Such a ‘Policey’ thing to do

mumbai police

Indian Police doing what they do best. Humiliate law-abiding citizens.

In a nation where women get raped, men get killed, and Bollywood stars gift puppies to their girlfriends, it is difficult for news to sustain any sort of shelf life.

Which is why the news of Mumbai Police picking up 40 couples from hotels, and parading them on the road like petty pickpockets, will hardly make the news. A few hashtags here, Arnab Goswami beheading someone there, and that’s it.

And yet, the incident angered me no end.

It has long been the job of Indian Police’s duty to fuck the happiness of the people of the country. In our country, you cannot hold your partner’s hand. Forget kissing, you cannot even hug your partner, without incurring the wrath of uncles, aunties, shopkeepers, beggars, stray dogs, bacteria, plasmodium, the five elements – and cops. Most importantly, cops.

For you see, there is no greater threat for you on the road, than khaki-wearing morons who have the license to weild sticks, pull up anybody for interrogation, and deal with them as they like.

When I am out with a girl, it is not really a sex offender I am afraid of. You can deal with a sex-offender. Raise your voice, be assertive, draw attention – a sex offender is afraid of the law. I am more scared of cops – because cops fear no one. The law is but an old underwear that they can remove and discard as they please.

Having been stopped by cops on numerous occasions, this is usually the drill that ensues. The cop will first stop me, and call out to me to come towards him, like I’m a petty criminal.

I am a Research scholar, and the cop is a Tenth pass, unfit moron who can’t speak three lines in any language, and yet I have to address him as ‘Sir’.

‘What are you doing here?’

‘Nothing, sir. We are just sitting, sir’.

‘Is this the time to sit? (Turns to the girl) What’s your name?’

The girl by now is scared, or embarassed.

‘Do your parents know you are here? Should I call them? Huh? Tell me? What’s your name? Are you from a good family? Do girls from good families do such stuff? Should I call your parents – yes or no, tell me’.

What follows is half an hour of nagging, coaxing and cajoling. Which usually ends when I take out some hard earned money and grease his filthy palms. It is ironic that the Police was instituted to make citizens feel safe and secure. And yet, the first thing people want to do in India, is avoid the cops. We fear them, these lawless creatures of the night, who prowl on everybody they see. These khaki-colored creatures who can only be satiated with some money, like you’d feed a hungry stray dog.

Think I am going overboard? Well, when was the last time you met a polite, informed, fit policeman? When was the last time you dealt with the cops and came out of the room feeling good about things? If you did, well, good for you. I have never met one of such kind.

The couples, who had paid their own money, booked a hotel to spend time together, were rounded up, slapped, and had to walk around with their faces covered. The entire operation was led by visionary DCP Vikram Deshpande, who pesonally supervised the operations. This is how the meeting must have gone:

‘Sir, what do we do today? Kuchh mazaa nahi aa raha hai’.
‘Hmmm…I know what you mean…’
‘Sir, there have been chain-snatching incidents all over the city. Also, Mumbai is perenially vulnerable to terrorist attacks – ‘
‘Wait, I know what we can do. Let’s raid rooms and haul up young couples who are having sex…cos how can they have sex when we can’t have sex? You know with all our paunches and stuff…’
‘Great idea, sir. Let’s go…abey, gaadi nikaal…’

Maharashtra-Police-Logo

Such an appropriate logo – ‘Zyada baat kiya, toh Ek doonga, kheenchke’. Also, keep your right hand free. Don’t masturbate. It’s not a good habit.

Also, it is not merely the attitude of the police alone. It is an Indian middle-aged problem. Ask anybody middle aged in India, even your own parents, about the incident. The one response you’ll get is ‘Well, they shouldn’t have booked rooms in a hotel. Who does indecent stuff like that?’

We are fine with fucking our brains out and producing babies like rabbits, but someone using protection and doing it for pleasure – Nahi re, baba. Sanskriti bhrasht ho jayegi.

And that is the sad reality of the country. We endure shitty laws, shitty lawmakers, sub-Saharan standards of public utilities, unsafe streets, and terrorists on our way to work. And the force we are supposed to trust – is just this bunch of fat, unfit, uncivilised jokers who chase AK-47 weilding terrorists with sticks.

Who choose to display their masculinity by rounding up innocents, because they know a terrorist isn’t going to pay a bribe. Who have passed an exam, and run 100 meters, and joined an elite force who can stop you anytime, slap you, humiliate you, and laugh in your face as you walk out helplessly.

The Indian Police is a gigantic bunch of jokers. They invoke fear and hatred in you. They carry weapons, and use force when they deem fit. They wear uniforms, and don’t treat you like humans. How are they different from miliants, again?

*****

Posted in Politics | Tagged , | 10 Comments

How We Made a Criminal into a Martyr

The ruckus behind Yakub Memon’s hanging had me baffled.

For someone who updates social media on issues, I was truly clueless about the entire hullabaloo. People had begun calling it an ‘injustice’, some others a travesty and a few others had gone to the extent of calling it a ‘shame to a democracy’.

Somewhere amidst this noise, I had to sit back and scratch my head. What did I really miss??

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I can understand the call for abolishing death penalty.

That is a debate that has existed for long. Most nations that consider themselves ‘evolved’ or civilized have abolished it. I am not erudite enough to comment on the issue, I can’t claim to know the nuances of the debate.

What I do know, and am fully convinced about, is belief in the law of the land.

In a way, I was proud of the fact that a criminal was even given debate and discussion on a national scale. In most of our neighbouring countries, he would have been chopped to salad, and nobody would even know when it happened.

Of course, I do not endorse it, I’m merely stating the facts. The entire debate and discussion probably reflected our civility as a nation.

 

What disturbed me, however, was how nobody seemed to speak of his crimes anymore.

The only point of discussion was of him ‘helping’ Indian intelligence authorities in their investigation. This, apparently, ought to have gotten him a pardon, made him above the law of the land, which had spent 22 years to run its course. The other argument was that he was being hung for the crimes of his brother.

 
The intelligence in that statement can be gauged by the fact that it was echoed by Salman Khan, that well-read intellectual from Bandra.

 
Also, the last time we showed mercy on criminals and kept them in jails, here is what happened. The Kandahar hijackers demanded the release of Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Maulana Masood Azhar.

What did these dudes do after they were released?

The World Trade Centre attacks of 9/11, the kidnapping, and beheading of Daniel Pearl. And oh, remember the Mumbai terror attacks? Those too.

 

Strangely, whenever Yakub’s activities were spoken about, it was in an off-handed manner, like an accepted theorem – ‘Yes, he did commit those crimes, BUT – ’

As a media student, I think most of it is to do with public perception of an incident.

Let’s compare this with another incident that provoked the nation’s fury in the last few years. Ram Singh & Co.’s rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey in December 2012.

The same liberals who poured their heart out on my wall last week, had been crying hoarse – ‘Hang the rapist’.

That was because the facts were out there in the public. They had beaten the girl black and blue, broken her bones, inserted a rod into her vagina, kicked her till her intestines came out – the gory details were all out in the public. There was a face to the victim, a name (even though it wasn’t out for long). At the same time, there was a face to the criminals too – they had names, faces, homes.

But the Mumbai blasts of 93 were more or less faceless.

Except Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon, no faces or names floated in the minds of the public. It was just that – Bombay Blasts. A sad incident where people lost their lives. Like they do on trains everyday. Or if there is a stampede at a holy river.

The Mumbai blasts had no face.

 

That, and the fact that decades have passed since the incident, softens our stand. We begin to look at the peripheries, the tangents, and miss the gaping black hole in the middle.

Well, Yakub Memon wasn’t an innocent victim of circumstances.

Duryodhana was the more evil among the brothers. Doesn’t mean Dushasana was a saint!

 

To all you people who cried, spoke your voice, and pasted links to articles on my wall, here’s what Yakub Memon did.

He was a sharp student. After securing his Chartered Accountant’s degree in 1991, he was fudging accounts for his brother Tiger Memon by 1992.

Yakub Memon managed the funds for his brother. He arranged the money to buy bombs and guns. He fudged accounts to ensure they weren’t traced back to him.

He bought the cars and scooters in which the bombs were planted. Flats owned by him were used to plan the whole conspiracy. He supervised and distributed the guns and weapons, saw to it that they were well-hidden.

He bought and arranged air tickets for the accused to escape away to Pakistan, joining them when he thought it was a safer option for his family.

 

Perhaps reading The Times of India everyday has made us dumb.

Yakub Memon lived in Pakistan, enjoyed the luxury of their hospitality along with his family for nearly a year. By then, the investigation in India had picked up pace. All the signs were hinting towards Pakistan’s involvement.

By any shred of common logic, Pakistan wasn’t going to be feeding and keeping him safe. He only returned to India when he was a liability. When his family was in danger.

 

The blasts killed more than 300 people.

Innocents died. Hawkers who would stand under the sun and sell and earn peanuts. Employees who were on their way to earn an honest living. Common people who were neither communal, nor conniving with Bal Thackeray.

Just regular people going about their lives, were blown to bits. And Yakub Memon was at the epicenter of it all.

He was no saint. He was a sneaky, conniving bastard who ran away after engineering the blasts, and returned when he realized it was the safest option.

 

And what did the debate result in?

More than 35,000 people congregated at his funeral. Political parties like AIMIM claimed it was a conspiracy against Muslims.

Yakub Memon had set out to die for the cause of Islam. He failed, but we made sure he succeeded in the end.

We made a criminal a martyr.

Congratulations, India!!

******

 

Posted in Politics, Religion | Tagged , , | 26 Comments

Baahubali Movie Review

If there is one thing that I absolutely hate in a cinema hall – it is kids.

They wail, and cry, or decide to take a walk between the seats and touch your hair, and expect you to turn around and pet them. Every time I notice there are kids around me in a hall, I pray that they die before the film starts.

Which was why, when I arrived in the hall for Baahubali, and found there were two kids near my seat, I prayed that they die. When the movie began, I had to double-check if they actually died, because they were silent all through. It is a testimony to how engrossing the film’s beginning is, that even those stupid kids kept shut. (But of course, they are kids, so they decided to cry later on in the movie!).

For a little context, Rajamouli is huge in Telugu cinema. For more than a decade, he has been churning out classic Good vs Evil, Prodigal Son stories that have all been hits – not even one of his films have been average grossers.

Rajamouli’s films more or less maintain similar themes – reincarnation, retribution, and a grand climax. He has perfected the archetype of the hero, villain, and most importantly, the Mother.

When I first saw the trailers of Baahubali, I was sceptical. The graphics didn’t look all that impressive, and I was worried it might just be another Telugu film that had ambitiously bitten off more than it could chew – like his earlier outing Eega.

I am not a huge fan of the ‘Big Budget’ theory. I fail to understand why people rave about terms like ‘Biggest Budget’, ‘Most expensive film’. Having a large budget doesn’t mean anything.

This scepticism comes from having watched earlier ‘most expensive’ films – Blue, starring a pregnant Sanjay Dutt and coke-glazed Zayed Khan, or Ra.One, which was so bad, they should have released a sequel called Tut.Two.

 

Clearly, having a huge budget is not a big deal. If you get a funder, you can make a film on as large a budget as you want, but it’s what you do with the budget that really makes a difference.

Rajamouli has painstakingly invested most of the money on his vision – lavish sets, the epic war scene. He doesn’t let you take your eyes off the screen even for a single moment.

If there was a grudge I had, it was to do with the slight compromises he had to make, to fit in songs. Perhaps we are not hindered by budgets and stories, but our own cinematic sensibilities. The songs seemed force-fed, and were definite speed-breakers in a film that was cruising along smoothly.

Which then brings me to the second part of any huge action film – inspirations.

There have been talks of action scenes ‘inspired’ from LOTR, and 300.

I don’t invest too much thought in such discussions. Cinema, like any art, builds up on its ancestors. For example, for a decade after Matrix released, all action movies had the slow-mo bullet flying in air shot. Even today, most Chinese-Hong Kong action films build on the Bruce Lee style of quick, hand-to-hand combat mode.

So I wasn’t too picky about which scene was inspired from where.

For me, all that matters is if it hasn’t been shamelessly lifted (without any context, just to latch on to an idea). Yes, there are a few shots that remind you of other action films, but the war scene is much more than that. In a way, right from the beginning, you are waiting for the war. And when it does come, it stays on for a good 30 minutes.

The performances, as in most Rajamouli’s films, are consistent – probably because most characters in his movies are archetypes. Prabhas is consistent, and Rana is a shade better. But it is Ramyakrishna and Satyaraj who take larger chunks of meat than they were promised.

If there was one complaint, it was of Tamannah. To watch her walk like a warrior, or use her sword, were laughably amateurish. It’s probably a grave she dug for herself – if you keep playing dandy, simpering doormat roles, it’s going to be difficult to be taken seriously when you actually put in the effort. Tamannah (What’s with the name change? It sounds like an orgasm!) sticks out like a sore thumb in a film with otherwise consistent performances.

Unlike most other hyped movies, you don’t feel cheated with Baahubali.

The best scenes aren’t the ones already shown in the trailers. The film is over before you know it, and that is saying something for the largest budget film in the country.

Rajamouli has his work cut out for the sequel.

**********

Posted in Film, Review | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

WELL DONE, ORISSA !!

With most Oriyas, the most common complaint is the lack of representation in media.

The fact that we have such a rich culture/heritage/Chief Minister, and yet none of it is shown to the world outside, while the nation is obsessed with Bengalis/Punjabis, is a common line of complaint that most urban, educated Oriyas hold on to.

In the 70 years of independence, hardly a handful of Oriyas have made any impact outside the state. If featuring in the news is any indicator of such impact, we only have Nandita Das, Debashis Mohanty, and Sudarshan Pattnaik. The only other thing we are in the news for is natural calamities – floods, cyclone, earthquake.

And yet, in the last week, we showed our true colours. Sona Mohapatra sang an Oriya folk song and we filed an FIR against her for committing the grave crime of attempting to re-interpret a folk song. And surprisingly, the outrage is being led by musicians, social workers, artists – people you’d generally expect to have an open mind about such matters. And yet, we cling on to our quaint ideas of ‘culture’ with such insecurity.

Our idea of protecting our culture is making it wear the burkha – it is precious so let us cloak it from head to toe. Let no one touch it, look at it, have anything to do with it. It is ours.

But it isn’t science. It is art.

The very nature of art is to change shape, to adapt, to be embraced by people across generations and still be revered. Sholay, arguably the biggest cinematic product of our nation, has been remade numerous times. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s songs are adapted, Amir Khusrow and Bulle Shah’s songs are sung by rock bands across the world. Adaptations and interpretations are a part and parcel of art.

Shakespeare is the most widely read playwright in the world. Not because the Kingdom protected his writing and made them sacrosanct. But because Shakespeare has been adapted into every culture, every language, every context. And yet, his writings shine through because they touch something deep within us – they show us our dark sides, they throw light on our good.

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Most of the outrage has been because Sona Mohapatra has ‘polluted’ the song.

Well, if you ask any boy who grew up in Bhubaneswar or Cuttack, you’ll realise there wasn’t much purity to the song when we grew up. For all its rich traditions, Rangabati was sung and performed in baarats – accompanied by sleazy, pedophilic songs about the breasts of 15 year old girls. It was sung on the streets at night, as drunken men shouted out the lyrics, made lewd signs, and generally became a pain in everybody’s asses. I never heard a single of these protectors of culture complain about it.

And to differ in opinion is one thing. To file an FIR? Seriously? Now the artists have to run from pillar to post, deal with court hearings, and get called up like petty criminals – just because they remade a song? Who are we? The Taliban? ISIS??

And who should be the culprit? Well, the youth wing of BJP, who else?

These are the same guys who run around shattering coffee shops and man-handling young girls on Valentine’s Day, these great upholders of the culture of Orissa.

And yet, it is not the first time that we are embarking on such foolishness. A few years ago, a Bill was passed in the Assembly to change the name from Orissa to Odisha. We all celebrated on social networks, and took pride in ‘bringing back our lost glory’. Wait, what the fuck?

How does a name change from Orissa to Odisha change anything? For a state grappling with malnutrition and illiteracy, NOBODY thought it inappropriate to spend crores of rupees on a useless bureacratic process. While we harp on about culture and Oriya pride, nobody speaks about the politics of Orissa. There has been just one Chief Minister for the last fifteen years. While there has been hardly any laudable progress (apart from the usual benefits of modernisation), he is hailed as a ‘clean’ man (*Makes mental note to wear white kurtas when meeting girls*).

Nobody speaks about that. About the fact that politics and the electoral process in Orissa is crumbling. That one man in power for long periods (no matter how good/clean he is) is a disaster for electoral democracy.

We don’t care about such things. What we want, is to cloak our songs with burkhas. Let nobody touch them, for they are ours.

*
Well, well done Orissa!

It was just a song on YouTube. People would have watched it, and forgotten about it. But now we have gone ahead and proved to the entire nation how petty and myopic we are!

And singers, writers and musicians from Orissa, beware!

Like Shah Rukh Khan says in one of his shitty romantic films, ‘FIR milenge, chalte chalte!’

******

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Thoughts on Rangabati Coke Studio Version

A few days ago, I saw my News Feed flooded with posts with Oriya people, about something that happened in Orissa.

Now, this is rare.

If I had to draw a venn diagram of my life, social networking and youtube and internet would be three coinciding circles. If I turn the page over, my home state Orissa would be sitting idle.

It’s like a double life I’m leading.

And it is something that I have felt right from childhood. Since I didn’t study in Orissa, I realised it is never mentioned anywhere. It was almost a Hogwarts-ish place that only appeared during Summer Holidays. Or if a teacher found two of us Oriya guys pinching each other during the prayer session and resorted to a lazy comment such as ‘Aye, you Oriya rowdies. Shut up and keep quiet!’.

However, the last two days have been different. Thanks to Sona Mohapatra’s rendition of ‘Rangabati O Rangabati’ on Coke Studio.

Rangabati

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Now, let me set a little context here.

Rangabati is not just another song. It has folk roots. But most of my generation in Orissa came across the song during drunken nights on a baaraat.

For someone who is very conscious of how he dances, Baaraats opened the floodgates into the world of wet streets and slithery naagins. Of a random stranger tapping me on the shoulder and communicating in that unique code that only another drunk can understand, the words ‘Kaho Na Pyar Hai’. And then, with gay abandon, I turn around and return the compliment with that step that the Bournvita-drinking superhero immortalised – ‘Kaha Na Pyar Hai’.

Baaraats made me realise that it is all OK.

It is OK to slip and fall. There’ll always be someone to lend you a hand to stand back up on your feet. (Else, you better do it quickly, or else those guys carrying tube lights on their heads will walk around you).

Baaraats taught me that there is no such thing as ‘I’ve had enough’. Even if your liver is overflowing, a little nudge from a friend settles everything in place.

Baaraats taught me that there was no point trying to act decent and Shareef when everybody around you was being Musharaff and Taliban. To let insanity take over.

Rangabati is one of the top Oriya baaraat songs.

Now, if you have any acquaintance with Baaraat songs, you’ll know that there is no scope for frivalities like Political Correctness in that particular genre.

Some of the other songs I remember from baaraats are – ‘Nabama sreni jhiata, chaati ku mo hot karuchi’. (That 9th standard girl, is making my chest hot).

Then, there’s the poetic trick that singers use – when you don’t know if he’s singing ‘hot’ or ‘hurt’ – since they both sound the same in the Oriya accent.

Then, there are philosophical musings – ‘Tu aagaru dekhila jenta, tu pachharu dekhile senta” (How you look from the front, the same you look from the back. A throwback to the ancient dual – Dwaita philosophy in Hinduism).

Then, there are those that cater to purely carnal needs. Those that invoke the importance of alcohol in a person’s life – Daaru daaru daaru daaru de daaru. Those that call out to people from other communities – Ekkada Ekkada Ra. Then, the completely surreal and abstract – Kau to bou ku nou (‘May the Crow Take Away Your Mother’).

In the beginning, I was conscious of what people might think. Worried that someone might take offence to such blatantly offensive songs being played at full blast outside people’s houses.

It was only later that I realised that people had developed internal antennae that helped them to tune out of the proceedings.

Since then, for me, there was no looking back (Unless the guy who was mixing the drinks was at the back of the baaraat!).

Among all these songs, Rangabati was one of the saner tunes. Just a folk song that people recognised and would raise their hands, and woot, and go back to dancing to.

*

When Sona Mohapatra released her Coke Studio version of the song, people lost their minds.

Some of them said she had corrupted the song. Some others said they preferred the older version of the song. Still others said they had problems with her pronunciation of the words (even though the lyrics are not mainstream Oriya, but a dialect called Sambalpuri).

I don’t get this.

I mean, Coke Studio has historically been a platform for songs to mate with other genres and styles. It’s not Folk Studio, for heaven’s sake. And yes, those two Tamil rappers seemed to have zapped in from nowhere, and were rather annoying, but hey, it’s just a song, man.

It’s somebody’s interpretation of the song. Something the person thought might sound good.

If you don’t like it, skip it. Watch something else on YouTube. Why spread venom and hate in the Comments section?

Also, in Syria, Islamic State is beheading men, women and children. In Pakistan, children are being shot while taking classes in school.

There is shit flying all over in the world.

It’s just a fucking YouTube video.

Let it be.

Or else, kau toh bou ku nou.

Seriously.

*******

Posted in Arbit Gyan, Television | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Dil Dhadakne Do – First World Armageddon

Farhan and Zoya Akhtar make films about First World Problems.

Dil Chahta Hai dealt with three overgrown college-goers dealing with life. Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara dealt with three rich Mumbai kids discovering their true calling through a trip to Spain. Rock On! dealt with a bunch of guys whose problem in life is that their rock band couldn’t click.

Not that I have a problem with it. I have made peace with the fact that a filmmaker will mostly derive from his/her own upbringing in life.

Which is why the Akhtars make films about South Bombay dudes and Anurag Kashyap makes films about factories, slaughter-houses, and gangsters in Bihar. Which leads me to think – if I ever make a film, it’ll probably be about cats and masturbation.

But getting back to the topic at hand, I don’t really have a problem with first world problem films. The Akhtars have always ensured that their scripts are tightly written. The screenplay exploits the conflict through sharp lines, beautiful locations, and music accompanied to Javed Akhtar’s lofty, if slightly dopey, lyrics.

Dil-Dhadakne-Do1 (1)

Sadly, with Dil Dhadakne Do, there is a feeling of Been There, Done That. A multi-starrer depends heavily on its characters, and unfortunately, the characters in Dil Dhadakne Do seem jaded, un-fresh.

Ranveer Singh plays a soft, rich youngster. Now, Ranveer Singh essentially has two voices. One – the loud Gunday voice, the second the raspy, soft Lootera voice. He uses the Lootera voice, and yet slips every now and then.

Priyanka Chopra and Anushka Sharma play feisty independent characters, both of whom we have seen in umpteen movies. And frankly, after you see Sharma bashing goons with an iron rod, this is going to seem a bit tepid.

Farhan Akhtar, of course, plays what he always plays. The urban, non-conformist, liberal cool dude.

It’s like yesterday’s gajar halwa that was kept in the fridge overnight. It’s still gajar halwa, but there’s something amiss.

Interestingly, it’s the seniors of the film who salvage the movie.

Parmeet Sethi and Manoj Pahwa, saddled with bit-roles, put in their best.

Anil Kapoor, who seems to have let down his narcissistic guard after all these years, shines in every single frame. But the star of the show is Shefali Shah, playing Anil Kapoor’s wife. Watch her in the scene where she stuffs herself with cake, and you feel a yearning for what the film could have been.

Sadly, Dil Dhadakne Do never manages to cruise over its troubled, haphazard script. It’s just another First World Problem film that Farhan Akhtar stars in.

But that’s ok, because he’ll grow a moustache and play Veerappan, and win awards for it.

***********

Posted in Film, Review | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

A Very Late Review: Tanu Weds Manu Returns

tanu weds manu returns

Not to sound picky, but there’s something about grammatically wrong movie titles that gets my goat.

Like a Sohail Khan movie released a decade ago named ‘I Proud To Be Indian’. I understand that the story, the production, the budget – is yours. But how much does it cost to add an ‘am’ in the middle. Or may be a comma?

The makers of this film could have named it ‘Tanu Weds Manu Again’, or ‘Tanu Weds Manu After Returning’. ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’ makes no sense.

Right. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, here’s what I thought about the movie.

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There are a few things Anand L. Rai gets bang-on in his films.

Casting, for one.  If one were to forget his first two forgettable films, director Anand L. Rai has a knack for casting people who fit the role, even though it might not seem right in the beginning.

Another thing he gets right, is the sharp dialogues. His films are laced with interesting lines, mouthed by interesting characters. Tanu Weds Manu is no exception.

After reading the universally rave reviews, I got to watch the film very late in the day. And I’m sorry to say, I wasn’t blown away by it or anything.

I know the usual argument. That it is better than your average Bollywood fare. But somehow, over the years of watching, analysing, and writing about cinema, that lame description doesn’t cut it for me any more.

Tanu Weds Manu does the classic Bollywood trick of raising your expectations and slamming it down on your head with a gigantic Thud! at the end. I had problems with Manu’s choices in the film, but I’ll get to that later.

Deepak Dobriyal is a fine, fine actor. But I’m tired of seeing him as the hero’s sidekick. He has done it in OmkaraTanu Weds Manu, and this one again. But if you’ve watched him in Teen They Bhai, or Shaurya, you’ll know he’s capable of much, much more.

Kangana Ranaut is undoubtedly the hero of the film. She reminds you of the time when Sridevi would make films with less famous actors and carry the film on her shoulders.

Having perfected the crazy-girl-with-big-heart role, Kangana nails the fiesty, if slightly cranky Tanu. As someone who has found her immensely watchable from her very first film, I am scared if it will get tiring after a point.

Which brings us to the second Kangana in the film – Kusum.

Tanu was probably an exaggerated stereotype on purpose. Because when Kusum comes on screen, she steals your heart. Ranaut puts so much into the role, that you forget it’s the same person at one point. Kusum is vulnerable, attractive, strong, and steals your breath away.

And when Manu (Madhavan playing the nice guy, a role he’s been playing since he was a sperm) has to choose between the two, is when my problems with the film really begin. Why would he choose the crazy, psycho, alcoholic Tanu when he has gone through the pains of getting married to another lovely girl?

I’m not trying to be Mohan Bhagwat here, but let’s do a comparison.

Tanu is moody, clearly dim-witted, critical and caustic, and uses men in her life because they are attracted to her. She also walks about the streets at night after getting drunk, and eats chow mein, which a Sanskari Indian girl shouldn’t do. 

Kusum on the other hand, is independent, caring and mature. She doesn’t shy away from fighting for her love, and most importantly – is superfantastico, smoldering hot. She’s so hot, she makes Tanu seem like a loud, insecure starlet in comparison. Then why would Manu choose Tanu over her?

I failed to put my head around this.

Ah! Because, love.

Love is supposed to be blind, and biased, and doesn’t need to follow logic or reasoning. I’m hardly an authority on love. Like Mahishasura, most of my decisions are driven by lust.

Love might be blind, and deaf, and HIV positive, but all that love bullshit is what ruins Tanu Weds Manu Returns as a finished product. If Manu chose Komal, I’d have been impressed. But with its present ending, the film is just about Meh!

I am waiting for the director to release a third part – Tanu Weds Manu and Returns with Komal. 

#Threesome

#SorryIKnowThatsATerribleThought

#KarnaPadtaHai

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