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Archive for June 30th, 2013

Raanjhanaa

Raanjhanaa

Going by the rave reviews for the movie and this poster in particular, I took out some time to watch the film. For a weekday matinee show, the multiplex was rather crowded. A LOT of youngsters had come to watch the movie. In fact, for some unknown reason, I felt like the oldest member in the crowd, at least, till the lights went out. After that, it didn’t matter :).

I didn’t intend to write a movie review and frankly, this isn’t one in the real sense. Its just that, when I walked out of the theatre, I kept lamenting about how the female lead called Zoya had deceived the male lead, called Kundan, in the end. I haven’t been a fan of Sonam Kapoor, ever, and after this particular role, I vowed never to see her films again. But as I dropped cousin L back to her place (she had accompanied me for the movie) and drove on towards home, it struck me.

*BAM* !!

Wait an effing minute!!

Was I really sympathizing with the guy’s character? He, the uneducated, good-for-nothing cad who thinks nothing more of Zoya, other than being his rightful wife, irrespective of the fact that never once in the movie did she display anything more than a hint of affection for him.

Now, this is going to be a spoiler post, so if anyone of you hasn’t seen the movie yet and intend to, then kindly shut this browser window. I don’t wanna ruin your fun or prejudice your thinking 🙂

I’ll wait.

*tap tap tap*

Still here?

Al right. Let me start afresh.

A young boy has a crush on a neighborhood girl, of a different religion. He grows into a teen, the crush still exists. He stalks the girl, gets innumerable slaps and finally, the girl agrees to meet him alone. BUT, she clearly states that it isn’t because she has any feelings for him, its just that he was so consistent in his request that she felt bad about depriving him. For her, the meeting was nothing less than an act of pity.

In the said meeting, boy gets close to the girl. The girl, on finding that the boy had lied about his religion (he claimed to be a muslim, just like the girl), immediately shuns him and walks off. The boy wasn’t going to take it sitting down, so he stalks her some more, harasses her and one fine day, slits his wrist in her presence. When the girl cries out in shock and horror and hugs the boy, I could make out that it was because of compassion, and NOT love. Alas, the boy thinks otherwise. He thinks that he has made a pathway to her heart by his ‘heroic’ act.

The girl is punished for her PDA and sent away to an aunt’s place. Years later, she returns to her hometown, a much mature and educated young woman. We can see that she has grown up. But has the boy? Alas, apart from pining for his ladylove, Kundan has done nothing constructive of his life. He is still a street ruffian who runs odd jobs at Zoya’s place. Needless to say, she doesn’t recognize him when he makes googly eyes at her. For her, its just an errand boy hitting on her. Kundan tries his best to revive her memory, succeeds and when she gets friendly, starts stalking her again. All her laments , that she was never interested in him, fall on deaf ears. He wants her back and will go to any lengths to get her.

Some people say that Zoya used Kundan. As I see it, she asks for his help twice. Once, to get rid of a prospective bridegroom and the second time, to convince her father. Kundan could have refused both times, but he didn’t. He does help her, but takes it as his due that she is indebted to him for life. Even when Zoya tries to thank him, he rebukes her for rejecting him. So driven is he by his selfish sentiments that he wrecks one havoc after the other, all in the name of love.

Zoya loses a loved one because of Kundan and instead of moping in one corner or running into his arms, tries to channel her grief into supporting the political party of her departed fiance. One would have expected that at least now, Kundan will leave her alone. But nah!! He bulldozes his way into her college campus and then into her political party, reminding her every second of the humiliation and loss that she suffered at his hands? Was this, his way of redemption? It was a very poor implementation if that is what he intended!

Left with very little option, Zoya tries to get rid of Kundan, who had been clinging onto her like a festering wound, refusing to heal and let her be at peace. She knew the consequences of her actions and also publicly accepted her guilt.

Alas, we were left with sympathizing with the guy.

Why didn’t we sympathize with Zoya earlier?

Was it because the guy, in order to teach the girl a lesson for refusing his advances, hadn’t thrown a bottle of acid on her face yet? Well, he wasn’t a picture of peaceful devotion either. Beating up a female childhood friend? Check. Using her unashamedly for his selfish purposes? Check. Driving into the river on a bike, with Zoya, in a fit of rage? Check. Proposing marriage to childhood friend and then dumping her at the last minute? Check.

There is something really wrong about portraying a woman as evil because she chose to live her life on HER terms and not some street ruffian’s. Why didn’t we root for Zoya  right from the beginning? Can it be called a ‘sweet love story’, when clearly, it was more about harassment and ego? One man’s at that!!

In a country so full of misguided youth who believe that any woman who refuses their advances doesn’t have a right to live in dignity, do we need such cinematic ‘heroes’ who show the wrong way? Is slitting of wrists the only way of achieving love? Of protesting? Isn’t it an act of self-pity ? When Zoya does it, we can understand, her loss is much more grievous. But why does Kundan do it so frequently? With his frame, he cannot afford to lose blood at the drop of a hat.

Street-sexual harassment, or ‘eve-teasing’ is a serious crime. It has extremely serious repercussions on the victim. Kundan’s stalking of Zoya for 8+ years and her continuous denial of ‘love’ show us two aspects to this ‘love-story’. An unemployed youth, with nothing better to do, will indulge in fantasies, which for him, take the shape of truth, his truth. A woman who says ‘NO’, means ‘NO’. A ‘NO’ will never translate into a ‘Yes’, even after the passage of time.

I bet a similar ‘Kundan’ did this to Sonali –

sonali

Raanjhanaa gives out very wrong signals. The movie is making quite a lot of moolah….but I’m just worried about the impressionable youth who watch this film.

We don’t need such movies right now. Or ever.

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