DE FOR STARRY NIGHTS
Was just going through the Mumbai Mirror in the morning and my gaze jammed at a photograph of Ms. Shobha De. My sight froze and there was a smile on my lips and I said ‘Good morning’ to myself. Some faces make your day. It was a column ‘How to be a chick’. Below her pea size photograph was written in bold and big letters ‘DOES ‘RAANJHANAA’ GLORIFY STALKING?’ Well I read that later, though it is my brother’s film. But let me be honest here that Ms. De’s snap invites my or any male’s curiosity much more than my brother’s work, because her labour in literature eases us to lay her face to the fables that she has engraved. And in all conscience, whenever you read her stuff, her face flashes endorsing her material. And that’s the case with all the great writers, whether it is Gulzar saab, Rabindranath Tagore, Nida Fazli, Sahir Ludhyanvi, Javed Akhtar, or Shobha De too. The readers always visualize their faces to their respective works. It’s like the old Jenson and Nicholson advertisement that said ‘Whenever you see colour, think of us’.
I moved on. I was curious to read what the queen of soft porns had to write about a humble ‘Raanjhana’. I knew this article was unlike the other articles which gave the film 4 and a half stars or 4 plus. And honestly, I too was too tired of getting great appraisals for the film, reading prodigious reviews, people greeting me, congratulating me.. It was getting more monotonous than living with a same partner. But ‘Raanjhana’ was disturbing someone apart from Kamaal R Khan, whom we disregarded and discounted for all his intelligence and dumbness. And it was the lady I admired the most, not for her work but for her looking attractive and gorgeous and being as old as India.
Our Maam wrote that everyone is going ga ga over the film ‘Raanjhana’. Yes, it is true. But how can we stop that? It certainly is not a paid campaign. We cannot deploy police force or take out morchas if people are enjoying the film and going GaGa over it. But isn’t acceptance of a film a truly democratic format? Or that way acceptance of a leader or a star too. We worship Sachin Tendulkar for his merits. You may love or hate Bala Saheb, but the mourners care five figs for your opinions and starved thoughts and throng the streets to form a glimpse of a never before seen a sea of heads. Much bigger than Ripley’s believe it or not. I did not personally like ‘Dabang’, Ready’, ‘Body Guard’, ‘Ek tha tiger’ or so on. But these films went on to fetch 200 crores plus. I hated ‘The life of Pi’ the most. And my friends, contacts and work supports stopped trusting in me for that. Neither did the Oscars care for my belief. And the film swept the numbers and the Oscars. I think, Miss De, if you are trying to rehearse any anarchy for this particular democracy, then the best way is to have a five minute conversation with the average voters. Like Shakira’s hip’s, the audience too don’t lie. The first week closing of ‘Raanjhana’ is a humongous 35 crore plus including the overseas.
Let me start by asking you Maam, where do you find Kundan a demented stalker who’s harrowing an innocent victim? Which part of the film did you find that?? I would be overwhelmed to know that. And I know that this particular film doesn’t deal with teenage sleaze, scandal, lust, obscenity at all. And the reviews it got and is getting are mindless for you as you have mentioned…Agreed, but where do you find the film or its protagonist seriously psychotic? Which portion of the film? If you please let me I shall surely chop them off and apply some balm to you.
And ma’am, what lives or families has Kundan, the protagnist destroyed? Except for Abhay Deol’s death, which was a part of the screenplay and storytelling if you understand? Apart from that which ant or a bee was injured or died in the film?? Neither a boat sank, nor a cycle was robbed.. Except for he himself, who was demolished, destroyed and damaged in the end reminding me of Sydney Carton from Dickens’s ‘Tale of two cities’. And what message are you talking about??? What message is the film sending out? What message have you heard ma’am??? Have people come out liking the film and acclaimed and applauded it or are they spitting out the message that you have half-baked atrociously only to your taste. It is for you to figure that out. You have yourself said that some rave reviews and people making it to be a great love story. What is true??? Please analyse that.
And ma’am, where is Kundan crude and relentless to Zoya? Can you name a scene? Any scene like Shahrukh Khan’s of ‘Anjaane’ or ‘Darr’.. Where he kicks the heroine, slaps her, beats her, and blood, blood, blood and bloody blood… Or a Raj Babbar of ‘Insaaf ka taraazu’ where he slaps Zeenat Aman a number of times.. ties her to the bed and rapes her and then as a pervert tells Padmini Kohapure to strip, unclothe and bare herself and walk naked in front of him at the point of a gun because both the sisters say ‘No’ to him and the elder one is in love with Deepaak Parashar. Did you find Kundan doing anything anywhere closer to these guys? Or like Amitabh Bacchan where when Zeenat Aman says no to him and he holds her painfully tight by her arm and tells her what ‘Laawaaris’ means. I recall the theatre clapped echoingly in reverbs multiplying for over 5 minutes. Was the character of Mr. Bachhan representing the emotions, aspirations of a larger comprising mass of a cine goer? Or that of a Zeenat Aman representing a handful shameless corrupts with white collars discussing destitute hungry children and eating Caviar with Cognac in a 5 star hotel? May be Dhanush represents hopes, desires and the doomed love of a bigger encompassing bulk that has made him a heart throb in the Hindi filmdom called ‘Bollywood’ too.
Just remind me a scene where Kundan has touched Zoya or forced physics on her.
And then further you say “it’s a wonder she doesn’t throw him off the cliff.” Wait for another 40 minutes honourable maam.., she does get him killed. Your dishonest, crooked and shady cravings and yearnings will come true If you have sit through the film. Who is the victim here maam? The stalker or the stalked? Well I shall come to that later. Where does Kundan embarrass Zoya as you write? Where do you feel Zoya showed embarrassment in any of her expressions? Can you please name a scene? Or with some wrong expressions Sonam has excelled as an actress by default which you have acknowledged and her merit is being credited to Mr. Anand Rai by some inaccuracy.
In which scene is Kundan firm not to take a ‘no’ from Zoya?? On the contrary when she tells him about Akram, he’s the one who goes to her father to coax him to get Zoya married to the love of her life, Akram. He’s the one who hard sells Akram to her father. He spends night in front of the house. In fact he stalks Zoya’s father, more than Zoya, to Masjid, streets, college.. Zoya’s the one who lies to her parents about Akram being a Hindu. Should Zoya have done that? Was it or is It right lying to the parents about marriage? Did that occur to you even once? Or just Kundan bashing is all that matters.
You further write that ‘Never mind she doesn’t care a fig about Kundan and treats him like a serf and uses him ruthlessly’. Now maam… can you make out what these lines mean..? ‘She doesn’t care a fig about him?’… means that his ‘stalking’, the term you have given to his walk… has no and absolutely zilch impact on Zoya. She’s least frightened of him and leans on him as a friend. Kundan is the least scary man because he’s a nice man who possesses no feudal power on Zoya and ends up a loser. And then your next line is ‘She treats him like a serf’… Who treats who like a serf maam? The stalker or the victim…? And then again you write ‘and she uses him ruthlessly’.. Maam who’s using whom ruthlessly..? The stalker is using the victim or the victim is using the stalker ruthllessly..? Who’s more powerful and impactful amongst the two? Can you figure these from your lines? And then you feel the audience is going teary and touched. Why is the audience going teary and touched? Have they been paid by Eros or Anand Rai to disturb you?.. In a 600 words article you have just repeated in 550 words that “if Kundan would have stopped harassing Zoya so many lives would have been spared..”.. Form some new questions maam. I do not want to ask you again and again that what lives and what families are you talking about?
You thought ‘Raanjhanaa’ was some south Indian name for a girl. Hahahaha.... Then you must be wondering if ‘Heer’ was elder sister of ‘Kheer’… Anyways, let me not laugh at you on your exposure on Hindi literature.. I allow you to express as you have given a lot to the literary work on a specific genre what Shakespeare or Dickens couldn’t and I have enjoyed reading that. So what if you do not know ‘Heer raanjha’, Sassi Punnu’ or Laila Majnu’ but I am sure you know a lot about basic instincts…
And again you are right by mistake that it is a one sided love story… Who said it was a threesome story maam. ’Raanjhana’ is Anand Rai’s world. Please do not find your characters in this film. Zoya loved Akram, and Akram loved Zoya…. Only Kundan loved Zoya and she never loved Kundan.. It is so simple and yet… Why don’t you accept a one sided love story of a man who loved a woman and could not get her…
Maam De, I am sure you must have seen Raj Kapoor’s Bobby. How would you rate the stalking of Raj to Bobby. Is Kundan anywhere closer to what Rishi Kapoor did to Dimple Kapadia in ‘Bobby’? Rishi Kapoor saw her for the first time in his house and there on… he sang a song.. Then goes to her place, then disturbs her in her college and then glares the mirror into her eyes in the library, he doesn’t let her study, he makes her bunk the college.. And then he flungs his own marriage and reaches Goa where Bobby was kept as a captive by her father, and then he elopes with her. She being an underage, even after he knowing that and etc., etc.,.. He does everything what shouldn’t be done morally. Wasn’t that more than what Kundan did to Zoya?? Or let me ask you, did Kundan do more than what Rishi Kapoor did? You do not seem to have any problem with that. Is it because the name of the director was Raj Kapoor?
Recently released ‘Fukrey’, is running to full houses and audiences have raved about the film like ‘Raanjhana’. ‘Fukrey’ just glorifies gambling. The protagonist are school students who have failed umpteen number of times and have not passed.. They are still trying to get leaked question papers at 50,000 cause they don’t want to study.. They want to go to college only to have girlfriends.. He talks to his girlfriend about French kiss and how to do it.. They keep gambling, they sell drugs, And the resolve of the film again comes by gambling.. The fiancé of a character who hates gambling, finally gambles to get money…None of them goes to jail.. And unfortunately here was no Savita bhabhi who could throw the scruples, messages on morals on these 4 boys. I know that wouldn’t bother you much, as your books are in that province and territory. But honestly there is nothing that one should take home from this film. What does this film glorify??? Have you ever thought on this??? Just few days ago I saw you on channels talking against betting in the IPLs, but heard no voice of yours on ‘Fukrey’.. Why???
What is stalking miss De? If we get into finding the right words alternating to stalking, then they mean pestering, irritating, annoyance, following, trailing, nuisance, and aggravation. And they can cause fear, terror, dread, fright, and panic in the person being stalked. Did you by any chance see any of the latter elements in Zoya? Was she too frightened of Kundan? Or did at any point of given time she go through shudders when he called her or met her..? I saw her meeting him with smiles and happiness and on her own will. Zoya is an independent girl who is very clear in venting it out to him anything she felt. She did tell Kundan that they were young when anything between them happened. Now she has moved on.. Doesn’t it happen Miss De that people move on in life with bags, baggages and children on to the next one?? So did Zoya.. Zoya sought help from Kundan all the time.. whether it was her marriage to the other man, or Akram and Kundan was always there to help her out. You again in your crooked thinking feel ‘She used him’. The audience took Kundan as Zoya’s friend from Zoya’s POV…
Miss De, there have been umpteen number of films in the Hollywood about stalking and all have been successful ones. Films like Cape fear, Scream, Singlle white female, Sleeping with the enemy, The hand that rocks the cradle, One hour photo, Taxi driver and Fatal attraction.. But none like you, Miss De have risen a question on what these films encourage. Only if you knew what your books encourage. Miss De, Missionaries are going to reform the world and they know what it should be and what it shouldn’t be… Leave it to them.. Film makers have jobs to entertain.. Some good and some bad. For me there are writer’s like Enid Blyton and Shobha De. One’s work I would love to gift it to my daughters and the other’s I would want to hide it from them. But both get a shelf in the book shop and both get pictured. What I like and what you hate, both of us care a damn. Because both got buyers.
We loved Amitabh Bacchan in ‘Deewar’ though he glorified Haji Mastaan, we loved him in ‘Shakti’…though he hated his father, and became a smuggler.. Amitabh Bacchan went on to kill someone in ‘Parwaana’ because the lady never loved him.. And that was the onset of a superstar. The audience had lapped him up. Darr, Anjaam, Baazigar made Shahrukh Khan a super star,… People loved him more as negative.. Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha did what should not be done. I hark back to when Shatrughan Sinha beat the hero, the audience clapped.. They did not take the onus of society on their shoulders. They just loved the characters and knew that it was cinema.. Or else a Robert De Nero playing Al Capone and Al Pacino playing Scarface wouldn’t have been super stars with super hits. Edward G Robinson wouldn’t have been there for what he had delivered. And according to you maam, then the super stars would have been Arun Govils and Deepikas as they played Ram and Sita.. So maam, regarding the creative art, never assume that you are the master. The audience will determine if you are worthy, masterful or not. Cinema doesn’t reform society but it reflects society.. Its entertainment, entertainment and entertainment.
I am sure if there is a story of some young teenager boy from Malabar Hill who falls in love with a girl from some convent school, and later one fine day he tells the girl “I have to bed you”. And she says no. And he trails her by sending her chocolates, flying down orchids from Thailand, transporting brownies, follows her till cafe coffee day, telling the owner not to take money from her, buys Archie cards, sends her a card every day, and his driver in the Mercedes drops the girl from school to house, and on valentine’s day he goes on his his knees and begs to bed her and she finally says ok.. And the readers of that semi pornographic book say.. How cute…? what a touching love tory.. There are love stories set in Malabar Hill and love stories set in the interiors of Benaras. The viewers are different and the believers are different.
If I have enjoyed anyone’s work in a specific genre after Mastram in Hindi, it has been you maam. The amount of literary work and your contribution is an epitome that people love what people love… We never had objections or hostilities when the soft porns go on to become school books. But a ‘Raanjhaana’ disturbs us…. Why??? Maam, can you answer anyone of these questions..
Name a shot where he stalks her…
Name a shot where he has destroyed any family…
Where was Kundan wrong when the girl smiled and said that we shall meet behind the temple??
Where was Kundan wrong when they were nearly in close proximity almost to kiss..
where was Kundan wrong when the girl was crying and going and he said I shall wait for you..
Where was Kundan wrong when he waited for her and she comes back after 7 years and doesn’t recognize him?
Where was Kundan wrong when the girl tells him about Akram…? He was waiting for her so many years
Where was Kundan wrong when he says that he would get her married to Akram.. ?
Where was Kundan wrong when he thought it is his duty to be honest to his teacher in telling that the Akram is Hindu… ?
Where did he go wrong when he said that he shall take Zoya to Akram… ?
During the political episodes, did he once tell her that he loves her or want her?
After Akram’s death, didn’t he always looked at her with purity?
Infact when she tells him that she loves him.. he withdraws and tells her don’t love me… Don’t you feel he was the victim rather than whom he made the victim..?
Why did he die??
Because of whom did he die???
Don’t think too much about cinema. It’s just a matter of what’s in frame and what’s out of it… For both, the maker and the viewer… If you sit down thinking that ‘Dirty Dozen’ and ‘Sholay’ encouraged that police is impotent and lets use criminals against criminals.. then no point. You will always be confused on that “do you go to the movies when you love life or when life doesn’t love you or doesn’t satisfy you you go to the movies…” Cinema is never a therapy.. its entertainment… It substitutes our desires…
End of the session, let me make you happy by saying that given the choice between trivial materials brilliantly told versus profound material badly told, an audience will always choose the trivial told brilliantly. And Anand has done the latter… May be its too trivial for you, but he has told brilliantly…
‘Kaagaz ke phool’ and ‘Mera naam joker’ were complete success but the audience was a comprehensive failure. And ‘Raanjhana’ may be a whole myth according to you but the audience is a widespread far reaching triumph.
Dhanush is talented. He’s not vaghera vaghera.. (Spell it right.. it’s ‘vagaira’… there’s an ‘I’ in it until your editor or your ghost writer has messed it up for you)… The audience comes out with Dhanush in their hearts and he stays on in them. Heroes take journeys forward, and heroes resolve. And Dhanush has done it. Sad for a lot but true for many, Dhanush is the new heart throb. You may pray for his next down fall and we shall make the next disturbing for you with him..
Relax, end of the day it is Fuckrey