Type-Cast(e)ing

Do you remember the first time you got to know about The Great Indian Caste system? You may not remember the four varnas buried in your history books, but you will surely remember your entrance forms, where you had to fill your “category” and that’s when you realized that you admission doesn’t depend ONLY on your marks in the said exam, but also on what your forefathers did or were. Long story short, if you are an Aam Aadmi ka beta/beti, you have spent much of your graduation and post graduation, cursing the fallacy of Indian social system, and developing strong biases against those who “reap the benefits”.

But if you, by any chance, didn’t experience the above mentioned situation, then there is absolutely no way, that you didn’t experience the worst form of racism, stereotyping, and prejudices, in the most thriving industry of this country – Indian weddings.

Take a look at your Sunday paper closely for once. Have you ever seen the way the matrimonial supplement is categorized? As if Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian and Jain was not enough, we have Punjabi, Gujrati, Marathi, Reddy, Brahmins, Thakurs, Bengali, etc etc etc. The requirement, the advertisement remains the same in all of them – Want a professionally qualified match for daughter/son – simple enough, till you see that invisible asterisk -but of our culture/community/religion/caste/gotra and so on and so forth. And God forbid, if you, being an educated person, of educated parents, decide to cross these boundaries. You will be asked to question your judgment more than once, and in many ways, and it will all come down to this- caste/community/religion/gotra etc etc etc. I mean, don’t you remember “Two States?” That stuff is as real as reality gets.

I was born in Delhi, brought up in Rajasthan, did my engineering from UP and living in Karnataka from past 3.5 years. Prejudices exists everywhere – the caste system in UP is extremely rigid. And Bangalore has been in news more than once for its biases against non-Kannadigas. In Delhi and Punjab, Biharis are looked down upon, and the population there is famous for calling every South Indian “Madrasi”. When we try to absolve the differences, by forming friendships or relationships with people beyond our culture, often the societal pressure is to talk us out of it.

And yet you see, so many couples, getting married with partners of their own choice, irrespective of their caste or community. You look at happy pictures, and think “India is progressing”. Sometimes, it is not so rosy. India has, and keeps having, its own share of honor killings. Some make headlines, some are buried in oblivion.

You might get frustrated and ask yourself, is there a way around all this? Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t. Because eventually, it doesn’t matter who stereotypes and how. What matters is your sense of right and wrong.

My brush with this stereotyping and prejudices happened very recently, and led me to write this post. What has been your experience? You think we can eliminate deep-rooted racism and prejudices from our surroundings, for once and for all? Leave a comment below.

Anybody Can Dance, including Shraddha, and how! ABCD2

A much awaited sequel was finally here, and I absolutely had to catch it over the last weekend. And what better company than people who share my joy for dancing – my awesome friends at SDIPA? 🙂 I have been a regular at the dance classes conducted by Shiamak Davar’s Institute Of Performing Arts, and it is to them I credit my treasure of great people who I have known and befriended over my stay here. More about that in another post!!!

See, how awesome we look in our crazy, windy selfie :P
See, how awesome we look in our crazy, windy selfie 😛

Anyway, coming to the actual review of the movie, we watched it at Cinepolis, which I like over others in the vicinity thanks to its nice seats and cheap tickets, making the whole cinematic experience cushy and comfortable. And we had decided long back, that this movie deserves to be seen ONLY IN 3D, and so we did, wearing our crazy glasses 😛

As you must have read everywhere, the plot is not much to speak of. A team of dancers, branded as cheaters on a dance reality show, approach Prabhudeva to become their guru for the world’s greatest hip hop competition at Las Vegas. This one sentence pretty much sums up the entire story of the movie 😛 In terms of acting, only Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor to some extent seem to be able to hold the fort. But then, who watches a ABCD movie for the acting, eh?

The dance sequences are beautifully interspersed throughout the movie, and this movie is a joy to watch for all hip-hop lovers. Varun Dhawan is a Shiamak prodigy, and it surprises no one to see him dancing so mind-bogglingly well. Shraddha Kapoor, on the other hand, though not as good as Varun or others, still does a good job. Somehow I felt that her moves lacked the strength that hip hop requires. Probably, she was too focused on getting the technique right. But dude, she looks super hot, even better than Varun Dhawan. The “Sunn Sathiya” sequence sees her in the full glory,  and for a second you are compelled, even as a girl, to move your eyes away from Varun’s six packs to Sharddha’s new, slender dancer body 😀

Punit Pathak, Dharmesh Sir, Raghav “Cockroach”, Saajan, Sushant , are all fabulous dancers, and they play a huge, huge role in lifting up the performances in the movie to another level. Lauren kind of has a special appearance, but without her, ABCD2 would be incomplete. However, honestly speaking, ABCD’s music and choreography were more catchy than ABCD2’s. ABCD also utilized the 3D advantage more, and gave us amazing sequences in “Ganpati Bappa Morya” and “Bezubaan”. In  ABCD2, my favorite sequence was “Bezubaan Phir Se”. “Chunar” and “Sunn Sathiya” are nice enough too.

Overall, if you love dancing as much as I do, please do yourself a favor and watch this movie. But don’t try to find sense in the story. Just leave your brains at home and take with you your dancing soul, and cheer for Varun and his team of underdogs, unabashed.

Meanwhile, I am going to listen to Bezubaan Phir Se, just one more time 😛

Rating:  3.5 / 5

A complete entertainer : Tanu Weds Manu Returns

We Indians love our family oriented, naach-gaana movies. They are larger than life; we laugh, cry and dance with them, and take back home with us a cinematic experience. One such very happy, fun-filled and absolutely rocking entertainer has been Tanu Weds Manu Returns!

Now let’s be honest, Bollywood doesn’t do sequels much. But here is a refreshing movie that is even better than its predecessor! To cut a long story short, the story takes up right where the prequel left -what really did happen after Tanu wed Manu? Turns out, not all matches have a happy ending. 4 years later, the bubbly Tanu and cute Manu have been replaced by a raging wife in Tanu and a disgruntled husband in Manu. They decide to separate, and Manu meets Datto – a better version of Tanu, with none of her madness. What happens next, forms the crux of the story.

The story is simple, and at times disbelieving too, but the characters and dialogues more than make up for it. Kangana is the “hero” of this movie, but every actor contributes to the beautiful execution of this lovely film. One character that stole my heart away was Deepak Dobriyal’s “Pappiji”, Manu’s loyal sidekick. His mannerisms, his “gyaan” for his friend, his craziness – without Pappiji, Tanu Weds Manu Returns wouldn’t be half as good as it is. Not to forget, my eternal crush Jimmy Shergill, who played Raja Awasthi, the suitor in line, for the second time, and even better than before!

Some tracks in the story did seem a little unnecessary to me – there didn’t seem to be any sense in continuing Jassi and Payal’s track. But those are minor hiccups in the overall package, where Kangana Ranaut rules the roost as Tanu and Datto – playing two totally different characters with equal aplomb. Kangana has always been a good actress, but in the past I have often felt that her diction is not clear enough. It is good to see that she has been working hard on it, with great results. It is also nice to see R.Madhavan in a Hindi movie after 3 Idiots, and kudos to him for shining in a role that was written to be overpowered by Kangana.

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At the end of the movie, you realize that both Tanu and Manu are more than a little cuckoo in the head and you root shamelessly for Datto – the simple Jatni that makes you smile. But as Kangana very rightly mentioned in one of her interviews, Tanu Weds Manu Returns is not just another sequel. It is a force to reckon with, for it asks you a very complicated question – should you ever find a version of your partner/spouse without their flaws, would you want them instead of your better half? Will you replace your nagging wife or lazy husband or over-bearing girlfriend or boring boyfriend for someone who looks like them but doesn’t have those traits that annoy the crap out of you?

The music of the movie is also fun – peppy numbers that will dominate wedding dance floors for years to come 😛

With two women-centric movies doing exceptionally well (Piku and Tanu Weds Manu Returns) over a glossy magnum opus(Bombay Velvet), it is indeed a good time to be watching Hindi movies!

Rating: 4/5

Featured Image Source : Eros

Other Image Source : BharatPress