When the promos of the movie Raanjhanaa came out, people were heard shouting, ‘Oh Raanjhaana has Dhanush in it.. he will break the stereotype of the typical bollywood hero. This will change the way Bollywood had portrayed masculinity till now. Perception that the mainstream bollywood actors have to have a ‘hot body’ with ‘good looks’ would now be de-convoluted’. The above image exactly depicts things that have been doing rounds for long in the media. The moment I heard the afore-mentioned I knew something was wrong. Precisely why I decided to watch the movie!
Honestly, it was exaggeration at its best. The film was a good watch that made no lasting impression just as most of the other bollywood movies. Nothing that was promised was delivered.
If I were to de-construct the movie and the claims made this is exactly how I felt:
1. Dhanush will break the stereotype
It irked me a lot when I read the reviews by film critics that praised Dhanush for his commendable performance and his courage. This takes me back to the time when Gangs of Wasseypur had released. The film had no one from the commercial cinema who is thought to have ‘killer looks’ as per the so called bollywood standards but still managed to build a cult following. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi and Richa Chaddha, once unknown are now household names. Raanjhanaa made no such impact and was a sheer disappointment! Dhanush acted well in the movie but he is definitely not the trend setter. Actors like Suniel Shetty, Rajpal Yadav, Omkar Das Manikpuri, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Rajnikanth have made successful attempts to challenge the persisting notions in mainstream cinema long before Dhanush. The film’s attempt to manipulate the audience through Dhanush’s puppy-dog cuteness is insulting, if not downright sexist; this childish harasser is aggrandized as a pure lover, an innocent, blinded by saintly devotion to yet another undeserving shrewish and calculating female. I felt neither the film nor the character did any justice to Dhanush’s acting capabilities.
2. Ladki sirf do cheezon se pat-ti hai, mehnat se ya fir darr se.
There is something seriously wrong with this statement. The dialogue has been written and used recklessly in the movie. The film glorifies eve-teasing, encourages the use of acid attacks and slicing wrists as means to get the affection reciprocated when the normal methods fail. I do not disagree with the fact that a section of Indian men still use such methods to impose their will on the women they are infatuated with, but I do disagree with the modern educated girl in Zoya who failed to stand up to the boy’s antics and instead encouraged him. The film is set in Banaras, Uttar Pradesh and reflects the contrast in mentality of both educated and uneducated men in the state. However, it fails to acknowledge that the mentality issue is prevalent across the whole of India and not just UP alone.
3. If things are not going your way, attempt suicide.
Seriously, what is wrong with people? I know de-evolution is the trend of this century but there are limits to which one can tolerate idiocy. If things do not go your way, you work harder to change them. You do not use force on others neither do you kill yourself. No one promised you that life is going to go exactly how you planned it, but hey, its not going to be that bad either. Since when did slashing wrists started being considered as a pretense of bravery? Gimme a break… do not reason it out with me by saying.. it was love.. I was madly in love.. there was no other way! Sorry, you were not in love, you were only being a fool. In the movie, Zoya never falls for the jobless and uneducated Kundan. She still went for the better looking, educated, sophisticated and goal-oriented Jasjeet and royally ignored his flaws! Moral of the story, education, ambition and confidence is all that is required to win someone over. If they do not work on one person, never mind, there is plenty of fish in the sea. Trust me! 🙂
4. A woman can turn the world around. If she doesn’t like you, she will end up killing you.
Well, whose mistake is it anyway? Since centuries women have been perceived as timid creatures whom men can channel in which ever way they want to. Now when women have started challenging these age old assumptions and breaking out of the shell, men are suddenly uncomfortable with the whole idea of equal rights and women empowerment. They now brand them as manipulators. Honestly, if it was a man who was to take revenge from another man in politics, he would have resorted to manipulation too but in a much different way. Then why mis-branding women only? *No I am not a feminist but I do believe in equal rights!* As far as Bindiya is concerned, I feel sorry for Sawara having to play this character.
I do not think its the stereotype of male actors in Indian cinema which needs to be broken, its the obsession with use of clichés for depiction of masculinity and the gender stereotyping which needs a major upheaval. It is required that the film makers learn from the reactions of masses post the Delhi Rape case and start writing intelligent scripts. Its time to raise the bar and get your priorities right.
Overall Rating: ** 1/2 on 5
Verdict: An irresponsible attempt to be different