Is This The Beginning Of A Revolution?
The lives of four women who live in a dilapidated old Haveli in a small town are brilliantly portrayed in this film which breaks many taboos. These women struggle to get out of the designated roles assigned them by society and we see delightful hidden personalities. In a patriarchal society these secretly rebellious women find slices of happiness even though their rights are trampled casually. The film serves reality with humor and brilliantly.
Small towns are congested, their airless houses filled with thoughtless people and crammed with things. In one such dilapidated haveli of a small town four women dare to dream. And director Alankrita Shrivastava shows us how their dreams can be trampled by casual patriarchy.
Rehana is allowed to go to college because her father is generous. When she comes back she stitches burkhas at her dad’s tailoring shop late into the night.
Leela’s mother has made so many sacrifices, she has to prove she is a good daughter by getting hitched to a rich guy who belongs to a large joint family and wants to wait for ‘suhaag raat’…
Shireen is a brilliant saleswoman, but has to endure a Saudi returned husband who merely uses her as a sex object
Buaji is to be just that. A matriarch to the whole haveli. But this fifty-something spinster is fed up of Satsangs. She’d rather read Bills & Moon romances that can steam up her evenings and days and afternoons and nights…
Only the audience knows their secret. And even though you know at the back of your head, their realities are going to bring their dreams crashing on the haveli floor, you hope against hope that they manage to begin a revolution. The film was stopped at every step by the Indian Censors, attempting to ban the film. How can you allow women to dream? To be sexual creatures? To be more successful than their husbands? Should they even breathe?
Indian patriarchy has long blamed western attire, make-up, and education of girls. This movie cocks a snook at traditions and expectations, showing us what women want, what women really hanker for, how empathy can bring them together, how they understand each other’s needs by just a look, a gesture.
You’ll love Ratna Pathak Shah as Buaji and Konkona Sen Sharma as Shireen. But it’s the two younger girls Plabita Borthakur as Rehana and Aahana Kumra as Leela who hold their own. Watch it and renew your lipstick if you are a girl, and buy your girl one, if you are a lad. But don’t miss this film. It’s reality served with dollops of humor.
P.S. Some might say that the male characters are uni dimensional. But then this film makes up for all the damsel in distress and arm candy roles women are subjected to endure in most Bollywood films
(this review minus the post script appears on nowrunning dot com)
Nawazuddin Siddqui The Redeemer
Tiger Shroff The Young Jackie Shroff
The Film Is Blah
A lad called Munna dances like Michael Jackson, conning inexperienced club show offs into parting with money at dance offs. One day he cons a gangster’s brother and is caught by cops on the take. The gangster promises to let him go only if Munna teaches him to dance so he can woo a gal. All’s fun and dance in gangsta world until Munna falls for the same girl.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui should now officially be nicknamed The Redeemer. It’s great fun to watch him be the gangster Mahinder, the 42 year old hankering to have a college type Valentine day romance with the girl he is smitten with…
Now his brother Balli, is played by another actor who is perfect for any role he is given, Pankaj Tripathi. Balli gets into trouble when he is beaten up by a nightclub showoff dancer Munna who has landed in Delhi from Mumbai.
Munna is played by Tiger Shroff who has started looking better and better as his beard has grown, because he has flashes of young Jackie Shroff. Munna was found as a baby by an over the hill Bollywood extra Michael (hammed wonderfully by Ronit Roy), and has grown up imitating Michael Jackson. Munna goes to nightclubs with his crew, and makes snide remarks at club showoffs. When the showoffs challenge him to dance, he wins lots and lots of money. His reputation gets him banned from entering posh clubs and he leaves town by telling his dad, he is finally going to get a ‘corporate job’
Balli’s dude gets conned by Munna and Munna ends up facing Mahinder. Mahinder likes Munna’s attitude, and says he’ll forgive Munna only if he teaches mahinder to dance. Mahinder takes Munna to meet his love interest.
The girl looks like Mamta Kulkarni but behaves like she’s channeling her inner Deepika Padukone. Meet Dolly the Dancer. She dances at some sleazy club. Of course she’s feisty and fearless and has a heart of gold.
Predictably Mahinder now begins to woo Dolly with the help of Munna. Sending her gifts, inviting her to dinner, giving her a job… But Dolly falls for Munna. Before you give Nawazuddin a chance to sing, ‘Dost dost na raha’, Dolly disappears.
The film too falls off a cliff now because there is the horrendous dance competition for the audience. This dance competition thing has never really worked for anyone, has it? The worst part is, this tribute to Michael Jackson has such poor music, and such ordinary choreography, you are glad the legend is not alive to see such trash in his name.
Tiger Shroff wears so many transparent shirts, you want to put a blanket on him and say, ‘Lad, everyone who watches Bollywood movies knows you have a six pack, you do not have to wear shirts made of lace tablecloths or sheer curtains to prove anything to anyone.’
Tiger Shroff is getting better with every film, but he does not need a dramatic pause in that one signature dialog he gets to say in every movie. Thankfully there is no ‘Hero’ flute music playing as he makes an entry into every scene. Small mercies. Nawazuddin Siddiqui does of Christopher Walken doing the dance to Fatboy Slim when he finally tries to persuade the girl to become his. That, and the rest of his role earn this film the stars.
(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)