Good Newzz: Indeed Good News For Bollywood. Ghost Stories Is Disgusting

Good Newzz

Without wasting any time, Good Newzz gets straight to the point. Kareena and Akshay play Mr. and Mrs. Batra, an urban working couple who has just started trying for a baby after giving necessary time to their careers and marriage.

In India, good news is synonymous with pregnancy. Everybody wants to hear the good news the moment a couple gets married. Is this term used so generously for pregnancy in other countries also? I don’t think so.  The title therefore is apt.

As with most couples today, once they start trying they realize that it is not easy.  As you would have seen from the trailers, a mix up happens during the IVF procedure, and the sophisticated Batra couple are introduced to the loud Batra couple, played by Kiara Advani and Diljit Dosanjh. The premise is fresh and gives enough scope for comedy and drama. Here is what worked for me:

  1. Real couples

Akshay and Kareena’s characters are constantly bickering. I hate mushy mushy romance movies that Bollywood does not seem to grow out of. Here we have a real couple with real problems. The relatives hovering on Kareena during a family wedding, giving unsolicited advice on visiting doctors and babas, Akshay Kumar wondering if they really want to have a baby or just want it for society because it is the right thing to do, it is all very realistic.

2. Natural reactions

All four characters seem justified in the way they react to what has happened. Nobody is good or evil. All are just regular people trying to deal with an unexpected problem.

3. Superb performances

Akshay Kumar is very spontaneous. I wonder why he has to do movies like Housefull when he can do good comedies like this. Kareena is effective. I liked her speech on pregnancy. Kiara looks very pretty. The last time I saw her was in Kabir Singh where I found her annoying. She seems at ease with a comic role. I saw Diljit in a movie for the first time. He is a gifted actor . Very expressive. Adil Hussain and Tisca Chopra are entertaining as the doctor couple. I liked the fact that Akshay Kumar has a crush on Tisca Chopra, his doctor! It was a welcome relief that the a Bollywood actor liked someone close to his age, unlike the stupid movies which show 45 year old men lusting after 20-something girls.  Tisca looks beautiful as usual.

Overall, it was an entertaining, light movie with songs, and the emotional drama was just the right about. It never went over the top. It was better than most recent movies.

Ghost stories – Netflix

  1. Zoya Akhtar’s story

This is the best story in the movie. In fact, it would be a good idea to stop watching after this story. Jahanvi Kapoor has done well. Surekha Sikri is a brilliant actress, so no surprises there. The story has some meaning I guess.  The two women are waiting for someone who may never come and wasting time . Time which is precious because youth and life, once lost never come back.

2. Anurag Kashyap’s and Dipankar Banerjee’s story

I don’t have words to describe how disgusting I found these two stories. I had my eyes closed during Dipankar Banerjee’s story. It was supposed to be some kind of a metaphor I guess for how rich, powerful people destroy the poor. Whatever, doesn’t matter. The visuals were vomit inducing. I love watching Netflix because it is not censored the way movies in theatre or television are. But for Anurag Kashyap’s movie I wish they had cut out Sobhita’s bathroom scene. It is embarrassing that such weird content is there on Netflix and people from other countries can also watch this non-sense and judge us. They could have done so much better with all the creative liberty possible and this is what they come up with!!

3. Karan Johar’s story

Silly as always. No matter what the genre is, Karan Johar manages to maintain the silliness. There is a marriage, a big family, and a song!  I guess it is all about loving your grandparents!

A horrible movie to start new year’s with! Don’t watch if you haven’t already!

 

Why ‘The Sky Is Pink’ Will Make You Cry

It is based on a true story

Aisha Chaudhary was a real person, born to Aditi Chaudhary and Niren Chaudhary, and sister of Ishaan Chaudhary. Google her name and you will find images and videos of this cute and strong girl, and her loving family.

There is no limit to tragedy

We like to believe that we are not those unlucky people to whom bad things would happen for no reason. If something does happen, one at least hopes it is the only bad thing that would ever happen.

But is it true?

There is a scene in the movie when Aditi holds baby Aisha. Well-meaning and wise elders comfort her .

“He is God. He will not give the same pain again”.

They are wrong.  Aditi and Niren lost their first born, a daughter at eight months to the same illness to which they would lose their third child, Aisha at eighteen.

We hear about people. We know that lady who lost her husband. And then her son the very next year. The man who got divorced. And then killed himself because he was too depressed when his second marriage did not work out.

Life is beautiful. But it can also be very cruel.

Being positive does not cure, but it helps

The movie will remind you that being optimistic helps in dealing with things better. It helps you make the most of the days. But whatever is meant to happen will still happen.  A sweet girl like Aisha would not survive as much as everyone would pray for her.

However, some experiences in life truly makes you feel alive and happy.  For example, when Aisha goes sea diving even if it was for a minute.  Maybe we cannot control what happens. But we can try to increase such moments of joys.

Umaraan main sariya jee leeyaan

The song at the end

I was already crying a lot by the end of the movie. When they started showing real pictures of the family, it was just too sad. The song played in the background was composed by Aisha’s brother. I am sharing a link which has the lyrics.  It is a beautiful song with great music and uplifting lyrics.

Other things

In the movie, Aisha refers to her parents as Moose and Panda. I found it annoying. She also keeps mentioning their ‘sex life’ which I found annoying. That’s it. No other negative points.

Everybody has acted very well. Priyanka Chopra is more expressive.  Farhan Akhtar is restrained. Together they make a great couple. The movie follows their life from the time they are in their 20s till their 50s. But other than the hairstyle, they both look the same. Maybe that was still better than coloring their hair grey and giving them glasses like most other movies. I don’t know.

There are no unnecessary songs. The movie shows the struggles of the family in a very genuine way. It looks very real. The impact is effective. It will stay with you. Long after the movie finishes.

Aisha’s Ted Talks

Do watch it when you get a chance. I especially loved a line where she says,

When you fail at everything in life, get a pet’.

I watched some videos of the Chaudhary family. Hard working, loving, brave parents who gave the best possible to their daughter.

Aisha’s legacy continues. With her book, ‘My Little Ephinanies’ .  With the movie, ‘The Sky Is Pink’. With her Ted Talks. With her parents. With her brother.

With everyone who is thinking about her.

 

What Do You Believe This Christmas

Christmas is my favourite time of the year.  I think it is because I was educated in a convent school in my childhood. And we celebrated Christmas more than any other festival.

27 years ago: A typical Christmas:

Socks would be hanging in the balcony.  I would wake up to find lots of presents. Little things.  A double decker pencil box.  A hair clip with a butterfly on it.  The eraser in the shape of a cat.  The giant pen. The sharpener that looked like a house.

I would go to school.  The Chapel would be decorated. Sisters would be singing carols. Santa would come in his red clothes and white beard and big belly.  He would shake hands with all of us. And give us toffees.

We would sing:

Oh what fun it is to ride on a one-horse open sleigh

One time, one girl told me that Santa was not Santa.  It was one of the Sisters who dressed up as Santa.

How can a lady Sister be Santa!!! I laughed at that girl. She told me that the Sister puts on a red suit and a fake beard.  I did not believe her. I told her Santa comes to my house also.  How would Sister know my house? She told me that it is not Santa who leaves the presents but my parents.  Her parents do the same for her.

Now, this made me a little suspicious. How was it that Santa knew that I wanted the same things that I used to tell my mother? Could she be right? I thought for a moment.    And then solved the mystery.

God always listens to us.  So when I would tell my Mom what I wanted, God listened and told Santa.  That is how Santa delivered the presents.

I was five. I believed what I wanted to believe. Nothing could change it.

Past few days

November 30th was the first time I read about a girl who got gang-raped and burnt.  I could not think about anything else for a long time. Every day I would post about her.  There is no such thing as justice when a young life is snatched away so brutally.  Even if the murderers would be raped and burnt alive, she would not have come back. But still, we screamed justice. So that it would not happen to anyone else.

A week later, the “accused” were killed in an encounter. I was very happy.  Again, there was a divide. People said:

It is the job of judiciary to decide who is guilty and who should be the punished.

What about human rights.

What if innocent people get framed like this and die.

What if the rapist had been rich and powerful?

We got into online debates.   Real debates over coffee at office.

I hoped that this was not the end. A great beginning but not the end. That the law would change..

But soon after, another law was passed.  One that became very controversial.  There was a clear divide. The supporters. The protestors. There was violence. There was destruction.  People like you and me may not have indulged in physical violence. But the words exchanged were harsh.  The people who were “silent” were not left alone either.  They were shamed for “not speaking up” and called spineless.  As if we owe everybody views on social media!! There was madness around as people got into spats and unfriended each other for difference in political views.  I sometimes feel that during such times, people get a reason to be obnoxious to someone they are jealous of, by taking a morally high ground of “beliefs”. It is just an excuse to tell people what you always wanted to tell them.

But one thing is consistent.

Both sides feel the other side is too dumb to understand anything, and there is no point offering them any logic. They are blind!!

We all believe what we want to believe.

But with all this negativity, anger and sadness, the holiday season is here.  Tomorrow is Christmas. Christmas has always meant everything nice. Everything beautiful. Everything magical.

I know most of us have been very unhappy lately.  Everything has been unpleasant. Even hopeless.

On this Christmas, I wish you hope. Spend time with your loved ones.  Be with your family. They are the ones who matter.  I also hope that things cool down in our country and peace is restored.   Till then, I would like to believe,

The six year old girl who believed in Santa no matter what anyone said.

 

Hold On To Your Anger! Never Forget!

Two days ago, I read that a woman, Priyanka Reddy was gang-raped and burnt alive. I am scared of fire to the extent that I do not use a match-stick.  I thought I could not read more about it. It was too horrific.  I avoided thinking about it.  I had no words. We don’t like to think that something like this could happen to someone. It is too inhumane and too barbaric. We like to also believe that nothing can happen to us.

Finally, once I mustered up the courage to start reading about what happened to her in detail, I was so, so furious.  As I read more, I am full of anger and hatred.  From having no words, I now have a lot of words.  My words will not stop.  My rage will not stop.

What fails us again and again.

Rape law

“To make sure something like the Nirbhaya case never happened again, the government wanted to amend the existing laws to cover ALL crimes against women and make punishments as harsh as possible. This led to the 2013 Criminal Law Amendment. Under this change, new offences such as stalking, acid attacks, and voyeurism were added into the definition of rape. Even the threat of rape is now a crime. The minimum sentence was changed from seven years to 10 years. In cases that led to the death of the victim or the victim being in a vegetative state, the minimum sentence was increased to 20 years. This was the first time the vegetative state was included since the landmark Aruna Shanbaug case.”

Source: https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2018/08/indias-anti-rape-laws-the-evolution/

Long story short:

Minimum sentence for rape – 10 years.

If rape leads to death – minimum sentence 20 years.

Is it good enough?

NO!!!

Rape = Hang the rapist.

Gang rape = Hang the rapist.

Tried to kill her = Hang the rapist.

Whether she died or not = Does not matter. Hang! Hang! Hang!

Actually, hanging seems too merciful. The punishment should be same as the crime. Insert a rod in their private part. Burn them alive.  In fact, no punishment is enough for such crimes.  Any punishment possible under the sun seems less.

Violence against women – Acceptable!

I am sharing the link to the verdict of Pallavi Purukayastha’s murder. Her security guard had deliberately disconnected electricity of her apartment at night. When he came inside the house he took the keys without her knowledge.  He then broke into the house later at night with the intention of raping her.  She resisted.  He killed her.  The judge, let me reiterate, female judge held that “16 times stabbing is cruelty but not extreme cruelty…” (to merit death penalty)!

I have just one question for the respected people who are entrusted the responsibility of making decisions of life and death – How much cruelty is extreme had it been your daughter?

The verdict has words like ‘not planned for days’ (only planned that night), ‘got excited seeing her in scanty clothes’. It is embarrassing. It is infuriating. The young age of the murderer was also taken into consideration.  The fact that so much analysis was done to find reasons to not award capital punishment to the man when the woman is dead. Brutally snatched away from her family.

This murderer got life imprisonment because the cruelty was not extreme enough in the eyes of the judge! He jumped parole and was rearrested. Why did he deserve parole in the first place? Why should our tax money be used to feed these beasts? How had Pallavi’s parents felt during the time he jumped parole? How do they feel everyday?  Even if this man would have got capital punishment their daughter would not come back. This is the LEAST that could be done.

Change the law!

Every country has its own problems. In the United States, it is their gun laws. Any crazy person owns a gun and goes on a rampage to kill people.  Maybe mental illness is an issue.

In India, such people get the right to rape and kill because they know nothing bad will happen to them. They probably know their friends who boast of getting drunk and beating their wives. They may even have friends who have raped and got away with it.

People are talking about how the mindset needs to change.  Just change the law and see. Castrate one rapist. Hang one rapist in public.  Mindset will change automatically.

Dear not all men brigade, this is not the time to worry about your fragile egos. This is not the time for you to worry about what will happen if the colleague you slept with and dumped decides to falsely accuse you. If you see, the rapists in Jyoti Singh’s case and Priyanka Reddy’s case were caught with evidence, and they confessed.  So, unless you are planning to be a rapist, you have nothing to worry about. Moreover, I would like to focus on things that have actually happened, and women who are dead. Not about your hypothetical, superficial concern about what could happen. So please do not make this about you.

Are these humans in the first place? Why do they have rights?

Dear Human Right Activists,

I know you care a lot about criminals. You cared about Kasab. You care about the not so minor ‘juvenile’ man who inserted a rod inside a girl’s vagina and pulled her intestines out. That girl died in pain you cannot imagine. Her parents and brother have to live with that memory every day. Did she have any rights?

If you care so much about rapists, and murderers please strike a deal with the government. Please keep them in your house and care for them. Work on them. Give them another chance.  Let your children play with them.  Please confine your sympathy to your house.  Please do not let these beasts into society so that you can feel good about yourself.

Sob stories of rapist’s mother

Mothers of rapists do not have my sympathy if they are trying to give excuses for their sons.  Even if they are suffering, they are suffering because of what their son did. They better not give interviews about how the monster son was the only bread earner!  Get a job! We don’t need such monsters to roam freely so that their mothers can get do waqt ki roti!  I think about Priyanka’s mother and their feelings are nowhere in my thoughts.  No family can survive this.  I do not wish strength to Priyanka’s family because no family should have such strength.

Yes. I am very angry. Anger is all we have got right now.  We tried in 2012.  The law did change but it was not good enough.  Hold on to your anger. Cling to it.  Please share link of any petitions, or protests you are aware of.  We will never forget. We will never give up.

Bala: Par Badalna Kyun Hai?

I had watched Udja Chaman couple of weeks back.  I was wondering why there are two movies with the same concept releasing around the same time. Of course, Ayushman Khurana being more popular, his movie was more awaited.

Both movies have a different story though based on the same theme.

There has been a trend in Bollywood where small town movies have become very likable.  The makers of the movie catch the small town feel perfectly with the language, clothes and the little nuances.  Bala is no exception.  There are three main characters:

Bala

A bald man who is otherwise good-looking, and was good-looking growing up but now has a complex about his receding hairline. He would do anything to get the hair back and tries all kinds of remedies. He is a salesman by profession and conducts seminars to sell fairness creams by making dark-skinned women realize how inadequate and undesirable they are.

‘Kanpur ki sari ladkiyon ko unki badsoorati ka ehsaas dilao!’

Yes ladies. This is what all beauty products, fashion magazines, cosmetic advertisements, beauty parlours do – Make us feel ugly, reinforce our “flaws” so they can earn money.

Latika

A dark-skinned woman who grew up playing the repulsive Kubja in school.  She has spent most of her life being called dark and ugly.  She has learnt to accept herself for who she is, and she rebels against the societal norms.

‘Who gets to decide what I should look like!’ She growls.

She is intelligent, confident and a practicing lawyer.

Pari

A fair skinned, beautiful girl who has become a Tik Tok sensation overnight. She has gained fame because of her beauty and she is aware that the only thing she has is her looks.

‘Looks mein no compromise!’ She believes.

‘Dikhawa hi meri zindagi hai’.

What makes this movie stand out for me, is the fact that it remained honest to its characters.

How important is looks?

I guess this question in answered differently by those who have it and those who don’t. Of course, everybody has their own definition of what they find attractive but there are some universally acceptable standards of beauty.  Being short, fat, dark-skinned, bald may not be considered attractive. There is the pain of dealing with your own insecurities and complex. Very few people in the world are flawless.  Most people will have something to cry about – a fat nose,  acne,  weight, height, skin colour. Something that was told to them from their very childhood. Something that held them back from being good-looking. Bala obsessed about growing his hair back. He covers his mirror in a way that he cannot see the baldness. He wears a cap. He does not hate everything about himself. If only he could change that one thing…

I remember a friend from my school, who was conscious of her big nose. She used to tell me that as a kid she was afraid her nose would get so big it would cover her entire face. Every time she saw her photos all she could see was her nose. We all have that one thing we wish we could change…

You have such a sweet face, if only you could lose the body weight..

She has such nice features, but rang se maat kha jati hai…

He is so cute..Poor guy.. If only he had some height..

Face is pretty! But the pimples..

Click my side profile, from the front my face is too chubby.

But does anybody get to design their face and body on Paint Brush that it would be perfect?

We struggle with with our own complexes with our appearance.  To add to that, we have to find a partner who we have to look at every day, sleep with, make babies with, and grow old with.  How important is that person’s looks?

The arranged marriage

Few years ago, a bunch of my friends in late 20s were discussing the rishtas we were getting.

A friend of mine rejected a guy who she didn’t find good-looking. The guy had a good job, good family, everything else was a plus.

“Aap  khud kya Aishwarya Rai hain?”. Her father demanded.

The generation that met on the day of the marriage, accepted the spouse as Bhagwan ki marzi and shadi to nibhana hai may not understand.

Wise cousins of her the girl who were married to not so good-looking but good, caring, men were trying to tell her that looks is secondary.   The girl said asked how could she marry someone who she doesn’t even like to look at. How will she ever feel attracted to him? Won’t that cause problems in the marriage? What if she does not fall in love with his good qualities after marriage? Or worse… He does not even have any, and he is not even someone she liked in the first place!!

Another guy said he has rejected girls he didn’t find attractive because otherwise the marriage would not work.  It would not be fair to him. It would not be fair to the girl.

A short girl wants a tall husband because she has been told with her height she would not get one, and she wants to prove people wrong…

A dark-skinned man wants a fair-skinned girl because he has carried the shame all his life. He wants his wife to redeem himself..

Is it wrong to reject someone based on looks? Is it right to marry someone you don’t find attractive?  Doesn’t everybody deserve to be with someone they find at least decent looking? Are we even comfortable with our own looks before we get to decide how acceptable somebody else looks?

What works in the movie

Spoiler alert

The pretty girl will not see the hero’s heart. She will see his bald head.

Yami Gautam is brilliant as the small-town girl whose life revolves around looking pretty and getting likes on social media.  Whatever she has achieved in life is because of her looks. She does not change. Call her shallow if you want. But this is what happens in real life.

The not so pretty girl refuses to be a second choice

Latika is no Anjali from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai who will remember her barso purana pyaar and reject a man who loves her in the present for some idiot who she loved and got rejected by in the past.   When I saw Bhumi’s black, painted face I was annoyed. She looked so unnatural. I was angry that they could not find one dark-skinned woman in India for this role. But when she acts,  she has so much spunk that it is always a joy to watch her, despite the painted face.

The hero will learn to love himself

Mard ko dard hota hai. Men get rejected. Men are also treated badly for the way they look. The love of Bala’s life says Eww to him and leaves him. How will he live with himself knowing that?

He will.  For you cannot make someone love you forcibly. You cannot make a Pari like you.  But a Latika may be able to appreciate you. But irrespective of the Paris, and the Latikas, you need to learn to love yourself first.

And once you do, you automatically become attractive to others.

 

Kabir Singh! Why I found The Women In The Movie More Problematic

I had decided not to watch this movie.  In fact, my husband wanted to watch it but I told him I will not be able to show my face to the feminist community! So we did not watch in theatre. I sometimes watch a movie just to make fun of it (read this!) but I did not have the energy to do it for this one.

Even before watching it I shared all reviews that accused the movie of being problematic, misogynist and glorifying toxic masculinity. I was sure I would hate it.

But I decided to watch it once it was available on Netflix. Finished it in two parts because it was too long for me to sit through.

While everybody has written everything that is wrong with Kabir Singh,  I wonder why nobody wrote what was wrong with Priti Sikka, and the other women in the movie.  Spoiler alert.

Most dumb character. Female. Nominee 1

Preeti Sikka is a pretty, delicate little thing who opens her mouth more for kissing than speaking.  She does not resist when a man she barely knows  kisses her on her cheek. Why? Probably because he is handsome or maybe because she is enjoying the attention of being the love interest of this popular guy.  Now, I thought that Priti may be quiet but she is still an assertive person and does what she wants. She likes Kabir Singh enough to shift to his hostel and have sex with him regularly.  She even travels to another city where he is studying and forces him to kiss her publicly.  Well,  I guess birds of the same feather flock together!  Seems she does not care about what people think after all! So far so good. Enter the parents of the girl and the drama of caste and ‘honor’ begins. Kabir and her father have a fight.  Kabir gives her an ultimatum of six hours to convince her father that this is not a lust story but true love. She goes to meet him but he is drugged and unconscious and she is not able to meet him.  Now this woman who seems quite bold so far,  MARRIES another man the very NEXT day!  Why! Even if they had locked her up (I do not think so), why did she MARRY him? Adults can choose who they like, who they have sex with and who they marry. I do not think she had sought her parents’ approval before doing any of that. So why could she not take a stand now? She was angry with Kabir Singh for giving her an ultimatum for six hours and then not being available when she went to meet him. Fine. She could have just stayed home and not married anyone else! Kabir Singh is shocked that she is married and turns into a self-destruction mode in the second half.

In the end we find out that Priti Sikka is pregnant. But this being a purane zamane ka love story, it is revealed that our pregnant heroine is ganga ki tarah pawitra because the baby is of the good old college boyfriend and not of her husband who left her three days after the wedding! She did not let him touch her at all!  Why did she marry him and ruin his life?  Also the husband was aware of everything and still married her.  “Doesn’t he have any self-respect?” Kabir Singh asked. I would ask the same thing. He was just horny and was happy to marry a beautiful girl who he would not have access to otherwise, Kabir Singh thinks.  I don’t care. What good reason did she have for marrying him!

Most dumb character. Female. Nominee 2

Jia Sharma is an actress. A celebrity. Not a struggling actress. Rich. Famous. Beautiful.  She injures her leg and meets doctor Kabir Singh. She is already smiling mysteriously even in the very first scene when he is treating her. Does she find him very attractive? She asks for his number. Kabir Singh tells her about Preeti. He asks her if she could help him physically. Like no strings attached. He tells her she can think about it.  They keep meeting for the next few days.  I don’t even think it would be a month.  She irons his clothes. Kabir’s friend tell him she must love him because she is ironing his clothes.  I was thinking should I agree with him? Ironing is one of the worst chores and I never iron my clothes!! Moving on, Jia decides to make out with Kabir Singh in her car because her secretary / PA waiting outside will make sure nobody watches.  She is a 26 year old celebrity I would think she could have found a place but anyway….  Right before the makeout session, she tells him she loves him!! What! Why! When! How!

Most dumb character. Female. Nominee 3

This would be a joint nomination. There are two nurses who are forever protective and supportive of Kabir Singh. They look up to him because he is an excellent surgeon. It is almost like they worship him.

Kabir Singh

Now coming to our hero.   He has anger issues.  He is an alcoholic. He is entitled. ‘Yeh meri bandi hai!’. He says ‘Healthy chicks and good-looking chicks are a good combination’. He makes a woman undress by threatening her with a knife. He runs after a maid to hit her.

But…

I do not think Kabir Singh’s behavior is glorified in the movie.  In fact, his downfall is shown in the second half. Everybody tells him that he has anger issues, alcohol issues, lack of patience. Everybody except the women…

Our hero has a lot of issues. But he is also very handsome.  He is brilliant.  He is an excellent surgeon.   Bad boy. Good looks. Money. Intelligence. All the women in the movie are shown to find him irresistible! Preeti Sikka.  Jia Sharma.  His friend Shiva’s sister who is never shown but we hear that she likes him and would be happy to marry him, knowing everything about him! There is another woman who is again not shown but interested in him (she is referred through his friend’s clinic or something like that).

And so, my problem is not with the portrayal of Kabir Singh. It is about the portrayal of women in the movie. It is not his anger that is glorified. It is the impact he has on women that is romanticized. A lot of women loved the movie and wished that a guy would love them as much as Kabir Singh and would be willing to do anything for them.  If they feel so, so be it.  The boundaries in love are fluid.  Obsessiveness. Possessiveness. Control. How much of it is fair in love? How much is excessive? I don’t know.  But if Kabir Singh had women falling for him in the movie and in the theatres then the problem is not limited to toxic masculinity or rage or misogyny but also hopelessly romantic women falling in love with the potential for thrill (read disaster)!

 

 

Section 375: Law Vs Justice: An Engaging Court Room Battle

A middle-class woman, a junior costume designer goes to the house of a rich director, with whom she works to show him some designs. He asks her to sit next to him.  She complies. He asks the maid to leave.  Next thing we know, the woman files rape charges against him.

His wife, approaches a competent lawyer, played by Akshay Khanna to defend him. The prosecutor is played by Richha Chaddha. What follows is a courtroom battle on the law of rape in India.

Important issues the movie raises:

  • Law does not equal to justice

 

  • As per the section, if it is established that a man has sexual intercourse with a woman with whom he is in a position of power, and the woman alleges that the intercourse is not consensual, then the onus is on the man to prove himself innocent. In other words, guilty until proven innocent. Lawyer friends, please discuss this aspect. I am aware of the law of POSH but not too sure of the sections of IPC

 

  • Social media is a double-edged sword. It is a privilege that today we have the voice to raise concern against anyone and within seconds the world gets to know.  Only two people know what happened between them.   But with social media, the public gives a verdict without knowing the facts.  It is also relevant for the Metoo movement.

 

  • Women who misuse the law are the biggest disgrace to the women who actually need the law

Rahul Bhatt plays the role of the accused rapist.  I remember him from a television show, Heena. In that serial also he played a spineless character. He  does such roles very well.  Meera Chopra plays the woman accusing him of rape. I have never seen her before. It was a delight to watch Sandhya Mridul as Akshay Khanna’s wife. Shriswara as the wife of the accused rapist is very convincing.  Kishore Kadam as one of the judges is a natural actor and his annoyance at the whole situation has a good comic timing. This would not be Richa Chadhha’s best performance, I would say.  Akshay Khanna is brilliant.  It is again a reminder what an underrated actor he is. And how Bollywood has not done justice to him.

The movie is very engaging and crisp.  I would not like to give away more as the movie has just released. Most feminists have written against the movie that it dismisses Metoo.  I do not think so. Let us be objective. There are all kinds of cases. Filmmakers have the creative liberty to tell any story they wish to tell. Watch it and decide for yourself what is your takeaway.

Mission Mangal: Entertaining, Inspiring and Feel Good

This review has spoilers.  So, if you have not watched yet, please come back.  Not that it is a murder mystery and I will reveal anything suspenseful. Just a warning for  people who do not like to know much about the movie before watching it.

Mission Mangal is a complete entertainer.  It has emotions, comedy, patriotism, and knowledge!  The film works because it is about achieving a dream by overcoming struggles, with limited resources, and limited money. Something all of us can relate to.

Simplification of facts.

India’s Mars mission is something too technical for a lay man / woman to understand. In the movie, they have given simple examples to explain the concept.  I found it nice because otherwise I would not have understood anything.  Don’t know how scientists would feel about it.  I guess those who wanted a more scientific, technical understanding should watch a documentary.

Portrayal of women

The movie shows us the personal lives of the women and how they are managing their home and work.  The characters are shown a little unsure of themselves in the beginning, and even disinterested but later they become dedicated and smart.

I read a book about women in workforce. It was written that women hesitate to take up new responsibilities for which they may not have the skill-set experience. For the same kind of an opportunity, a man who has 30 percent skill-set will project himself to have 70 % skill-set, appear confident and take it up.  The woman may have 50 percent skill-set but she will say she has limited experience and may turn it down.  So I am not surprised that the women (exept Vidya Balan) were shown to have self-doubt in the beginning. It is not unheard of.

The movie starts with Vidya Balan doing household work and managing her kids.  Her maid has not showed up.  She is doing everything.

What is wrong in showing reality?

For most of us women, the day starts with household work. Then we get ready and go to work. Is she saying ‘Wow! Chulha Chauka yay! I am a superwoman’!  No she is not glorifying it. But she is still doing it.  Because she has no choice.

Vidya Balan gets the idea of saving fuel while her cook is frying pooris. She talks about using resources allocated from another project to which Akshay Kumar says that women do not waste anything – “Raat ka khana breakfast mein doosre form mein”.  I did not find  the remark sexist. Rather it made me smile. I had just reused leftover steamed rice to make schezwan fried rice that day!

At some point Vidya decided to resign from her job,  feeling guilty for her past failure and doubtful about future capabilities.  At another point, she tells her husband that she loves her job and he better not try to make her feel guilty about neglecting home and kids.

She is not confused. She is real. Sometimes she is confident. Sometimes assertive. And sometimes, sad and ready to give up.  These little things made the character human.

Sanjay Kapoor’ character is permanently cribbing. He is always making his wife feel guilty for neglecting her house and kids and giving importance to the job. But the husbands of other two women have been shown as supportive.

The way they are dressed

I have seen women from ISRO in saris. I have seen lawyers wear saris in courts.  I have seen doctors wear saris in hospitals.  I have seen women wear saris in MNCs.  We live in India. What is the surprise about!

A lot of us wear bindi and salwar kamiz / sari to office.  With pride.  Doesn’t make us anything less. We are proud of the sari.

Why Akshay Kumar is there in the movie

Writers have objected as to why Akshay Kumar was necessary in the movie. Why not just a female team.  I did not like this objection. There were men in the original team. Obviously. His character does not take any credit from the women characters. In fact, he does not have any ideas at all!! It is the women who give the ideas. For a commercial movie, stardom matters and his fan following has definitely helped.

Acting

Vidya Balan was brilliant. I liked Dilip Tahil too as the NRI NASA snob and Nithya Menon.  Kirti Kulhari seemed to be carrying on her role from Pink. No novelty. But the last time I saw her was in Four more shots so this was still way better! Sharman Joshi’s character was too stupid to be believable. Sonakshi Sinha got an opportunity to be the ‘modern’ one here, a change from her other movies.  I felt like Tapsee towards the second half of the movie had forgotten that she is supposed to be a timid, traditional, fragile little thing and was acting completely ‘normal’.

In her opening scene, Tapsee accidentally grabs the crotch of the male driver teaching her how to drive. This scene was supposed to be funny. It was gross and I wish they realized this.

Portrayal of religion

I had read posts about how the movie mocks Hindu rituals and astrology. I did not feel so.  The ‘Mangal bhari hai’ angle of Sharman Joshi was just a pun. They were trying to be clever and funny.  I was not offended.  It had context. What did not have any context was the sub-plot of Vidya Balan’s son trying to convert’ something  her husband objects to strongly. How was this relevant to the story? Also, Neha Siddiqui not being able to get a house on rent?  Why bring unnecessary angles of discrimination which add no value to the plot!

Patriotism

The photos of Late Shri Abdul Kalam in the movie and his story, the photos of the real Mangalyaan team at the end of the movie,  Modi ji’s speech and the clapping in the theatre made me feel joy. The last time I felt so was after watching Uri. Before that Airlift.

For this reason,  I would give rate this movie a really high rating.  Watch it to know what India is capable of. Limited budget. Limited time.  But we did it!  We made it!

Judgemental Hai Kya – Enjoyable and Fun Watch

The name of the movie originally was ‘Mental hai kya’ until the  Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) made them change it, since they received complaints that it was too harsh.

The term ‘mental’ was used to describe people who were believed to have some mental issues.  When I was growing up, we heard it and used it too.  I did too, because there was no awareness back then. We did not know that using such terms was insensitive, and wrong.

People had objected to the title of the movie – writers, psychologists.  Without watching the movie. Without knowing anything about the intent of the makers of the movie.  Having a title that is a stereotype,  and contradicting it with the plot to reach a conclusion is a common technique used in movies, stories and even articles.

‘Judgmental hai kya’ sounded stupid in the context.  The original title would have been good.

Moving on,  Kangana plays Bobby, a woman who has been through traumatic events in her childhood, so much that it has affected her. Understandably. We are given enough reasons to empathize with her. So we are not judging her anyway.

As per the published Global Study on Homicide: Gender-related Killing of Women and Girls released by The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) a total of 87,000 women were intentionally killed in 2017. More than half of them (58 per cent) ̶ 50,000 ̶ were killed by intimate partners or family members.

The idea of a husband murdering his wife is beyond horrifying. But it happens. A lot. Is it funny when a paranoid person keeps accusing an innocent man of being interested in killing his wife. But who is innocent? Who is paranoid? We know that one of the two, Keshav (Rajkumar Rao) or Bobby (Kangana) is the “psycho” one. But who is it?

This is a cleverly made movie, with elements of humour, especially with Bobby’s wannabe boyfriend  who never gets laid and her Photoshop obsessions.  I loved how they used Bobby’s job of a dubbing artist to move the story forward.

Rajkumar Rao is very good, as usual. Amyra Dastur (Reema) did not have much to do, except look pretty.  Amrita Puri as Megha needs to improve on her dialogue delivery. It is annoying to hear her speak. She brought a certain gullibility and lack of intelligence to her character, as someone who could be easily fooled, giving away the suspense! Jimmy Shergil, one of the most underrated actors has a small role, but nonetheless it is nice to see him.

Kangana Ranaut has unconventional looks. She refuses to straighten her wild curls. She talks differently.  She is original! Unlike the other actresses who just look like a clone of each other! This distinct style of hers make it easy for her to slip into the ‘Bollywood mad’ character as a lot of people find her ‘crazy’. Remember Tanu Weds Manu part 2 –  hospital / asylum scene in the beginning(Again not me. I love her!).  All of this works well for her in the movie. The casting is therefor apt.   She is brilliant as Bobby! I cannot think of any other actress who can pull this off.

Kangana haters have been active lately.  She is a good example of how you should be honest to yourself and do what you believe in. Haters keep hating. But if you are good at what you do,  people know that you matter.

It is definitely not a boring movie. It will hold your attention. Kangana haters better to avoid or wait till it is on AltBalaji!

Author’s Note: The words ‘crazy’, ‘mad’ ‘psycho’ and ‘mental’ used in the article are not meant to offend anybody but to make a point.  These are not nice words and let us not use them for anyone.

When They See Us: The Latest Show On Netflix Will Break Your Heart

After a long time,  I felt so angry watching something on TV.   The new series on Netflix, ‘When They See Us’ is a true story of five boys who got wrongly convicted for a brutal crime they did not commit.

Some things are painful to watch because we do not want to accept that something like this could happen.  We would like to believe in justice. We would like to believe that the legal system works. That there should be evidence to prove a crime.   That if you are innocent, you cannot be put in jail for years. But anything can happen… as we see.  Do search for the true story, after watching the show.

This show is very sensitively made.   It is a mini series – four episodes.  The five kids have done a brilliant job. Your heart will break for them.  And for the helplessness of their parents who watched their kids lose their respect, freedom, youth, dreams and life.  The grown up actors have also done a great job.   A side plot of a transgender character is also very touching.

Some characters I recognized from other shows:

Felicity Huffman

She is Lynette from Desperate Housewives .  She plays the head of the sex crime unit. This character is so convinced of her wrongdoing.   No sign of regret. No empathy. No conscience whatsoever.  It is said that if you say a lie often enough it become the truth. I read the person on whom this character is based has written crime novels that became bestsellers. Such is the unfairness of life.

At one point the character says:

“It is no longer about justice but politics. Politics is about survival. And there is nothing fair about survival.” 

Powerful. Sums is up

Vera Farmiga

She plays the Assistant DA.  This is the first time that my husband recognized someone and I did not! She portrayed Lorraine Warren in the Conjuring series. It seems this character is aware that the charges are false, but she goes ahead with it anyway.

The actual person is this case is now a law lecturer. It seems she would not seek reappointment in her position, owing to her portrayal in the whose and the consequent outrage.

These characters are not said to be ‘racist’  on the show explicitly.  There are mentions of Donald Trump though who had spent on advertisements demanding the death penalty following the boys’ arrest.

Dascha Polanco

It is interesting that she played Dayanara in the famous prison series ‘Orange is The New Black’. Here, she is very mean to one of the boys  to whom she plays a step mom.  She is so spontaneous with her dialogues, hurling one insult after another another to him for being an ex-convict!  It made me smile because I remember her as Daya in jail!

At the end of the show, they tell us where Kevin, Antron, Yusef, Raymond and Korey are now, and what they did once they got out of prison.  The episode of Korey is the most heart-wrenching to watch. How these men managed to keep their sanity intact and build up their lives is commendable.

‘You are not who they said you are! Do not become that.’  says Raymond’s father.  To be a good person despite hating the world for what they did to you is not easy.

Another dialogue that touched me was when a girl said to one of the guys that if she got out of prison, she would want to go out and do things. He tells her ‘You would not know what you would want’.

So true.  We always like to put ourselves in other people shoes and decide what we would do in their place. But we are not in their shoes. We would not know…

There is so much more I want to write but since this show is a week old, I do not want to spoil it for others.

Watch it and let me know your views.