I was not interested in watching this movie. From the trailers and name, I felt like it was some idiotic movie justifying an extra marital affair, with an unnecessarily sensational murder plot. The negative reviews didn’t help either. Never had I imagined that this movie would touch me. The suspense or the crime part of it is not the highlight of the movie for me, although the film is completely gripping and you will not get bored at any point. To me, this was a story about just another newly married, arranged marriage couple, and I have never seen a more realistic portrayal.
Spoiler alert: I will not disclose anything related to the ‘murder’ but will include descriptions of the lead couple’s marriage in this blog. So, if have not watched the movie and you don’t want to know anything about it then don’t read further. Please come back once you watch it.
Simple boy ‘gets’ hot girl thanks to arranged marriage
Rani is the good-looking girl from Delhi. Reeshu is the average looking boy from Jwalapur. Rani may have had hotter boyfriends before with whom it not work out. Reeshu probably never had access to such a good-looking woman. Rani knows that she needs stability in her life now, and commitment phobic boyfriends will not provide that to her. Reeshu is on cloud nine to find such a pretty girl. Rani is well aware that she is way out of his league. She knows that he got her without any efforts, and therefore takes her for granted. Reeshu knows in his heart he loves her so much and will take care of her. What else could possibly matter?
But is love ever enough?
Psychologists say that sex is 70% of the marriage. Which means that if your sex life is good, you may still have a lot of problems. However, if your sex life is not good, it becomes 70% of the problem right there! But what happens in an arranged marriage? How easy is it to build chemistry with someone who you barely know? What if the wife is far more attractive than the husband and he is fully aware of it? How difficult is it for him to initiate things? What if something breaks his confidence? What if he feels that his inner doubts and insecurity which he had locked up somewhere at the back of his head may actually be real and true?
Is it so easy to recover from something like this so early on in the marriage?
Bahurani is not (never) good enough!
In case you are thinking based on the above point that if everything is good in the bedroom, things will be fine, you are wrong! Rani is not just a wife, but a daughter-in-law and from the moment she wakes up, her entire lifestyle and habits is under scrutiny!
Subtle details in the movie – such as the mother-in-law chopping vegetables and frowning because Rani gets up late, Rani’s lack of interest in the kitchen causing further resentment to her husband, Rishu’s friend telling him, ‘Thoda raub lo Bhabhi par, routine set karo – itne baje breakfast, itne baje chai’ is all way too real in the Indian marriage set-up.
The problem with arranged marriages is that there is a lot of focus on finding the ‘right person’. But people have no idea what should happen once the marriage is solemnized.
What is marriage anyway?
Most people get married believing a myth.
They believe that marriage is a beautiful box full of things they have longed for… companionship, intimacy, friendship, etc.
The truth is that marriage at the start is an empty box.
You must put something in before you can take anything out.
There is no love in marriage.
Love is in people. And people put love in marriage.
There is no romance in marriage. You have to infuse it into your marriage.
A couple must learn the art and form the habit of giving, loving, serving, praising, of keeping the box full.
If you take out more than you put in, the box will be empty.
(Written by Dr J Allan Peterson)
So, what do you put in this box?
This is a tricky question for Indian women. I have written a book called, ‘Marriages are made in kitchen’. Most women do not think that men want them to cook all day. Most men are also not aware that this is their expectation, until they get married and they see that the wife does not cook (enough). Rani doesn’t really cook anything or have interest in housework. She doesn’t think much of it either. In a scene which I found cute, she politely smiles and nods at her parents-in-law, tries to pour tea from the empty kettle, and fetches bread and jam from the kitchen. She does not realize that she has committed a sin while the mother-in-law all the while stares at her as if she is unbelievable! Reeshu’s friend also convinces him to assert his wife into falling into a ‘routine’ where she should run after him providing his breakfast, lunch and dinner at a certain time.
No wonder, Rani says, ‘Pehle batana tha na, Bawarchi chahiye’.
Though no one responded to her in this movie, typical response to this question would be, ‘Shadi kyun ki,?’
Reeshu lives with his parents, and his bride Rani joins him after marriage. Reeshu’s mother is quite obvious about her disapproval for Rani’s habits and lack of participation in housework. She is vocal about it too. However, what truly breaks Reeshu’s confidence and heart is that Rani speaks to her mother about their relationship!
Again, very typical of Indian men. Their parents, their sisters, their brothers, their side of the family can poke their nose and ‘advise’ them on their marriage and criticize the wife from head to toe, morning till night. But the wife’s call to the mother is always the deal breaker for them!
Again, very realistic portrayal.
So what is Rani supposed to do?
The moment Rani shows interest in the kitchen, Reeshu’s heart melts. There is a scene in which Reeshu sees that Rani is doing a facial for his mother. So far in the movie, Reeshu’s mother is least interested in Rani’s ‘parlor’ skills. Yet, when Reeshu sees that his wife and his mother have finally got some common ground, and are bonding over something, his face immediately lights up. This is the level of detailing in the movie!
This is how men are! Don’t ask me why but this is how it is. They want you to cook. They want you to take care of their mothers. And when you do it, they reward you with their love! You might think you are doing other things right, but these two things mean a lot to them!
Practically impossible marriage?
An unconsummated marriage. An affair. Wife is far from being an ‘ideal bahu’ by mother-in-law’s standards. Husband has started hating her. He is mean to her. Awful to say the least. The marriage is practically impossible. But you know what makes marriages survive?
People stay. It is as simple as that. (A line I have used in my book, ‘Marriages are made in moments’).
Kitne bhi tu kar le sitam, has has ke sahenge hum. Yeh pyaar na hoga kum.
Despite it all, Rani stays. ‘Love and hate are two sides of the same coin’. And who knows it better than a married couple! My heart breaks for Reeshu. A good guy who was happy to find a pretty girl, and he had thought he could keep her happy. He was not a good-looking guy. But he loved her. Or at least he thought he did. My heart breaks for Rani. She feels rejected by Reeshu. But it was Reeshu who felt rejected first. Again, something only married couples know. Who did what first? Who initiated it? Who carried it forward? No one knows. What is left at the end is anger, hurt, distance, and more distance.
Hazaar rahein mud ke dekhi, Kahin se koi sada na aayi
Badi wafa se nibhayi tumne hamari those si bewafai
Bad boys versus good boys
I have been watching ‘Sex life’ on Netflix. Have not yet completed it. But one thing is clear. Whether it is Bollywood or Hollywood, men are compartmentalized as ‘good boys’ or ‘bad boys’. The average looking man who wears a shirt and pants and goes to office is considered good. The heroine’s ex-boyfriend with six-packs and a bike is always the bad guy.
This is not necessarily true, ladies. Please don’t think there are any ‘good guys’ just because they look ‘simple’. All men are capable of being good or bad. All men have the potential of breaking you. There is no ‘good guy’ who will love you unconditionally. Other than parents, nobody will love you unconditionally. More importantly, I think the distinction instead of ‘good boy vs bad boy’ should be of husband vs boyfriend. Totally different expectations, and not at all comparable!
Janmon ke saathi, hum saath saath hain
I know, cheesy line. But the only thing that matters, at the end of the day. The ‘saat pheras’, the ‘ek chutki sindoor’, it has some power after all. Believe it or not. All marriages seem impossible at some point, but you can still make it work. A lesson for anyone struggling in a marriage and wanting to make it work. No third person can break your marriage, remember that.
Reeshu and Rani were just another married couple, who got married thinking it will just work out naturally (it is supposed to), realized that it doesn’t work that way, doubted each other, doubted themselves, had their hearts broken, made mistakes, treated each other like ****, had themselves trampled over, yet in the end they survived it.
That pretty much summarizes marriage!