Tag Archives: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Weird Nipples

Movie Review – Padmavat(i) – Kaafi Tatt(i)

I have refrained from talking about the Padmavat-Karni Sena issue because it is embarrassing to think of.

That a fictional character would be exalted to the status of a goddess, misplaced pride would lead to death threats being issued in the open.

I find the issue of pride laughable. How can you be proud of being a Rajput?

‘Pride’ is to be felt when you belong to a world champion sporting side, or if you discover a new metal, invent a new technology – that is pride. What the fuck is Rajput pride?

How can you feel ‘pride’ about being born in a particular clan, when you have no choice in the matter? You did no work to be born in a particular clan. Your parents had sex, and sperms were transferred from the male organ to the female organ.

At that time, there was no viva voce conducted – Hello, Mr. Proud Sperm, which clan would you want to be born in? Aryan? Dravidian? IITian?? Nothing of that sort happened. So what the fuck is this pride that people keep harping about?

I have seen educated urban friends of mine put up statuses expressing pride in their clan, caste, religion, creed and blood group. I do not know what to make of it. After entering my 30s, I have reconciled to the fact that some things in life are twisted, and there’s nothing one can do about it.

But I digress.

This is about Padmavat, the movie.

Even though I have been panning Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s films for ten years now, I have a secret admiration for the guy. He has a vision of his own (even if they are hallucinogenic visions) and he goes ahead and executes his projects.

In spite of all his awards and recognition, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s greatest achievement in cinema has been to get Salman Khan to emote, a task that amounts to getting a rabbit to attend a 21 day workshop on Hatha Yoga. But Bhansali’s films suffer from a key problem.

You always know the ending of a Bhansali film. Whether it is Rasleela, Devdas, Guzaarish, Bajirao Mastani. It is the same with this film too – you know exactly how the film will end. Especially since the director has clarified to Karni Sena morons that there is no dialogue between the two stars, that they do not share even a single scene, and there’s absolutely no interaction between them.

In fact, you get a sense of this when the many disclaimers come on, before the movie begins.

This is based on a poem from the 16th century poem – Padmavat. There is no intent to harm anybody’s feelings.

So you know there’s going to be masturbatory dialogues to glorify Rajputs.

The film does not intend to glorify Sati

So you know there’s going to be a ten minute, slow-mo, climactic shot of Sati, a money-shot involving yellow, gold and red – Bhansali’s own RGY colour format.

No animals were harmed in the making of this film.

So you know that all the animals shown will be whipped up by underpaid Indian animation artists. Which is why when Alauddin Khilji turns up with an exotic ostrich, it resembles a bird from Chhota Bheem.

After eight movies, the Indian viewer has gotten used to the opulence and grandeur. The viewer is looking for nuance and story, and Bhansali offers none of that. The film begin with Deepika Padukone, who is introduced as the warrior princess who lives in the kingdom of Bahubali Sets. She’s fierce and strong and independent and all that, but you know she’s going to end up as the second wife of the king, the noble Raja Moron Singh.

On the other side, there is Alauddin Khilji, essayed by an earnest performance by Ranveer Singh. A role so earnest that he does everything the director asks him to do. If this was a Muslim majority state, Bhansali would have been stoned to death for depicting Muslims in bad light. To uphold the fragile prestige of one group, Bhansali demonises the other.

His Alauddin Khilji does everything one can to appear evil.

Evil Ruler Things

Quite naturally, he hears of Padmavati, and decides to attack Chittor.

Which then brings us to the other king in the story:

Raja Ratan Sen.

King of Chittor,

Works at Pouter @Pouting.

Owner of weird nipples.

Weird Nipples

If he just ran to Khilji and showed him his nipples, Khilji would have given up the war and turned Buddhist.

Shahid Kapoor’s interpretation of an upright king is to play him stiff and uptight. Not only does Raja Dishaheen Singh look like Padmavati’s younger brother, their love scenes look like a kinky Rakshabandhan fetish video.

This is where Bhansali slips. To massage the fragile ego of Karni Sena, he makes Shahid’s character mouth absurd Rajput-praising lines every few minutes.

While wearing his clothes: Jo samundar paar karey, woh Rajput.

While eating food: Rajput ghee lagaake khate hain, Dalda nahi.

While bathing: Raput Nivia Mens Body Wash use karte hain, Lifebuoy nahi.

On and on and on, till you actually wish for Khilji to attack and fucking kill the guy. Drive a sword right through him and then get him trampled by elephants.

Ironically, after mouthing all the bravado, Raja Pout Singh goes on to commit the most moronic mistakes a 13th century ruler could.

He invites an oppressor who openly threatened to take his wife away (Khilji was a one man Karni Sena), and then has lunch and plays chess with him. As Khilji camps outside his fort and supplies have been cut off, he hides the fact from his people, instead choosing to celebrate a grand Diwali and Holi.  

He goes to Khilji’s camp all alone, without a weapon. What were you thinking? That is Alauddin Khilji, not Raju the Postman. If there were memes in the 13th century India, Raja Bawaal Singh would be one.

There are so many Rajput-appeasing dialogues in the movie, that you begin to laugh at the irony when Shahid Kapoor jumps from one faux pas to another. If anything, Karni Sena should be offended by how stupid Raja Wierd Nipple Singh is shown.

He escapes from Khilji’s captivity, only to walk up to him and mouth some garbage dialogues; resulting in the death of 800 soldiers, including the Chief Commander, who loses his head because his king never chose to use his own.

In analysing the movie, I may have inadvertently found the solution to the Karni Sena backlash. Bhansali needs to employ those jobless Karni Sena activists as interns in his Editing Department. He badly needs an editor of his movies – Padmavat lags and jags and drags and sags.

By the end, you want Khilji to get it done with, and Rani Padmavati to jump into the fire. You don’t even get that, because there’s a slow-mo, jerk-off Johar scene. For some reason, you are treated to a shot of women of all ages and sections of the society jump into a large flame. That this is a source of any pride is honestly revolting!

*

Decades later, Padmavat will feature in a Bhansali Kalaeidoscope in film festivals around the world. While introducing the movie, it will be remembered as the film that raked up a storm because a bunch of morons decided to milk it for political mileage.

It will be remembered as the film for which he got death threats, a film that whipped up a frenzy in a nation already crippled with a number of other problems.

But as I walked out of the movie, stuffed with soft drinks and popcorn, and stepped out of the mall on to the cold, winter night, I was looking for bonfires to jump into, and end my life.

*****

Aye, why you hurting my sentiments??

There was a time when I would wait for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s films.

I loved getting transported into those timeless, geography-less lands that he created. I loved the drama, the colour, the painful soundtracks. It was just what my teenage heart needed.

Unfortunately, while my taste in cinema has grown, Bhansali’s endeavors seem increasingly tiring by the day. I am sure in his nightmares, Maps and Calendars come walking towards Bhansali, their hands outstretched, making whooshing noises.

If you strip them down to their basics, Bhansali’s films have always centred around a handicap (Khamoshi, Black, Guzarish), or unrequited love (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Sawariya). While enough has been said about his knack for creating these other-worldly worlds, the colours and the drums seem unnecessary in this film.

Playing to the galleries, Ram Leela is an average story, and all the peacocks and the statues and the colours cannot change that fact. And by the time the three hour colourfest has ended, you’re sincerely wishing the two of them die already. Since it’s inspired by Romeo and Juliet, don’t we all know how it’s going to end?

At the end of the day, Ram Leela is like Gordon Ramsay cooking pani puri. A good cook stirring up an everyday dish. So whether you like Ram Leela or not, depends on what you feel about Gordon Ramsay preparing Pani Puri.

Image

*****************************

But what’s more interesting than the film itself, is the controversy surrounding the film.

You see, some groups were offended by the film’s content.

The film hurt their religious sentiments. Even before the bloody film released!

Absurd, you say?

I don’t think so. Even before Lord Krishna was born, Kamsa had known that the boy would offend his sensibilities (by killing him). So it’s not all that a novel idea to get offended by things we haven’t even seen yet.

I did a bit of research on who were these sensitive people who got offended, and who should I find, but my old friends?

The Bajrang Dal.

Image

For years now, the Bajrang Dal has magnanimously taken up the daunting task of handling our sentiments. And that is a Herculean task.

Because as a nation, we love taking offence. It’s what we do.

Image

I read in the news that Bajrang Dal had taken offence to the film because it was called Ram Leela. Very, very, valid point.

It’s such an overarching point that it negates the need for other banalities, like actually watching the film to find out what it is about. Ever the logical diplomats, this is the reason that was given – “The title has the name Ram, and Leela is associated with Lord Krishna, so people would mistake it for a mythological film, but it is a film steeped in sex, violence, and vulgarity.”

Don’t you feel like standing up and saluting? I know!

Because we live in dark ages, where we walk into a film having knowledge only of its name. Trailers, teasers, and promotions are for Martians, in case they want to enjoy some of our films.

*

But this is not new at all. We have been banning films for a few years now. And while you’d expect that with time, societies around the world would loosen up their iron grip on culture, in India we keep going a step backwards every year. Let’s have a look at the list.

Fanaa: The film was banned in Gujarat because Aamir Khan had spoken out against the Narmada Dam project. Personal opinion, you say? Haha, you little fool, you.

Billoo Barber: The film was based on Billoo, who’s a barber. Apparently, barbers took offence to a barber being called a barber. Dignity of labour, you say? Haha.

Black Friday: Unlike other films, this film did not malign anybody’s name or character. In fact, it is among the rare films that uses real names, real locations, real incidents. But how can something that really happened, be offensive? Haha.

The best part is, these films were banned before they were released. Before anybody had an inkling as to what the film could have contained. Talk about a seventh sense.

And as if the petitions aren’t intellectually stimulating enough, Indian courts entertain these people and pass those laws. Raasleela has been banned in the UP, as were the earlier films mentioned in the list.

Now, isn’t it the work of courts to uphold someone’s legal right to release a film? For all their erudition and experience, shouldn’t lawyers and courts be looking at larger issues? Aren’t we heading towards a Banana Republic, if any Tom, Dick, and Hairy can walk up to a court with a piece of paper and stall the release of a film?

*

But you shouldn’t get depressed. No, no.

Apart from upholding our culture as a nation, religious groups also take on the side job of entertaining us once in a while.

The second reason for banning the film was this – How can a character named ‘Ram’, be involved in violence and killing?

Because you know, Lord Ram vanquished Raavan by sending him a bouquet of roses. After which Raavan wiped his tears with the words, “Ab bas kar. Rulaayega kya?”

The petition goes on to say that the character named Ram is also involved in other trades, like selling of vulgar CDs, and is a general Casanova.

Very very valid point.

I am sure I couldn’t get through the Bajrang Dal because my CAT score was only 18%. After all, how else could one come up with points like this, you tell me?

Talking of which, let’s look at some other people who dared to act against their names.

Govinda: Even though he is named after Lord Krishna, he had the audacity to romance Raveena Tandon. He also shamed the nation, Lord Krishna, and the entire cosmos (because the entire cosmos was inside Krishna’s mouth!), by wearing yellow pants, and crooning ‘Meri pant bhi sexy’. He should have instead crooned ‘Mama Pitambaram Ati Madhuram’. Burn his house and blacken his face, I say.

Ram Jethmalani: Mr. Jethmalani has two wives. In one stroke a few strokes, he has shamed the name of Lord Ram, who was faithful to Mother Sita all through his life, never looking at any other woman, us nazar se.

But this shameless Jethmalani fellow goes on to live his life without his face being blackened.

Shakti Kapoor: Even though he’s named after Shakti, Mr. Kapoor has less than religious feelings towards women. In an interview, he told a girl that she has to ‘fuck’ to get ahead in her career.

Apart from this sacrilegious act, his career has spanned a wide vista of characters – ranging from the friendly neighbourhood sex offender, to a vicious rapist. How about we blacken his face?

Oh wait, we already have!

Bala Krishna: Named after Child Krishna, this actor has done things that can neither be counted as Krishna-like, nor childlike. Apart from being accused in a shooting incident, he has also done things that little Krishna would never have imagined. Even though he had the whole cosmos in his mouth.

Image

How dare these people do anything vulgar, when they have been blessed with names of Gods?

How can they dare do their own thing, even though this is a free country?

How can they offend my sensibilities?

Blacken their bloody faces!!