Fantasy does not really turn into reality and who better to show us this than Radhika Apte as Kalindi.

Kalindi is initially relatable. Then she becomes too crazy for me to accept as a real person. But she is definitely fun to watch. The beauty of this movie is that they are not trying to show her as good or bad. She just is! Confused! Flawed! Selfish! Moody! She wants to explore but has no idea how to deal with the consequences. In fact, she has no idea how she will feel the next moment.

  1. The one by Zoya Akhtar

We see a couple going at it.  Within few seconds the girl squats on the floor, lifts her salwar to her knees and starts mopping the floor. She is the maid sleeping with the employer.

I admire Bhumi since her first movie. But I feel with every movie she just gets better and better. In this movie, she hardly has any dialogues. We see her going about her daily routine, scrubbing the floor, preparing tea, serving snacks all the while emoting with her eyes.

In one scene, the employer’s mother tells the maid (Sudha) , ‘Bhaiya ki shadi pakki ho gayi hai tumko bhi bahut badhai.” It made me smile.

Bhaiya. Bhabhi. This is how we address people in this country. The society has created the most appropriate way to clarify that it is a ‘clean’ relationship.

People still do what they have to do…

  1. The one by Dibakar Banerjee

This one was slow-paced and a bit boring in the beginning.  It was a delight to watch Manisha Koirala, though after such a long time. She has grace!

Reena is having an affair with her husband’s friend.  Why? “Main tumse chidh jati hoon yaar,” She tells her husband honestly.

She is not afraid of divorcing her husband. What about her children?

Jaise baki divorce ke baad bachhe palte hain, mere bhi pal jayenge.”

The best part of this story is that Reena never considers herself a victim.  In fact, I felt both the men did not match up to her.

  1. The one by Karan Johar

The story has a different tone from the rest of the movie.  It is loud and cliched. What can we expect from Karan Johar!

Rekha (Neha Dhupia) is a character made only for entertainment, entertainment, entertainment with zero credibility.  Her clothes are too flamboyant for a school librarian. Or for anywhere.  In fact, her character is the most thoughtless character in this otherwise refreshing movie. She uses a vibrator in the school library, and then refers to it as a “pati” because it satisfies her.  This was right after she declares that men are useless when it comes to satisfying women!!

But she is not the central character in the story. It is her friend, Megha who has an arranged marriage with Paras.  Paras is none other than Vicky Kaushal from Raazi.  I had liked him a lot in that movie, and this is a completely different role which he has carried out very well.

Megha is not sure if she should marry Paras.  She tells her mother that she never studied in a co-ed school. She was never even allowed to go out with a boy and have ice-cream.

“Isliye to kehti hoon kar lo shadi. Fir jitna man ice-cream khate rehna.” Her mother replies.

But what if this ice-cream which you were forbidden to have all your life, for which you waited so desperately, the one which you have to have for the rest of your life leaves a lot to be desired?

Paras plays the average husband very well. Loving, sweet, and hopeless in bed.  He is so clueless that he happily tells his wife in one scene, “Tum bhi to bahut maze leti ho. Maine dekha hai!”

Kab? The wife wanted to ask, and do did I.

Overall, it is an interesting mix.  Pretty good for a Netflix watch!

Image source

Netflix original ‘Lust Stories’, Instagram (karanjohar)