By watching Salman Khan Dabangg 3, it’s very clear that the law of the diminishing returns has caught up with this franchise. There is just not another polite way to say this – the new film is an excruciating, exhausting bore.
In 2010 under the direction and supervision of the Abhinav Kashyap, it seemed like Salman Khan had found his superhero alter ego. The Charming cop Mr Chulbul Pandey, with his cheeky one-liners, oddball quirks, and cartoonish but his very effective fight moves was the actor’s best realized character in years. Even the 2012’s decidedly mediocre sequel Dabangg 2, which is also directed by Arbaaz Khan, had stray moments of inspired lunacy that suggested some more promise. But this third installment, which is directed by Prabhudeva and scripted by Salman Khan himself, is irredeemable.
To apply the common superhero parlance, the new film tells the origin story of Chulbul Pandey. We learn what was his real name is, what led to him become the police officer, and where he swiped his signature line from – the one that goes: “Hum tum mein itne chhed karenge ki confuse ho jaoge ki saans kahan se le aur paadein kahan se.” We also learn more about a doomed romance of his with a young girl who is named Khushi (Saiee Manjrekar), before he met and married Rajjo (Sonakshi Sinha).
Now I don’t know about you but watching the 54-year-old Salman Khan romancing with the baby-faced 21-year-old newcomer on screen is exactly the reminder that we need about Bollywood’s double standards when it comes to the gender and age. It’s as if the filmmakers decided that Sonakshi Sinha at 32 is already too old to be the film’s sole leading lady, so let us bring in another one that’s even younger. Salman, meanwhile, thanks to some nifty computer effects, is made to look a tad younger himself in all these portions.
I’m only really bringing this up because it’s too much of an irony that the film positions its hero as a poster-child for gender equality and the women empowerment. Pandeyji is a model feminist who offers dowry instead of asking for it, who does not just recommend that women take their husbands’ surnames after marriage, and who actively encourages Khushi to pursue all and complete her education before they can marry.
Chulbul may have a progressive outlook when it comes to the women, but the same can’t be said just about the film’s unmistakably sexist gaze. It’s in the manner that Prabhudeva frames his women: the camera lingering a little too long on a heroine’s bosom, repeated shots of her bare midriff.
You only have to watch some of the earlier films Prabhudeva has directed to spot the pattern. There’s also the matter of the female characters reduced to simpering ‘becharis’. In one of the ugliest moments in the film, the villain decides he’s going to kill the girl he loves because it’s no point killing her lover; she’ll continue to pine for him after he’s dead and he still won’t have a shot with her. The women are that dispensable.
Even if you don’t have a problem with these things – and you should – Salman Khan Dabangg 3 is still a slog. The film feels like a string of unimaginative, repetitive action scenes strung together, pausing every few minutes for an underwhelming song. At 2 hours and 42 minutes, the relentless action gets tiring. How many punches and blows can you watch before your eyes begin to glaze over?
It must also be said that the camera moves rapidly in the action scenes, and the editing is breakneck so that it’s hard to tell who is doing what to whom. At other times there is an over-reliance on slow motion to highlight specific moves and stunts. The makers can try to hide it as much as they want but it’s clear for anyone who cares to notice that age is catching up with our leading man. No shame in that.
What’s genuinely disappointing is that the irreverence, the lightness of touch that was the hallmark of the first film can be spotted but only in flashes. Chulbul Pandey appears to have become a caricature of himself, and Salman Khan makes very little effort to pump fresh oxygen into the part. Sonakshi Sinha, Saiee Manjrekar, and Dimple Kapadia as the protagonist’s mother show up and go through the motions. The film’s villain, Kichha Sudeep, gets a few moments to make his presence felt. But it’s all in service of a story that’s so outdated you have to wonder how no one associated with the film called it out.
I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for Dabangg 3. I left the cinema with a pounding headache and a moment of silence for a promising character that they all but buried. Chulbul Pandey, Rest in Peace.
Read More:Jamia Milia :Anurag Kashyap
Bollywood and its Debate on Nepotism
After the demise of 34-year-old actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Bollywood and Nepotism are the new hashtags trending on the social media. Everyone is trending #boycottnepotism on Twitter while star kids are being trolled but also being ranted upon. Recently, Sonakshi Sinha left Twitter while Alia Bhatt and Sonam Kapoor have either turned off the comment section of their Instagram posts or limited it. This sudden rage of the public seems as if the enlightenment about nepotism is new to them.
Nepotism is the practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs. This practice is not only found within the four walls of Bollywood. It can also be found in Business firms, Politics, Educational Institutes, etc. But Nepotism and Bollywood are recent talks of the town.
IS NEPOTISM GOOD OR BAD?
Majority of enraged Indians would directly conclude that Nepotism must be uprooted as it is a bad practice. But it is not true incomplete sense. Nepotism gives a direct way to children of some of the fine Bollywood actors into Bollywood without much struggle. This might be biased against some fine struggler actors but it is wrong to come up with a notion that all Star Kids are bad actors. Actors like Ranbir Kapoor, Hritik Roshan and Alia Bhatt have proved this fact true. Ranbir Kapoor has himself came up with acceptance that he is a product of Nepotism and this reminds him every time to act well.
On the other hand, Just like not every star kid is a bad actor, not all of them are good actors. Many actors and actresses have got their first break in the movies of Big Banners yet their acting skills couldn’t convince the public. Many of these star kids are launched again and again by Big Banner even after giving continuous flops. Such actors not only come up with a confidence of never running out of work but also take their work for granted. Even after so much struggle, people like Akshay Kumar are not able to get awards while Ananya Pandey got best Debut Female Award for a performance which was not even liked by the public.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR NEPOTISM?
In a single sentence, It is us. It is us who make a Star Kid a star and a talented struggler running out of the work. Whenever movies like Sonchiriya and Tumbadd are released, very few go to watch them while whenever movies like SOTY 2 are released we book tickets weeks before just to follow the trend. This is the reason why movies like SOTY 2 are successful to collect good amount on Box office while movies like Tumbadd are not even able to come in limelight.
The media is equally responsible for Nepotism. Whenever a star kid makes an entry in Bollywood, it is the media which promotes them the most. Not only the star kids stepping in Bollywood but also the star kids who have no achievement other than being a star kid. Little Taimur who is very young to even understand the meaning of Bollywood has more than 150 fan pages on social media. Suhana Khan, who hasn’t yet worked in any movie was on the cover page of Vogue Magazine. The reason was not only her being the daughter of Shah Rukh Khan but also the fame, which she received since she was a teenager.
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
Bollywood and Nepotism are not always synonymous and Nepotism can’t be always bad if the person who gets the opportunity is worthy of it. Indian audience should stop judging anyone on the basis of their background and start appreciating talent. We might not be able to convince God Fathers of Bollywood to stop launching flop actors again and again but we can surely watch more and more movies of raw talents like Vidyut Jamwal and Prachi Desai because they are talented. And in the end, boycotting and ranting over all-star kids is not a solution. We should support talent. So even if a star Kid is a very good actor, we should buy tickets from their movies as well.
Aarya: The miss universe delivers another charming performance in her style
Disney + Hotstar’s new release Aarya has had us captivated and we cannot stop talking about it. The story revolves around Aarya Sareen who takes it as her responsibility to find the man who shot her husband Tej Sareen and get the culprit to justice. While she begins this journey there are several secrets that are revealed on her way.
Aarya cast: Sushmita Sen, Chandrachur Singh, Vikas Kumar, Ankur Bhatia, Sikander Kher, Namit Das, Manish Chaudhary, Jayant Kriplani, Sohaila Kapur, Maya Sarao, Priyasha Bhardwaj, Sugandha Garg, Alexx O’Neil, Vishwajeet Pradhan, Jagdish Purohit, Flora Saini, Virti Vaghani, Viren Vazirani, Pratyaksh Panwar, Joy Sengupta
Aarya directors: Ram Madhvani, Sandeep Modi, Vinod Rawat
Aarya – A comprehensive review
Originally, this show on Disney+Hotstar has taken inspiration from the Dutch series Penoza that was released in 2010 and went on for 5 seasons. It portrayed the themes of loyalty, love, betrayal, and family. Well, Aarya too is about a powerful woman who looks out for her children and family more than anything.
Almost set in the same light as its origin, Aarya begins and ends with the main character Aarya (Sushmita Sen) hanging upside-down on TRX straps. The story in the between of this, reveals three business partners, a robbed drug consignment, a mysterious murder, and a woman pulling all straws to support her two families and eventually being torn between it.
While Aarya takes it on her to find the masked man who shot her husband, Te (jChandrachur Singh), the story takes its own twists and turns. This is a story about a cop who is behind some business secrets, a mafia who is behind the drugs and other business partners in the ring who have started to discover things and have their own deep secrets. Aarya’s task is no easy as her family is put on the doorstep of danger and threats, and the mother in her vouches to protect her blood no matter what.
Aarya is a tale of a mother and her children who pay the brunt of the mistakes and misdeeds committed by the husband. The series is centred around Aarya and her three children i.e. the two teenagers Veer (Viren Vazirani), Arundhati (Virti Vaghani), and the eight-year-old Adi (Pratyaksh Panwar). All these three youngsters are brutally shaken to the core of the death of their father, especially the youngest Adi who was a live witness to the trauma of his father getting shot. It is also a tale about the other two siblings who battle their journey of growing up and teenage issues amidst the danger that dawns upon their family.
Aarya is a strong powerful woman of principles. Her ardent love for her family is always shown wherein the brutal turn of events she emphasizes how the future of her children is more crucial than her gruesome past. She also believes that sometimes you have to make a choice between what is less of evil amongst the two situations.
The cast performance in this series is compelling and impressive. Chandrachur Singh as Tej does an incredible job. To add to the Rajasthani style, Jayant Kripalani as Aarya’s father Zorawar, with Sikandar Kher as his point man Daulat perfectly fulfils their roles. Jawahar, the coke-snorting maniac played by Namit Das, ACP Khan played by Vikas Kumar, Shekhawat, the Russian peddler-distributor played by Manish Choudhary, and Sampat played by Vishwajeet Pradhan, all deliver outstanding performances and do complete justice to the character.
Of course, apart from all these people, the main show stealer is none other than Sushmita Sen. Graceful, powerful and committed to her character like any of her past roles, Sushmita Sen is a true treat to watch. She reveals the powerful journey of a woman who breaks out of her comfort zone to assert her dominance and turns every stone to protect her family. She brings to you her classic screen presence and captivating dialogue delivery to keep you hooked.
The writers have managed to write an engaging piece, somewhere where the plot loses itself but finds a way to regain itself back in the pace.
Aarya: A concluding verdict
Aarya, this new venture on Disney + Hotstar is a recommended watch. It will captivate you with its thriller tales, and get you hooked with the impressive writing at different points. Of course, all in all, Sushmita Sen truly makes it what it is with her charm, poise, and elegance. It is a recommended watch on how love and loss intertwine each other in the course of time.
Netflix’s Bulbbul- a powerful tale of womanhood, a fable that asks relevant questions
Netflix’s new release Bulbbul takes you back to the late 19th century, in the city of Bengal, and reveals the journey of a tiny girl to womanhood, her journey of innocence to strength. This supernatural thriller captures the haunting growth of a naive young bride who transforms into a powerful woman with a gruesome past when several men are murdered in her village.
Cast: Tripti Dimri, Avinash Tiwary, Rahul Bose, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Paoli Dam, Ruchi Mahajan, Varun Paras Buddhadev
Directed and written by Anvita Dutt
Produced by: Anushka Sharma and Karnesh Sharma
Music by: Amit Trivedi
Cinematography by: Siddharth Diwan
Bulbbul: A comprehensive review
The thing that captivates us towards Bulbbul is the visual ensemble it carries with it. The frames scream the colour red to the shades of mysterious purple. It moves us back to the year 1881 in the Bengal Presidency. We see the child bride Bulbbul, travelling to her husband’s house and her encounter with the story about a chuddail (witch) who is all set to eat up a young princess. We tend to sense the eerie shadows, and the apprehensive ambience through the beautiful cinematography.
Bulbbul is a creatively woven tale about patriarchy that exists since time immemorial and the ways society still upholds it. The idea of a marriage where a much older husband dominates the bride, it highlights the idea of the power equation between Bulbbul (Tripti Dimri) and her husband Indranil (Rahul Bose). It portrays how married women are still identified by their bichhiyas (toe rings) and sindoor, even till date. It talks about the gender roles that are so rigid, that what a man can do is completely unacceptable when a woman does it.
The most delightful thing to watch is Tripti Damri as Bulbbul and Avinash Tiwari as Satya, the brother-in-law of Bulbul reunite on stage. They were last seen in the painfully romantic story Laila Maju and it is a pleasure to watch them on screen again. They have a fresh reversal of roles and are seen in the wife-brother-in law (Bhabhi- Devar equation). The intimacy they share, the efforts of Satya to make her comfortable as a child bride in the new home is refreshing to watch. There is an underlying hint of the love and comfort they share. There is a timeless scene where Satya and Bubbul bid each other goodbyes because society is a standing power against their bond and constantly calls it to be forbidden. It denotes separation through Bulbbul’s face and a secret declaration of love.
Bulbbul as a story depicts how relationships are shaped back in those times. A child bride and Devar grow up in the same walls and have an emotional effect on each other, while the husband who is much older finds ways and waits for his child-wife to grow into a woman and delve deep into the ideas of marriage and love. We also see fascinating instances of friendship between Bulbbul and her sister-in-law (Paoli Dam), and the delicate bond she shares with Doctor Sudip (Parambrata Chatterjee). We also witness how Thakur’s brother is specially-abled, and Thakur and Binodini find a sense of solace in each other’s company.
Anushka Sharma’s third venture as a producer has been a compelling watch and it delivers a story in a dual timeline. When Bulbbul grows up, we witness there is no man to be the head of the house. It is her and Binodini who make their house a home. We are also a spectator to the insights of Bulbul’s childhood days when she is a newly wedded bride. The trauma Bulbbul goes through leaves an unfading mark on her and the tragic scenes depict a tale of its own.
One thing that goes a bit haywire is the premise of the Chudail, an idea that lacks some implementation in certain parts, trailing off a sense of doubt. One will have to completely watch the film to comprehend all the bits.
To talk about the cast performances, it is an impressive one. Both Tripti Dimri and Avinash Tiwary give promising performances, along with the brilliant acting of Rahul Bose who serves complete justice to the silent, strong, and mature self of Thakur.
Bulbbul: A concluding verdict
Bulbbul is a modern story that derives its connections to womanhood and has highlights of Indian folklore. With a beautiful cast, powerful writing, and soothing music by Amit Trivedi, Bulbbul is a revolving idea of how a woman’s love and her rights are so different from that of a man. It throws light on several important issues and invokes a powerful feminist. It is a watchful tale of a woman’s trauma and how she has been wronged by society.
Sushant Singh Rajput’s demise alarms a talk about mental health issues in the country
It was a heartbreaking moment for the nation yesterday when the news broke out about the demise of Sushant Singh Rajput. This very talented, the 34-year-old actor took his own life. As distressing and unexpected this loss was, Sushant as an individual has been battling depression and mental health issues. His passing away raised several concerns in the country and the Hindi film industry about the seriousness of the mental illness
Importance of Mental health
Mental health as an issue in our country has always been stigmatized, and to date, it is not openly talked about from our core levels, i.e. at homes and educational institutions. Sushant’s demise pointed a finger at all our faces and questioned about the ardent need to address mental health issues in this country.
Lockdown as a phase itself can be brutally challenging for someone who is going through a tough time mentally. Living alone with your disturbing thoughts and having to deal with them every day is one of the reasons why a discussion about the post-pandemic situation of mental health must be one of our top agendas.
How the Film Industry reacted to the demise of Sushant Singh Rajput
The entirety of the Bollywood fraternity expressed their grievances. Stars like Shruti Hassan, Priyanka Chopra, Mahesh Bhatt, and Deepika Padukone expressed their condolences on social media handles and highlighted the importance of mental health.
Deepika Padukone in her Instagram post wrote “As a person who has had a lived experience with mental illness, I cannot stress enough about the importance of reaching out. Talk. Communicate. Express. Seek help.”
Karan Johar also put out a heartfelt post where he commented “I blame myself for not being in touch with you for the past year. I have felt at times like you may have needed people to share your life with but somehow I never followed up on that feeling. Will never make that mistake again.”
Wake- up call for the Hindi Film Industry
This raises an urgent need for the fraternity that claims itself to be an extended family to stand up for their people and support them rationally. It also means calling everyone out and disassociating people with unacceptable behaviour. This comes from the fact that stars like Sooraj Pancholi continue to remain a part of the industry despite having major links to the death of the actress Jia Khan.
The problem with assuming the cause of death
Drawing attention to the current scenario, Bollywood as an industry is taxing as you have to constantly keep up with the public image the media and your audience expects. All the stardom, the fame comes at a grave cost, sometimes at your well-being. Opening up about personal issues is considered to be a stigma as it is often attached to the frame of being pretentious and seeking attention. This was well proven yesterday when certain media houses began probing the cause of the suicide and passed insensitive comments wondering how someone so successful could have mental health issues.
This is where; we as a so-called advanced society have gone wrong. People fail to realize that anxiety and depression have no possible connection with how successful or established you are, professionally. Having good mental health is a separate struggle by itself. With this pandemic and a frustrating lockdown, things do start to get worse as you are detached from your daily way of life.
Sushant Singh Rajput in an interview with Hindustan Times in 2017 had commented on this topic. He said, “Who says actors are maintaining their mental health? That’s a wrong belief. The most important thing that an actor could do to protect himself from all these things (pressures, demands, paparazzi culture, etc) is just to know why a person is doing what he is doing.”
As an actor, he played timeless versatile characters that strike a chord every time we watch his works. We now have to come to terms with the fact that ‘the untold story’ is of now perhaps about Sushant himself more than anyone else. Things he hid from the world and battled with it all alone.
His character in Chhichhore taught us volumes about how to enjoy life as it comes and prepared us to battle suicidal thoughts. He gave us such a powerful message, something that probably came from within as he knew exactly what it looked and how it felt like.
We mourn the huge loss of this star who rose to fame solely with his dedication and talent amidst the nepotistic Bollywood industry.
Indeed, we never know how a person exactly feels. Hence, Sushant’s unfortunate demise is a wake-up call for all of us to take mental health issues seriously and summon the entire system that questions your suicide but does not care to look at the deep-rooting causes of it. It cannot be stressed enough on how therapy and professional help must be widely encouraged to help people battle their internal storms. Because it is okay to not be okay!
Abhay Deol’s take on #blacklivesmatter and perfectly explained how #alllivesmatter
2020 has been a year of political and social activism. With the series of protests across to world in the favor of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, several Bollywood celebrities who were seemingly silent throughout other issues have voiced their concerns in different ways.
However, here we have Abhay Deol who has been one of those people to have never refrained from sharing his opinion constantly on all issues. His recent posts give so much perspective and he clearly explains the flaws behind #alllivesmatters. His arguments stand morally and politically correct.
Abhay’s comment on #blacklivesmatter and #alllivesmatter
It is the truth that no matter how much we propagate that all lives equally matter, there has been a system of oppressions directed massively towards a particular race/ gender/ religion or caste. Racism is still a deep-rooted practice and it blatantly exists in the crux of the American society. Even today in 2020, black people have to fight for their basic human rights. So, when in the fight for their equality and establishment of their human rights, the discussion of all lives matter shifts the perspective from the concept and fails to achieve the goal.
Abhay Deol exactly meant this idea and articulated it in perfect words. He said “All life is supposed to have equal value, but we have seen enough evidence time and time again, that that is not always the case with black lives. 400yrs of slavery has left their communities with little opportunity. The #blacklivematter movement is all for equality, not preference! The repercussions of slavery have to be undone and that may take decades.”
Thus, among all the Bollywood celebrities who raised their concerns, Abhay Deol was the most accurate to comment. He clearly explained the root of the problem and the purpose of this activist movement. He went a step further and gave a comparative analysis of Racism with the issues of our country, i.e. the evils of the caste system. He talked about how the caste system is persistent to date and makes it difficult for a certain section of society to achieve a dignified life.
“It’s the same with the caste system in our country, which has existed for over 1000 years. It is much harder for the poor and disenfranchised to achieve the goals they want because of the poverty and prejudice they live and grow up in,” he added.
He also drew a connection with his previous post and explained why he used the hashtags #poorlivesmatter, #migrantlivesmatter, #minoritylivesmatter in one of his earlier Instagram posts.
Abhay Deol concluded “Hence I used the hashtag for migrants/minorities/poor in an earlier post, so that I could make BLM relatable to us. It would be counterproductive if we take the title of the movement, and replace the word “black” with who we see as the underprivileged in our, or any other country. To join hands authentically would be to find a peaceful way to bring about change in our society, to headline our movement. The 1st step we must take to do that is in recognizing who is most vulnerable in our culture, why are they so, and what can be done about it. “
#blacklivesmatter #caste #casteinindia.
His previous post spoke volumes about the convenient and selective activism that surrounds us. It is a common practice among us, Indians that we are so invested in the issues of the west that we throw a blind eye towards the sufferings in our country.
Whether it is the common crowd or the so-called ‘woke’ Bollywood fraternity, this year has witnessed all of them staying silent when the entire country broke into protests on the discriminatory CAA-NRC act or having no comments about the plight of the poor and the migrants during the pandemic. The level of hypocrisy was so evident that Bollywood stars who had major brand endorsements with fairness creams came out in support of the #blacklivesmatter movement.
Hence, Abhay Deol purposefully called all of these people out and gave them a reality check on their privilege that lets them differentiate between wrongdoings in the society and exercise the choice of acting upon it.
He said “Maybe it’s time for these now? Now that “woke” Indian celebrities and the middle class stand in solidarity with fighting systemic racism in America, perhaps they’d see how it manifests in their backyard? America has exported violence to the world, they have made it a more dangerous place, it was but inevitable that it would come back karmically.”
He continued: “I’m not saying they deserve it, I’m saying look at the picture in its totality. I’m saying support them by calling out the systemic problems in your own country because they turn out to be the same thing. I’m saying follow their lead but not their actions. Create your actions, your movement, relevant to your own country. That is what the #blacklivesmatter movement is all about! In the larger picture, there is no “us” and “them”. There is not a country that’s real. But a planet in peril.”
#migrantlivesmatter #minoritylivesmatter #poorlivesmatter #blacklivesmatter
Abhay Deol also put out a separate post as a part of this movement and questioned the endorsement of fairness creams by Bollywood celebrities.
It is commendable that Abhay as an individual has acknowledged his privilege and voiced a rightful opinion on systematic racism or our caste system. While several other celebrities still choose to ignore and selectively talk about issues, we hope this silence and hypocrisy will lessen eventually to add to the wave of meaningful activism.
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