Six Reasons Why Netflix’s New Show ‘Squid Game’ Wins – No Spoiler Review

As a person who finds it difficult to sit through a TV show, and who loses interest and starts looking at her mobile 10 minutes into any show / movie, binge watch is not really my thing. I have recently come to the conclusion that I can only watch limited series and that too over weekends.

It was hard not to know about the new show, ‘Squid Game’ on Netflix.  Everybody was talking about it. Actually let me rephrase. Everybody was not talking about it.  I don’t know of any person among my friends / family who has watched it.  I even did a little poll on my Whatsapp Status on it.  As expected, people knew about it but had not watched it.

Netflix wants us to believe that this is ‘the show’, completely phenomenal and that every human in any part of the world is addicted to it.

Now this is what happens when there is so much hype. You think that everyone is watching it so you should watch it too, otherwise you are missing out. It’s no longer a show but something like the Olympics! It is news!

So, I completed the series this weekend.  I made my mother also pick up in between and watch few episodes, even though she hates violent shows. She closes her eyes when there is any blood!

‘I want to know the end’, she said.

I will keep in mind that most people have not watched the show. So this review will not have any spoilers. At least nothing more than what you already know. Here is what worked for me:

  1. Originality always works

I have not watched Hunger Games. One of the games in Squid Game reminded me of ‘Stepping stones’ in ‘Takeshi’s Castle’, a show I  watched on Pogo.  I also used to watch ‘Just for Laughs’ on Pogo. These were comedies. Survival games on the horror side are not inherently a new concept either. Neither are concepts of betting on people and subjecting them to violence for fun. We have seen it in the ‘Hostel’ series. Still, Squid Game had a fresh plot.  If I count on the shows on Netflix right now, and I hate romance shows, this one would probably be on the top ten just basis the engaging plot and the interest in knowing what comes next.

  1. Games are fun

Games are thrilling and fun to watch and my generation in India that grew up watching ‘tasks’ in Roadies as teens knows it.  In Squid Game, the games are all kids’ games so they are not difficult to understand or follow. The names might be different but these games are played in all parts of the world. For example, ‘Red Light, Green Light’ is something we play as ‘Statue’. Of course, the stakes here are life and death and the games get brutal.

But who can resist a game!

As my mother said,  ‘I want to know the end’. You always want to know who wins.

  1. The larger than life sets

The first episode will be enough to get you hooked.  The initial pink and yellow sets even reminded me of Bigg Boss! The bunker beds accommodating hundreds was also a visual delight.  The first game with the creepy, gigantic doll whose cover picture I have put sets the tone for the entire series. It is shocking, it is impactful and it is sad!  The directors, the  writers, the actors everybody has achieved their purpose when the scene evokes so many emotions in the viewer. That doll is the next Annabelle!!

Her cute face, her childlike voice, her 180 degree head turn like in the Exorcist, and of course what she does is all very obsession worthy!

She is already an internet sensation! I read that she was put to display in a museum in Korea where she is missing a hand!

  1. People like violence

I read somewhere that this will be the biggest show after Game of Thrones. I didn’t like the Game of Thrones.  I tried to watch it but gave up.

I personally don’t think it is violence that people like, but it is the fantasy element of it that people like, that something like this can also happen. Something so weird, so insane, so inhuman, so illegal can actually exist!

  1. The human element

Debt.  Poverty. Desperation.

In the age of EMIs, who is not in debt?

Everybody dreams of paying off that debt sooner than later. What if you get an opportunity?  The show has done an excellent job giving the backgrounds of each of the lead characters.  They are miserable in their life also, as they are in the game. Similar to what we see in prison shows.  Their lives inside are not much worse off than their lives outside. All the actors have done a brilliant job. I don’t know their names, but they are already famous.

  1. A metaphor

You can interpret the show any way you want.  I personally look at it as a metaphor for the stressful, materialistic lives that we are living,  losing everything in the rat race.  Whether it is the CA course, the MBA,  the PhD or B.Tech you give it your all.

It starts with competition, eliminating the others and once you get started you have no option but to stay to survive. You get jobs where you are competing again in a pyramid like structure but ultimately it is survival of the fittest.

You did everything to make money and you thought it would make you happy. Except that you want to make more money, and money is never enough.  There are so many others doing better than you. Happiness is a joke at the end of the day.  You want to rest, you want to relax, you want to be liked, you want to have fun.  But there is no time.  You want to do what you like but unfortunately with your lifestyle, you cannot afford to do paintings and write poetry and have to spend 12 hours doing something you don’t like.

There is no way out, and you know it. You are stuck. Much like these poor players in the game.

‘We are not horses’, the protagonist had said in the show.  Well, I don’t think we are horses either. We are rats!  The problem is that in this game, everybody plays. Everybody loses! Very few win and that too at an indefinable cost.

In the last year, irrespective of covid we have seen people in their 30s, 40s, 50s die. We know that we are doing something wrong in life.  And that’s just death.  Unhappiness, there is no measurement of it.

It is just a hollow feeling.

Okay, enough of my preachiness!

Share your thoughts in the comments. If not for this show, any other show you have watched recently.

 

 

Midnight Mass: Is Fear The Only True Emotion?

I was very young when I was watching an interview of a director who made horror movies.

‘Fear is the only true emotion.’

He said. I was too young to even understand this quote, forget about dissecting it. All I knew was there were so many other emotions – love, anger, sadness. This guy probably did not know anything…

I also remember again from my childhood, a person describing someone as a ‘very good person’, followed by ‘God fearing’.  I did not know what God fearing meant.  I was explained.

“Why is that a good thing,” I asked. “How can fear be a good thing? And why should one fear God of all the people! I mean God is not even people, and He is supposed to be good, so why fear Him?” 

“Because if you fear God, you live by moral values.”

This I understood.  Moral values. I knew what that meant. I went to an all girls convent school.  We had a moral science lesson every single day.

What is the connection between fear and horror and moral values and why am I blabbering about all of this?

I binged watched Midnight Mass this weekend.  I had been waiting for this show ever since it was announced. I am not a binge watch person so this means a lot to me.  For the benefit of those who don’t know, Midnight Mass was the latest work of Mike Flanagan, a filmmaker who is best known for his work in the horror genre.  A lot of his previous films and series are on Netflix including Haunting of the Hill House, Haunting of the Bly Manor, Gerald’s Game, Hush, Ouija, Doctor Sleep. A lot of his work is adaptations of Stephen King and Shirley Jackson’s novels.

I have always been a fan of the horror genre.  I don’t like gory, visual horror but more of psychological thrillers. Mike Flanagan’s movies / series are appealing because they have a lot of story and emotion in them.

Midnight mass is new and I do not want to give any spoilers. All I can say is that it is about religion.  It is about miracles. It is about loss.  It is about faith.

But most of all, it is about fear and blind faith and the things one would do to as a result of it.

A sleepy, almost dead town starts to face mysteries and miracles.  Are the people of this town worthy of miracles? Do miracles come at a cost? Some people get to make a choice. For others it is not even a choice.

And yet, the good ones don’t change no matter what happens to them…

For me, Haunting of Hill House was the best. It was also very sad, but it was scary. I can never forget the ‘Bent neck lady’. Haunting of Bly Manor was too slow and painful. Midnight Mass is not for every one.  I surely liked it. It is unsettling. It is painful.  The visuals are breathtaking. Kate Siegel, Mike Flanagan’s wife who acts in most of his movies is stunning.  Her face is both calm and wild at the same time. The acting of the entire cast is superb.  For me, living in that boring town is the real horror, even before anything else happens!! To me, a lady character in that movie looks like a demon more than the actual demon! Wouldn’t name her… I am not trying to be mean, but it just speaks volumes of her acting.  Zack Gilford as Riley is crush worthy. I loved Hamish Linklater’s acting as Father Paul. He is charismatic! His wardrobe was interesting too! Rahul Kohli’s character’s religious plot was unnecessary, forced and propaganda, something Netflix seems to be doing a lot lately. I am surprised there has not been more religious outrage against this show yet because its portrayal of the Church, the constant reference to the Bible and its interpretations may have been offensive to many. It is not your jump and scare horror, which is not Mike Flanagan’s thing anyway. But is deep, layered and can be viewed as a metaphor on so many levels. I do not have any great quotes from Midnight Masss yet, but I would like to share my favourites from the Haunting series:

All things fade. All things. Flesh, stone, even the stars themselves. Time takes all things. It is the way of the world

A ghost story is nothing but a love story

A ghost can be a lot of things, but often times it is just a wish

To truly love another person is to accept the work of loving them is worth the pain of losing them

So, is fear the only true emotion? I think all our choices in life are driven by fear.  We make call it something else.  But in one way or another,  it is just a fear of something else.

Take marriage for example. Why do we get married? We can call it companionship, love and building a family but what is it really?

Fear of ending up alone…

Why do people not get married?

Fear of losing your freedom…

Why do people leave bad marriages?

Fear of being unhappy for every single day for the rest of your life

Fear of failing is the reason why people give up on their dreams even before they start pursuing it.  Fear of unknown and change is what makes qualified people stick to horrible jobs.  Fear of losing your loves ones and your own  life is what made you and me sit at home during the past year at the cost of our sanity.

I had written a blog about ‘Haunting of the Hill House’  earlier but I had never published it.  I did not want to give spoilers.  I still don’t.  This is what happens in the series:

Someone puts a thought in the mother’s mind that her children will suffer when they grow up and that she needs to protect them from that. The mother ended up acting upon her fear.  

The fear turned into reality!!

Was it always meant to happen that way?  Or did it happen because she feared it so much. Is it true that if you fear something it actually happens? Or maybe what you fear has already happened. It has happened in the past. You just never made your peace with it. And you are still living that fear, every day of your life. 

Fear keeps us safe. Fear keeps us checked. Fear keeps us aligned to our core values. Keep fear for the good things.  Keep fear as long as it keeps you good. But if it comes in the way of you being strong, then remember this:

You have nothing to fear, but fear itself.

 

 

Recent Shows On Netflix: My Take

Sex/ Life

There are some shows I watch with zero commitment and diverted attention. Like when I am working or cooking or reading random things on Facebook and Whatsapp. I watch these shows out of curiosity, and I tell myself that I can leave it any time I want! I kind of even know I may hate it. But I watch it any way. The last show I watched this way was Bollywood Wives or ‘Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives’, whatever the name of that show was.

Sex / Life was definitely one of them.  I didn’t just dislike it because it lacked depth.  I disliked it because it was sooooo boring!  The only thing interesting about it was that Billie doesn’t actually cheat on Cooper but only ‘thinks’ about the good times she had with her ex, Brad. The characters are so unreal.  Billie is a very annoying, confused woman who has a perfect husband, lots of money, a big house, two kids and a nanny.

Her life is so perfect that she has ample free time on her hand to imagine what it would be like had it not been so perfect.

Brad is the classic bad boy.  There was some story about his father and why he had trust issues or abandonment issues. I missed that part because my maid was around and I just forwarded the show afraid of God knows what kind of nudity may come up!  So anyway,  Brad is your bad boy cliché – He offers good sex therefore he is commitment phobic and non- stable.  Cooper is the perfect husband – stable, emotional, sensitive, loving and a keeper. When he finds out about his wife’s journal, he doesn’t get jealous or insecure or mad, instead he tries to offer her the best sex and adventure that she had been missing.

He should get an award for being the most fictionaly character ever!!

Whether it is Bollywood or Hollywood there is always a bad guy and a good guy. The bad boy is the fun boyfriend who will break your heart. The good guy is the stable one who will have your back.  Can we stop showing rubbish, please!! It affects the mindset of younger women who are clueless about relationships!

Every guy has the potential to break not just your heart but you!

Relationships have limitations!!

It reminds me of a conversation I had with my friend’s mother who was secretly relieved that her younger daughter’s fiancé was not that good looking. She said her elder daughter’s husband was good-looking and rich and he was not a nice person.  She was of the view that a good-looking, rich man has more ego, and is arrogant and he would not treat his wife as nicely as a ‘humble’ man.  I shared this with my best friend at that point of time who was from the U.S. She told me that Aunty’s remark doesn’t make any sense.

‘All guys have a lot of ego, Tanvi even the ugly and poor ones.’  She had said. Sorry for the choice of words of my friend.  I know it is not a nice thing to say.  We were very young then, teenagers. But the point is there are no ‘safe’ parameters for determining how a person would turn out to be.

Anyway, the show got quite ridiculous towards the end.  It was almost comical.  I think a few times I laughed out loud.  Everybody has been talking about how good-looking Brad is, and the entire cast. I did not find any of the three lead characters attractive, but rather uninteresting and they lacked personality.  And regarding ‘the scene’, no it was not real.  It was prosthetics!!

A Big Little Murder

I randomly watched this show on my mobile.  I did not know what is was about. The first scene and I remembered the horror of when it had happened.  I went to DPS Vasant Kunj and Ryan International was on my way and very close to my school. I passed by it every single day. I followed the case closely in 2017.  Most people in the country followed it as it was so shocking and brutal.

The show is just two episodes and even though they have tried not to take sides and show ‘both sides’ since the trial has not yet begun, it is implied that the accused Class XI boy is guilty.

The parents of the accused came on the show although their faces were hidden because he is a ‘juvenile’ . I have hated this term since Nirbhaya. And have hated it more and more with every crime.  From drunk driving, rape to murder these ‘juveniles’ have done it all.  A monster who can slit the throat of a child or insert a rod in a woman’s vagina should not be allowed to breathe and feed on the taxpayer’s money.

The school kids said that the accused had once put poison in a student’s water bottle. The father of the accused is a lawyer and he at least applied some logic to defend his son. But the accused’s mother  was unbelievable! She was in blissful denial! She said that the cops have named her son, ‘Bholu’ because he is innocent! She went on to say, ‘Mera beta talented tha, mera beta keyboard bajata tha, itna achcha tha suddenly spoilt child kaise ho gaya?’

Oh God these mothers of abusive men!! They will never accept their son’s fault.  Her ‘Bholu’ slit the throat of a kid for God’s sake! It was infuriating to watch her defend her son after what he did to that little boy. Pradyuman’s parents were more respectful and calm throughout the show than these two.

The show talked about mental health and somewhere a teacher said the older boy’s killing the little child was a collective failure of the system. Someone should have identified that this young man was unhappy or being bullied that is why he became a bully. I disagree.  There should not be any excuse or sympathy for such monsters.  Everybody faces problems in life.  But some people are pure evil.  A potential killer watching this kind of misplaced sympathy may think of killing someone too in the hope that he will get attention  by doing such a gruesome act. Such killers should just be hanged nothing else! They are not worth our analysis and precious time.

They showed the blood-filled washroom which was very disturbing. I could not sleep well that night because it is scary to imagine any human being’s throat being slit. But to think that a little kid’s throat got slit, in school, in the washroom, minutes after he was dropped there by his father! It was all too much. I remember sometime in another interview the child’s mother had said that he was so cute, she always thought how adorable he looks.  It broke my heart. The father said that he will ‘probably’ not meet his son in this life but if he ever does, he would want to know that he got him justice.

I felt horrible that this child’s parents have to live in a living hell with the reality of what happened to their baby for the rest of their lives. I felt horrible that a little boy who must be scared of the dark crawled from the washroom after he was brutally cut.  But more than sadness, I felt anger towards the parents of the accused.  It seems they have a lot of money.  It brought bad memories of rich brats from school and college and the whole attitude of ‘Pata hai mera baap kaun hai’.  NCR has always been about being rough and flaunting money and power, and shamefully high on crime. I am grateful I now live in another part of the country where people are civilized and respectful human beings.

However, there is another thing that is deeply disturbing. The police originally wrongly implicated the bus conductor. It seems they were under pressure and they tortured him into a confession.  Similar to Arushi’s case.  It was only when the CBI took over, that they caught the juvenile. What credibility does the police have then? The Juvenile’s father used this as his defense too.

The Good Doctor

I am on the end of Season 2. This is such an endearing show!!  I have a crush on Doctor Melendez. I like Doctor Andrews too. Shaun of course is super cute and Claire is just adorable!  All the characters in this show are so well crafted! They all have personality. The show is very deep and the way Shaun learns things! The things he realizes are things that are supposed to be ‘obvious’ except that they are not.  The writing is very clever. It is a very versatile show and highly recommended.

That is it for now! Do share any recommendations or your views of the shows.

 

Mimi Review: Flawed, But Has Its Heart In the Right Place

Surrogacy – Ethical, emotional, legal and commercial implications

One of the first articles I wrote on Women’s Web on legal updates affecting women was on surrogacy. The year was 2016. The draft Bill banning commercial surrogacy had just been passed. Banning is always easier than regulation. This was my view in the article as well.

Article link:

But should the government not try to regulate the industry instead and address proper implementation of surrogacy laws? The fact that foreign couples and Indian homosexual couples / single parents would be denied surrogacy is even more discriminatory and confusing.

Speaking of exploitation, how many women in the country, poor or rich alike are married with the sole purpose of bearing a child? Everybody tells a man to find a ‘nice girl’, and settle down to start a family. At times, the same wife goes through multiple childbirths in an attempt to bear a male child, her consent being nobody’s concern.

Oh the zeal of a young writer! I had a lot of spark then. I was very clear in my thoughts.  My confidence was shaken as I read a comment from a woman. She had written that sex and pregnancy put women in vulnerable situations, and that I should think from the point of view of what a woman would go through giving birth to a child she cannot keep. I had immediately felt ashamed of myself.

Was I speaking from a place of privilege?

I cannot imagine what it would be like to carry someone else’s child for money. But I can also not imagine what it would be like to be so in need of money that one would actually go through something like this. What if you have no money to feed your kids?

Mimi: Low on Research, High on emotion

The writers of the movie have been too lazy to research the laws. Commercial surrogacy is banned in India. As per law, a surrogate should be married and should have a child of her own.  Foreign couples are not allowed to opt for surrogacy in India. Overlooking all of this, here is the story:

A foreign couple approaches a young and pretty girl, Mimi, an aspiring actress to be their surrogate. She is introduced to them by a driver, Pankaj Tripathi. After the initial shock, Mimi goes ahead with the idea because she wants to go to Mumbai with the money she receives in return. Her parents are not aware of any of this.   But Mimi is in for a rude shock when the foreign couple abandons their baby, once they get to know that the baby may not be ‘normal’.

What will our poor Mimi do now? She is a bin byahi Maa with a white baby in her womb!

Oversimplified everything

In one of the scenes, Mimi asks her doctor about stretch marks. As someone who wants to go to Bollywood, it is understandable that she would be concerned about her figure post pregnancy and childbirth.

“Shilpa Shetty ka figure kharaab hua kya?” The doctor responds, strangely.

Yes, doctor. Shilpa Shetty represents all Indian women! There are other such bizarre scenes in the movie where the tough questions are just brushed off to make everything look easy.

Acting

Pankaj Tripathi is flawless as usual.   Supriya Pathak proves yet again she is an insanely gifted actress. There is a part in the movie where Pankaj Tripathi is mistaken for Mimi’s husband. Supriya Pathak and Manoj Pahwa’s expressions for their disappointment in their jamai provided much comic relief.

Kriti Sanon has tried hard but she is not a natural actress. Her accent was horrible. Luckily for her, she is very easy on the eyes. Her face in almost perfect and so is her body.

The bad reviews

Most reviews have ripped the movie apart. Especially all feminist platforms. So much that I felt guilty for liking the movie!! But as always,  I will stay honest to my views.

What critics say – Poorly researched.  What I say:

I agree that the makers have not done research on the law. But this was not a documentary. It was a movie. On Netflix. During the pandemic. You know and I know that we watch any new movie that is released on OTT because theatres are not open yet and there is no office and there is nothing better to do.

So yes, by those standards the movie was okay for a one time watch.

What critics say – Insensitive and racist. What I say:

People have complained that the baby was referred to as ‘disabled’. It may be insensitive but that is how  people talk. It does not matter because the movie had a nice message and it was pro acceptance. People have also complained that the ‘white’ baby was followed everywhere and this was racist.

It reminded me of my childhood days in Patna. I was very little maybe  in fourth, fifth grade. A white lady had got her daughter admitted in Kindergarten. This was something very exciting for us as there were no foreigners in our school.  She used to come to pick up and drop her kid every day.  The lady was so beautiful. At least I remember her as very beautiful. It may be possible that she was not beautiful, but just white and wore different clothes from the rest of the mothers who wore saris and salwar suits. We were too little and found her pretty because she looked so different. So white, and so modern!! AS if right out of a Fairytale. We used to follow her! One day I spoke to her and asked her is she was from ‘America?’

Coming back to Mimi, I won’t call it racism if a pretty looking kid is followed around in a small town. It is more of curiosity and attraction to something exquisite.

What critics say – Patriarchal. What I say:

Critics have said that Mimi gave up her dreams for the baby and the movie glorified motherhood and Mimi as the ever scarifying Maa who has no life of her own. I disagree. She got into an unwanted situation and dealt with it. Were their enough people to raise her baby? Sure! What with the doting grandparents and even the driver’s family ready to give up everything for the baby!

But it’s okay that she decided to stay for the baby. She fell in love with the baby, probably. Women fall in love with the wrong men, and ruin themselves all the time! Why not for a baby! She could still become an actress. Who said an actress has to be 25 years old only, my fellow feminist writers? She could become something else too.  In the two hours that they had, the makers had a different plot and objective.

Women empowerment means different things at different points in life. Maybe sometimes just hanging in a tough situation, accepting it, staying strong and not running away is as empowered as a woman can be.

Who is a mother anyway?

The one who gives birth? The one whose genes it is?  Or the one who raises the child?

Devaki bhi tum yo, Yashodha bhi, says Mimi’s mother.

The movie had a beautiful message about adoption at the end. All in all, it was meant to be a movie that will make you laugh and cry.

The boredom of the pandemic and my strong views in favour of adoption and non obsession with ‘apna khoon’ made me like the movie. Do share your views in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

Haseen Dillruba! They Are Just Another Married Couple After All1

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?

Sex life

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,?’  

Family dynamics

 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!

 

 

 

Dolly Kitty and Whatever: Confused, Messy and Unnecessary!

How to make a ‘woke film’?

  • Female sexuality = A woman can cheat. A woman can instantly leave anyone who does not satisfy her sexually, even if it is the father of her two children.
  • Throw in an element of caste
  • Throw some Hinduphobia
  • Throw some gender identity crisis for a child
  • Make the women abuse because it is cool!

And Tada! The mess is ready!

Half an hour into this movie, I told my husband,  ‘Movie ka kuch sar par pata nahi chal raha hai’.  Something in Dolly (Konkana’s) demeanor reminded me of ‘Lipstick under my burkha.’   It was only after watching the movie and doing some research, I realized that both movies were directed by the same person, and that the central theme was supposed to be female sexuality.

Except that ‘Lipstick under my burkha’ was a very interesting, refreshing story. Ratna Pathak’s storyline was very compelling.   Sharing a link to my review of the ‘lady oriented’ movie. One of the things I liked about it was the ending.   Nothing drastic happened.  They were not trying to make a point.  They were not forcing us to believe anything. They were not trying to convince us.   They showed us the raw desires of four women of different age groups going about with their routine (dual) life.

This is where Dolly Kitty differs and fails! Unfortunately,  this movie forces its  skewed narrative of female sexuality and empowerment in our face.

SPOILER ALERT!!!! Please do not read further if you plan to watch this movie. Come back once you watch it!

Dolly (Konkana) is a married, middle class working woman, a mother of  two sons who is planning to move to a newly built luxury apartment soon.  She likes to steal money from her office and lies to her husband about selling her jewelry in order to pay for their dream flat.  Dolly falls for a delivery boy and ends up sleeping with him. She then realizes that she was not ‘frigid’. She just did not find her husband attractive.  This revelation makes her decide to leave her husband!

Kitty or Kajal (Bhumi) is a small-town girl who has reached the big city to pursue her dreams. When I say dreams and you are thinking that she wants to get a good job, update her skills, and get higher education, you are wrong.  Her dream is to lose her virginity! Bhumi looks too mature and well kept to portray a naïve, young, poor, unsophisticated little thing.

Conclusion of the movie

A married woman who confessed to having her hymen stitched before marriage to deceive her husband, after cheating on him decides to leave him along with her two sons because:

Hey! My body my choice!   I live for an orgasm!

Dolly was abandoned as child by her mother for a lover, something that traumatized her. She probably knows the impact it has on a family. Why does she choose the same path? What effect will this have on her kids? What is her financial plan?

Who cares! 

A young woman working as a call center executive who provides phone sex/ companionship services to lonely, frustrated men gives a speech on how she is not ashamed of her job, and how something similar should be created for women. The makers also show women empowerment by installing a model of vagina, and showing blood stained bed sheets as a sign of losing virginity. This only further adds to the myth that all women bleed the first time!

There seemed to be a plot about the real estate scams of Noida but the writers forgot about it towards the end of the movie. Even they could not try to keep track of the messy storylines! In a bizarre finale, Hindu goons end up killing the only two characters of another religion!

Is this women empowerment?

There have been movies made on female sexuality in Bollywood. The best I can think of is Astitva. The movie had a plot, a strong storyline and hard-hitting dialogues.  I can never forget the conversation between Tabu and her chauvinist husband, in which she questions him. It was so powerful.

In Dolly Kitty… Dolly’s husband is made to show the villain because he tried to touch his wife’s cousin and the makers believe this justifies her cheating on him and leaving him.   In a pathetic scene, the poor husband tells her that they should work it out, even try counseling but our empowered heroine is done with him. They also want us to believe that the young delivery boy is noble because he promises to marry her!  After leaving her husband, Dolly magically allows her son to play with dolls and dress up a girl, something she has so far been disapproving of.  Dolly’s husband is also a villain because he tried the phone sex app,  the same app that Kajal justifies for women.

Let us reverse the gender in all of this. Would we appreciate a movie where a married man with two kids cheats on his wife and leaves her because he does not enjoy sex with her?   Kajal advocates apps for women where women will get two minutes of companionship from unknown men. Is this what women want?  Is this what men what?  Is this all anyone wants from life? Few minutes of gratification? In a time when we talk about mental health, lack of fulfilling relationships and loneliness arising out of casual flings and what truly matters in life, what kind of a message is the movie trying to give?

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Let’s smash the hypocrisy

Me and you.

 

 

 

Indian Matchmaking! Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment!

It was hard to miss articles / memes on this show. Even before I had watched it, words such as ‘cringe’, ‘casteism’, ‘sexism’, ‘elitist’, ‘fair’ , ‘regressive’ etc. used in the  context of the show made me skeptical about watching it.

In the first five minutes of the show, I was wondering if the show was a satire.   I then realized it was not, and I was a little shocked.   Next thing, I know I binge watched and finished it in two days. Some thoughts:

  • It is tough to find a partner

Not everybody gets married at 25. Not everybody meets someone organically and falls in love AND marries the same person.

There are elderly couples shown in the beginning of each episode who have been married forever. I found them really cute. As one of those ladies rightly said, ‘Someone has to introduce you.  A friend, Parents…’

I agree. The matchmaker is also just a source.  In the time of Tinder,  why should we frown upon the idea of a matchmaker! It is just a personalized, customized and super expensive or Premium Tinder as someone said on the show!

  • The show is not the problem. Our hypocrisy is

Until a generation ago in India,  people  believed that a partner is someone chosen for you, just like you don’t choose your mother, father, brother, sister.   People accepted their spouse as destiny and lived with it.  We don’t anymore, of course!  We have options.  Men and women both reject each other.  Since the show was about arranged marriages, critics have labelled it as regressive.

Rejecting based on looks or social status is not something specific to an arranged marriage.  We reject people every day because we don’t like them. In school, college,  tuition classes, gym, office dating app or any place else where men and women meet physically or virtually. We may not spell it out for them directly:

I want someone who is above 5’3 and you are clearly not!

I want someone with minimum this much salary and you are below my standards!

I think I can do much better!

We reject people even without knowing it. Like the guy  staring at the girl, but the girl does not find him interesting enough to even acknowledge.

We do this. It has been done to us.  This is how it works.

“The girl should be taller than 5’3”

This line made me laugh. I am not 5’3.  I remember so many people telling me since the time I was 12-13 that I should do monkey bars so that I become “at least 5’3″! Even if I don’t grow beyond that, it is fine!

  • My partner. My choice!

When we are young, we are shallow. We want our partner to be someone who makes us look good. Often  the superficial qualities we look for in our partner is a manifestation of our own insecurities.    I was told I will not find a tall guy because I was short!  I have heard dark-skinned guys say that they only care that the girl should be fair, because they have been told they will never get one!

I have rejected guys at 24-25, because their English was not good. Looking back, I feel that should not have been the criteria. Elders do the job of counseling marriageable children, and tell them that these things do not matter.   They may be right.  But the point is, as much as we should not let certain things bother us, if it still does,  then marrying someone who we don’t find attractive (physically, intellectually)  is also not fair, to either person.

It is not at all easy! All said and done, if anyone reading this is single and searching let me tell you that marriage is a lot of work, no matter who you marry!!  There is no right person or right choice. You take a decision, and live with it (or not!)!

  • Characters on the show

I don’t know how much of the show was scripted but certainly the characters were real people. My favourite person was Nadia. I found her very pleasant and felt bad for her when she got stood up.   Initially I found Aparna and her mother difficult until I saw Akshay and his mother!

I found Aparna and her mother entertaining.   I would like to say a lot about Akshay and his mother, Preeti but I would refrain since these are real people and not actors!  I have some views on “Pretty, rich boy” also but I guess it would not be nice to share it!

I know a lot of people liked Vyasar and Ankita but I don’t have any opinion on them. I was shocked that someone like Ankita said that she could understand that the man she met (forgetting his name) did not mention that he was divorced to her because it was their first meeting, and she may tell people about it! As if being divorced is a crime that should be hidden!

Pradyuman’s sister was sensible . I liked  how she told her brother when he said that the girl was not for him, ‘Why should she be for you!’

She made another interesting point. At the initial matchmaking stage, most people give a lot of importance to ‘being able to have a conversation’ with someone.  I did too.  This may again be a very overrated thing. If you are having a great conversation with someone in the first meeting, please be aware it may just be superficial!! People pretend!!

  • Sima Aunty! The viral sensation!

I found her hilarious! Long time back, one of my friends had asked me to watch ‘A Suitable Girl’ on Netflix in which Sima Aunty’s daughter gets married,  (and two other girls).   I watched it after watching ‘Indian Matchmaking’.  It is a nice documentary. Very realistic, non-glamourous and emotional. Sima Aunty is more of an anxious mother than a matchmaker in that one.

  • Filmein Sirf Teen Cheezon Se Chalti Hain, Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment!

Netflix bhi entertainment se hi chalta hai! All said and done, the show is very entertaining. I enjoyed watching it.  I am not the kind of person who would binge watch  anything as I find watching television for more than two hours a day irritating.  But for some shows, I make an exception.

This was one of them!

 

 

 

 

 

Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan: Would You Let Your Kids Watch It?

Yesterday, my cousin told me that she wanted to watch this movie. She was not sure if she should take her eight- year-old daughter. She told me that mothers on one of the groups  were judging how some people got kids for the movie which was not ‘appropriate’.

I think I have been living under a rock. I had no idea about this movie until yesterday. But more than the movie, I was curious to find an answer for her.

Can she take her kid to watch it?

My take on the movie

First of all, I would like to say that the movie was not that great. It was very entertaining in parts. And of course, we have to appreciate that Bollywood has dared to be so bold.  I felt that Ayushmann Khurana’s Karthik Singh was too filmy to be believable.  He was a let down. I know they had deliberately kept the movie light so that it does not get preachy. But even still, I think the overall package did not conclude well.  For example, ‘Badhai ho’ was the right amount of drama, emotion and comedy.  But this movie was made in a rush I feel.

Aman Tripathi who played Jitendra Kumar did a restrained and expressive performance.  His family consisting of Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao, the couple from Badhai ho, and extended family of Sunita Rajwar and Manu Rishi did a brilliant job. Special mention for Maanvi Gaagroo who played the woman who could not find a groom.  The family dynamics was far more entertaining than the actual plot of the two men being in love and trying to convince their family.  In fact, by the end of the movie, I felt more for the poor Goggle than the lead pair!

Acting by everyone (except Ayushman) is awesome.. This was certainly not Ayushman’s best.  Neena Gupta is getting prettier day by day.

But nonetheless, this was an important film and just because I did not like it so much, does not mean it does not get credit for the message it wished to convey: Homophobia.

Can’t they just change?

When I was 11, my family had moved to New York City. Prior to that, I was studying in an all-girls convent in Patna.  It was a big change for me.  In the next few years, I would hear new terms such as ‘gay’ ‘lesbian’ ‘homo’. At that age, kids even in a developed country like the United States would use these words to insult their classmates.  I was dumb when it came to sexuality even by Indian small town standards. There was no way I could compare to the exposure these kids had.  I had a friend who was born and brought up there. Intelligent, sensible and empathetic, she used to be my ‘go to’ person for all the questions.  I have blogged about her before.

Me: Why do they have to have such strong feelings. Why can’t they at least try.

Sarah: Try what?

Me: Like assuming a girl is a lesbian. But she is still a girl. Why does she have to like a girl only!  Can’t she at least try to like a boy!

Sarah: Can you like a girl, no matter how much you try?

In my defense, I was just 13-14. But I was lucky to have someone at that tender age with whom I could expose my ignorance, and not be judged.

The movie has done an excellent job explaining what I had asked my friend about 20 years ago.

  • Can kids watch this movie?

The movie has a U/A certificate which means parental guidance advised below the age of 12 years.

My cousin’s daughter is 8. What should I advise her?

 What Bollywood offers in abundance:

Kissing

There are two kissing scenes between the lead pair. But do we not have kissing scenes between the hero and heroine? Do we not take kids for those movies?

Item numbers

We expose  children to songs like ‘Main to tandoori murgi ho yaar, gatka le saiyya alcohol se.’ It is so normalized that we do not even give it a second thought.

Crass humour

Bollywood is full of movies that makes fun of fat people. Dark people. Slapping women was common until now, thanks to Taapsee’s upcoming movie. All Bollywood heroines are so beautiful.  Romance movies which is what Bollywood produces the most are about pretty people falling in love. We expose kids to fat shaming,  skin-color shaming, and the idea that it is important to look good to find love.

When so much of wrong is okay, what is wrong in a love story of two men with a good message?

If I take all this into consideration, I do not see anything wrong in letting kids watch this movie. At least this movie conveys the right message. I hope this is just a start.  There should be so many more.

A plus point for the movie was the way it started.  The lead pair was a couple in love living in Delhi.  There was no explanation. No justification. They were who they were. Without making a point.   I hope there are many more movies that normalize homosexual relationships and not just ‘coming out’ and acceptance.

So would you take your kid?

The only thing that one should consider is if your kid is at an impressionable age, would this be the right medium to expose them to homosexuality? Would you first see the movie yourself then decide? Would you give your child a little background first? Would you let them watch first and answer the questions that get triggered? Or would you do what Indian parents do the best – Forbid them from watching such movies, and convince yourself that they will never get to know about it anyway!

I have also heard  people say that talking about something to children means ‘encouraging them’ so they would rather ignore the topic altogether. Also, I am sure some people feel that kids may get some ‘ideas’ that would end up shaping them so better not take a risk.

I loved a dialogue from the movie.  “Hum na gande log hain na acche log hain. Hum bus log hain.”

I would like answers in the comments. I don’t have any answers because I don’t have children and have no idea how to deal with such situations!

But I do have to give an answer to my cousin…

 

 

Panga: Simple, Honest And Heart Warming!

Panga is a simple movie. But it has a strong message.

Without getting preachy and overdramatic, it narrates the story of a woman who gave up her career when she was at her peak, to raise her baby.

The baby is now 7 years old. Like most children, he knows his mother as Mamma and nothing more. He is however aware that she sells tickets at the railway, a job he considers so insignificant that it is not worth missing his sports day at school.

The mean son is told that Mummy could have been so much more, but she gave it all up to raise him into a healthy boy. The child decides that it is time for Mummy to make a comeback.   The rest of the movie is about her achieving this comeback despite all challenges on the home and sports front.

A comeback after having a child is difficult in any profession. It is more so in case of Jaya Nigam, as she was once an ace Kabaddi player and captain of the Indian team. Going back to work means competing against younger and fitter women.

There is a lot that works for the movie:

The bitter truth

Jaya Nigam says that she feels happy when she looks at her husband and son. But she does not feel happy when she looks at herself.   Yes, motherhood is fulfilling. Marriage is rewarding. But that does not necessarily mean it is everything. A woman’s self-esteem is attached to who she is. And no. She is not somebody’s mother and somebody’s wife. She is someone.

Work life balance for mothers – no balance!

There is a scene in the movie where Jaya’s son tells her that she should have attended his race at school because all other mothers did. He adds that her job is not so important anyway, and she could not even skip it to watch him play.  Children can be mean. They have no idea how much parents sacrifice. They do not realize that the ‘insignificant’ job also sucks up the life out of mothers.

Jaya’s husband, Prashant is loving and caring. He wants her to be happy. He supported her after marriage. But when Prashant realizes that his wife needs to be physically away and he has to take care of the cooking, cleaning and  the child, he worries for himself.

This is the problem. It is not that (most) men are evil and want to destroy their wife’s careers. A lot of them would like to see their wives happy. But the wife pursuing her career means they would have to do a lot more equal household work and parenting and that is what gets inconvenient.The equality that we wish to achieve causes men to give up on the benefits of patriarchy they have enjoyed for years. And that becomes challenging. They have to make a choice. Do they step up ? Or enjoy the status quo?

It takes a village to raise a child

One aspect that I noted was that when Jaya decides to make a comeback at 32, it is not just her husband who is apprehensive but also her mother . The mother becomes supportive later on, but initially the idea is not thrilling to her, probably because her life will also get disrupted as she will be expected to take care of her daughter’s family, at least in parts. A woman needs a lot of support to raise a family and pursue her career. That is why I get annoyed when privileged women make statements like ‘motherhood is not a sacrifice’. Please go and take a look at the average, middle class homes where you have cannot afford day cares and nannies or may not wish to for other reasons. You do have to make a ‘sacrifice’, as much as we may not like burdening this term on the child who never asked to be born. Also, Jaya’s in-laws are completely missing in the picture. Maybe they have been excluded for the sake of simplicity.

Attention to details

The moms have a ‘mothers’ whatsapp group which applies to most schools. Fathers are added when only when mothers are physically not available.

When the family goes to watch the match, Jaya’s concern is that the child’s school days are getting missed.

Jaya’s mother makes besan ka laddu. Jaya who is trying to lose weight had asks her to use jaggery instead of sugar. She complains that the mother did not make gond ka laddu to which she says last time she made it nobody ate and she found it ‘sada hua’.

Real Characters

At one point Jaya says that she was testing her limits. She has reached her limit and now she wants to go back. She is not sure if she will play in the finals and feels it is better the family leaves that wait in disappointment. The husband is supportive for the most part but does stupid things like making a video call to her to seek help when she has a match. These are not people who are always happy or always confident or always strong unlike some other caricatures Bollywoods likes to dump on us. They are human and act differently depending on their moods (like most people). The match sequence is also kept real and there is a lot of ‘waiting’ before anything happens.

 Performances

Kangana has not put on much make-up. Her skin does not look so clear, and she had fat on her face and belly like most women. Kangana is one of the best actresses we have today, and she proved it yet again. She can be the diva in Fashion, the weird one in ‘Judgmental hai kya’ and the girl next door or rather the married woman next door.  She transitions from being the doting mother to the nervous wannabe player to the sports champion.

Jassi Gill as Jaya’s husband is very likeable and believable. I have not seen him before. The child actor, Yagya Bhasin is a star. Neena Gupta with curly hair as Jaya’s mother has a small role but nonetheless a delight to watch.  It is sad that Bollywood does not have much to offer to these gifted actors. Richa Chadhha as Meenu is funny. She is the opposite of Jaya – the woman who is single and pursued her career without any distractions. The other characters, Nisha Das, the coach and the ‘bhabhi’ neighbor who watches the son have all done very well.

Watch this movie to get inspired. Watch it to know that it is okay to not feel enough. Watch it to know that it is okay to take a panga with yourself and push your limits.

 

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!