Shuddh Desi Romance: Review

Shudh Desi Romance is the primarily the story of three characters Raghu (Sushant Rajput), Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra) and Tara (Vaani Kapoor) set in Jaipur, and the love triangle between them. The focus for the majority part of the movie is more about the insecurities and fears of commitment the three face. Rishi Kapoor plays the character of Mr. Goyal who is caterer and manages baarats.

Plot Synopsis:

Raghu is a registered tour guide, but also makes money from commissions he gets from stores where he dupes foreigners to buy things at exaggerated prices. Apart from this, he is a baraati for hire. Gayatri is also a baraati for hire and works at a coaching class. The story starts with Raghu and is baarat on their way to Ajmer for his marriage with Taara. In his talk with Gayatri(whom he has hired for his baarat) he confesses that he agreed to get married to Taara because she was good looking, however he now has his apprehensions as he doesn’t know if the two are compatible or not. He learns that Gayatri is an independent woman who likes to live on her own terms, and has had been in a relationship before.

He goes on to confess that he is attracted to Gayatri. He can’t handle the pressure of marrying someone he doesn’t know and runs away, leaving Taara in the middle of the ceremonies. Gayatri runs into Raghu two weeks later, and Raghu still feels the attraction towards her. He moves in to her house and they try start a live in relationship. When the two of them decide to get married, it is not the turn of Raghu to be left at the altar as Gayatri runs away.

Raghu runs into Tara, when he is a baarati for hire. There is an interesting confrontation between Taara, her uncle and Raghu. Taara and Raghu meet in Jaipur, and start a relationship. Taara’s actions bring a better understanding in Raghu as to how it feels when someone leaves you without an explanation. Things turn for a toss when Raghu and Taara run in to Gayatri at another marriage.

The movie starts with a monologue by Raghu in which he breaks the fourth wall and talks to the audience. There will be one such monologue by each of the three characters at key junctures of the story. Raghu mulls over the fascination of the nation with arranged marriage. There are four key parts of this monologue:

  • Not only men but women also have desires, and they look for different things when they check out/look for a partner. While in itself it is not the revealing of a hitherto unknown fact, but the admission of it is deviation from many Bollywood movies.
  • Even if a guy and girl just talk, they become Vikram and the rest of the world becomes Vetaal to hound them.
  • He can’t understand why people tell him ‘Zyaada mat socho, bus settle ho jaao.’ (Don’t think too much, just settle down) as if ‘Shaadi na hui, glucose/ ICU ho gaya, har chees ka ilaaj’ (As if marriage is like glucose/ ICU which is a treatment for every ail)
  • The best part was: ‘saara hindustan settlement karane pe laga hai… saatth saal se do padosi se settlement kara nahi paae bade chaudhary bante hain’ (The whole nation is behind getting settled, they couldn’t settle two neighbors in 60 years but still think of themselves as something great)

Another interesting scene of mention is the confrontation between Raghu, Taara and Taara’s uncle at a marriage. While Raghu initially tries to avoid running into him, they come face to face. The uncle creates a ruckus and calls on some people to beat him up. When Taara intervenes to stop the scene, he tells her that she is her ‘responsibility’. What follows is pure brilliance.

Taara goes on to ask him when was it that her parents (who had died quite some time ago) handed over responsibility to him. She says that she alone is responsible for her life, and that doesn’t need help from an uncle who met her only once in the last four years which was also in a marriage. In fact they were doing this not because they felt for her, but they wanted revenge for themselves.

Taara is my favorite character in the movie. While Gayatri is an independent woman as well, Taara shows more presence of mind, an understanding for human emotions, and is the only character who accepts things for what they truly are, so that she can move on. When she is left standing when Raghu runs away, her reaction is to ask for a cold drink instead of breaking down (for which she gives a good reason later).

There are many nuances that are built in the story and dialogues that make it a gem. When Raghu and Taara are to get married and the baaratis ask her to show her face from beneath her ghunghat (veil) someone comments in the back that such a beautiful girl is being married off to Raghu because she is orphan and her relatives want to get rid of her. The opening song sequence shows many different couples in the city, how they are moving about, including wannabes who ogle at girls who pass by or the cops punishing couples found in parks by making them do sit ups. My personal favorites are the monologues by the characters, in which the double standards of our systems are traditions are questioned.

This is why I believe that the star of the movie is not an actor but writer Jaideep Sahni (who also wrote the script), who has written the scripts for ‘Chak De! India’ and ‘Khosla ka Ghosla’ before. Director Maneesh Sharma does a good job. The chemistry between between Sushant and Parineeti is better than that between Vaani and him.

Watch out for the opening song ‘Chanchal mann’

and ‘Gulabi’ which has Sushant and Vaani in different parts of the pink city.

 

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When the phone rings…

He was taking deep long breaths. Slowly as he gathered more strength, he crawled in her direction. He left a trail of blood in his wake, from having been shot in the gut. She was lying motionless a few feet away. Her body didn’t move except for the occasional heave her chest gave when she would take in a breath. She was hanging on like him, for a precious few moments before they would both give way to their injuries. It didn’t take him more than two minutes to crawl up to her, and place his hand over hers but it seemed like forever to her. He smiled, and with great effort opened his mouth to tell her that in the end it would be all right. He turned his face and opened his mouth to speak.

TTTTRIIING TTTTTRIING the phone rang.

What the bloody hell?

This is exactly what first comes to my mind when the phone of someone next to me rings in the cinema while I am all engrossed in the movie. I mean, it is only basic manners to keep your phone on silent or off while you’re in the cinema. Not only can some people not do that, they have to carry on extended loud conversations. I can understand if it is an emergency, or if you’re telling that ‘I am in a movie where I won’t be able to talk to you properly on account of the sound from the speakers ‘, but I cannot understand people telling their dinner plans on the phone. Take it outside and call them back. But let me listen to what is happening in the movie.

But loud chatty callers are not the only ones that get to me. It’s the people who come late, especially if they’re friends. I think there should be an entry time limit, if you’re later than this you can’t enter the cinema house. On the normal day, I can put up with the late comers as long as they don’t give too much of obstructions. But you will have some one or the other who cannot find his way, or will walk abnormally slow and keep coming in front of the screen. It is worse when it is a friend who is late. Because now I will have to wait for them outside with their ticket to get them in. This will primarily lead to two scenarios. In the first I wait for them and miss out on the starting scenes, or I go inside catch the starting and come out when they call me. Not only am I missing out on some scenes, but I end up disturbing other cinema patrons too.

I remember that I had taken a day off to catch the first show of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and had to cancel the plans as one of my team members had to apply leave for a family emergency. Since only one of us could go on leave, I cancelled mine on account of his reason being more crucial than mine. The next day I went in for the morning show to enjoy the movie in peace. I had already cancelled two calls, but someone from work kept calling. I went out to take the calls, and missed slightly more than five minutes of the movie in trying to explain something (after having the other person fail to understand that I was out to watch a movie). I couldn’t sit back, and left the cinema to catch a different show where I wouldn’t be disturbed. And this was only thirty minutes into the movie.

I have tried discussing this with some friends whenever I have made my first ever movie plans with them. A friend in particular says that movie watching is a leisurely activity, and it is ok for people to come late as they have bought the tickets. I agree that they have bought the tickets, just in the same way that I bought mine. That doesn’t mean that they should come in the way of the leisure of other audience due to having coming late and so on …

 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

A Hug award/tag

It’s been a long time since someone tagged me for a blog. Since this comes from a blogger whose posts I enjoy reading, I am having an early go at it. So this is also me saying a thank you to Vishal for his hug to me.

The questions are as follows:

 

1. What is the meaning of life?

In simple terms, I believe that the meaning of life is to exist and be happy with it.

2. Happiness is all about?

Happiness has always meant different things at different times. When I was very young, it meant having a bowl of Maggi (which stands true to this day as well). As I grew older it meant getting good marks in the school tests, and later it meant being able to play cricket without making an ass out of myself. At one time it meant being able to finish all of school work and get to snuggle with any of the Harry Potter books (which to this day makes my mum roll her eyes). Gradually it meant more things, like receiving a Google chat ping from a particular someone, making a presentation at work, and being at Barista with friends and chatting away. Right now happiness means to go through the day without having to shrug something off and cooking a new dish.

3. Why did you start a blog?

I felt the urge to write. I had once maintained a collection of the short stories and poems I had written in a book that I misplaced, so I took to online logs. I came to know of blogging where I could not only write, but read things other people wrote. Soon, it became a box of wonders and happiness.

4. What is more important in your life relationships or fame?

I will be honest here, I do enjoy fame. Ever since I was young, fame in the school or later in college and now work. I like to be famous, to be known for the things that I do or can do. However fame from people I do not know can bring only a temporary joy. Hence if you ask to me think over it, I will choose relationships. One may not have loads of fame, but if you have good relationships then it will be all worthwhile.

5. One thing which you like the most about blogging?

The people I come to know. Many of my friends, people on FB, are there because I came to know of them through blogging. Some of you are just awesome people, and should take a bow. Some of you are people whom I have not yet met in person, but I know about your life through what you share with me on the blogs and Facebook.

6. What’s the best decision you ever made?

Buying capris. India can get hot many times, and Capris are a welcome relief for me. I would wear them throughout the year had it not been for the chilly winds in mid-winter that travel up them and try to freeze my privates. Seriously speaking though, they are so comfortable.

7. Do you believe that unconditional love really exists in any kind of relationship?

No. Love cannot be unconditional. Sometimes we think that love is unconditional when the person being loved does all sorts of things that the lover may not like or would pain them, but the lover still continues to love them. That is not unconditional love that just means that the object/person of their love still means a lot to them. They would gladly go through that pain because they still value their love (or are flipping idiots to stay in an abusive relationship)

8. What would be your first reaction if your physician recommends you to see a psychologist?

Hain?! Yup, that is what I would say. Of course it would be interest me to all sorts of levels to understand why my physician thinks that I must visit a psychologist, and more so of inputs the psychologist would give me. I would want to get a second opinion of a different psychologist and see what they say as well.

9. Do you believe in Karma, if yes then what are bad and good karma according to you?

Yes. Karma is nothing but what you do and allow to happen. People around us see what we do and allow to happen, and take that as to what we are ok with. They in turn do the same to us. Sometimes karma can come from intentions as well as from results of our actions. I may intend for something bad to happen for a person, but my acts can lead to something good happening for them (or the other way around).

10. Do you believe in rebirth or afterlife if yes then why?

I have stopped trying to actively think about it. I am in no way qualified or of expertise to comment on this, since I don’t know anyone who has come been reborn or is in afterlife. What if afterlife doesn’t have a way for us to communicate with them? What if afterlife is the things we imagine as fiction? What if once we die, we just die and cease to exist while only a select few of us get an afterlife? What if there is not afterlife? So this is only a ‘what if?’ and loads of questions to think about for me.

11. What is the best moment of your life?

It is difficult to zero in on one particular moment, as there have been many such moments for me (and are for everyone). However if I think about it, then the one best moment of my life is when I began to think for myself. I don’t know when that moment came for me and when it is for you, but there is a moment from which you can think for yourself. You can think that what is right and wrong, what can or does make you feel happy or sad. The moment when you know can want a particular thing, when you can express desire. When you can be the ‘I’ in ‘I am’, it is that moment that I speak of.

As per the tag, I nominate this tag/hug to few people. I may miss some of you guys, but these are the people that come to my mind for this right now:

Shail Di

Ushu

Hitchy/Supremo

Ms. Dey

Rinzu

Pixie

Cracking Saks (who is as of now on an indefinite blog composing hibernation)

Ritu

IHM

R’s Mom

If you’re reading this and want to do this (tagged or not), please let me know of the link so that I can connect it to this post.

We respect husbands more than wives

The term ‘you’ is a universal term in the English language in the sense that you can use it independently of the person’s sex, age, position, etc. You may be calling out a boy or a girl, your boss or your subordinate; it is still ‘you’. This however, is not the case when it comes to Hindi. In Hindi there are two different terms, namely ‘Tu’ and ‘Aap’. ‘Tu’ is used when addressing some one of the same age/position as yourself or lower while ‘Aap’ is used for someone who is older and/or commands respect.

Long time ago I was watching a movie with mom when the lead character while talking to his mother, addressed her as ‘Tu’. I began to take notice of this and observed that in many cases the father would be addressed as ‘Aap’ while the mother was addressed as ‘Tu’. This had me totally miffed, and I asked mom why it was acceptable to address the father with more respect than the mother as both are equally parents to a child and cheekily asked if I should be calling her ‘Tu’ now. She thought over it a bit and said that because kids bond over more with their mom while they are bring brought up instead of dad, they think of mom as a friend and confidante and hence address her as ‘Tu’.

 

I raised a brow in apprehension and asked her what about the families where kids bond with their dads too, and consider him as friends. To that we don’t have an answer. In fact kids don’t bond with dad so much (because the dad is away due to work or other reasons such as resting after  being back from Over time , social activities, etc.) he is more of a distant character. As one never gets to have as free a hand with him as mom, and must behave in his presence to not disturb him, he commands more respect and gets addressed as ‘Aap’. Which is also why you will have many people who refer to their moms as Ma, mom, etc, but refer to their dad as Pitaji, Babuji, and so on with the ji being added to convey respect.

 

This however is not just the matter of kids addressing their parents but a matter of the dynamics of a man and woman in a relationship. I have seen couples call each other ‘Tu’ before marriage and have the girl shift to calling the guy ‘Aap’ post marriage. Many a times he doesn’t have to ask to be called so, but the wife calls him so by default. In the event that she calls him ‘Tu’ as an equal (because horror of horrors, a wife and husband are to be equal in their relationship), someone from the family or friends will take her aside and go “HAAAWWW!! You should call your husband Aap, show some respect.”

 

You get many people who tell the wife to show the husband respect. Show some respect, yes, but why should she not be respected as well? 

 

For those of you who are wondering, I still call address mom with an ‘Aap’

Indecent

He was standing near the hospital entrance waiting for the rains to stop. The sudden rains had brought things to a jam in the city. Since he hadn’t brought an umbrella he couldn’t walk and the traffic was too slow moving to take a cab. He reached into his pocket for a cigarette and the lighter. Out of habit he ran his fingers along the length of the stick before inhaling it in before flicking the lighter open and lighting it up. He hadn’t been smoking for a while, but today he had remembered to pick up the pack and lighter from the drawer in the office up in the hospital. He was feeling tensed, scared for himself and for her. He half had a mind to call her up to check up on her, but he had already done that a couple of minutes back.
The ambulance came in to a screeching stop near the entrance, and the orderlies rushed towards it as two patients were brought out of it. It was a young man and a woman both seemed to be in their early twenties. Both seemed to have been beaten up pretty bad. The boy had bruises and assault marks all over him and seemed to be bleeding from his mouth. His shirt had been ripped apart half way through and he winced every time someone touched him to support him while he was being moved on a stretcher. The girl seemed to have had it worse. She was beaten up as well, but had bite and scratch marks all over her naked body. It wasn’t that she wasn’t covered up, there was a sheet covering her body but her clothes were missing, and the sheet slipped when she was lifted to be put on the stretcher. One of the female nurses stepped back when she was being wheeled through along with him to the emergency room. He threw the half smoked cigarette and put on his apron as he ran through with the stretchers, ordering the orderlies to prep the room and the supplies he would need.
He and the team tried to work the best they could through the two hours that followed, but the girl did not make it through. Apart from the marks visible on her body, she had suffered two broken ribs, severe trauma on the head and her vagina. She had been raped. Gang raped, brutally. She had tried to put up a fight like anyone would do defend themselves, but was over powered by the men who had gone down on her. Turn by turn. The boy it seems had tried to intervene to help her but was beaten up brutally by the same men. He would however go on to live. He was standing still standing there in room slightly taken aback at the condition of the two. He was pulling of the gloves off his hand to wash them when a man came running in. “Please doctor, please save Riya. She is the only daughter I have.  She has been through enough for a life time. Please doctor, please save her!” He didn’t know what to say. Almost robotically he started “I am sorry sir, but we did all that we could. I am afraid the injuries she has had are far too severe.  She has had too much blood loss and I am afraid there is nothing we can do to save her.”
The father kept on speaking as he tugged at his scrubs. He didn’t hear a word of what was being told, but could only see the expressions on his face as it contorted with pain, anger and helplessness. An orderly came in and lead the weeping father out. He walked out after them. A group had gathered outside the room, probably friends and family of the two. He kept hearing while he stood there. It seemed that the boy and girl were engaged, and had gone to a bar in the city to celebrate. They had run in to a rowdy group of men when they were leaving the bar. The same group proceeded to beat them before proceeding to rape the girl. He couldn’t stand there anymore as more people tried to ask him if anything could be done for the girl. He changed into his clothes and took a cab to home. It was early morning now, and she was still sleeping when he came in. He did not wake her up but just lay next to her and kept staring at her till he dozed off to sleep. When he woke up in the evening she was predictably not there. She would have gone to her shift in the hospital but he still called her up to check up on her. He felt a sense of relief when she answered. She had come to know of the case too, and asked him to come and check up on the boy was sleeping now.
He took an hour to get ready, had a long hot bath to come to his senses before he left for the hospital. The police were there in the boy’s room with both the families when he entered.
“Yes officer, I had kissed her before the three of them started calling names at us.”
“What time was it? Were you drinking?”
“It was slightly past eleven, I remember paying the bill around eleven. We had been drinking, yes, but only a beer or two while the match was on.”
“Any other description of the three people who raped her?” He winced when he heard that word. “No, all that I remember of them I have already told the officer who came in just before you.”
“Very well, the bar has a CCTV camera near its entrance where you were attacked; we will try to pull up some useful footage from it. I am deeply sorry for your loss. I understand that you were recently engaged, and you have my word that we will try all we can to catch the men responsible for this. Doctor, will you please come with us, we need to just go through your statements as well.”
He left with the cops to give his statements in a different room. The officer had the presence of mind to not take his statements in front of the families thinking that they would it hurt them even more. He went down to her section to meet her once. He waited for her to come out of a patient’s room. The two of them did not talk much, but just sat together for a while before she went off on her rounds again, and he to the boy’s room.
“Why were you drinking and kissing her on the street? Have you no sense of shame, how to behave decently?”
“Decency, you ask me to behave decently father? So it was indecent in kissing her as we walked out of the bar? Just a small innocent kiss. Yes, that was indecent of me. Do you know what they did to her?”
“Of course I do.”
“You weren’t there when it happened. The three of them were drunk silly. They called us names, and when we walked away, they ran after us. We called for help but there was no one nearby.
They beat me first while one of them held her. She tried to fight as well, but the guy holding her, he pulled her hair and kept slapping her. When they were done with me they went on to rape her. She fought, but they bit her, punched her and one after other raped her.
I had only kissed her, but they stripped her naked and beat her before raping her on a street. Where is the decency in that? Where is the decency in that?”
Everyone went silent. He asked them to leave the room so that the nurse could change his dressings. The nurse was not due for another hour, but he felt that the boy could do with this little comfort.
“You know doctor, I loved her and she loved me back. We were so happy to have been engaged. Even our parents approved of it. I still remember the kiss she gave me that night. Her lips were so soft and moist. I still remember it like an old memory that you keep thinking of, because she always kissed me like that. I don’t think I have the will to live much longer. But I must tell you this because I am told you tried to save her. You did more for her than the rest of the world could. That night we had planned to save up to buy a house for ourselves to movie in to when we would get married.
I still cannot understand why they did this to us. Why do they hate us so much? Ours was an act of love, why did they do this to her…to anyone…”
“Hush now, you need to be quiet and rest. The nurse will be on her way soon. I will give you a dose of sedative to put you to sleep. You need more rest to recover.” He gave him a shot before calling the nurse in.
He was standing near the hospital entrance waiting for the rains to stop. The sudden rains had brought things to a jam in the city. Since he hadn’t brought an umbrella he couldn’t walk and the traffic was too slow moving to take a cab. He reached into his pocket for a cigarette and the lighter. Out of habit he ran his fingers along the length of the stick before inhaling it in before flicking the lighter open and lighting it up. He hadn’t been smoking for a while, but today he had remembered to pick up the pack and lighter from the drawer in the office up in the hospital. He was feeling tensed, scared for himself and for her. He half had a mind to call her up to check up on her, but he had already done that a couple of minutes back.
The boy had taken a blade and slit his wrists in the bathroom. He was dead minutes before his family had noticed that he was taking too long in the bathroom. Today was his funeral. It seemed odd that it should rain today in the winters. He finished smoking his cigarette before he threw the stub on the ground and crushed it with his heel. He pulled up the collars of his jacket before walking off. He was going to attend the funeral.

Utopia

Utopia, The word brings a flood of thoughts and imagery to me. For me Utopia is a place and time where everything is seemingly perfect. Where all senses are passions, when being yourself is a joy. I can imagine many such futures.

The wind is blowing against my face and is caressing my hair as I stand on the top of ledge on a beach. I can still smell the sweet fragrance from the bed of flowers behind me, while my eyes feast on the beautiful array of colours that lies there. Rows of plants, flowers and fruits decorate the patch of land. Bees dance around the flowers intoxicated by the essence of the nectar, and tiny furry squirrels run up and down the trees squeaking merrily. The birds fly to their perch and sing songs; their music so touching and lifting that even has the flowers shaking their petalled appendages in rhythm.

I can feel the wind’s gusts as I spread my hands and take a step ahead off the ledge. It’s a big fall and I land on the sands of the beach. I see a figure sitting there running her hands in the foam of the oncoming waves. She turns and smiles at me and waves me over. I walk towards to my love. She’s beautiful. Her long brown locks come down in curls near shoulders and go all the way to her waist. The sparkle in her deep green eyes is followed by mysterious blinking of her eyes. As we get nearer she gives me a mischievous smile and splashes water on my face. The cool water hits me and as if it were a carrier of her contagious mischief I start splashing water on her too. She gets up and rolls in to my arms. Her essence is invigorating and I slide my arms around her waist pulling her towards me. We stare in each others’ eyes and something takes us over and we kiss, her moist, soft lips providing comfort to me. She smiles and we sit down and let the waves drench our bodies, enjoying every wave together as it comes.

Utopia is a world I believe that cannot exist, or rather we as humans do not deserve. We are way too diverse, too different to achieve it. Everyone has their different views and if those are different than the ones we have we tend to despise them. All of a sudden what matters more is the colour of the skin, the god we pray to, the place where we were born, or with whom we want to go for a hump ride and not the fact that we are all god damned humans. Instead of being amazed by the diversity of abilities we can exhibit we tend to turn against each other for those differences. I can imagine a one man, one rule, and one empire scenario. A situation where one individual or a set of individuals control the world. But then won’t it be forced on those who choose to differ and again that would be no different than tyranny or dictatorship. How about a no rule scenario? Total freedom would lead to total anarchy. With freedom comes order, something we as a species tend to lack. And we have a problem with authority. Whenever someone rises, good or bad, wrong or right people get ready to make them fall. We have turned the very blessings of knowledge and choice in to curse. We have knowledge, and we continue to significantly add to it, but not to excel. We make choices and more recently we tend to make the wrong ones, well at least the ones that make the most damages.

I know I sound hypocritical for the very least, may be even a bit of a misanthrope. Better embrace the reality than deny it. It’s a dream that is used as hope that someday we will survive ourselves, our choices, and our very root nature.

So yeah, I was supposed to write my little bit about Utopia here. I did start off with the little utopian dream of mine but then it got me thinking, and I got another dream, a coin flip should you say. Utopia is a vision, a dream of a perfect or near perfect reality. If we are to make Utopia a reality if not for ourselves then at least for our children and theirs we have a long way to go. I’ve always believed in miracles. It’s only a miracle that today I am writing this, and you are reading this. Let’s hope for a big one.