Category Archives: Film & Sundry trivia

What is forgiveness? And how do I get some?

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A film dialogue got me thinking recently.

When you pray for forgiveness, does god give you forgiveness or does he give opportunities to fogive?

When you ask for courage, does god give you courage or does he give you opportunities to be courageous?

That’s perhaps a better way to approach all the things you don’t like in your life. As an opportunity to do something new, different and entirely doable.

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The end of the beginning…

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.. in only one sense..

What happens when you are watching a movie that you loved as a child (or even a teenager) and now all you can think is how sexist the movie is? All you can hear is the misogynistic dialogue and  see the ridiculous hopeless scenarios and wonder if all childhood memories will get thus destroyed?

I  mean this specifically only for romcoms I enjoyed as a young(er) girl. Of course it is not a lost cause but now when I watch the movies, they inflame me. I hate how they perpetuate the happy endings which depend on men.  I hate how they make women feel redundant for not being with a man. I hate how the only validation they show is in how you attract a man.  This I used to think only applied to old English movies but turns out even Hindi movies fail the nostalgia test.

And then today after many years I watched another movie I loved from my school days. It was, inexplicably, called Thoda Sa Roomani Ho Jaye. All I remembered of the movie was how it made me feel that many years ago and I was all prepared for it to destroy my memory.

But little did I know that the movie was something that should have seen  a better release.  It is perhaps a movie that applied back then and applies even today. It questions the concept of normal and norms and beauty and dreams. It shows us how unless you believe you are something, the world owes you nothing. The lovely lilting dialogue and the amazing soundtrack. The best part? I love the movie even more today.

The title taketh..

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.. all the drama from the movies.

One big advantage of being unemployed (or as is politically correct now, self employed) is that I see a lot more of television. That’s when I noticed the profusion of dubbed films sweeping so many Hindi movie channels. I have always had an eclectic taste in Hindi movies but these were movies even I could not sit through.

I realise that dubbing films is a really a big business and many a studio sustains itself only on this line of business but would it be too much to spend a little time on the title?

I never thought twice about ‘Lohe ka Aadmi, 2‘ but then came the long list of Tamil/ Telugu dubbed into Hindi movies on so many of the channels that I started waiting for these movies with glee, just to get my thrill quota from the title.

I present for your reading pleasure only.. for the watching you will have to scour the channels yourself.

The Power Man Dharamveer

The Return of Khuda Gawah

Meri Jung – One Man Army

Aaj Ka Naya Khiladi

Tezaab the Terror

Great Dharmatma

Don No 1

Narasimha The Powerful Man

Trishul The Weapon Never Fails

Main Hoon Rakhwala

Aandhi Toofan

Surrogate mothers and popular media

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A few weeks ago, a new serial started on one of the regional channels  (Zee Marathi) called Anubandh. The reason I know it is because it replaced another really popular serial and my parents had to watch to see if it could fit into the now-freed time slot.

This serial revolves around the subject of surrogacy. I was pleasantly surprised that at a prime time slot when the channel could have had another reality or show and vacuous loud saas bahu show, it chose a sensitive and a not-often discussed topic in serials.

Often in movies and serials, the moment the wife cannot have a baby, she grandly gives her husband prompt permission to go sleep with another woman, to make babies. Why they never give surrogacy a chance I used to wonder? But seeing all that hysteria, I thought, surrogacy would not lend itself to much drama.

Coming back to Anubandh, (the word my mother tells me means a bond but seeing the opening montage, I am guessing it means a strong, invisible or unbreakable bond, like perhaps between a baby and a mother) I was actually glad to watch this serial, thinking maybe change in content was slow but but surely there.

But it’s been a little under a month and the stereotypes are beginning to show:

  • A girl who drinks/smokes/goes dancing/wears ‘mod’ clothes is inherently termed bad. “She doesn’t have our values.” They say.
  • The famous ‘bad’ girl who wants to be the surrogate mother is asked by the doctor if her parents gave her permission (she is single). She  has chosen to not to seek permission from them (in keeping with her bad image). The doctor then asks her is her boyfriend ‘allowed’ her to have this baby then? What’s this obsession with permissions?
  • The woman who cannot have a baby does not look beyond that one baby, to validate her marriage and relationship. Everything else pales in comparison. Even her husband, for whom this is as much an ordeal, is not important. So much so that now  she needs mood-altering pills to keep calm, to interview surrogate mothers.

The one stereotype they have not yet emphasised on is a ‘single girl’ choosing to have a baby. But I have a feeling it will come up because the protagonist will have the baby and she is the complete anti-thesis of the girl mentioned in the earlier points. But, no that has not come as yet. Which was also a nice surprise.

I have hope that maybe they are building up stereotypes to bring them crashing down? Here is a movie that was reasonably well-made on the subject of surrogacy.

Deeply entrenched conditioning

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I never thought about how parenting and its roles really affect decisions made by parents.

Read this story on Marie Claire (link courtesy)and then followed a blog link from that story and realised judgmental societies can be on mothers, and even parents. How much we, as society, expect mothers to be and give up.

For the longest time I always assumed when parents separated, the mother would be given custody. I even disagreed with this movie way back in college.  I never stopped to think about the conditioning behind that thought.

I don’t know when quite that mindset changed. I guess seeing friends who went on to become great fathers helped me to change that.

Today I am slowly evolving to think about how being a mother is just another role a woman plays, like a sister or a wife or a daughter. But often it overtakes all other roles. Conditioning today shows me that most women who become mothers feel very guilty about taking time for themselves.

I have cousins and friends who take breaks, leaving their children with their grandparents. It’s fantastic. They don’t resent all the time taking care of their children and even get some TLC, without only having to give. And I love that attitude. It allows children to get to know relatives better, appreciate time with parents better and perhaps become all rounded individuals.

Once long ago, in an old office, a colleague who was a psychologist has a told a mother when she was feeling bad that her son cried while going to school.. ‘The more you feel guilty, the more your child will exploit that. Your child can sense you feel bad when he cries, so he will cry whenever he wants to get his way. But you still have to do what you have to do.’

That is something perhaps a mother may not be able to accept but seeing all those fake tears on little babies (which are admittedly cute and unnerving at the same time), I can completely believe it.

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My mother often remarks, “What will I do once both you and your sister leave home?” Do what you did before we came along, is my answer. She seems stumped at that. I (not always gently) try to remind her of the time she had hobbies and interests and did different things. But her thought process is short term. She only sees emptiness.

I see an opportunity. For her to be able to travel or read or paint or do whatever her mind tells her to. But seems to have stopped listening to it. Do all parents become like this?

I have friends who make  cases for both sides of this argument. I veer more to the side retaining individual space but then am not a mother and am told that influences my opinion. I have the ideal view of parenting and it’s not easy to do, parents say. But since I see people do it around me just the same, I don’t get the fuss.

(Cartoon courtsey)