Flying Fuck…Udta Punjab(AAA)

udta punjab

Finally I saw the so very controversial Udta Punjab. First things first….I loved it. Why ? Probably for all the reasons that it became controversial much before it released . Drugs ? Well this was my first up and close brush with the menace as it is corroding the society. Or as up and close as it can get ,blessed as I am to have a life where I spend few hundred bucks to get a closer look at a problem that is ruining lives and generations. With my cosmopolitan sensibility and upbringing , drugs till now had merely meant rave parties and the sleazy under belly of the life of the rich and famous. That it is eating up our society from within at a very grass root level, this stark reality I faced for the first time. Or whatever sorry imitation of facing it was, sitting in an air conditioned hall, munching on popcorn and sipping cold coffee. We indeed are a spoilt, privileged lot and the sooner we realise it ,the better it is. Maybe that realisation can jolt us out of our happy lethargy  and incessant complaining .

The central theme of drugs brings me to the super “A”(AAA ? An acceptable rendition of XXX ?) certification that our blessed Censor Board would have liked to give it and that too after the ridiculous 190 or so proposed cuts. I for one would definitely want my son to see it and much before he turns 18. I don’t think a menace like drugs will wait for the potential target to touch the legal adult age and then strike. Lest my son too thinks of drugs as the done thing limited to rave parties of Goa, I would want him to see it in all its naked ugliness. ..”see” as much as he can from his privileged station in life. However, I would want him to see the movie not just to see the murky side of life but also the indomitable spirit which in fact makes life worth living..the never say die spirit, beautifully captured by the nameless character played by Alia Bhat. Rising against all odds ,like the phoenix, hers is indeed the admirable spirit that we as human beings are blessed with and need to wake upto.

Coming to the other objectionable part of the movie that earned it the AAA certificate – the “crass, vulgar language” of the movie where there is barely a dialogue without a cuss word , much to the anguish of the Censor Board. Would I want my 11 year old to hear and to that extent learn this kind of language ? No. And that is the only reason why I would not want him to watch the movie right now…soon enough but not yet. The social setting of the movie probably warrants such liberal use of the choicest of expletives though I do believe that the sophistication, refinement we see around us is but a veneer. Scratch the surface and it reveals pretty much the same vulgarity underneath,  albeit in a different form. The hypocrisy of the urban intelligentsia is such that it makes English swear words more than acceptable…cool , hep even. Their hindi renditions however are a different story. Pray what makes “I am so fucked up” more acceptable than “Chutiya kat raha hai”? When it suits us we will deride the use of English, holding high the banner of our national language and pride, happily forgetting that English is today a global language. But a cuss word in this colonial language is perfectly acceptable; In our mother tongue, however, not so much. I, for one,  am not particularly impressed, repulsed or intrigued with the use of expletives by anyone in either of the 2 languages, in fact , in any language. To me, resorting to the use of these words indicates an alarming bankruptcy of ideas and inability to articulate a wide variety of emotions and thoughts we human beings are blessed with. In any case we are nation obsessed with banalities where it’s ok to murder in the name of religion but not ok to release a movie that raises uncomfortable issues in a language that is widespread ; where “fuck you” is the “takia kalaam” of the educated urban youth but “chutiyapa” is vulgar. My take on all this uncalled for hullabaloo and controversy ? I loved the movie and anyone who has a problem with it can take a flying fuck ; my life has plenty of chutiyapas of its own to bother with non issues !

How to Survive “Happy New Year”

Happy-New-Year-movie-image

The thing about a Farah Khan movie is that it unapologetically and unabashedly carries high the flag of the cinema of nonsense. The sole raison d’être for her movies, and those of her brother Sajid Khan is to entertain – and that too the masses, not the discerning viewer who values his sensibilities more than a trip to la-la land. It’s perhaps no wonder then that her movies do well, playing to the galleries as they do.

179 minutes of a Farah Khan movie is well beyond my tolerance level especially when despite huge openings, it has been thrashed to bits unanimously by all reviews. But when your 9year old implores you to take him to this nonsense fest, you succumb. So it was that I landed in the theatre, armed with all resources at my disposal to survive the 3 hour ordeal – two smart phones (just in case one battery drained and left me high and dry as smart phones often do), a strip of disprins and an unlimited supply of coffees and popcorn. That the show started half an hour late, didn’t exactly help matters. Yet, surprisingly, I survived and here’s I’ll tell you how.

The trick is to go with abysmally low expectations and arm yourself with all the resources at your disposal- smart phones, food, and medicine. If you are the sadistic kind who finds being miserable alone beyond tolerance, carry your friends. Misery, you see, loves miserable company. If not friends, at least drag your spouse along- this has to be “THE” acid test of his/her devotion to you- if your marriage can survive this, believe me you’ll survive a lot. And finally, contrary to what you may have thought all along, the focus of your attention cannot be the movie. If you err here, you are doomed my friend. Focus on your child cackling away happily at all the inanities; on the crowd whistling at SRK’s abs ( how the hell does SRK do that at his age?); on the AC that is too cold or too hot- in short, on anything other than what is happening in front of you on the screen.

So it was that I survived “Happy New Year”. When asked how the movie was, I happily chirped “not too bad”. Only when more probing questions came- either from the spouse whom I had spared the ordeal (can’t put my marriage through such “agni pareekshas”) or the excited child- “Wasn’t that guy/scene just so funny mom?” I realised that I really had no clue as to what had transpired in those fateful 179 minutes. I remember that here was a plethora of everything – revenge, heist, love, melodrama, slapstick comedy,  music ( or noise perhaps), dance, patriotism, digs at everyone and  everything etc etc- everything except one essential element- a coherent, gripping narrative. The actors do manage to somehow pull it off though but not without making you wonder if this is what Wordsworth had in mind when he talked of “willing suspension of disbelief”. Except that here it requires more than a suspension of disbelief- it asks for a suspension of all rational, logical faculties of the mind. And no, there is absolutely no method to this madness or any way to get around it and you better not look for one. Then and only then, my dear, can you come out dancing the way I did- to the tune of “I’m feeling alright, ‘cos it’s a nonsense ki night”.

Fanny Re!

Finding-Fanny-

There is something about “Finding Fanny” that reminded me of “Waiting for Godot”. Highly improbable comparisons one would think. Perhaps it’s the doing word in the 2 titles- “finding” and “waiting”- that is the resemblance. However as I saw the movie, I gradually realised that it is not just a word in the two titles but the very idea of hope, giving a purpose to one’s otherwise futile existence, that is at centre of the two. Of course while the Existentialists would say that hope is philosophical suicide, Finding Fanny says just about the opposite- hope, even in the face of adversity, is what makes life worth it. Life is not always good or fair, things are seldom the way they seem and hardly ever work out the way you want them to and we all live a life of pretences at one level or another. Yet, the bitter- sweet mixture that life is, it is worth living and the elusive bird called love is worth seeking- knocking even when there are no doors.

With an impressive cast of veterans like Naseerudin Shah ( Ferdie), Pankaj Kapoor ( Don Pedro), ex hottie Dimple Kapadia ( Rosie) and current best sellers like Deepika Padukone ( Angie) and Arjun Kapoor (Savio), we get a good comedy, with shades of grey, after a long time. The movie picturesquely captures the queer Goan village where they reside and as the motley crowd goes on a wild goose chase to look for Fanny, we get a glimpse of life, as we know it. With its impeccable comic timing, crisp dialogues and sudden bathetic plunges it brings us face to face with life, albeit through a humorous lens. Ferdie and Don Pedro, as expected are flawless in their characters. I never had a great opinion about the sexy Bobby’s acting prowess but she fares better here as an actor than she did in her sexy hey days. Her derrière is the source of much amusement and inspiration to Don Pedro but one does wonder what happened to the sexy booty of Bobby! Both Deepika and Arjun Kapoor perform effortlessly and breeze through the film. It’s quite a pleasure watching them being able to hold their own in front of likes of Naseerudin Shah and Pankaj Kapoor.

Finding Fanny is clearly not a movie that is meant for the masses. The audience that makes likes of Masti a hit, isn’t going to be able to appreciate the finer nuances of a work such as this- no bawdy humour in the gross sense, no double meaning dialogues, no uncalled for booty show. Yes one does shake ones bootiya on the floor but that is to the music of life. A must watch for the discerning viewer.