Month: September 2016

Pink is the new black

I am half asleep while I am typing this so excuse the typos, improper usage of grammar, and something else that I cannot remember…

Shoojit Sircar seems to be a synonym for unconventional. Sperm donation, Sri Lankan civil war, Bowel moments, and now society’s portrayal of women. He doesn’t represent the Bollywood we know, he is defining what Bollywood could be.

The casting director deserves our applause. Be it the three girls, old judge, typical dad, Delhi brats and the redemption seeking lawyer. All of them have done the fraternity of actors proud.

Writing is the reason why the movie works. The story is fairly simple but the treatment to it isn’t. The vulnerability of the characters is what you will relate to. Incidents like the one showed in the movie have become much too common for us- the India that lives in the media bubble.

This is not a movie on women empowerment. The Bollywood’s idea of women empowerment is two fold. I am digressing here but there is a need to.

First, display the courage women possess to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. The modern Sati. Remember Anushkha in Sultan giving up the dream of olympic gold for a baby? or Sonakshi in Akira agreeing to the mental disability charges to save the city from riots.

Second, make the heroine muscular enough to defend herself and the entire womankind by hitting the goons. Ex: Rani Mukerji in Mardaani.

Pink doesn’t fall in any of the above categories, it just happens to show a mirror to the society.

The movie asks a few pertinent questions:

  1. Why does the clock need to decide the character of women? – If women come back to their home late at night there is something definitely fishy?
  2. How can men and women hangout in the same flat? The pro-active hormones will activate the sexual desires and the unthinkable will happen.
  3. Women from ‘reputed’ families do not drink or hangout with boys.

and there are few more which question and challenge the feudal mindset some of us still have. These are not new questions. They have been asked before but not like this, with a purpose in mind.

Gist of the story: There are three girls who meet few mutual friends at a rock concert and agree to go to dinner with them. Post dinner they all have a few drinks and then their sophisticated lifestyle goes for a toss and in comes the desi mard. Things go out of control and one girl hits the boy with a bottle. The boys can’t fathom how could a girl hit them and runaway, questioning their manhood. Girls are scared as the society expects them to be. And, the society does what it does best, stands still and enjoys the drama unfold. One good Samaritan tries to help and when things go out of control, he steps in and in the ensuing struggle saves the day.

The good samaritan is Amitabh Bachchan. If you felt Big B gets too much attention, this movie might give you the reason why. I loved his portrayal of an aging lawyer battling his wife’s illness and saving the girls next door. In one scene, he looks at Meenal ( the protagonist) after asking a personal question with such ferocity that you cannot help but marvel at his brilliance.

I loved the ending scene where they convey the message men and women are equal, with a simple gesture.

The movie is being praised by everyone except KRK and that’s the precise reason why you should watch it. A lot of thought has been put in making the movie and that is rare in Bollywood.

The gatekeepers to your health

photo-1465961482777-c1070dfd906b

Photo by Alvin Engler

The hospital that I grew with for 20 years, stood tall amidst the numerous changes in the neighborhood. It never invited me, not even for a cup of tea, until recently. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t sure where the entrance was! After few minutes of hassle and the not-so-easy basement parking, I saw the inside of the building.

Disguised as a private hospital it looked like an ‘efficiently’ run government institution. It had that trademark smell that makes you go ‘eeeew’, yes the extra e’s for the emphasis.

We paid the exorbitant consultation fees for a 5 minute one-o-one with the doctor. We then waited for our turn, and the sequence was decided by the gatekeeper who was dressed in her dark blue uniform.

People waiting for their chances did not know what to do, because they were not used to the idle time. They couldn’t curb their anxiousness of knowing what had happened to their dear ones. They needed clarity and the person standing between them and clarity was the gatekeeper!

The popular belief says that the sequence is decided based on the universal law of “first-come first-served”. There are many factors that come into play and it is here the gatekeeper steps-up and does the unthinkable, delivers on the promise of the fair world.

Though she earns only 1/12th ( a guesstimate) of what the doctor earns in one month, she has more power than the doctor himself in deciding who gets checked and more importantly before whom. Note, I realized the gatekeepers are usually women and the doctors are men hence the stereotyping. I would love to be proved wrong.

I tried not to jump the line but have seen my folks do it using innovative reasons ranging from medical emergency to catching the last bus to village!  Usually, the gatekeepers are tough to convince and with experience they can differentiate genuine from frivolous.

If you are not creative enough, you can use the age old technique of persistence, just stand there with the reports in your hand and make a puppy face. It works always. Tried and tested!

There were many who tried to convince her to let them in but she wouldn’t budge. She stood her ground and with authority said no. Yet, when people persisted continuously, she had to give in, only a little though. She in a raised voice said, I would allow you but only when I tell you to, and you don’t utter a word before that. This calmed the storm.

She listened attentively to the group of women whispering about the family troubles, a man worried for his wife, and a young boy  continuously playing on his smart phone. She in a day witnesses all kinds of people trying to convince her and yet she smiles when you go to her with your astuteness.

When you meet a gatekeeper next time and try to beat her with your smartness, know that she might have heard the reason before and still lets you in.