Sunday, April 10, 2016

Dum Laga Ke Haisha—Of The Force Of Gravity

There is a scene in Sharat Katariya's award-winning Dum Laga Ke Haisha that I have been trying to decipher ever since I have watched it. At one point in the film, Prem (Ayushmann Khurrana) is talking with his shakha teacher, and says, "Kal raat ko apni na sun saka. Yeh grahasth jeevan ka gurutvakarshan daldal me mujhe kheench ke rahega." This is the scene sequence after the night where Prem is not able to control himself, and tells his teacher that he consummated his marriage with Sandhya (Bhumi Pednekar). Gurutvakarshan—गुरुत्वाकर्षण—is the word that he uses to describe his attraction. Actually, the word is used to describe gravity in Hindi. Going back to the grammar classes, there was something called sandhi vichched where a word is broken into its component words. Using the same concept on gurutvakarshan, we can see that the word is derived from two words—gurutva and aakarshan. Gurutva is the abstract noun derived from the adjective guru, that means something that is big, large, or massive, while aakarshan means attraction. Therefore, we learn that gurutvakarshan is a force of attraction by virtue of being massive (or having mass), that is the force of gravity. In the next scene, Prem and his teacher keep discussing the same issue. Prem says, "Koi ilaaj nahi hai, shakha babu, meri kuntha ka." His teacher replies, "Yeh gurutvakarshan na hai, aakarshan hai grahasth jeevan ka." In the sense, Prem says that a gravitational pull is sucking him towards Sandhya, and his teacher says, it is not gravity, but the pleasure of sexual gratification to which he is attracted. Immediately after this discourse, we see Sandhya walking to an empty classroom, and practicing to take a lecture. Interestingly, the topic that she chooses to describe is nothing but again the law of gravity. She says, "Prithvi ki har vastu, har dusri vastu ki aur aakarshit hoti hai. Gurutvakarshan ka pehla niyam, lekin kyun vo ek dusre ki aur aage nahi badte, kyun thame rehte hai apni hi jagah, kyunki dono ek dusre ko apni aur kheenchne ki koshish me vahi ke vahi khade reh jate hai." All objects on earth are attracted to one other due to the law of gravity. But why do objects not move towards each other, and stay at the same place. Because in trying to attract one other, they remain at the same place.

Based on the above, a scientific element that can be read on the story of the film. As we know, gurutvakarshan or the force of gravity is directly proportional to the mass of the objects, and inversely proportional to the distance between them. In this context, Sandhya is the one with the more mass, in fact, the film makes it a point to show her overweight, and call hers fat at many times in the film. More mass also refers to Sandhya's much stronger intellectual capability than that of Prem. This can be used to imply that given her more mass, her force of attraction towards Prem is much stronger. Prem, due to his low mass and low stature, is the one that does not increase the force between the two. In a sense, we can also compare gravity to love. The similarities between gravity and love are quite interesting. Both gravity and love are non-contact forces, meaning that they do not require objects to be in contact with each other. Both gravity and love are attractive forces. Gravitational force increases by reducing the physical distance between the objects, while love increases by reducing the emotional distance between the lovers. Sandhya is trying to bring Prem closer to her, and reduce the distance (both physical and emotional, in this case). It is also worth noting that Prem means love. She is trying to attract Prem's prem towards her. Sandhya also sings Moh Moh Ke Dhaage. Moh—another word for an invisible force—that attracts one person to other.

The difference between the two forces is that gravity can be measured, while love cannot be measured. Gravity is a very weak force, while love, as Gandhi said, "Love is the strongest force the world possesses and yet it is the humblest imaginable can make."

Here is the slightly confusing part. Sandhya, then, talks about gurutvakarshan ka pehla niyam. There is no first law of gravitation in science, there is one universal law of gravitation, but there are three laws of motion. Laws of motion were given by Newton, just as the law of gravitation. In this context, perhaps, she meant the first law of motion. First law of motion says that an object at rest will stay at rest and an object in motion with stay in motion with a constant speed and direction unless acted on by an external force. Although gravitational force attracts objects towards each other, but objects don't move because gravity is a very weak force that is hardly perceptible, and also, the motion produced by gravity is cancelled by other forces on body, such as friction, producing no net movement in the body. But the first law of motion describes inertia. The tendency for an object to resist change in its motion is called inertia. Here, we understand Prem's inertia towards, he is resisting to move towards Sandhya, and he will move towards her if there is an external force acting on him. He has to overcome his lack of his self-confidence that is forcing him to not move towards her. 
It is again some sort of cosmic coincidence that the film's title is also based on dum that again means force. Dum Laga Ke Haisha—give in all your energy. The film's theme is based on a race where a husband has to literally carry the wife on his back. This race of obstacles is an allegory for the race of marriage and its similar obstacles. The dum that will drive this to completion is the dum of love, perched on his back, guiding him, and motivating him.

Dialogue of the Day:
"Ye moh moh ke dhaage,
Teri ungliyon se ja uljhe,
Koi toh toh na laage,
Kis tarah girah ye suljhe,
Hai rom rom iktaara,
Hai rom rom iktaara,
Jo baadalon mein se guzre."
—Dum Laga Ke Haisha


  1. This is one of my favorite movies. As I do not speak Hindi I really appreciate you delving deeper into the dialogue in these scenes. Love your analysis!

  2. ohh.. this time your words are very hard to read and understand... but nice


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