Putting rights issues through the looking glass. Not seeking answers, just some food for thought to see whether things could be any different!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Papa, Kaash aap jaisa Baabul sabko "naa" mile: An honest review of Baabul-the film

A very boring day at office....After having walked around in the sun for sometime, a good lunch break demands some senseless writing! A good way to chill on a jobless, Thursday afternoon! So, here comes my review of the film Baabul, that I watched nearly a month ago with my friend, Praachi. Praachi was supposed to have written this review, a long time ago but unfortunately, time waits for none, not even lazy, promise breaking friends.
Why did I go to watch this movie, one might ask? It was at the recently married Praachi's insistence, who is getting in touch with her Indian roots, these days! Most importantly, it gave us both an opportunity to catch up and pass endless comments on a really bad movie. It is my firm belief that both of us are in the best form at the worst of movies. We truly make life for fellow movie goers hell, during these movies. After all, how do you recover your money's worth if you cannot pass sour comments at a movie like this, which is a complete assault on one's senses? As one hapless lady commented after our onslaught during KANK, "Stop judging the movie", as if it were a real person or something.

Anyhow, I was late for the movie and Praachi was sending me these threatening SMSes. Finally, when we entered the beginning credits were done rolling and the first scene began when we were taking our seats. Before even plonking herself on the seat, Praachi gave out a loud sigh and soon enough, I realised that the movie demanded many more such uffs, ughs, sheesh, chhees etc etc. The first sigh was an acknowledgment of the soon to be dead Salman Khan's outrageous fashion sense. I donot remember exactly but I think he was wearing a weird combo of brown and magenta.
The first thing to be noticed about the movie is SalmanKhan's truly global accent. It truly transcends national boundaries as it is American at one point, Brit at another and Carribean, when he is drunk! (Oh sorry..he does not touch alcohol in the movie as he is truly Bharatiya, in touch with his sabhyata! He is drunk on Rani Mukerjee!) and almost never Indian! He speaks Hindi with such a twang that sometimes, it became difficult to decipher what he was trying to say. Anyway, his diction is not something he should be proud of. And yes, to justify his accent, he obviously has been studying abroad or working there and has not seen his parents in over seven years! In Hindi movies, the number seven is very significant for some reason. Everything happens over a period of seven years, not six or eight, but seven! One wants to ask the director, that if he belongs to such a rich family, then what explains his homecoming after seven years! Was he on exile or was he failing every goddamn paper that he appeared for? With Salman Khan, both these options seem likely!
Anyway, he bumps into Rani Mukherjee for the first time at the airport and falls in love! The next meeting of the two is at a golf course where Amitabh Bachchan, also known as "Buddy" in the movie by Salman's character(As if you can't call your father, dad, papa, pitaji and yet be his friend!), shoots his golf ball right into Rani's painting. Rani, being an upcoming, dedicated painter, is obviously fuming at this act of indiscretion by a rich, old man. Salman pretends to be her well wisher and tells her that Bachchan is his inconsiderate employer. Next day, he is stalking Rani Mukherjee, who being from a simple, middle class family, travels in a bus, in designer clothes. To look poor, he borrows Rajpal Yadav's clothes. This was a sure goof up! How Rajpal Yadav's fitting clothes fit the overtly pumped up Salman Khan, is a question that the makers should have looked into! Another thing..Will directors stop wasting the amazingly talented Rajpal Yadav by giving him these useless, crony type roles? And why the hell does he agree to do these roles, when the extremely untalented Salman Khan is taking centrestage? While stalking Rani Mukherjee in a bus, he travels to the bus stand in his Merc and asks his friend cum chauffer (usually, in Hindi movies, rich heroes and their benevolent fathers treat their serfs with a lot of respect and dignity) to wait around at the same spot with the car, till he is done stalking the girl!
Anyway, it takes two to three so called chance meetings for Rani to fall in love with Salman Khan. The thing that Salman uses to win Rani over, is his love for chai. Rani is shown to be this intellectual, morally upright thing in the beginning of the movie, who paints for a living, wears glasses and boho chic clothes, designed by Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Salman is a wanton, foreign returned rich kid, who is helping dad with his business. I am a huge fan of Sabyasachi's clothes and one of my many recurring dreams is to own a Sabyasachi ensemble! (All persons reading this post, please contribute as much as you can, to fulfill this little girl's dream of owning a designer ensemble!) To see some very nice clothes designed for tall, lithe model types being wasted on the short, stocky Rani Mukherjee killed me. I know Sabyasachi wants to foray into Bollywood but he should at least make Rani wear clothes that suit her and the Boho chic, retro look is so not her. In my expert fashion critic opinion, those clothes that Rani wore in the first half were not meant for someone her height, physical frame and attitude.
Soon, Salman, the rich kid was buying off Rani's paintings and he is so intelligent, that he instructs Rani, through her art dealer to deliver the paintings at their office. Thus, his deception comes to an unexpected end, when Rani finds out that he is AB's son and storms out of the office in despair. AB follows her and explains what a gem his son is and that she deserves no better than the goofy Salman. Then follows, one of the best marriage proposal scenes in Hindi film history, when Salman Khan chooses a location, which, from the look of it, could either be an old, abandoned churchyard or a graveyard, to propose, because restaurants and parks are passe'. Apparently, this was the same place where AB proposed marriage to Salman's mom, Hema Malini. Anyway, so, Salman goes down on his knees and mouths these exact words in his earlier explained global accent " Dude, I wanna grow old with you!" and then follows it up with "Say, yes", enough number of times, before she finally bursts out crying and obviously, says yes. Whether it was a yes to stop further nagging or did she actually want to marry him, calls for national debate. Hema Malini should do something about her Hindi. For starters, she is a terrible actress and then, she speaks Hindi with a Tamil accent, even after doing Hindi films for half her life. What took the cake, was when she decided to speak Punjabi with her Tamil accent in one scene. It was hilarious! Dharmendra should be ashamed of himself, if he could not improve Hema's Punjabi, being the original Punjab da puttar!
I forgot to mention, Rani's best friend in the movie is a very soft spoken, well dressed, well behaved John Abraham, who obviously is in love with her, but withdraws, as soon as he finds out about Salman. Given the tenets of Indian culture, this is where John's character fails as a friend. It was his duty to save Rani from the clutches of the non- intellectual, balding, badly dressed Salman Khan but no, he chooses to flee to Europe instead, to make a singing career in the Hindi language there. That was, my friends, the irony of the situation. Anyway, they get married, in John's presence, who was looking so cute while looking so sad, having lost in love and all that, that my heart melted at the sight and may I say, if I were alone, I would have cried with him, in his misery.
Right after marriage, Rani changes gear and becomes a true blue Punju bride wearing bright, embroidered sarees, wearing choora and junky gold jewellery. The only relief was that the clothes looked good and tasteful, as they were still designed by Sabyasachi. The bottomline is that, all Boho chic style went flying out of the window and she was busy supervising household chores and taking care of her matrimonial home. They also have a specky child. I believe this was done to show resemblance of the child to Rani. In the meanwhile, Salman got busier with his work and had little time for his family, the hair on his head grew sparse and his fashion sense, had, by this time, gone to the dogs! I knew that the time had come for his character to die. Any extremes in Hindi movies, signify a twist and turn of events. Yes, he dies in an accident and his wife's sanity spirals out of control. She is fast losing her mind, keeping a karva chauth vrath (what's the problem in that? people do so many things in the memory of their loved ones) and dancing with her husband's oversized sweater (This, I believe was one of the scenes when the makers wanted to show that while being culturally rooted, they are willing to accept cute, adorable housewives who are imperfect in many ways, yet are acceptable to het husband and family, so what if she makes burnt rotis and knits badly measured sweaters!) AB and Hema Malini cannot bear the sight of Rani, who is their beti and not bahu, going downhill mentally and AB decides to take control of her life, almost immediately, without even giving her theopportunity to deal with the grief of having lost her husband. Like a true fascist and male chauvinist, he decides that Rani should remarry to get back her sanity. He finds out that John Abraham has now become a famous singer of Hindi songs in a small village called Europe.
One fine evening, where John is performing at a night club, he drops in and feeds him what could be only be termed as an unwelcome, intrusive and highly selfish moral lecture! Anyway, John, without any consideration for his best friend, falls for the AB trick and agrees to head back to India and woo Rani. He buys a huge bungalow and decides to establish his career as a singer of Hindi songs in India, after having taken Europe by storm with his music. John also tries to bond with specky child and they do and as Praachi aptly commented, "ab yeh bachcha gandey dress sense se bach jayega". Till that point, John was dressed in very decent jackets and well tailored clothes, although he did wear Jeetendra type white shoes, in some scenes but when you are that cute, such small fashion faux paxs are forgivable. Unfortunately, instead of passing on his decent fashion sense in the film to specky child, he started dressing like Salman Khan, to my horror. He was wearing bright pink muscle Ts, gold embroidered jackets and sparkly pants. Sheesh!
Anyway, soon enough, Rani discovers the treachery of AB to get rid of her and confronts him with great gusto. This, I was hoping, would be a high point in the movie and was hoping that AB's actual intentions of transferring Rani's plus specky child's responsibility to John, as his son was no longer alive, would be revealed and Rani would show him down in jagruth nari style. But no...the woman gave in to his false concern for her and crocodile tears, instead and bought some time to consider marrying John. Cut to the next scene, wedding cards are being printed and out comes Hema Malini, in true saas mode, being unable to accept his bahu as another man's wife. All talk about beti over bahu, goes down the drain.
Then, there was Om Puri, AB's big bro in the movie, who along with his son, thought that Rani was a) committing a crime against Punjabi society by remarrying and B) most importantly, taking away family property, with her! Btw, Om Puri was also against Sarika's (a widow in the family) attendance in Salman- Rani's wedding, as she was a kaala saaya. AB, as the true saviour, ensured that Sarika attended the wedding and later, Om Puri blamed Sarika for Salman's death etc. Through all this, Sarika maintains undignified silence. Om Puri reappears to obstruct Rani- John's wedding with the whole family, along with Sarika. Hello, what happened there?? This time Sarika opens her mouth, spitting venom against evil society and Om Puri, of course and her monologue, at this point, sounds nothing more than a badly written 6th standard essay on Widow remarriage, further substantiated by AB in the end.
I died a million deaths watching this one scene. The self laudatory, pretentious approach filled me with disgust. No one asks Rani Mukerjee, whether she wants to even marry John Abraham or whether she be given more time to think things through. Just because Mr. Bachchan decides to do a good deed, before he dies; what better way than to scapegoat your son's widow by forcing her to marry her best male friend? And yes, Rani Mukerjee's character is no epitome of women's liberation either, who lacks complete capacity to think and decide on her own! Yes, she objects, but only to give in, after a few teardrops escape from dear Baabul's eyes. What kind of person are you, if such a major decision of your life, involves a crying father-in-law a.ka. Baabul and complete disrespect for free, individual will!
And when she says in the end, "Papa, kaash aap jaisa baabul sabko mile", I felt so angry, that words fail me! And lastly, the word " Baabul" was used in a manner in the movie, as if to suggest that every girl in India is habitually using this term to refer to their fathers, over time. Do me a favour, don't watch this movie and if you do, make sure you make fun of every scene and word, that makes a mockery of the intelligence of the Indian audience.


  • At 8:55 PM, Blogger Jhansi Ki Rani said…

    my dear friend ippu, i see you have caught the finer nuances of the movie....

  • At 12:46 AM, Blogger ipshita said…

    Dear Jhansi Ki Rani,

    I would have expected a more incisive comment. Anyhow. Your modesty, as far as naming your blog is concerned is kiiling me!


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