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?
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.
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…