Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ignominy of being forgotten...

For the last few days, I have been thinking of Ravi. He was one of the children in the story Games At Twilight (a story that we read in English in Class 10th). I was not able to fully understand the depth of his emotional turmoil at that time, but all of sudden, I am constantly reminded me of him. Ravi and his friends were playing a game of hide and seek, and he hid himself in a place where nobody could every get hold of him. He had hoped that he would win the game. Instead his friends had completely forgot about him as if he did not even exist. The story ends as,
And the arc of thin arms trembled in the twilight, and the heads were bowed so sadly, and their feet tramped to that melancholy refrain so mournfully, so helplessly, that Ravi could not bear it. He would not follow them, he would not be included in this funereal game. He had wanted victory and triumph - not a funeral. But he had been forgotten, left out, and he would not join them now. The ignominy of being forgotten - how could he face it? He felt his heart go heavy and ache inside him unbearably. He lay down full length on the damp grass, crushing his face into it, no longer crying, silenced by a terrible sense of his insignificance. 

Insignificance - perhaps the one thing that scares me too. One year back I had come to the US, taking so many risks, thinking that maybe things will work out for me and I will be happy, at least for myself. But slowly and slowly, I am coming to terms with the realization that maybe I was asking too much. True happiness would be something that will always remain elusive as it is not an object. Happiness is a process, a state, which I cannot identify with. In addition to that, the behavior of some people and my inability to stand for myself makes me feel small and insignificant. Every time I start building some confidence in myself, it backfires. Where did I go wrong? Is it really karma? I have been having some really weird morning dreams as well. Typically, I do not remember them but of late, I remember them clearly and they have been repeating. All of them feature the people I wronged in some way by saying something which I shouldn't have and importantly, by not saying when I should have. Maybe that is why I have to face the consequences of my inaction. Maybe that is why some people have stopped talking to me. Maybe that is why I have to struggle so much to get the things. Maybe I will remain an under-confident person all my life. Will things get better soon? Will I end up as Ravi? I do not want to. I won't lose hope - the one thing that I always depend on.

And as I am haunted by the spectacle of self-introspection, Siddharth Dhanvant wrote some thing so beautiful that I cannot get it out of my head.

We give credit for the presence of people in our lives. But we seldom thank people for their absence. Increasingly, I find myself thanking people I have had to let go, or who let go of me, because their absence returned me to an abundance of myself: to imagination, to the pursuit of truth and beauty, to a silence in which I could hear myself again. We are defined not only by the company we keep but also the company we avoid. Today, I give each one these people thanks for taking leave: everywhere we look we will find only gifts of absence.

But the problem is our inability to let go. A few weeks ago,  he wrote this,

How easily we are mistaken as proprietary or insecure when we see our friends stray into each others lives – secretly, we resent such intimacy. Then we repent the burden of the introduction. And slowly we lose trust in the friend. This is possibly because we conduct our friendships with the secret voltage and high color of a love affair: this leaves anyone else who enters the parenthesis of this friendship a threat, or an outsider (even if they are a familiar).

I suspect another known entering a private friendship holds the threat of diffusing an intimacy built over years. They can scatter, with their unnecessary insight or observation or analysis, the knowledge two people held as true to themselves. This is the blinding light of the outsider: it reveals more than what needs to be seen, or it reveals erroneously. And so. Things are lost. Things will never be the same again. Come away.

Insecurity of losing the intimacy of friendship. The power of words.

Vivek Tejuja writes really beautiful tweets. It is as if he is speaking my mind and I want to say the same words to someone.

I can go on re-reading these. It gives me mental peace that I am not the only one who feels like this.

Things will get better no?

Friday, August 16, 2013

More Love for Dil Chahta Hai, Ishkq in Paris, and Gippi...

Long time no see..

Finally finished watching Dil Chahta Hai slowly and slowly. I have noted down many new interpretations. Just that I have to now write a piece on it combining all of them. I don't know when will I write it though. That film continues to surprise me. One significant insight, however, I would like to mention. I think the leitmotif of Shalini's and Aakash's relationship was based on separation. I found it very fascinating that all the times when Aakash realizes he loves Shalini are also the times when he thinks he is going to lose her. So, the first time this happened was when they both were at the underground metro station. Aakash is able to catch the train but Shalini, somehow, is left behind on the platform. It was the first time Aakash probably felt some sort of vulnerability as if he is going to lose Shalini behind. Otherwise, given his funny nature, he would have laughed at the turn of events. The impatient way he tries to open the doors so that she could come in was perhaps the first time he, inadvertently, starts to care for her. There is a silent fear in the eyes of both as if they are going to be separated forever.

Running Away?

The second time this happened was during the opera scene. In the opera, Troilus is dead and he is standing at the gates of heaven pleading to God to give him a chance to meet Cressida one last time. Again, the feeling of permanent separation between the lovers in the opera makes Aakash realize the one person who he cannot bear to be separated with. As Shalini says, kaun hai vo jiske saath ek pal bitane ke liye tumhe hazaar maut kabool hai? Because the one person you love the most is the one you are most afraid of losing. It is no surprise he saw Shalini as his Cressida.

Shalini is his Cressida

The third time this theme of separation was shown was when Rohit turns up finally. Slowly and slowly, Aakash is in love but he refuses to accept it but when he realizes that Shalini is going to be married to Rohit, that he is going to lose her forever, he fights for her. He goes to her wedding and stops it because he just cannot bear the thought of being separated from her. He says, meri saans, meri har dhadkan, mere har pal me sirf tum aur sirf tum ho Shalini. She is his breath, his heart beat, his time and if she is not there, he would not survive being separated from her. We cannot separate a person from such important life functions, right? That is why I felt their entire relationship's theme was based on this feeling of separation. Love is not finding someone to live with. It's finding someone you can't live without. That was their basis and how excellently it has been portrayed.

Meri saans, meri har dhadkan :)

If we look more deeply, the absolutely brilliant song, Tanhai, also in some ways dealt with separation. Talking of Tanhai, it is a beautiful song with so many layers to it. I can write one post on the song itself. There was this scene earlier in the film when Shalini and Aakash are coming back from the opera and Aakash gives a jacket to Shalini because she was probably feeling cold. If you look at the song Tanhai, at one point, Shalini is sitting in her house and she crosses her arms because she is feeling cold. It was as if she is missing Aakash's jacket because it comforts her. Now she is all lonely and she is terribly missing him, his jacket. When she tries to get comfort by sitting in the sunshine (a metaphor for Rohit's parents), she feels trapped because all the windows are locked. She feels cold with Rohit but Aakash brings warmth to her.

The jacket comforts her 

Shalini is missing the jacket, feeling cold 

But sunshine (Rohit's house) makes her feel trapped

I can just go and on about it. I have to write that piece on Dil Chahta Hai soon. So much more to write. If only, I could write well :( And this scene is so so devastating. And the haunting background score.  


Rajeev Masand, yesterday, uploaded a video below. Here Ayan Mukherji talks about the one film that changed his life. No surprises for guessing - Dil Chahta Hai. No doubt both his movies, Wake Up Sid and Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani had shades of Dil Chahta Hai. If I have to say the one film that changed my life, I would also say Dil Chahta Hai. I absolutely loved one point that Ayan makes. He says when he watched the movie he loved it but his parents did not like it. He then says, his parents not liking it gave him all the more reason to love it because he could own the film. I completely agree with the statement. If you love a film that you liked but others did not, you form a personal bond with the film. Perhaps it touched you in some ways, while others could not feel the same about it. I must admit I also sometimes feel jealous when someone praises a film that I also like because then I cannot call it my own. That is why I am so jealous of people when they analyze a movie that I also loved, it makes me feel why the hell did I not think about it? It is my movie. I have to possess it :) Luck By Chance, Aishaa, Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and so many more - howsoever, badly they have been panned, I love them and I own them. Because watching a movie is an extremely personal experience that depends on so many factors - even the company you are with. You just cannot generalize. Which are the movies that you can claim them as your own? What is the one film that changed your life? :)

One film that changed your life?

I also watched Ishkq in Paris. I love cheesy films. I was waiting to watch this film ever since it released. I like Preity and I also rom-coms. I thought it might be at least a good one time watch because my standards of liking a film are very low. When I was watching it, I really forced myself to like the film but I could not. The story is not that bad. It is just so so boring. Nothing really happens. Even at ninety minutes, it feels like hours. The emotional conflicts are not there and the ones that are there are so easily resolved that you wonder as to why were they making a big fuss of it. I was deeply disappointed. Production values are excellent. Just like a KJo film, not even a speck of dirt. Gorgeous Paris. Beautiful costumes. The legendary French actress Isabelle Adjani plays Preity's mom in the film and she also narrates the film. The thing that makes it worse is that her voice is dubbed by the same female who dubbed for Nargis Fakhri in Rockstar. It sounds very fake. The hero's voice is also dubbed by a different person. It sounds funny. The songs are pretty boring :( There are only two moving scenes which I really liked.

At one point, Aakash says to Ishkq, tumhe auron se nahi apne aap se dar lagta hai, jab bhi baat khud par aati hai topic change kar leti ho. Then Ishkq replies, akelapan, main akelepan se darti hun, darti hun ki kahin zindagi me galat faisle to nahi kiye, kahin apno ko dur to nahi kiya, kahin aisa to nahi ki puri duniya aage nikal jayegi ek din aur main peeche reh jaungi. Then Aakash says, yeh dar sirf tumhara nahi, saari duniya kai hai. It is so true no? How one scene in a bad movie gives you a solution of what you have been thinking the entire week?

Yeh dar sirf tumhara nahi, saari duniya kai hai

I also liked this scene when Ishkq breaks down in the hotel room and talks about her mother's life. It was very interesting that they both came and stood on the adjacent sides of a wall and started leaning on it. They both are emotionally fragile - she made so by the hardships of her mother's struggle and he made so by his parents' divorce and that is why they both hate marriage. When you share your life's deepest secrets with someone, you really need to be strong enough to let it out. It was as if the wall gave them this support and comfort to trust each other. Even in the above scene, when she talks about her akelapan, I really liked it that she moved a bit closer to him as if sharing her secrets has brought her emotionally closer to him as well. 
Wall of Comfort

Like it when she moves closer to him after telling her secrets :)

I wish there was some more meat in the movie. Rest whole movie is just bland.

In contrast to Ishkq in Paris, Gippi is a wonderful and a deliciously sweet film. I was smiling throughout. A story of a thirteen year old girl on how to deal with the turbulence of growing up - the most difficult phase - not yet an adult, no more a child. The amusing lesson on the human reproductive system in Class 9, the first crush, the hot chemistry teacher, the first period, the mean girls, the problem with being overweight, the lovable but slightly irritating younger sibling, playing FLAMES in class, making moustaches of actresses in magazines, discussing the meaning of the word horny with friends - Gippi is a short and lovely take on embracing your individuality and accepting the way you are. Director Sonam Nair creates some really wonderful moments in film, such as the one where Gippi's mom talks about her divorce because Gippi's father wanted someone who could speak English and dress modernly. She says with a slight trepidation and worry about her daughter's future, aisa aadmi dhoondna bahut mushkil jo tumhari sab kamzoriyon ko jaanta ho, aur phir bhi tumse pyaar kare

Lessons from Mom

There is another heart warming scene in the film when Ashish finds out that Gippi has a boyfriend. Instead of being heartbroken and making an issue out of it, he writes her a note saying that he has no hard feelings and he is happy that she has found true love. It is such a sweet letter that it breaks your heart when he crosses the word 'Love' and instead writes 'Best Wishes'. Such maturity in the characters. Contrast this with Raanjhanaas who would cut their wrists. Interestingly, Gippi is also in Class 9 studying in Shimla, so was Zoya studying in Class 9 in Banaras when Kundan stalks her. 

No hard feelings :)

In some ways, Gippi also made me really sad and empathize for its characters, especially Booboo and Aanchal. Booboo is Gippi's brother who has no interest in sports but knows the latest trends in make up and nail polish. He gets delighted when he speaks with boys, showing subtle hints of homosexuality. Perhaps he would turn out to be gay. At one point, when Booboo comes and consoles Gippi about her break up, she is so rude to him and says to him, tumhe to pata hi hoga boys ke bare me, lekin tumhe boyfriend nahi mila, kyunki Booboo ke paas boobies jo nahi hai. However, there is very little of him further. I think he would have to deal with bullies in school who would tease him. He would turn out to be like Sudo in Student Of The Year. I would really want to know what happens when he grows up. How does her mom deal with him? Will she give the same support she gives Gippi? I felt really sad for him. He has a difficult life ahead.

Booboo :(

Aanchal is Gippi's best friend who has stood by her always. She is not at all cool. She does not know how to dress smartly. But she is really intuitive. She knows how people will react. She understands people. She knows her shortcomings. When Gippi was about to win the election, Aanchal asked her to go with her new friends for shopping because she does not know how to be cool and she should not be seen with her. At one point, Sameera says to her and Gippi, na padai me acchi, na sports me, koi talent hi nahi hai, loser ho. I am like Aanchal in some ways. So uncool, a loser who does know not anything. I do hope Aanchal grows up and turns out to be a talented person, unlike me :( That is why Gippi really made me care for its characters because I saw shades of my own growing up. Growing up is really difficult and is emotionally troubling. I really liked the way the film handles this issue.

Aanchal :( 

But Ashish was a rockstar. He loves Gippi unconditionally. She does not give him any airs, so he accepts it and moves on. He should give a lesson to Kundan. He comes and says to Gippi, I think ladkiyon ko tumhare jaisa lagna chahiye, thora full full you know ;)

Ashish :)

Also, finished Shah Rukh Khan's book by Anupama Chopra. I love him even more now after reading his heart breaking story. He is just awesome. He has struggled so much to reach where he is. I hope he gets what he wants. Finished Brothers and Sisters and now hooked on to House of Cards.

It's been a long summer and it has finally ended. College starts again next week. A lot of things happened and things are still not what I wanted. But as always we should never leave hope :)

Have a lot to write. More later.

Dialogue(s) of the Day:
"Jab dil kisi ke liye rota hai na, to pyar ka pata khud bhakud chal hi jata hai."
 - Aakash, Ishkq In Paris

"Jo bahut hurt hote hain, vo khush rehne ke bahane dhoondte hain."
 - Aakash, Ishkq In Paris

"Pyaar na keh kar aata hai, na bata kar jata hai."
 - Aakash, Ishkq In Paris

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Raanjhanaa begins by paying tribute to the old Aashiqui by playing the most remembered song of that film. Bas ik sanam chahiye aashiqui ke liye. Incidentally, Aashiqui 2 came out earlier this year but that film did not have a musical reference to Aashiqui. Perhaps it was a sign of the sheer craziness of the aashiqs in Raanjhanaa that the film wants to convey. Kundan’s craziness for Zoya. Zoya’s craziness for Jasjeet. Bindiya’s craziness for Kundan. Murari’s craziness for Kundan. Craziness not only for love, but friendship, power, superiority, redemption and letting go.

Not only Raanjhanaa gives a tribute to Aashiqui, but in a way to that bygone era of the 70s, the 80s, and the 90s as well. Kundan realizes that it is the time to tell Zoya that he loves her after he and Murari are watching a screening of Saajan. When Salman gives a rose to Madhuri in front of a morose Sanjay, Murari screams Sanju. It is also a silent comment on the effect cinema has on our society. But more on that later.
After Zoya slaps Kundan, another song but a less famous one of the 80s, Humka Ishaq Hua Hai Yaaro, from the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Coolie starts playing. Although Coolie did not have the overt lovers-from-different-religious subtexts, a Muslim character romanced a Christian character in that film, as a Hindu Kundan falls in love with a Muslim Zoya here.

Director Anand Rai’s fascination with that old era continues when he plays another popular song Saamne Yeh Kaun Aaya from a star crossed lovers’ saga Jawani Diwani, whose major plot was based on the economic disparities among lovers. It is a big coincidence that the name of that film also means young craziness.
As if all these were not enough, the streets of Benaras are imbued with a poster of Sunny Deol’s Balvant Rai-Ke-Kutton Ghayal.
Raanjhanaa is essentially the story of Kundan Shankar. How he becomes a Raanjha for his Heer– Zoya. But the problem here is Zoya does not love him back. So he stalks her as he says, hamari UP me ladkiya do tareekein se patayi jaati hai, ek mehnat se, subha se shaam peecha karo, aur prem patra likho aur saheli ke haathon use bhejo. Lekin yeh to UP ka har launda kar raha tha. Aur dusra tareeka, ladki ko dara do
I rather felt that Kundan is more of a Devdas than a Ranjha, at least in the first half. His inability to accept that Zoya could love somebody else forces him to cut his wrists with a blade. In fact, he is so incapable of accepting this that the first time Zoya tells him, he drives his scooter right into the Ganga as if she has committed a sin that can be washed only if she takes a dip there. And then he goes and tells her that tumhari jagah koi bhi hoti, to use bhi toot ke pyaar karta. He decides to get married to spite her and get back at her, even though it completely breaks him from inside. As Murari puts it excellently, aashiq ki tab nahi fat ti jab uski mehbooba ki shaadi hoti hai, uski tab phat ti hai jab apni ho rahi hoti hai, apna felaya shanichar hai. Just like the masochistic Devdas. Look at the way, he refuses to take Jasjeet’s help in putting the cylinder.
Bindiya is Chandramukhi. Her undying devotion for Kundan is similar to Chandramukhi’s for Dev, even though the two men completely used them for their own selfish reasons. At one point, Bindiya and Zoya are even dancing together in the lovely song Aye Sakhi Saajan, as if recreating the song Dola Re from Bhansali’s Devdas.
Haaye paas na ho bada sataye...sataye
Paas jo ho bada sataye..sataye
paas bulaye bina batlaye...bataye 
paas woh aaye bina batlaye...bataye 
paas rahe nazar na aaye... na aaye 
paas sahe nazar lagaye..lagaye 

In the second half, he becomes Vanraj from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. He takes Zoya to Punjab to get her reunited with her lover. Due to some circumstances, he becomes responsible for Jasjeet’s death. Zoya blames him for that. And then comes atonement and redemption, which I feel was what the film was trying to convey. The first time he sees Jasjeet’s body he started vomiting as if he has become sick. His soul has become impure and he needs to spit that guilt out. Earlier in the film, Zoya lying in the hospital had spit on him. Kundan is not able to take out Zoya’s spit, a reference for the blame that she has given him. He is unable to face Jasjeet’s mother who thinks he is a hero because he tried to save Jasjeet’s life. He is mentally tormented that he takes refuge in spirituality as beautifully portrayed in Tohe Piya Milenge. He cleans the floors and he cleans the utensils as if that would cleanse his soul of his deed. He visits a gurudwara, a mandir, and a dargah in his quest for inner peace. 
Jis ko dhoondhe baahar baahar
Wo baithaa hai bheetar chhup ke
Tere andar ek samandar kyoon dhoondhe dubke dubke..

He also gets a ‘jhada’ done as people say it rids you of evil spirits. He travels to different places in different directions just as his soul is wandering in different directions showing his restlessness. Finally, he comes to Prayag, where they say that taking a dip there washes your sins. This was my favorite scene in the film when he is sitting on the banks of sangam and a strange man says to him, Tumne kiska katal kiya hai? Tumhare chehre pe likha hai. Duniya me kisi ganga me, kisi dargah me kisi dhaage me vo takat nahi, jo insaan se insaan ka katal maaf kar sake. Jao kuch karo. Lekin yaha Ganga kinare mukti milne se to rahi.
You cannot correct the wrongs you did by taking refuge in religion. You have to correct the things that you made wrong in the first place. So, he comes to Delhi. That is where I got a bit confused as to what exactly is his purpose. Does he want to correct the wrong he did to Zoya or to Jasjeet? If he wants to atone for Jasjeet by helping his party, then why is he still stalking Zoya at night? If he wants to atone for Zoya why just he doesn’t apologize and stays away from her when she clearly does not want to meet him? Why is he repeating the same mistake again? He still harbors feelings for her but she has made it very clear that she has nothing to do with him. Rather we blame Zoya for her coldness to him as we are supposed to feel for Kundan. But Kundan just cannot let go of her. 

That brings another theme of the movie—the inability of the people to let go. Not only Kundan’s but Bindiya’s. I was astounded by her. She prays to gau mata for Zoya’s death but still helps Kundan in stopping Zoya’s marriage. She knows that Kundan does not love her at all but still, she doesn’t let go of him. When Kundan comes and tells her that he will marry her, she knows the reason but doesn’t even ask a question. Kundan forgot about his own wedding and he didn’t turn up and yet when she sees Kundan’s news, in the end, she rushes to the hospital with Murari. She just could not let go of him, even though he treated her in the worst possible way. As if she has no self-respect. If Kundan was Raanjhanaa for Zoya, she was as much a Raanjhanaa for him. 
Not only Kundan and Bindiya, but even Zoya was also a deeply flawed character. At one point in the film, Bindiya says to Kundan, vitamin humse khao aur aashiqui inse ladao. I think that line could also fit perfectly if Kundan said it to Zoya. Zoya was manipulative who used Kundan for her own selfish needs and then threw him out calling him jaahil. It is all right that she no longer remembers her childhood infatuation but then why are you playing with a poor guy’s emotions now? Recall the scene when she emotionally blackmails Kundan in helping her and later on, we see it was the same time she was speaking to Jasjeet calling him to Benaras. She explains to Jasjeet that people are not equal and some people are more privileged and she kisses him on the campus to prove her point. Her class bias is very clear from the fact she calls Kundan a cylinder vala. But later, she becomes a supporter of Jasjeet’s party that supported the ideals of communism. As if she had no principles at all. She falls in love with Jasjeet who used to cheat in exams, who also roughed her in front of his friends but she doesn’t see his faults and calls Kundan jaahil? She takes the help of goons to get admitted. She was also in some way responsible for Jasjeet’s death but she puts the blame entirely on Kundan. She says, "You are over romanticizing a situation which needs a much more logical approach."
Rather she was over-romanticizing by putting her blame on Kundan. It is no surprise she agrees to the plot hatched by the CM to get Kundan killed because just like others she just could not let go of Jasjeet till now. She said, duniya thukegi mujhpe agar pyaar kar liya tujhse. Perhaps she also finally decided to let go of both Kundan and Jasjeet as she gives Jasjeet's clothes to Kundan, pushing Kundan and Jasjeet's memories to death. Use tayyar nahi kar payi, tujhe toh kar dun, for death?
I am still not sure what caused her change of heart to expose her plan but Kundan was one step ahead of her. He knew he is going to be killed but he still went ahead to the rally as if this final act will atone for his deeds, and if this is what she wants, he will give it to her. In the final scene, when he lay dead, he spits out blood as if redemption has been achieved. His soul has killed off the guilt and is finally at peace but in doing so he has had to pay a heavy price. Earlier, in the hospital, when Zoya was admitted she had spit on him but now he has taken that spit of guilt out and he is finally cleansed. It is also when Bindiya lets go of him when she says yeh tera hai Zoya, mera Kundan khoon nahi thookta tha. In the moving scene, Kundan says he has done enough and he is tired..par ab saala mood nahi hai and it was heartening that at least in his death he finally acknowledged the people who loved him the most—Murari and Bindiya.
My favorite character was definitely Murari. He was as much a Ranjhanaa in friendship going to any lengths for his friend. He was more a Sudama than a Murari (Krishna). He literally goes mad when Kundan dies and he also finally says to him mar ja. All the three people in a way let go of him. 
One of my other favorite scenes was also when Jasjeet and Kundan are discussing how everything went wrong. It was as if an unspoken bond has formed between the two of them by loving the same women.

Interestingly, Anand Rai has dedicated the movie to Lord Mahadev and his beloved Ganga and there are numerous instances to Shiv Ji and Ganga river. The prominence of Kawariyas, the shivlings, the dressing of young Kundan as Shiva, the shooting on the banks of Ganga being some of them. Perhaps also a reference to the spiritualism of the wisdom in the story of Ganga and Shiva.
Overall, I found the movie all right but not excellent. The performances are good, especially Murari who shines like a star. This is Sonam’s best performance to date. Music is very good. I think I will have to watch it again to understand some things better. Raanjhanaa has caused a huge controversy due to its support for the stalking of girls. Mihir Shah in Business Standard lambasted the movie in scathing words. He says, “Fourth-rate directors working with third-rate stories basking in first-rate praise. No wonder we're a second-rate culture. Until we stand up and shout that our pop culture, especially our film industry, is an incestuous, regressive cesspool of mediocrity and back-slapping, that 99 percent of our movies are just plain bad, our "soft power" will remain the laughing-stock of the world.

I strongly believe that films do give out messages. Even in the film, Kundan decides to tell Zoya that he loves her after he sees Saajan. We are always affected by films. Films have a huge influence on us but it is up to us to see how it is treated in the film. A film showing murder doesn’t mean that is supporting murder. Did the murderer get convicted? Recall Darr? SRK literally stalked Juhi but in the end, he dies. In Aashiqui 2, Rahul was an alcoholic but he died in the end. In Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Avi was an alcoholic and a gambler but in the end, his bar is not saved by any of his friends, even though they could have saved it. Twenty-five lakhs was not a huge sum for Aditi and Taran! But they did not. Here also, I do agree the film supported stalking but it was due to the fact Zoya in a way abetted it. She was enjoying it. Why just she doesn’t call the cops? Why did she smile when she slaps Kundan? As Baradwaj Rangan puts it excellently,

“I’m not sure that this film is ‘regressive’ in its attitude towards women. The *people* in the film are, sure. But the film, I thought, was just telling a story. Yes, bad things happen to the women here but does that make the *film* regressive? Something to mull over.

For that matter, I don’t even find films like ‘Vivah’ regressive. There are people like that still in India, and the film is just showing us a story about them. I would think that a regressive movie is one without nuance, which revels in characters whose behavior we find regressive. Something like the Kalpataru-directed family films of the 1980s, where the director takes a moralistic stance and leaves us with messages like ‘you have to obey your husband.’ By the end of these films, opinionated wives are subjugated, they learn to toe the line, etc. But here the ‘take home’ isn't regressive IMO. It just is. The characters may feel a certain way, but the film doesn't seek to impose their views on us. We know Parma's mother in Ishaqzaade feels a certain way, and we may find her views obnoxious, but she pays for her stance and her son doesn't endorse those views. Rather he ‘atones’ for them, in a manner of speaking. So it didn’t feel regressive to me. And adding to this, in “Raanjhanaa” too, the hero atones for his sins and dies, so I feel the misogynism is in him, not in the film. The big problem I had in this film was in this hero’s “cute-ification” in the second half, but towards the end, I didn't have any issues.

I watched Raanjhanaa on Eros Now. They have now started an option of online rental for 48 hours as well. It is just $2. They do not have a good collection, so I feel the subscription is not very useful. But rental is an excellent option. Next, they will be releasing Lootera. More on it soon. :)

Dialogue of the Day: 
"Namaaz me vo thi, par laga dua hamari manzoor ho gayi."
 —Kundan, Raanjhanaa