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:


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.


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!


Why ‘The Sky Is Pink’ Will Make You Cry

It is based on a true story

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

There is no limit to tragedy

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

But is it true?

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

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

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

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

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

Being positive does not cure, but it helps

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

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

Umaraan main sariya jee leeyaan

The song at the end

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

Other things

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

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

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

Aisha’s Ted Talks

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

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

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

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

With everyone who is thinking about her.


Bala: Par Badalna Kyun Hai?

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

She is intelligent, confident and a practicing lawyer.


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

‘Looks mein no compromise!’ She believes.

‘Dikhawa hi meri zindagi hai’.

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

How important is looks?

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

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

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

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

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

Face is pretty! But the pimples..

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

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

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

The arranged marriage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What works in the movie

Spoiler alert

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

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

The not so pretty girl refuses to be a second choice

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

The hero will learn to love himself

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

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

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


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

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

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

Important issues the movie raises:

  • Law does not equal to justice


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


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


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

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

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

Mission Mangal: Entertaining, Inspiring and Feel Good

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

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

Simplification of facts.

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

Portrayal of women

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

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

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

What is wrong in showing reality?

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

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

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

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

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

The way they are dressed

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

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

Why Akshay Kumar is there in the movie

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


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

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

Portrayal of religion

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


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

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