Archive for category Hindi – Bollywood Movie Reviews– Play Reviews– NAATAK– Poems– Event Reports

Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway – Bollywood Film Review

This film is based on the true events in the life of Mrs. Sagarika Bhattacharya, brilliantly played by Rani Mukharjee. Written and directed by Ashima Chibber, the movie features a brilliant cast that does a great job to bring depth to the heartrending, compelling story. Some of the other cast members include Anirban Bhattacharya, Neena Gupta and Jim Sarbin.

Partly, the movie highlights the struggle of Mrs. Debika Chatterjee as a new resident in the foreign land with a traditional husband. Debika was a stay at home wife and very soon became a stay at home mother of two children, Shubh and Suchi. With two little children, there was considerable pressure and she was also dealing with domestic abuse as work pressures increased for her husband. 

The central focus of the movie is cultural racism that the couple experienced in Norway, in the worst way imaginable.   During some routine inspections, Norwegian child welfare authorities, Barnevarnet recommended removal of the children from their home. In their observations, certain Indian cultural practices (examples cited were sleeping on the same bed with parents, being fed by hand by the mother) were deemed inappropriate. In addition to that the parents and the house environment was deemed unfit for the children. 

It is a devastating and heartbreaking story of Debika’s fight to get her children back. Personally, I often thought about kids in cages, ruthlessly taken away from immigrants, during the Trump administration. Apparently the child welfare system in Norway is very strict and works on a rigid system of rules. It is also well funded and the more children come into the system, the larger the funding becomes. It is likely going through inspection and restructuring and perhaps education of diverse cultural practices in other immigrant cultures, as immigrants are frequently the likely people to lose custody of their children. 

Debika lost custody of her children Subh and Suchi around 2010-2011 timeframe and she refused to give up. She tried all avenues available to her to get the custody back. Movie features the pain and trauma of her children as well as mother’s anxiety, depression, pain and trauma and then resolve in taking on the system, at first in Norway, dealing with Sweden, and later on in India, after Norway finally decided to give custody to her brother-in-law in India who refused to allow Debika to see her children. While her husband focused on his primary goal of citizenship, eventually this fight for children became entirely Sagarika’s fight. She said that all she wanted was for her children to be happy.

The judge in whose court the case came in India, observed that children can be most happy in the lap of a mother. A mother’s love is most important for growing children and this may be the first case where a mother took on a fight with several countries to get back her children.

This movie is well made and heartrending. I rate it as 4.7 on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being excellent. The movie is currently streaming on #Netflix.

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The Pillowman: Play Review at Naatak

The Pillowman written in 2003, by Martin McDonagh, regarded among critics as one of the the great dark comedies of all time, is directed for @Naatak in English, by Harish Agastya and is produced for Naatak by Soumya Agastya. Harish Agastya is a brilliant director and he has simultaneously directed two versions of the play, with two parallel casts.   I saw cast 1. 

The play centers around Katuria in flashback as a young boy and now a young man (Abhi Wadekar and Kartic Bhargav), a fiction writer, living in an authoritarian regime. As the play starts, Katuria is being interrogated by two detectives, Topaki (Ekta Brahmkshatri) and Arial (M Zishan). Katuria’s younger brother Mikaal (Ankit Dhingra) is being held in an adjoining cell, accused of a few murders including of a little girl (Ayesha Javehrani). For all it’s darkness of the plot and gruesome imagination, The Pillowman is a Pulitzer prize winning drama and has also received various other awards.

Katuria is accused of writing gruesome stories depicting grim scenarios that include tortuous violence upon children. The very fiction that Katuria is immensely proud of and would like to survive even at the cost of his own life is said to inspire others to imitate and carry out the grim actions. Katuria is unflinching from his one true objective that his work must outlive him. He says, “It isn’t about being or not being dead, it’s about what you leave behind” Amidst the tension, there are some jokes and funny lines delivered expertly by the incredible cast. 

This play explores a complex relationship between one’s upbringing and how it impacts one’s  work of art and enables the artist to receive a measure of recognition. On the other hand, the play also explores the impact of the artist’s work on his readers and on the audience of the play itself. The emotional journey the play encourages the audience to take is at the very least, compelling, in terms of the emotional distress it causes as well as “what ifs” and “who deserves blame” scenarios the play compels us to introspect on. Do artists deserve blame for encouraging others to engage in horrific acts or can they be absolved of crimes that they only imagined or penned and where does one draw the line?

I can’t help but share here my personal point of view since I feel very strongly on the subject. At a time when book banning has become a controversial and important issue in several states in the USA, my personal view is that we must NEVER ban books or movies or drama or social media or works of art, on account of the impact it may have. Instead society must enable people to become more informed and savvy consumers such that people can put nonsense out of business. And I will add, instead, society needs to #BanAssaultWeapons so no one ACTS insane, if they’re not better informed and in the end, punish people to fit the crime. 

One final note on the character of Katuria’s brother, Mikaal. Despite Mikaal’s inability to fully comprehend the severity of the situation, his simple mind was fully aware that love conquers all other challenges. He loved his brother deeply and willingly accepted lifetime of torture for himself or others so that his brother would become the greatest writer he hoped to become. All the depth and complexity that Katuria struggled to convey in his writings, his brother conveyed in his one simple action that subsequently looks more complex in the light of his later actions .

The play is running at Starbright theater in Campbell till May 7, 2023.. For tickets go to .

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Taxi No. 9211: Bollywood Movie Review

Film Taxi No. 9211 revolves around two central characters that represent two very distinct lives and lifestyles in the sprawling, living, running, 24 hours pulsating city of Mumbai. The reference to the city is also very interesting. Such a living, breathing city with its own temptations and frustrations has its own impact on the inhabitants. 

Increasing inflation and inability to meet rising economic pressures turns a failed, cash strapped LIC agent turned cabbie (Nana Patekar) into a frustrated, angry man, ready to pick a fight with anyone. He picks up a passenger (John Abraham) who is born into immense wealth but his lifestyle choices and him giving in to every temptation, brings him to a point where he may lose all his wealth, unless he can successfully contest his father’s will.

This one cab ride marks a turning point in both their lives, as they meet their match in anger and dislike of others. It was as if they both were forced to look in the mirror. The film is pacy, entertaining and both actors deliver phenomenal and intense performances, devoid of histrionics.  The film is definitely speeding towards a moral but this moralistic message is not thrust upon the audience; instead it unravels naturally.  Director Milan Lutharia has done a fabulous job in focusing on the core issues, minus the melodrama. The film drives home a point that sometimes, there may be much in common among humans. They may be good or bad, angry and quick to react or take a pause before responding. Even when coming from vastly different lifestyles, temptations and frustrations, there may be similarities in how humans may react to the life around them which in turn rewards or punishes them accordingly. 

This film released in 2020, is interesting and is currently running on @Netflix .  I rate it a 4.2 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being excellent.

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Trial by Fire on #Netflix – Serial Review

Trial by Fire – Serial Review

Currently playing on @Netflix, seven episode series “Trial by Fire” is a true account of a horrific tragedy and is based on the book by the same name, written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnnamoorthy. Rashshri Deshpande and Abhay Deol deliver flawless and understated performance as the couple Neelam and Shekhar who lost both of their children in the fire and smoke at Uphaar Cinema, the largest theater at the time in New Delhi, on the fateful day, Friday, June 13, 1997.

But the series does not simply revolve around the actual events. In fact, actual events of the tragedy are more in focus only in the 7th and last episode of the series. Directed by Prashant Nair and Randeep Jha, the series depicts the struggle of these parents, of other victims, their families and survivors to bring those responsible to justice. Krishnamoorthys soon found out that they could not get answers. The rich and powerful people who seemed to be responsible had a myriad ways to interfere in the investigation. Shekhar announced to his wife that they would be stronger together and they need to bring in other survivors and families seeking justice. The owners of the theater, the Ansal Brothers (Gopal Ansal & Sushil Ansal) kept a tight lid on the expenses and operated their several properties with focus on making profits under all circumstances. Under persistent leadership of grieving Krishnamoorthys, a group AVUT (Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy) was formed. 

Ansal brothers rarely appeared in court and employed an army of rich attorneys to fight on their behalf. They bribed, implicated others, employed people to deliver threats to anyone seeking justice. During the decades-long struggle Krishnamoorthys muddled through the cumbersome process, going through several attorneys after realizing that some attorneys were just not interested and others were often bribed by the Anals. In the process, they also uncovered several problems and the trail kept leading them to the owners. However, Ansals kept succeeding year after painful year in evading justice.
Occasionally some episodes meander through somewhat unnecessary details, but overall the series is sure to keep the audience riveted through the heart-breaking saga of grieving families.  Despite the lack of success for years, through the painful process of seeking justice for their loved ones, the group manages to get success on their many additional agendas – for instance, every public school in Delhi, is henceforth required to have working fire extinguishers on every floor. Fighting through the bureaucratic process, even while mourning their loss, is no small feat. Their struggle is both immensely heart-breaking and absolutely inspiring. 


Some additional facts (spoilers) & a small personal story 

Uphaar Cinema fire and smoke claimed 59 lives and 100+ people had severe smoke inhalation and other injuries. 

Almost 900 plus people were in the cinema hall that tragic day.

The people witnessing the event on that fateful day frantically ran with pots and pans to save lives. Others procured mattresses from the stores close by to put on the ground for those jumping out of the window.

The AVUT group fighting for answers and justice got some resolution in the last couple of years, after nearly 25 years since the fire that claimed so many lives. 

During the two plus decades, since the victims group has been fighting in court, the rich and powerful Ansals employed several tricks, postponements, bribes, and threats to evade justice. They also shifted the blame down the line and that led to jail time for some and loss of jobs for others.

AVUT group’s decades-long struggle to find answers and get justice for those who perished on that fateful day uncovered many safety violations, severe disregard for public safety and single minded focus on profits. The theater had faulty transformers, no public address system in place, no emergency lights when power was out, few or no working fire extinguishers and hundreds of people in balcony were trapped inside with doors locked so no one without a ticket can get in – but that also meant the people inside had no means of escape and the entertainment hall became their tomb.

When grieving Krishnamoorthys lost their two children Unnati (17) and Ujjwal (14), they were in their 30s. Many advised them to plan more children, but they refused saying their children were not toys to be replaced. They have not seen any movies in a theater since then.

Anslas were finally sentenced in 2021 but only after 6 months they were released due to old age.

Victims were compensated about Rs. 25 crores after 25 years.


Personal story

When I visited India several years ago, I had a US Green card but an Indian passport. Despite going through other countries, no one had checked that my passport had expired about a year ago. I had to renew my passport before I could return to the US. I went to the passport office in Mumbai. After standing in several lines in a crowded hall that did not have all working fans (with over 100 degrees summer heat), I managed to get access to an officer. He asked me to go there two days later on Thursday. My husband said he will never go with me unless I participate and find someone to bribe and I told him that I will get it done without bribing. He told me then I was on my own. 

I went to the passport office on Thursday. Unlike my previous visit, the entrance was not busy and there were no people around. One lone guard sitting on a chair stopped me and said I could not go in. I asked why not and he said आज साहेब किसीको  मिल नहीं सकते. आज पब्लिक को मिलनेका दिन नहीं है.  Today Sir cannot meet anyone, today is not for the public. Seeing that he was determined to not allow me to enter, I sat down beside him, right on the pavement. He asked me – what are you doing? I said, brother can’t you see, I am sitting down next to you because I will not go back without meeting sir. He said, but I told you, he won’t meet you today. I said, don’t worry, sir is here right? In that case, I will meet him later. He said, he won’t meet you at any time today. I said, look brother, I am sure sir may go out for tea or for lunch or at least he will go home in the evening. It is 10 am and in that case I will sit here and give you company this entire day but I am not leaving until I see him. He looked at me in disbelief. Then he went inside and I saw him talk to a couple of other people. Then he returned with a piece of paper and a pen and asked me to write my name. Then he went in and came back again and told me to go in. I went in and met the officer and got my passport renewed. 

In countries where things don’t work for all citizens, only the rich and powerful can live stress free lives and enjoy all kinds of benefits; have law and order work for them, justice bends to their will and they can get their tasks accomplished. For majority of the population however, everyday tasks present a multitude of challenges and there’s frustration every step of the way all the time. It takes enormous effort, persistence and high ideals to continuously struggle to live with integrity and honesty.

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Tara vs. Bilal: Bollywood Film Review

Tara Vs. Bilal – Bollywood Movie Review

Produced by John Abraham and T-Series, Bhushan Kumar, and directed by Samar Iqbal, film Tara vs. Bilal is not quite just a simple love story of opposites attract. Although the film, set in London, centers around romance between Bilal (Harshvardhan Rane) and Tara (Sonia Rathee), a couple of little side stories sets it apart from typical love stories. 

Tara has grown up in a loving family with a doting grandfather. When she announces her plan to find a husband who resides abroad, from an internet site, her family accepts her decision. Tara is devoted to the concept of marriage between a man and a woman and soon after her marriage, she relocates to London with her husband. There she learns some bitter truths about her husband, tries to find a footing in a new country where she has neither income, nor visa status. 

Bilal on the other hand, has been brought up by four women living together. Being proxy to the challenges of failed marriages of his mother and aunts, Bilal harbors no romantic notions about marriage. When his paths cross Tara and she asks, “vaise is ghar ke sare husbands kahan hai?”, Billal says, “don’t ask, it’s a train wreck”.  
Besides Tara and Bilal’s story, there are a couple of little side stories that I found more interesting. Bilal’s mother and aunts never gave up and picked up the pieces their lives were left in, got together and collectively managed a small business. Equally interesting is the fact that in the process of trying to find her footing, Tara meets some transgender and gay people, working in a gay bar. After getting over her shock, she asks one person, “tumhe yeh sab karte wakht bura nahi lagta hai?” and he tells her, “Mein karta nahi hun, mein hun” (meaning he IS gay. As the film progresses, Tara’s transition is complete where she promotes and encourages her gay friends to get together and eventually Tara vs. Bilal transitions to Tara and Bilal.

I rate the movie 4.3 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being excellent.

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Double XL: Bollywood Movie Review

Double XL: Movie Review

Flim, Double XL, directed by Satramm Ramani tackles an important subject pertaining to standards of beauty levied on women and the judgements that accompany women who may not fit within defined societal norms. 

Saira Khanna (Sonakshi Sinha) is an urban Delhite girl who dreams of her own fashion designer label one day. Saira is deeply in love with her boyfriend, only to find out that he is a philanderer who neither cares to win her love, nor to support her in her aspirations. Rajashri Trivedi (Huma Qureshi) lives in the heartland of Meerut and dreams of becoming a sports presenter. Meanwhile, her mother, played by Alka Badola Kaushal, is constantly making attempts to find a suitable boy to wed Rajashri.

When Rajashri meets her potential groom that her mother has found for her, Rajashri announces to him that she aspires to become a sports presenter and he asks, “woh jara jara se kapde pahenke mech ke bich ghumti hai woh ladki”? Rajashri replies “Woh cheer leaders hote hai. Aur woh jara jara se kapde nahi, costumes hote hai”.  About this time in Delhi, Saira has lost her opportunity to lead a fashion travelog, and she is lamenting “Saira Khanna ki purani aadat, aukat se uncha sapna dekhneki”. At a low point in their lives their paths cross and after lamenting and crying over how society views women of their size and all opportunities close out even before they have a chance, Saira and Rajashri get a brainwave of how they can support each other. 

When Rajashri is a overwhelmed, Saira tells her “bhale hi tum fashion na samjo, lekin passion jarur samajhti ho” and when Rajashri is ready to call it quits, Saira supports and encourages her. The duo then find that as they shed their emotional baggage, they make strides in their professional aspirations and also meet two men, Zorawar (Zaheer Iqbal) and Shrikanth (Mahat Raghavendra). Keeping with Bollywood’s happy ending preference, Zorawar and Shrikanth look beyond the girls’ large size and support Saira and Rajashri’s aspirations.

What I liked about the movie is that with increasing frequency, Bollywood has begun tackling  “weighty” issues and in this film they have taken up the issue of how large women are viewed in society, how that can affect their professional lives as well as their chances of finding a life partner. And yet, the movie falls short in its handling of the “weighty” issue, and it seems it is handled a tad too lightly. 

I rate the movie as 4.1 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being excellent. 

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Milli – Bollywood Movie Review

Mili currently streaming on @Netflix is directed by Mathukutty Xavier and is a remake of Malayalam language film Helen. Mili is produced by Boney Kapoor and Zee Studios and Janhvi Kapoor in the role of Mili has done a great job. 

Mili lives with her widowed father (Manoj Pahwa) and works in a fast food restaurant while studying for her nursing degree. Mili and her father share a deep bond. Mili is a kind and happy girl with big dreams of migrating to Canada for better circumstances. Mili’s boyfriend Sameer (Sunny Kaushal) appears less responsible and also does not seem to have high aspirations. He seems content with his life with Mili and spending time with friends. 

An accidental, sudden situation traps Mili in conditions where she has only a few hours to survive if she can use her intelligence and creativity. There is reasonable suspense along with the accompanying drama of a concerned father, distraught boyfriend and inept cops, to keep the audience glued to the screen.

I liked the movie and rated it 4.2 on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being excellent.  

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KK: @naatak Play Review

Bay Area’s phenomenal @Naatak company has passed the mark of producing over 100 plays on stage. In it’s 101st production, the audience get a treat to travel through and re-discover iconic Indian city, New Delhi and meet a diverse group of busy people typical to be found in a large metropolis. 

The chief protagonist KK (fabulously played by Ritwik Verma) is a professor of Hindi literature and an ardent fan of 19th century poet, Bhartendu Harishchandra, famously revered as the father of Hindi literature. Poet Bhartendu was a fearless journalist, honest writer, and a passionate poet and refuted the religious orthodoxy of the time. KK lives a sheltered life, primarily engrossed in poetry. He says, “My time passes in consuming poetry” (“मेरा समय तो काव्यरस में बीत जाता है”).

One day, KK ventures out of his familiar routine presumably in search of what he treasures immensely. KK travels through Connaught Place or CP as it is fondly known in Delhi. CP is a shopping mecca, food haven, scene of many Bollywood films and CP runs in concentric circles around the lush green Central Park and serves as a backdrop to the play. As KK makes his way through Delhi, he loses his way, helps someone find their way, is overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle, makes several attempts to get someone to listen to him recite his poetry, confuses others with his naivety and is confused with the price of goods and complex value system that operates underneath all transactions. KK makes his way to Naveen Pustakalay (a bookstore with the name of new that sells old books). Bookstore’s ad says, “at Naveen bookstore, you can find old, voluminous, thin, torn, published, in pandulipi and books in many other conditions”) (“नवीन पुस्तकालय में पुरानी, मोटी, पतली, फटी हुई, छपी हुई, पांडुलिपि, और कई  अवस्थामे पुस्तके उपलब्ध है”).  

The props in the play are brilliant. Major kudos to prop leads, Anitha Dixit and Saurabh Jain, and the entire team. Listening to the finest, purest Hindi and poetry is another special treat. After watching phenomenal, spell binding acting by Ritwik Verma, it is hard to imagine anyone else in this role. However, the play is played by five different actors during its various showings in the Bay Area. Written by Sujit Saraf and directed by Vikas Dhurka, this incredible play is sure to keep the audience spell bound throughout KK’s many adventures that ultimately lead him to the center of a mysterious plot akin to Hindi film adventure. But as they say it is not the destination that matters, it’s the journey and how well the journey prepares one to step up to what awaits at the destination and this is a journey you’re destined to enjoy.  Visit for tickets.

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Gangubai Kathiawadi: Bollywood Movie Review

Based on a chapter of Hussain Zaidi’s book “Mafia Queens of Mumbai”, film “Gangubai Kathiawadi” revolves around the life of Gangubai Kothewali, who rose to fame and prominence, during 1960s and came to be known as the “Madam of Kamathipura”, the famous red light district of Mumbai. The film premiered at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival and was then released in theaters on February 25, 2022 and is produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Jayantilal Gada and Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. I never mention before completion of the review, but I will make an exception and say that this is an absolutely beautiful and “must watch” movie for any serious movie enthusiasts. 

This is a biographical film and is loosely based on the life of Ganga Harjivandas, who was born into a reputed Kathiawadi family in Gujarat, in 1938. She had dreams of city life and having found the love of her life, at a young age of 16, she married and eloped with Ramnik Lal to Mumbai. That is when her life’s trajectory changed. Ramnik Lal sold her to a brothel for a paltry Rs. 500 and she was forced to enter the oldest trade in human history.

Ganga eventually emerged as Gangubai and became a powerful brothel owner herself. At a time when feminism wasn’t even a concept, Gangubai emerged as a voice for these women, and she demanded they get equal treatment, opportunities for their children, and legalization of their profession. Alia Bhatt has exceeded all expectations in the role of Ganga, as she evolves into Gangubai. When starring in a biopic, the actor is familiar with the story of the events that took place in the character’s life. But it is only an actor who can put life into the evolution of the character and bring to life their journey. This is the journey of how a young girl with dreams of starting her married life dealt with that betrayal, accepted the fact that there was absolutely no escape for her and to change her circumstances, she needed to change herself and get an upper hand over the life that was thrown at her.

Every dialog that Gangubai says, is uttered with masterful theatrics by Alia. 

When challenging her competitor in local elections, without a shred of doubt about her own potential win, Gangubai says, “ज़मीन पे बैठी बहोत अच्छी लग रही है तू, आदत दाल ले, क्यों की तेरी कुर्सी तो गयी”.

As she riles up her girls she says, “इज्जत से जीनेका, किसीसे डरनेका नहीं,  ना पोलिस से, ना मंत्री से, ना MLA से, ना भड़वो से, किसी के बाप से नहीं डरने का”. 

And “genius वोह नहीं होता है जिसके पास हर सवाल का जवाब हो, genius वोह होता है जिसके पास हर जवाब तक पहोंचनेका patience हो”.

And “अरे जब सकती, सम्पति, सदबुद्धी तीनो ही औरत है तो मर्दो को किस बात का गुरुर”?

Bhansali has said, “That belief in herself and that fight for dignity is what fascinated me” but then his challenge was to extract it out of his actors. Brilliant director that he is, the movie is incredibly emotionally and visually rich, with every scene loaded with meaning. When Gangubai finds a lover, she is skeptical at first and tests him to see if he respects boundaries. And then comes a surreal moment when she simply rests her head on her lover’s shoulder and in that moment her skepticism, the load of betrayal that she has carried for years on her shoulders, melts into deep love and trust towards this man. There are so many moments that portray genuine humanness, whether it is about aggression, betrayal, defiance, distrust, or concern and caring. And there are incredibly powerful dances by Alia to the beat of drums and songs that connect Gangubai to her Kathiwadi roots but also to her present. In the song Dholida, Alia dances with abandon, to the praise of Goddess Amba, powerful and savior of all. One can’t think of anything more apt. The lyrics go…

ખમ્મા, ખમ્મા મારી માવલડી
તું છે જગની તારણહાર
હે, ચોટીલા ના ડુંગરવાળી
ચંડી ચામુંડા બિરદારી

Item number by Huma Qureshi is also fantastic. Ajay Devgun as underworld Don and Seema Pahwa as brothel madam are fantastic. What is guaranteed to make the entire movie a memorable experience is Alia’s masterful performance during the speech she gave towards the end of the movie, where content meets creativity, actor becomes the character, words hold deep meaning and performance manifests it. 

As the person introducing her is about say Shrimati and then stops, apparently struggling how to introduce a brothel owner, Gangubai takes the mic from her and begins,

“कुंवारी आपने छोड़ा नहीं, श्रीमती किसीने बनाया नहीं”

She ends with, “लिख देना कल के अखबारमे, के आज़ाद मैदानमे भासन देते वख्त, गंगूबाईने आँखे झुकाकर नहीं, आँखे मिलाकर हक़ की बात की है भाई”. Looking straight ahead, Gangubai told the women gathered to protect women’s rights, “A few handful of women who cater to the physical needs of men are actually protecting all of you from being attacked. These women help blunt the bestial male aggression and they deserve legal protection and their children have a right to get education and other opportunities”. 

On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being excellent, I rate this movie 5.

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Eeb Allay Ooo! – Bollywood Movie Review

Movie Review for #EebAllayOoo! #Bollywood Film

In his Directorial debut film, “Eeb Allay Ooo!” Prateek Vats manages to tackle an odd subject that has also become an increasingly annoying problem, with some serious consequences; the overwhelming presence of the monkeys in the bustling India’s capital city of Delhi. These primate cousins of ours have multiplied over the years and are corrupted by humans. Due to Hanumanji (the monkey God who helped Rama in the EPIC story Mahabharat), monkeys are considered sacred and revered. Being fed by humans, the monkeys become bolder. When they get hungry, instead of foraging for food, they attack humans and steal food or even snatch their bags when they can.

This movie is a satire on blind religiousity so prevalent in India, that in the practice of archaic beliefs and customs, people often forget the impact these rituals cause on the society. In fact, very recently in January, 2022, when a monkey died of cold, 1500 people attended his funeral and chanted prayers and mantras and a few men even shaved off their heads in reverence towards the dead ancestor.

The film begins with the protagonist Anjani (Shardul Bhardwaj) walking around the city of Delhi, making funny noises to chase away the monkeys. It starts as a common story of a migrant worker who comes to the city chasing big dreams and gets a job chasing the monkeys. He lives in a small hut with his sister, far beyond the city limits. Even as he attempts to chase away the monkeys, he sees people coming and feeding the monkeys. 

Even though he needs the money and the job desperately, the absurdity of futile effort in this ridiculous job is not lost on Anjani. And to top it off, the monkeys get used to the sounds and stop being afraid and then they don’t look kindly on being chased. These monkeys then become aggressive and attack the workers who try to chase them away, while they are enticed with food by other humans.

Also interesting is the poignant contrast between the lives of the poor and the wealthy. The poor work on silly and often dangerous jobs and live on the outskirts of the city, in crowded slums, while trying to hang on to the periphery of society. While the wealthy live luxurious lives with pomp and circumstance. Poor people are deeply aware of the contrast between their lifestyles, but the wealthy are completely ignorant of how people live on the edge of the city in crowded slums. These poor workers are sometimes saddled with responsibilities by their superiors who have no idea of the havoc they sometimes cause. For instance, Anjani’s brother-in-law works as a  security guard and is issued a rifle, which should supposedly make him feel important. However, now that poor fellow has to balance and carry that rifle on his bicycle to and from work, and keep it safely and securely in his hut, which lacks all kinds of basic amenities and neighbors and others can easily walk in and out.

This is an excellent low budget film with Bhardwaj giving a masterful performance that shows the entire range of what life represents for him and others in his situation; clinging on with desperation to his futile job, interspersed with moments of mischief and affection towards his bossy elder sister.  This film is a valiant attempt to lift a migrant worker out of obscurity and give him personality and a sense of identity. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being excellent, I give the film a rating of 4.7. I loved it.

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