Who Killed Shastri? The Tashkent Files Raises The Question Yet Again

‘If your family member goes to a foreign country, and dies there, and you receive his  lifeless body, swollen, with blue and white spots, with marks and cuts, do you not even deserve a post mortem?

This ‘family member’ referred to in the movie was the second Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri.  It is unthinkable that a post mortem would not be conducted after the death of a Prime Minister, that too when he dies few hours after signing such an important agreement deciding the fate of two countries.

The movie is like a real life Twitter or Facebook or Whatsapp debate.  We don’t even have to go as far as social media, we have these discussions in our living room.  Both parties feel the other party is completely blinded.  Is it just a matter or perception or more?  Is lack of evidence an evidence of hidden evidence?

The movie cites enough reasons for us to believe that Shastri ji’s death was a murder.  Even if we google on the subject, we will find conspiracy theories. There are books which make compelling references to the alleged murder and cover-up. The movie has collated it all together, and presented in along with the counter arguments. Without giving any spoilers, let me make some quick points.

  • 2nd October  – Selective History?

A character in the movie says that her child does not even know that Lal Bahadur Shastri Ji was born on 2nd October.   The day is known as Gandhi Jayanti.  I am sure kids today have no idea that Shastri ji even existed.  Our text books growing up were all about Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi. There are so many other great people who deserve to be known and applauded.

  • International political dynamics

Watch it to know what was happening at that time in the world. Where did India stand in all of this? What if Lal Bahadur Shastri ji was still alive?  How corrupt were certain leaders? What if certain people had not been in power? Could things have been different today?

  • Performances

Shweta Basu was very good as the lead journalist. This is her best performance till date. I liked her voice, and found her very pretty also.  As soon as I saw her, I told my husband:

Yeh to Parwati ki beti hai!

Who? What!

Parvati! Kahaani Ghar Ghar ki!

Interestingly,  I have seen Shweta Basu in other movies as an adult.  But the first thing that came to my mind when I saw her was the child artist Shruti from the TV serial.  Some things never change! Embedded in our memory!

Honestly, I felt other actors, Naseeruddin Shah, Pallavi Joshi, Mandira Bedi, Pankaj Tripathi, Vinay Pathak were just about okay.  I also felt that Mithun Chakraborty was a let down.  He gave a comic, insincere, shady, uneasy kind of feel to the character. For me, he took away from the credibility of the character.  I would have been happy to see Paresh Rawal in this role.  The speech he gave on ‘social terrorist’, ‘racist’ was a low point of the movie and lost the intended impact. Achint Kaur had no role.

Overall, despite the flaws, this movie deserves to be watched for the question it raises.  Think of it as a research paper that will open a floodgate.  People from my parents’ generation may have already known a lot if it.  But for those who don’t, it is rather unsettling.

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Recent Shows About Women

This is going to be a long post! Without wasting any time, and words, here it goes:

Delhi Crime – Netflix

This is one of the most brilliant shows I have ever seen.  I remember watching Dil Dhadakne Do and thinking that Shefali Shah is such a competent actress.  I wish she had  mainstream roles. Bollywood has never valued female actors above a certain age. Thankfully, Netflix knows better. Other than Shefali, Adil Hussain who played the Commissioner was too good. Special mention for Rajesh Tailang as Bhupendra Singh. Shefalis Shah’s expression every time someone mentioned the rod was so effective – her eyes get filled with tears, but she does not actually cry. She tries to keep herself composed to do her job.

Now, since this is a show based on Nirbhaya, it is impossible to ignore that happened to her, and treat this as just a show.

  • People are complaining that police has been showed in good light. What about the times they have completely sabotaged the investigation (Arushi’ Talwar’s case for example). I would like to say that amidst all that is wrong, at least let us give them credit for what they are doing right. They did catch the killers soon.
  • One of the most controversial parts of the show is the portrayal of Nirbhaya’s male companion. Akash is supposed to come from a shady background, allegedly has another girlfriend, fooled around in the bus with the girl, did not do enough to protect her, and gave an interview to media despite being told not to. Out of all of this, the only thing I (or anyone else) would know is that he did actually give an interview few days after the attack because we watched it.In the show, Bhupendra Singh who mistrusts Akash the most, says that he would have done anything to protect his girl, had he been in the same situation. I have over the years heard some other men say the same thing.

The thought that a man must / can protect a woman from attackers is very disturbing.

How would a man protect a woman from six men with a rod? Are we living in a Bollywood movie ? Girl gets attacked, screams bachao , cross arms her bosom.. The hero jumps and flies over buildings beating up every man. Hero and heroine sing and dance happily ever after!

Few years back I had attended a safety training for women. The instructor made a reference to Nirbhaya’s case and said that women are cautious when they are alone. However, with a male companion they are less guarded and they do things which they would not have done had they been alone. Would Nirbhaya have boarded that bus late at night had she been alone?  Probably not. Contrary to the popular belief, that women are safer with male companions,  women actually do get attacked even when they are with men. Women have been kidnapped, with the male companions beaten up.  Women have been raped in front of their husbands and fathers.  A friend of mine, and her husband got beaten up by some goons, when they were walking their friends home after dinner, who lived nearby.

It is a no brainer that an attacker with or without weapons is better prepared than an unsuspecting person (male). So as a thumb rule, the trainer told us that we should follow the same caution with a man, as we would when we are alone.

When a woman expresses to her husband / boyfriend / friend / brother that she does not feel safe getting into an auto at such a time, or taking a particularly isolated route, or walking on a certain road, the response she usually gets is:

Don’t think too much..

Don’t be paranoid.

Nothing will happen, I am there.

 Since we always expect men to protect women, men may take it as a direct blow to their ego. This woman does not trust me. She does not have confidence in me.

I remember an incident where in a discussion among a group of friends, one guy (who secretly liked a girl) asked her why she was such a big fan of a certain actor.  She replied that the main thing a girl looks for in a guy is how well he can protect her!  And this actor was so tall and well-built that he would be able to!  The guy who asked her this question was very lean, and shorter than average. Needless to say, his self esteem was shattered by her response!

This kind of mentality is unhealthy for girls and boys. Yes, we should look out for our friends and loved ones.  Girls look out for girls too – sharing Uber details, tracking the ride, etc. And certainly, we should never leave our friends alone in danger.

But the expectation that the guy should be able to protect the woman with him, and should have died doing that is unreasonable. It is also extremely unfair that a ‘hatta katta’ looking guy is better suited to meet this expectation. 

Recently, a woman in the United States got into the wrong car, mistaking it for an Uber. Hours later, they found her body. People were saying she should have checked the licence, driver details before entering blah blah!  It was ridiculous!

Let us stop scrutinizing the choices made by victims. We like to believe that we are so perfect that nothing like this could ever happen to us!  The thought that something so horrific could happen to anyone so randomly is hard for people to accept. Even if the guy was touching the girl in he bus (I don’t support it, but it happens), had another girlfriend (also happens), so what!!  What does not happen is inserting a rod inside a woman’s rectum and vagina and pulling out her intestines.  

Made in Heaven – Amazon Prime

This is a very entertaining show, following the lives of Tara and Karan, who are wedding planners. Each episode tackles one marriage, one social evil at a time while Tara and Karan’s personal stories run in parallel. The problems are nothing new – dowry, being Manglik as a hindrance in marriage , inter-religion love story etc. But these have been shown in a very clever way, making it refreshing to watch. The show is very good at contrasting the economic inequality and socio-economic transition in India. Rituals are customized.  The ‘modern outlook with traditional values’ is basically about retaining the (bad) parts of our culture as long as it is convenient, and copying from the West, to suit ourselves. Hypocrisy as best!

Arjun Mathur as Karan was brilliant.  Sobhita Dhulipala’s acting was average but she had a sense of charm and restraint that suited her character. Kalki was brilliant.

In one of the episodes, the parents of a groom (who pretends to be a very scrupulous IAS officer) demand dowry right before the baraat arrives. The bride and the family want to know if the groom is aware of this.

For the benefit of unmarried women:

The groom is aware of what his parents demand. Always.

Four More Shots Please – Amazon Prime

My apologies for putting this show in the same page with two good shows.   I have watched four episodes I think.  So again, my apologies if it gets better. I did not feel like watching any further.

Storyline? Four women in this show drink, have sex, and abuse.  And then they drink some more, have sex and abuse a little more!  Don’t get me wrong.  I am all for women’s rights to do whatsoever they choose.  Tara smokes in Made in Heaven.  Vartika abuses in Delhi Crime. I have no problem with that. We are all humans and flawed.  I have a problem when a show makes it a statement to do this and markets it as a ‘feminist’ show.

Let’s not get into the whole logic of why we don’t object to movies like Masti and target women centric shows. I hated Masti too!   

The characters are stupid and annoying. It is tough to choose the most annoying one, but Bani wins.  The dialogues are disgusting such as ‘Mere vagina ki jai’. In another scene, Bani hurls horrible abuses to Lisa Ray to motivate her to work out!!  Siddhi refers to her mother by her first name. These women walk up to men in bars and say things like ‘How do you do it?’  ‘No anal! ’

I don’t know any people who behave this way!  Talking about size of male genitals is not empowering. If the lead protagonists of this show were male and said the same things about / to women, there would have been an outrage by now to boycott this objectification of women!

Also, what is with the obsession in Bollywood and Indian television with divorced couples trying to get back together? A divorce involves a lot of money, pain, time and litigation. In real life, when people get divorced, they are done. In stupid shows like this, it is so reversible that they may get back together any moment!

The show seems to be inspired by ‘Sex and the City’ one of my all time favourites. SATC was entertaining, fun and emotional in parts.  The difference between such shows and shows like Four more shots, or the Veere di wedding types is that while in the former, the characters  are just being themselves, in the latter they are desperately trying to impose their definition of ‘modern’ in our face!

PS. If anyone knows of any arrests made under section 377, please drop me a note.

Badla! Have You Watched The Invisible Guest?

Yesterday at 4 pm:

Me sitting in office. Surfing bookmyshow.   I came across Badla. Based on ‘The Invisible Guest’. For some reason I fail to understand, the name did not ring a bell.

Amitabh Bachchan. Tapsee Pannu. Amrita Singh.

Wow! I thought. I called my husband.

‘Should I book Badla for today?’

‘Umm…. I have a lot of work to finish…  I need to complete few calls. Ghar aao..  Fir dekhte hain’..

‘Dekhte hain… Matlab.. We will watch it wala dekhte hain or we will discuss wala dekhte hain’.

‘Haan ghar aao. Fir dekhte hain’.

I went back to finishing up office work.  After some time he called me.

‘Is there a night show today? In case I get free later…..’

And so I booked it.. Despite my reputation of falling asleep in night shows… This movie would have too many twists and turns to keep me awake…

In the car, my husband mentioned something about watching the trailer of Badla.

‘No!! Don’t tell me!! I don’t like to know anything about the movie before watching it! And this is a thriller. Don’t want to ruin it!!’

So, with a lot of expectations and excitement I went for the show.

The casting started.   Based on ‘The Invisible Guest’.

The casting included visuals of a hotel room. This time it did ring a bell…

About a year ago:

I love watching international movies on Netflix. In fact, my husband often says to me ‘Can you find a movie, which we can watch without subtitles!’  But this was back when I was single.  On a lazy weekend, I was searching for Spanish movies on Netflix and found  The Invisible Guest.  I found the movie really interesting. I thought I should tell my mother too.  She may like it.  She was busy with the morning house work. I told her to watch it with me.   So she hurried up and joined me.

I had already watched the first half by now. She told me I could finish the movie, and she could catch it later. But  I wanted to watch with her. So I replayed it from the beginning. Watched the first half again.  We completed the movie together. And I loved it.  I was so impressed by the movie that I googled the director.

Oriol Paulo it was.  I searched for more of his movies on Netflix. The only one I found was ‘The Body’.  Watched it too. It was not as brilliant but still a good watch . I felt the writers of these two movies have strong, strong views on hit and run cases.  A personal experience could be possible.

Few months later, my sister and niece visited. Sister asked me to play a good movie on Netflix. I immediately recommended The Invisible Guest.  I watched it again with them. The third time!! Niece who was about 10, picked up on the mystery early on in the movie.  I was amazed at how smart she is.

Back to present

So here I was,  watching a night show, based on a movie I had already watched three times.   I was bored already. I hoped that they would have changed it a bit.

Maybe it would be different.

No it was not. They copied it scene by scene. As if it was not bad enough that I had it memorized scene by scene!!  All they did was reverse the genders of the lead characters.  And add a few explanations here and there, assuming the audience would be too stupid to understand. And a few forced references to Mahabharata.

Maybe the acting would be good.

Nope. I have never disliked Tapsee’s performance so much. No it was not like you hate a negative character because they act so well.  It was just a very bad performance.   I am wondering if Pink was a fluke.Tony Luke’s accent did not seem to suit the character.  In fact, the entire set-up in UK did suit the desi characters.    Amrita Singh was over the top in the first half. She did well in the second half.  I was seeing her on the big screen after a long time, and so it was nice to see her, irrespective of how she acted. Amitabh Bachchan did not seem convinced of his role. I thought he would say:

Nah! I don’t buy it…. But I’ll do it anyway…

Those of you who have not seen  The Invisible Guest will probably like it.   The plot of the movie is amazing.  But if you have seen it already, please do not watch this movie.  In fact, better to skip it completely and watch the original on Netflix.

For someone who loved the original, recommended it to so many people, watched it almost thrice, and was stupid enough to not even remember it before booking , this movie  was a  colossal waste.  Waste of time, money and memory of a brilliant movie.

Bollywood, please stop copying from international cinema. You ruined it!

My only takeaway was a dialogue that went something like:

‘Recognizing the truth is wise. But one who cannot differentiate between truth and lies is foolish!’

Powerful thought….

 

Gully Boy: Intelligent, Fun And Endearing

There is the regular life. Where we study. We work. We take exams. We prepare for a livelihood.  We then earn from that livelihood. And then there is another life that we dream of. Where we don’t just earn. We live. Something nice. Something which makes us feel, Hum bhi kuchh hain..

Gully Boy is a movie in which a boy from a humble background, is told to dream, keeping in mind his ‘reality’. He however, brings his reality close to the dream. (This is a dialogue in the movie in Hindi, and I just realized I ruined it by trying to translate).

I know the movie released yesterday, so without giving too many spoilers, here is what worked for me:

1. As a writer, I could relate to how Murad (Ranveer Singh) found poetry in every day things. My friends often tease me how I find the potential for an article in everything. Little moments and observations create the best work. It reminded me of my story, Must You Finish Your Rotten Tea which I thought of  when I accidently put green tea leaves when trying to make regular tea.

2. Safeena (Alia) tells her mother that all she does is go to college, and study to become a doctor. Her mother asks what else could she possibly  want.

I want to go out, party, meet friends, talk to boys, put on lipstick, and do all of this, without having to hide it from you.

Story of every girl. We do not just want to study and be financially independent. We want fun and romance too. Without apologies.

3. Murad’s parents want him to study and do a day job. They do not want him to get distracted by passions that may not sustain him. This is what most parents would say right?  Makes sense. The hungry artists on the other hand would like to believe that Passion follow karo. Paisa ayega! But is this necessarily true? Does everybody become successful following their passion? But if no one follows their passion early on in life, how will there be a Sachin Tendulkar or Lata Mangeshkar?

4. “I got so many likes on my song. So many people watched it. And liked it”

 “So?”

“An artist creates something that makes someone feel good. Even after the artist dies, the work lives. It means something”.

I loved this dialogue.

5. I liked the ending. I hate the elaborate 45 minute  musical competitions in Bollywood movies which I do not have patience for. It was a bit abrupt but I liked it that way.  It was better than overdoing it.

6. The acting is brilliant. The last time I saw Ranveer Singh was in Simmba, a complete waste of his potential. More than Ranveer, I liked Siddhant Chaturvedi as MC Sher. Did a little research and found on that he was pursuing chartered accountancy!! Amruta Subhash as Ranveer’s mother is perfect for the character. Loved her expressions. Kalki seems to be playing the same type of roles again and again. Nevertheless, I like her a lot.

Now coming to Alia. She is a very good actress but I did not like the character of Safeena.  I feel a jealous, possessive, manipulative girlfriend should not be someone the hero should end up with.  Somehow, I felt that had it been a male character,  it would not have been portrayed as cool. Rather, a villain who the heroine would have rejected by the end.   The audience seemed to have loved her though.

Why did I think this way?

On my recent articles I have been receiving comments on how there are double standards in the way we perceive behavior of men and women.

If Priyanka Chopra says she needs a man only for children she is applauded, but imagine if a man said the same thing.

I guess the trolls have affected the way I see things now.   If anybody else feels this way, after watching the movie, do leave me a note.

Overall, go for it. It is fun for a one-time watch.

P.S.

Special thanks to my sister-in-law who gifted us the tickets for our first Valentine’s day after marriage. Hubby and I have been rapping ‘Apna time ayega… Kya Ghanta le ke jayega’.. since yesterday.

 

 

Manikarnika: When The Best Portrays The Best

The earliest memory I have of watching a  war in Indian history would probably have to be Mahabharata. Invariably, there would be what seemed like a sea of people for as far as I could look – on horses with a sword and shield. It looked too scary to be real. I would convince myself that it must be made up.

I have grown up. I have a better knowledge of history now. Still I cannot  imagine what it would be  like to get on a horse, with a sword and shield, out there for an attack, and get cut!  Then there was a lady who fought with a child tied to her back!

Sometimes, I try to place myself in that era. Would I have been brave enough? Would I have thought,

‘Sar kata sakte hain lekin sar jhuka sakte nahi’?

I don’t have an answer.  I am a very darpok person.  But I am also someone who values freedom more than anything else. Would I have given up my life for the sake of freedom of myself and my people? I guess I will never find out…

Rani Lakshmibai was a peace-loving woman.  She had principles. She did not believe in harming the innocent. But she had the responsibility of protecting her land, her home, and people.

‘Meri Jhansi nahi doongi!’

She fought bravely. She was fearless. She was a woman who stood by her principles, and fought for it, literally.

Khoob ladi mardaani, wot to Jhaansi wali Rani thi..

I was mesmerized by the movie. I love watching period films in theatre. It takes us to a different era altogether. The sets, the screenplay was very impactful. I certainly liked it better than Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movies which get so silly, tampering with history and making unnecessary love angles, two women in love with the same man, dancing together! Manikarnika has stayed quite honest to the plot. The costumes worn by Kangana were also very beautiful.  She looked absolutely majestic. In the first half though, the songs could have been reduced.

In more than one scene, the mother-in-law of Manikarnika warns her that she is too free-spirited. She must remember her ‘maryada’. She recommends her to confine herself to cooking and household.  Thankfully, Manikarnika did what she liked anyway. It made me smile.

Women who remember the maryada – Well,  they are not liked anyway no matter how much they try!

Women who violate the maryaada – have the potential of becoming great!!

Veteran actor Manoj Kumar has said after watching the movie that ‘Kangana was born to play Rani Lakshmibai’.  I could not agree more.  It is evident, she has lived and breathed every ounce of the character, since the making of the film.

Kangana has  been involved in the direction of the movie, in addition to playing the lead role.

Here is the problem:

Kangana is immensely talented. She can put most actresses of her generation to shame.  She is also very beautiful. Her skin, her features, her figure everything is perfect. Now, add to that she does not follow the rules of the industry. She does not care about being in the good books of the biggies. She speaks up against nepotism. She acts in videos mocking the industry. She says industry parties are as boring as her Dilli wali bua’s talks. She is her own person. Unapologetic.  She also is vocal about her political views.

Most countries take pride in patriotism. But our country doesn’t. Anything patriotic, is considered too ‘nationalist’ for people to support.  A brilliant movie, about a brilliant person, played by a brilliant actor should have been appreciated to say the least.

But as I read the reviews, I realized that people’s personal dislike for Kangana, and their political views have made them reach unprecedented levels of ignorance.

Quoting some lines for famous publications:

  1. “The full name of the Queen of Jhansi was Manikarnika Tambe, but the film informs us she was nicknamed Manu, like the hero of the Tanu Weds Manu movies where Ranaut found such success as Tanu”

Seriously? The movie made up the name Manu because Tanu weds Manu was successful? I have read that Manikarnika was called Manu, and no she lived long before Tanu weds Manu was released!! At least come up with better criticism!!

  1. “A little later, she saves a calf from ending up as lunch for British officers. Can a film about nationalism be complete today without an act of gauraksha?”

The liberals love animals. All animals except cows!! Of all the things in the movie, this is what they choose to comment on!

  1. “Kangana Ranaut’s Soulless Film Reduces Laxmi Bai To A Stunt Queen”

Well, sitting in AC offices, people cannot imagine what life was like then.  What did they expect in a movie about war? Yes. There was dramatization. It is cinema. Cinema that offers entertainment, as opposed to a documentary.

I would say for people who do not like Kangana Ranaut, please skip this one. Please watch Simmba. Appreciate Sara Ali Khan – who had a 10 minute role in which she played a Masterchef Bimbo.  Then go on a rant on how ‘talented’ she is, and how there is no such thing as nepotism.

Fellow Kangana fans – This is a treat to watch!

For the people who are proud of Indian history, go for it. Not for Kangana, but to watch the story of this great warrior. The woman who was fierce and fearless. We have read about her in school. But her story deserves to be seen on the big screen.

Har Har Mahadev!!

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Everything Wrong With Simmba!

Sangram Bhalerao (Ranveer Singh) is a corrupt cop. You see, he was an orphan. There was no one to teach him right or wrong.  ‘Pet paalne ke liye’ paisa chahiye.  There is a justification for why our hero turned out bad. He is also one of the most annoying characters I have seen in recent times.

Then  there is Shagun (Sara Ali Khan). She talks sweetly and serves food to the entire police station. She keeps track of which uncle has diabetes and forbids them from having sweets. No wonder our hero falls in love with this Mother India! What does a man look for in a woman after all – the ability to feed him!

Our hero is very jealous of a male friend of Shagun.  Shagun barely knows him, and it seems she has known her male friend for years. But when our hero objects to her hugging her male friend, she does not find this man creepy, jealous, possessive, and controlling. Instead, she falls in love with him!

Anyway, moving on, since our hero has no conscience, something drastic had to happen for him to change. When he was young, a noble  Didi used to teach him at night free of cost. Similarly, there is a kind-hearted young girl in the neighborhood who teaches poor kids. Our hero finds this girl respect worthy and she becomes his chhoti behen.  This behen gets gangraped and our hero avenges her death.

The only thing that I agree with in this movie was that rapists should be killed right away.  Justice delayed is justice denied. And these beasts should not end up getting away because of money and power.  I appreciate this thought. However, there is so much wrong with Simmba:

  1. Men like Simmba respect a certain type of woman. Someone they consider ‘clean and pure’. Simmba cared about a woman because she became his sister, because she reminded him of the Didi who taught him.  Would he have respected a woman in the pub, who drank and smoked and had boyfriends, and wore a mini skirt? Probably not. He would not have been able to relate to her.

 

2. Simmba helps people once they become his mother, father, sister. Why can’t this adult respect people for just being people? Why do they have to be related to him for him to have compassion for them?

3.In a bizarre scene, Simmba and his troop try to provoke the accused rapists by calling them ‘Naamard’ ‘Napunsak’ and suggest that a fertility test would have proven otherwise. This was extremely shameful and insensitive. Do they realize there are people actually suffering from physical problems and to challenge someone to prove their ‘masculinity’ is not cool?

4.The female judge blames the rapist’s mother. Why? Had the mother asked the sons to rape? Adults cannot take responsibility for their actions? In another stupid scene, the judge wakes up when Simmba tells her what if her daughter got raped? All characters in this movie are so devoid of empathy, sensitivity, and humanity that they cannot feel for another human being unless it is their own family!

 

Acting wise, this is easily Ranveer’s Singh’s most forgettable performance. An actor of his caliber was wasted. Sara Ali Khan has probably 10-15 minutes of role.  I heard someone in the audience say, ‘She is better than Sridevi’s daughter’.  In our sad nepotism struck Bollywood, where hero ka beta hero, and heroine ki beti heroine, there is no point having a discussion on talent when it comes to star kids.

Simmba is the flagbearer of toxic masculinity. Just because the topic of women safety is in, does not mean people who have not got their thoughts right can go ahead and attempt their shot at capitalizing on it. While a movie like Pink, tried to address the mentality behind crime against women, Simmba is just a masala movie desperately trying to impose a social message. Except it has no clue, what is the problem in the first place.

 

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!

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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!!

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