Tag Archives: Aamir Khan

PK controversial Shiva scene

How the Right Wing is inadvertently converting Hinduism to Islam

I was watching PK on television in a hotel today.

Watching a film for the second time is a wonderful experience. You notice things you didn’t in the first place, read subtexts, and can revel in the experience of the film without the pressure of analysing it as a newly released film. (Read my review here).

But the one thing that saddened me about the film was all the controversy that the film created for insulting Hindu Gods.

It is an argument that was whipped up with great frenzy across social media. In many ways, it was the beginning of the nation’s hatred against Aamir Khan. Before PK, Aamir Khan was ambassador for Indian hospitality, tourism, culture, and behaviour.

From a person who tearfully informed the nation about its shortcomings, public perception of him transformed into a monster who uses Hindu gods and themes to make his point. Which is an absurd point to make because PK was essentially a humour film. Just a few years ago, Akshay Kumar starred in a film which brutally questioned idol worship and Baba cults. The film was well received, people raved about it, no questions were raised about Akshay Kumar’s loyalties.

Was Aamir Khan targeted because he is Muslim? I suspect, yes.

But this is India, and Aamir Khan just needs another film and the entire nation will laugh and cry with him.

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But what irked me more was why the film should run into controversy.

The infamous scene of Shiva running about to save himself from a mad stalker (PK) was what got the nation infuriated. But what is so offensive about the scene?

India in general and Hinduism in particular has a long history of debate, discussion and provoking of the gods. There are countless stories where rishis curse gods, rebuke and ridicule them. In my opinion, it is beautiful that Hinduism allows us the freedom to worship gods, and live with them. We have idols of gods in our houses, images on note books, calendars on walls. Travel to villages, and you’ll find plays and folk-songs where performers mimic and use gods in their songs. Some of the songs target gods, make fun of their habits, their appearance, their vaahans – what is the big fucking deal?

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron is still considered a cult masterpiece today, and its most famous scene is the one where a botched up Draupadi Vastraharan results in absolute chaos.

Can you imagine such a scene being shot today, without morons taking to their Facebook walls and crying about ‘sentiments being hurt’?

Or, check out this scene from RK Narayan’s legendary Malgudi Days, where a Christian teacher tries talking to the class about how they must all follow Christ, and not ‘bekaar Hindu bhagwaan’. (Watch from 2.03)

Can you imagine a scene like this on national television today?

Highly improbable. Sadly, as time passes and one expects a nation to march forward towards a society that is open to questioning beliefs, we have degenerated into a nation that loses its cool at the drop of a hat.

The saddest part of it all is that the Hindu Rightwing claims to be working for Hinduism. In their speeches and Facebook posts, they criticise and rebuke Islam and its regressive practices. However, without noticing the classic irony staring back at them, they are converting Hinduism – a multicultural way of living – into what they consider their biggest enemy – Islam.

Look at each and every argument that has been made in the last few years, and you’ll assume you’re talking about mullahs in Iran rather than a secular democratic country. They have a problem with a stupid Deepika Padukone video where she says it’s her choice who she wants to sleep with.

They have a problem with the representation of God in daily life, exactly what you’d expect a regressive, conservative Muslim to believe.

They have a problem with young women wearing modern clothes, visiting pubs, or walking in parks holding their boyfriend’s hand. I’m sorry but these are classic signs of a regressive Islamic cult, and not of Hinduism.

And slowly, I am afraid we are slipping into the skin of a nation that cries at the drop of a hat.

The Rightwing is slowly transforming into their biggest fears – Islam and Pakistan – a nation that has no tolerance for an opinion that isn’t part of the mainstream.

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What is wrong with a person dressed as Shiva running around, if it is written as a gag in a film? If you believe in Lord Shiva, you should know that he is the lord of the universe. You seriously think that he would take offence to a film by Rajkumar Hirani? He doesn’t care, it’s idiots like us who get pissed off. Shiva is probably smiling right now, wondering when he should open his eyes and do the Taandav and destroy this dumb fucking race that he created.

Are we a nation with the IQ of drunk mules, that we cannot take an image in its context? And when does this end?

Do we also adopt a censorship on the use of god’s name and image? Will we also reach a day when some Hindus enter a building and shoot journalists for a harmless cartoon? Sounds far-fetched, doesn’t it? That only happens in Islam, right?

But where did it all begin? It began exactly like this. With a bunch of dudes who decided to decide for everybody else what is offensive. With protests, and effigies burnt, and slogans, and people with no real work in life protesting on the roads.

That’s how it all begins.  Always.

Why Is Aamir Khan Such a Pretentious Prick

Once upon a time in India, Lagaan released.

The film was a smash hit, was sent as our choice for the Oscars (but couldn’t win, as the jury grew old and died during the interval) and Aamir Khan suddenly became the thinking man’s conscience. The guy who would never attend film awards because he didn’t believe in them, suddenly seemed to be jumping up and down the red carpet, promoting his film. But of course, he was doing it for the nation.

When Lagaan lost out to No Man’s Land, Aamir Khan told the press that the other film deserved to win. When I saw it, said Khan, I knew that it was better than ours. From that moment on, Aamir Khan has somehow projected and marketed himself as the voice of the nation/youth/continent/solar system.

And it’s fucking annoying.

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Alright, so he chooses to do one movie at a time, reads his scripts, and does extensive preparation for it. But all that is fucking expected from an actor in the first place. Just because ours is a hare-brained industry, doesn’t make someone a goddamn Socrates.

A few months before the release of Rang De Basanti, Aamir Khan sat with the Narmada Bachao Andolan protesters to speak up for their rights. Since then, there has been no word of his involvement with the issue whatsoever.

He then made a film on Mangal Pandey, and has been on a Bhagat Singh trip since, telling the nation what’s right, and what’s offensive. In Taare Zameen Par, he showed us how we are all a cruel, insensitive nation that doesn’t know how to deal with special children. In 3 Idiots, he showed us what is wrong with our education system. In PK, he showed us the problems with religion and godmen.

And tactful and insightful that our media is, we made him the voice of the nation. Aamir Khan tells the nation not to litter. Aamir Khan tells the nation to be nice to foreigners.

Aamir Khan is a thinking man. How? Because all his films have long shots of him staring into the distance, thinking about the welfare of the cosmos. Aamir Khan is a perfectionist. Why? Because he undergoes a physical transformation for every role (which, as any theatre actor will tell you, is the fucking basic thing to do. Also, he gets paid crores for every film). Aamir Khan is a socially aware star. How? Because he blogs about issues.

However, as we all know, even Vishwamitra’s penance was disturbed. So Aamir Khan, the ever-aware thinking man’s Gautam Buddha slipped out of character and blogged about Shah Rukh Khan licking his toes while he sat on his table.

And of course, there is Satyameva Jayate. Now, I personally have no problems with the show. A star like Aamir Khan talking about issues that we Indians never bother to speak about, is commendable. Kudos.

I also have no problem with him projecting himself as this new-age Carl Shehnanigan who tells the nation how to live – much of an actor’s image comes from this. It is no different from Salman Khan being the large-hearted bhai, Ranveer Singh being a horny guy, and Honey Singh the nation’s Mahalingam. I have no problems with that.

satyameva jayate

Look at my tears…so pure, so pristine. Just like my soul. Which is pure white. Just like the clouds there. I am the sun. Sun and clouds. Deep.

My only problem is with Aamir Khan’s opinions on other artists. You see, Mr. Perfectionist doesn’t give a fuck about other artists. His work is sublime and pure and unadulterated and heavenly. The rest can go fuck themselves.

amir-stya1

Can you see the concern in my eyes? No? Well, that’s none of my concern. I am sensitive. I hope you can sense my sensitivity.

Take for example the controversy regarding 3 Idiots.

Now, even though Chetan Bhagat is the Rakhi Sawant of Indian literature, he wrote the book and sold millions, and no one can take that away from him. If you’ve read 5 Point Someone, and watched 3 Idiots, and you possess the IQ of a garden lizard, you’ll know that the film is more or less an adaptation of the book. However, since it is Bollywood (and fuck writers!), Bhagat wasn’t given opening credits. He raked up the issue and Vidhu Vinod Chopra asked a journalist to ‘Shut Up’. Which is at least an honest response.

Mr. Khan, however, using his special 8th Sense, somehow had it all figured out. He told Bhagat off in public, calling him a cheapskate who will do anything for publicity. Which is fine, till someone asked him if he’s read the book. To which his response was – ‘Ahem, no.’

How the fuck do you know that it isn’t an adaptation, if you haven’t even read the goddamn book? But Aamir Khan, yo. Intellectual actor.

When he released Delhi Belly, he appeared on Aap Ki Adalat (that classy, artful show with a completely non-creepy looking host), and justified the language in the film. His logic was, the youth of the nation today talk in that manner. If you can not stand such language, please don’t watch the film. All good.

Now, the AIB controversy. Since our media has no fucking work, they went and asked Aamir Khan, the brahmaguru of wisdom, what he thought. Aamir Khan first looked at the sky, blinked seven times, sipped some water, and then gave out his thoughts. That the show was offensive, hurt people’s sentiments, blah blah blah.

But then, here’s the key – HE HASN’T WATCHED THE FUCKING SHOW.

If you haven’t watched the show, and someone randomly told you there were jokes on body shape, sexuality, and religion without providing any context, it’s the partial truth. You’re like the blind man of Hindustan who held the elephant’s ass and thought that’s what an elephant looks like.

But no. Aamir Khan ko kaun samjhaye? He is the voice of the cosmos.

The universe works in perfect motion because he approves of it. Every time Aamir Khan sheds a tear, a kid in Africa gets cured of AIDS.

It’s bloody annoying.

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Dear Aamir Khan, This isn’t the 60s. Where you could do a few patriotic movies and become a national hero. The audience you deal with is thirty years younger to you, a completely different generation.

They understand subtleties, read between the lines, and can tell an actor from a chutiya. Just because you did regressive shit for 20 years, and suddenly conscience struck you like lightning, doesn’t mean the rest of the nation is a bunch of chimpanzees.

Also, like Russel Peters said, you are an actor. You appear on the set, mouth lines written by others, get numerous takes to perfect your craft, and get paid a bomb for it. Which is all fine.

But just like you’re an artist, there are others too. Who are attempting to make an honest living by pursuing what they think is art. If you really are an artist, at least have the fucking decency to look up their work before commenting.

Like I said, you’re not fooling anybody. This is a generation that sees through bullshit. And right now, for all your decades of carefully constructed PR, you come across as an aging douchebag.

I hope you aren’t offended by this blog. But if you are, I hope you at least read it before getting offended.

 

Movie Review : PK. Mostly OK, but a little pheekay.

Five minutes into PK, you feel a familiar sense of joy.

There are very few filmmakers in India who transport you into a different world like Hirani does. Of course, there is Bhansali, but the worlds he attempts to transport you to seem like the shreds of a bad MDMA trip.

Hirani, meanwhile, is a good tab on a sunny winter morning, where you can feel the chill on your skin, and the warmth in your eyes. And as you look around you, everything in your vicinity transforms into a joyous, delightful utopia.

Hirani’s films are distinct in their imagery – you could tell a Hirani film just by looking at a frame. The skies are blue, the clouds carelessly white. The buildings blemishless, the people good natured. And amidst the wonderland, is a hero who sets out to make you think.

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I shall waste no time in going through the premise, as most reviewers and channels must have done it for you. What I’d rather say is that PK grips you from the very first frame. A joyride that barely lets you take a breather, PK is a winner all the way.

Watching it in a single screen theatre in Bhubaneswar, PK reminded me of the magical quality of films. There is no director in present day India who elicits the whistles, hoots, applause, laughter and tears in the way Rajkumar Hirani does.

Watching PK was cathartic for me. A throwback to the days when films could move an entire audience in a tidal wave of emotions. In a time of such attention deficiency when even two free seconds mean a quick message sent over the phone.

The person sitting next to me had his phone out in the beginning of the movie. But ten minutes in, he couldn’t do it anymore. He slipped his phone into his pocket, and his abnormally large elbow on the arm of the chair.

Every few minutes, his elbow would jiggle. And somewhere in the climax, he moved his elbow, ran his fingers along his face, and quickly brought the elbow back to the arm.

Sitting right next to me was a living testimony to what Hirani does with the medium of cinema, in a way that only he can.

If you haven’t watched PK yet, please go ahead and watch it.
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Please do not read any further if you haven’t watched the movie. I’m serious. It’ll ruin your experience, and a brave, endearing film as PK deserves to be watched for an honest, unbiased first experience. You can always come back to read this section after watching the film, and tell me if it makes sense.
Good. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here is another opinion on the film.

I laughed and hooted and cheered, but deep within, I felt a pang of pain. After the interval, the film slipped into familiar rhetoric territory. Somewhere in the beginning of the second half, I knew how the story would end. In my mind, I drew gigantic story arcs, connecting dots and covering up loopholes.

Deep within, I was fighting the greatest fear I have for a filmmaker – predictability.

In his last four films, Hirani has used a fairly simple but utterly remarkable formula. A charming hero who takes on a gigantic systemic bull by the horns and brings it to its knees in the most humane manner possible. Through the journey, Hirani makes you laugh, cry, and question a few things.

And yet, in PK, even though the theme is a pet peeve of mine, I felt uneasy. An hour into the film, I recognised the villain. Hirani’s villains are not so much characters, as they are ideas that prevail in our society. After that, it was a case of how, and not what.

My biggest fear is that Hirani will turn into a Madhur Bhandarkar – who uses the same character (a vulnerable pretty girl in a bad-wolf world) in different scenarios. Or a Shankar, whose hero singlehandedly sets right cancerous illnesses in society.

There’s nothing wrong in being a Bhandarkar, or a Shankar. Only, it kills the joy of listening to a story. Of having it throw you off your feet.

It was a wonderful film, Mr. Hirani, but may be it is time to show Vidhu Vinod Chopra the finger. He has made crores and crores riding on your immense talent, and spawned off many bastard children with the golden cow you gave him.

May be it’s time, Mr. Hirani, to do a quirky crime thriller next. Or a gut-wrenching epic saga. The pothole is right in front of you, Mr. Hirani, each getting larger with every outing of yours.

Please be a Woody Allen, whose only predictability is his brilliance. Not a Madhur Bhandarkar, who, well, is a bit of an idiot.