#bollywood #taapseepannu #anubhavsinha #entertainment #movies #review
( Disclaimer: This is not a comparison in whatever form of the two movies,please)
Once again, the film going and loving junta in India ,are talking about a ‘thappad’ ( slap on the face). The last time it happened was with the release of ‘Dabbang’ in 2010. A gloriously gorgeous( and typically Indian male fantasy)Sonakshi Sinha, sulkily cooed “Thappad se darr nahi lagta sahab, pyar se lagta hai” to an equally gorgeous hunk-y Salman Khan, oozing testosterone and machismo.
The audience went wild! So did I! Nothing to beat a kitschy, irreverent, entertaining Bollywood movie to trigger an endorphin rush.Plus, it also eased the pain of shelling out an alarming Rs 1250/- for the Pepsi popcorn duo; and yes, somewhere it calmed down the irrational anger at the Man Friday who had got ‘Zandu’ balm that morning instead of my regular ‘Amrutanjan’.
Nine years later, a sweet, pretty girl-next-door Tapsee Panu, divorces her rather likeable , successful , meterosexual husband for a single slap at a party in their home. This time the audience is silent! So am I! The emotions this ‘thappad’ evokes are many: of varying shades of feminism, of a sense of individualism, of consent and obligation, of choices and consequences, of courage and conviction, of what is and what ought to be,of multi-layered relationships, of violence and tenderness.
These are not easy or convenient emotions and certainly not those which can be measured in rigid , contrasting shades of black and white.They are clothed in that ephemeral shade of grey. While watching the movie, my indecisiveness was such that it would have put Hamlet to shame!And therein lies the greatness of this movie: that it does not force you to choose and walk up one, single straitjacket path; rather, it allows you to choose to walk on many paths.Most importantly, it does not moralize.Most crucially, it makes you think, introspect and reflect.
The path that I chose to walk on was that of individualism.
Here’s a definition from Wikipedia which tells you about my belief and choice:Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the moral worth of the individual.[Individualists promote the exercise of one’s goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance and advocate that interests of the individual should achieve precedence over the state or a social group, while opposing external interference upon one’s own interests by society or institutions such as the government.Individualism makes the individual its focus and so starts “with the fundamental premise that the human individual is of primary importance in the struggle for liberation.”
In the movie, Amrita, brings this individualism out very surely and strongly. That, she can be many things to society in its entirety, but the most important is her ‘being’.One is reminded of the advice of the terribly boring , terrifyingly succinct Polonius to his son Laertes: “This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.” ( Act 1, Scene 3, Hamlet).
A few words about the movie, now. Spectacular performances by each and every actor, whether they were essaying major or minor roles.A nuanced and very, very intelligent direction. Other cinematic fortes– a tight, seamless editing; the musical score; the locales and backgrounds;the costumes and make-up–all admirably and ably support and enhance this very important film.
My personal favorite actors in the movie have been: Taapsee Pannu( Amrita):take a bow, comrade!
Kumud Mishra (Amrita’s father): because I am forever Daddy’s girl!
Pavail Gulati(Amrita’s husband): because I didn’t hate you.
My friends and family threaten to keep a safe distance from me while watching movies especially in movie theatres.For I embarrass them–you see, I cry most horrifyingly.When Shah Rukh Khan died in ‘ Kal Ho Na Ho’,I morphed into a pathetic dragon and tears flowed out of my eyes and nose! When a choked Amrita explains herself/her actions/her choice to her mother-in-law at the end of the movie ( what a performance by both ), I didn’t cry though—I just let those unshed tears go to that deep well that Hafiz of Shiraz refers to:
“There are different wells within us.
Some fill with each good rain,
Others are far, far too deep
Alright, folks. Lets now see the two ‘thappads’ in context.
I don’t fear the slap nor do I fear the love.
What I fear is when I stop being me.