Category Archives: Film & Sundry trivia

My obsession with Sita

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My obsession started long ago, much before I realised I was named after this goddess and someone remarked that that community never names their girls after Sita — since she suffered so much. And turns out the building I live in is named after one of her children.  But trivia apart, Sita still fascinates me.

It all came together one day when one friend was narrating a conversation she had with someone else. This friend had an arranged marriage with an unconventional beginning and today had a smooth relationship with her husband.

She leads a life like any of us do — works, runs a house how she feels like (doesn’t feel compelled to cook in short), has her friends, does her thing, spends money as she feels fit. Her friend mentioned to her how great it was that her husband treats her well and lets her do what she wants.

It rankled when I heard this but I thought may be the person making the observation truly had a bad relationship. This conversation came to me out of the Dubai. Subsequently I heard of another similar conversation between two women, one telling the other how great it was that her husband let her do what she wanted and gave her space to do what she wanted. This came from the US.

I kept thinking so maybe couples are stuck in a time warp abroad trying to preserve their Indianess and not really questioning the very roles they claim defined them. Then someone in Mumbai mentioned how it was great her husband let her work, let her do what she wanted and even let her decorate their house.

Somewhere along the way I lost my cool. I kept asking the last one who said this to me, what was so great if he treated you well??!!! Wasn’t it normal behaviour? She turns around and tell me, it’s okay for people like you to talk like that.

The silenced me. People like me? Unmarried was the first thought that crossed my mind but she said feminist. Or rather murmured it. And that stumped me. I didn’t think I was the feminist types. But if not being grateful for good behaviour from your partner is feminism, I guess I am a flag-bearing, card-carrying member.

I always get into trouble for this but whenever I have a conversation I am not satisified with, I replay the conversation with someone else, who I think can give me another point of view. So who else but a man.

He agreed with me that yes women place far too much faith in one person who happens to be their husband. Women today are very independent and take on so many decisive roles. Even after marriage they are usually more available for their ageing parents than sons but these women still glad when their husbands treat them well.

So why this conditioning? Why this gratefulness? Why this abject thankful attitude for something that should be a given?

A professor friend mentioned it to me in passing that it has perhaps been handed down to us in our mythology itself. Sita, the wife every woman aspires to be, is often the ideal myth. To be the ever-sacrificing, pious and pure wife.

That brought me to Ram. As mythology goes, to me he is flawed. Instead of encouraging his praja to think in a fair manner, he abandoned his wife. Maryada Purshottam aside, this itself makes him less of a king.

And to worship to the woman who still treated him like he did no wrong cannot be the best situation. Her other avatars where she stands up for her rights and rights the wrongs are better myths to follow.

But then I chanced upon  some reading material and one neat movie that made it clear that while Sita may be what she was, contemporary times were slowly revisiting her myth too.

The book Retelling the Ramayana is a powerful book in that sense because Ram faces censure from his own for abandoning his pregnant wife. And other female characters from the Ramayana who are strong voices but have been rendered mute in the patriachal tale.

And then there was the movie: Sita Sings the Blues. I don’t know how I missed it all these years. But I chanced on it here and caught the whole movie online. And realised it was possible to view Sita in a different light. Another opinion, that has also made a popular feminist icon, is that though independent of thought and action, she still let her man make her decisions.

While some may point out that it is a bad example to set, others also say that it was finally she who took the all-important decision of  asking Mother Earth to consume her. She abandoning him, not the other way around, which should have been the focus. I guess it’s easier to look at the smaller picture and think of how he abandoned her at her most trying time.

Somehow I forget now why I was so angry when I started this post. It lay in the ‘Drafts’ section for a while and now that I am ready to post it, I realise,  there isn’t any anger any more.

And for those who are interested in Sita, check out this movie. All four characters have names of the goddess and four stories are about women empowerment (with Bollywoodisation I guess).

A weekend of surreal movies

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I often get a lot of flack for my choice of movies which leads to resultant arguments. I can’t always walk away from those arguments.

In the recent past it has been for movies like Tashan and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom which have caused massive arguments.. anyway.

This last weekend I took the Friday off  and spent the next three days watching movies I hadn’t seen in many, many years. I miss my neighbourhood video walla and wish Pallika Bazaar was closer:

Inaam Dus Hazaar: This is an all-time favourite and a copy of Hitchcock’s North By Northwest. I remember being extremely intrigued with the famous twist in this movie and had, unfortunately, seen the hindi movie first. Nothing to beat Cary Grant in the original with the famous ‘swoop‘ scene.

Neeyat: I would often mix this movie up with another Shashi Kapoor film Fakira but seeing this one again… an editor gets killed squeezed between floors.. absolutely delicious. And three men in love with the same woman. I enjoyed it thoroughly.. for the nth time.

Ghar Ho To Aisa: There were a lot of movies in this ‘Aisa’ series.. Biwi, Bhai, etc etc. This is a particular favourite and funnily it was shown thrice over the weekend. Must have been an Anil Kapoor favourite too. It’s basically about dowry and bad mother-in-laws and emancipating women. With the 80s favourite Meenakshi Sheshadri, I think I can even hum the songs along. I know!

Laatsaab: A whodunit of sorts, I caught this late at night. On a channel called ‘Zee Action’. Neat songs (very peppy and Bhappida-like) and a girl (Neelam) who romances boy (Jackie Shroff) from beyond the grave. A. K Hangal plays a very strange villain. Hmmm.

Chasme Baddoor: This, of course, needs no justification. Or explanation. Like any from its time — Katha and Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron. There is another am yet to see in a while.. Thoda Sa Roomani Ho Jaye.. very unlike comedy-cum-romance.

Kaash: Even looked like a Mahesh Bhatt film and explored some aspects of marriages and rearing children well but as was the case with all films there, production value was quite bad. Nice songs and even better chemistry between Jackie and Dimple.

Another long weekend coming up on the 26th. Are you listening you channel programmers?

He also writes about interesting Hindi films.

The first family?

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You know what struck me today?

That Amitabh Bachchan and his family (and possible additions too) make it to the papers at least once (if not more) every day.

Whether its Amitabh returning to Kolkata (today’s Bombay Times last page) or Mrs Bachchan ignoring her fractured ankle or whether Abhishek should be featured on a poster etc. .. and thats all I read today.

I can only imagine the PR agency brief:

There should be an appearance at least in one paper every day.

Prefereably a page one on gossip supplements – at least once a week if not more frequently.

All colour pages only.

Please maintain a file ..

Tra-a-ala-la

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I saw the new Bond movie… and if my blogpost title is anything to go by… I lurrvvved it… He is rugged with a bleeding heart and sometimes dead pan eyes and lovely dimples and well.. thats all… because of some real shoddy editing😉

And while I defend the movie (again for liking it)… poo-poo to those who don’t … u aren’t a true blue Bond fan then… and here is why it is a good film…

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Just my initial observations to watching a movie in the first row(almost) on an old single-screen cinema.

A crick in the neck
Really large tears (making a distinct plopping sound)
Big pores – some clogged with makeup and some without
shiny pink lips with an unnatural amount of gloss
Unyieldy bits of lint on clothes of the actors
Weird frozen and slightly vacant expressions