Sunday, February 21, 2010

A stupid post

As Calvin would say, the quality of network programming is all violence and sleaze, and obviously we are hooked. How else would shows such as "Emotional Atyachaar", which sells infidelity, vicarious titillation and underhandedness and "Dare to date" which is the last word in wannabe behavior be allowed air time? Since I had not been a part of the “Rakhi ka Sawyamvar” movement, I made it a point to watch “Rahul Dulhaniya..”. To watch a couple of misguided females lie and cajole their way into the heart of a groom of questionable charms stops short of bizarre. Of course love is not blind; it can see and smell the money (ok maybe that’s a tad unkind!).

This was also the year the three Khans got out their magnum opus and fought for air, copyright and political time. While I liked 3 Idiots and MNIK (Yes I liked it, but I am an ardent SRK fan anyway), it is Veer which made an impression. After all it took Salman Khan 35 years to think up the story, so it deserves at least 35 mins of our time.

A narrative rich in history and patriotism and machismo and hence substantiating the torso revealing nature of Veer (the script demands it), Veer seeks to portray the lives of the war torn Pindaris .

Maybe his brain was overheated with 35 years of thinking, but Salman seems to have thought too far back into the past. The Pindaris seem very primitive in the evolutionary scale, their grunts and chants resembling the early man much more than any post Christ civilization.

Add to that a predilection for wrenching spleens, a general preoccupation with parts of the anatomy (wrist hacking and head butting), disturbing mom behavior (provocative dances with sons), the Pindaris seem to be a tribe in desperate need of a biology, anthropology and a societal norm lesson.

But their heart seems to be in the right place. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of their brains. For the Pindari father will kill his son and vice versa to be proved right and hence show that he is a man of his word (lessons in prioritization please!), the dashing Pindari guy will kill palace guards with impunity and steal royal treasure, but will endanger the rest of his clan in seeking to return “ek maa ki nishani”, the ambitious Pindari guy will impersonate a royal title to gain access to the palace, but his heart will then reassert itself and remind him of his true identity. He will then choose the most importune moment and emotionally blackmail people into addressing him by his correct title (gets beaten up till the heroine shrieks out ‘Veer”).

But he evolves fast. While he has been brought up delighting in simple pleasures such as dousing his dad with water and head butting him umm, he is equally at home in a royal cocktail party, playing the piano! He doesn’t know the alphabet but reads GB Shaw and figures out the divide and rule policy of the British based on his interaction with a racist professor.

But then Veer is no ordinary Pindari. He has been raised for a purpose. He is sent to school in England by his father who fondly believes that three years in England spent courting bovine heiresses will equip him with a firm understanding of the “way Britishers think” and hence enable the clan to defeat them at war! And what about the Maharajas they could never dethrone? Didn’t they already understand the way they thought?

The epic love story talks of the forbidden love of a princess who resembles the royal elephant for Veer. While she has every cause to hate him, she has for the alternative a gold fisted (he he) father who can kill her at slightest provocation. The film toys around with her dilemma for a while and then quickly retracts when faced with her complete inability to register any emotion. She is told to stop thinking, fall in love with Veer, dance with him and is then relegated to the background while the epic battle unfolds.

The Pindaris are bound together by a bond which is stronger than family, friendship of even acquaintanceship. It is a mutual love for violence. When Veer gets hit thousands of Pindaris from other provinces who would never have heard of him, attack the ramparts and get killed for his sake. And hence are sown the seeds of revolt , till the Pindaris get their rightful place in the scheme of things. Ok did I tell you that the son is born as his dad? Yes that is the disturbing  mom behaviour in action.