Bollywood! False Masculinity And Abuse of Women

One of the most vibrant movies of Sridevi, Chaalbaaz was on Zee Classic over the weekend. Watching Sridevi on screen has always been a delight. But ever since her untimely death, it has been all the more hard to resist watching her movies, knowing that such magic cannot be recreated again.

I don’t know how many times I would have watched Chaalbaaz as a kid. I have it memorized. My mother and I were discussing how we like Seeta Aur Geeta more than Chaalbaz. Father disagreed. He said Sridevi’s acting was far beyond excellence.   I went to the kitchen and missed a scene. My father called out to me, “Did you just see that? He grabbed her hair!”

I quickly ran back to the living room. Here was an angry Sunny Deol grabbing Sridevi by her hair. Reason: He thought he had seen her (her twin) with Rajnikanth, walking together!

He said to her something like, “Main to tumse sharafat se baat kar raha hoon. Aisa karne se to yahaan qatal ho jate hain”.

What a shareef guy! He did not kill her! Just abused her verbally and physically!

He said it so matter-of-factly as if killing a woman for cheating was a rule and not killing her was nice of him! Sharing the link. Scroll to 2:04.

All these movies I loved as a kid have been completely ruined for me now. Violence against women was so normalized! The recent killing of a woman who was stabbed multiple times, and its coverage in media brings us back to the stone age.

I was reading through some of the comments of how some men believed that when a guy cares and loves a woman so much, spends all his money on her, yet she leaves him or cheats on him what is he supposed to do! Some men even wrote that there is no place for “nice guys” in this world that has been taken over by “faminists”!

Unfortunately, relationships don’t come with a guarantee card. As unfair as it may be, people can leave. At any time. Men. Or women. If a woman cheats on you, please feel free to leave her. But her life is not yours to take.

I remember having a conversation with two of my male colleagues about an article I had written on “honour killing”. These two educated, modern-looking men who I interacted with daily, had lunch with argued that “in that situation any man would feel so angry that he would want to kill the woman!”  One of the the guys said that if his long – term girlfriend  cheats on him, his first reaction would be to kill her too! Obviously, the women were shocked. So these guys ended up changing their statements later. They said we misunderstood. They were just trying to speak from the killer’s perspective, what goes in his head!!!

Bollywood has created so much crap during my childhood that took so long to unlearn. It did much damage to our mindsets. The fact that I do not remember this scene as something objectionable means I probably found it okay. I remember another movie in which Aamir Khan had slapped Madhuri Dixit and he now truly regrets being part of such show of false sense of masculinity. Not only this, women like me also grew up believing we deserve abuse!

Mindsets take time to change. But  some people love to be stuck in the 13th century even today.

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Yeh Mausam Chale Gaye To Hum Fariyaad Kareinge

Like most people who woke up to this news today, I thought it was a hoax. The whatsapp groups were flooded. And so was the Facebook Newsfeed. Few searches on Google confirmed it. When I switched on the news channels, it was so real.

In sapnon ki tasveeron se, in yaadon ki zanjeeron se Apne dil ko kaise, hum azad kareinge

When I was in school, my elder sister and her best friend had a fan club of Sridevi Vs Madhuri Dixit respectively.  I guess our generation was lucky enough to have two reigning female superstars. I usually copied my sister for everything. But this was one of the times I would make my own choice.

“I like Madhuri Dixit even more than Sridevi”. I would say. Hum Aapke Hain Kaun was my favourite movie. And Salman Khan was my favourite hero.

My earliest memories of Sridevi’s movies is of my sister telling me the story in a nutshell. I watched them much later in life. Or probably I had watched them when I was younger. But I understood them much later. Because they were all so meaningful.

Sachcha Koi Sapna Deja Mujhko Koi Apna Deja

A child will not understand the meaning of this song. When you grow up, you would understand how loneliness will make you crave for just anyone…Yes. Anyone!

Koi Kash Dil Pe Zara Hath Rakh Le Mere Dil Ke Tukdoh Ko Ik Sath Kar Le

Was it just me who sympathized more with Vinod Khanna in the last scene?

Main to hoon pagal munda, tu hai meri soni kudi. Yaaaah

Army was one of those movies that was not as famous as her other ones. But I just loved this song! There was another movie called Mr. Bechara. Again one of the lesser known ones. It would come on television frequently . I loved that one too. It had a funny song, “Lage mujhe sundar har ladki. Ho paise wali ya kadki.” I liked that song also because I believed that Sridevi finds all girls pretty. She would find me pretty too if she ever meets me.

Another not so famous movie that I would watch on television was Aulaad!  I used to feel so bad for both the mothers. I don’t even remember the ending.

When Laadla had come out, I had learnt something new. “You understand. You better understand!”  Whenever I would fight with my sister  I would end the argument with that statement. I had loved the last scene of the movie when Sridevi becomes all domesticated, wears a sari and says to Anil Kapoor while handing over a tiffin box “Shaam ko ghar jaldi aayega”. (I was too young to be a feminist then).. 

But I think my favourite movie of Sridevi remains Lamhe.

Tera man tarsa re, paani kyun barsa re, tune kisko yaad kiya

“Anil Kapoor loves Sridevi. She dies. Then her daughter grows up and falls in love with him!” – My sister had told me the story.

“What!” I had replied. Way ahead of its times, this was a masterpiece! Every scene was a visual treat. It was again one of those movies I watched and understood after becoming a teenager. No woman from our generation had completed school without dancing to ‘Morni baga maa bole aadhi raat maa’.

I love all the songs from that movie. They are in my pen drive. And downloaded from Gaana too. For me ‘Kabhi main kahoon’ would be one of the most romantic song ever.

Beauty. Acting. Dancing. Grace. Can any actress of this generation even compare?

Hotho se honth mile na bhale chahe mile na bahe bahon se, do dil zinda reh sakte hain chahat ki bhari nigaho se  

The answer is No. They can wear the skimpiest clothes possible. And do a 100 kissing scenes. They will not look half as sensuous as Sridevi in her plain red sari and white sari.

Actresses do a come-back after a break. Their movies are at best forgettable. Sridevi gave us English Vinglish.

“Mujhe pyaar ki kami nahi hai. Bus thodi izzat chahiye.” Every woman could relate.  Navrai majhi became the national wedding anthem.

I had to write a review for Mom. I had  watched it within a day of release.  When I wrote the first draft of the review, I had gone completely carried away by Sridevi’s performance. I had written that the scene in which she sees her daughter in the hospital for the first time should be shown in acting schools as a lesson on how to emote grief. I had dedicated some two – three paragraphs on how Sridevi is the best! Nobody can match her in any way!  I was asked to rework. I had completely overlooked the word limit and spoiler consideration! But such is the impact Sridevi had on everyone.

Why did she have to go?

 Main vaapas aaunga mai vaapas aaunga, jaa rahaa hun mai yahaan jaan apni chhod  ke 

My heart goes out to her young daughters whose lives have not even begun yet.  Mona Kapoor had also passed away just before Arjun’s Kapoor debut release. The same thing happened to Jahanvi.

Judaai judaai kabhi aaye na judaai.

The people who are commenting about drugs, surgeries, pressure to look slim that “killed her”, please have some respect. She has not even been laid to rest yet. She is not alive to refute you or speak for herself.  Just because she is famous does not mean her death is for you and me to  analyse. She is a person who died. Leaving behind a family.

Bijli girane main hoon aayi, kehte hain mujhko hawa hawai

Sridevi ji, you will be the only Diva for me, and for millions of others. Your eyes. Your smile. Your face, your grace.  Your dance. Your movies. You acted at a time when people used to comment on how some heroines look better in Indian vs Western. You were exquisite in both. Your acting was mesmerizing  in the last two movies of your life, as it was 10-20 years ago. You played your age. And you did it beautifully.  You had beauty. You had substance. You had talent. You were born to shine.

I had blogged  after Reema Lagoo ji had passed away. I will say it again.  Everything good associated with my childhood is gone.

Ye lamhe ye pal hum, barson yaad karenge, yeh mausam chale gaye to, hum fariyaad kareinge.

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Padman: Dragged In The Second Half, But A Good One Overall

I watched Padman yesterday.

I had watched a video of Arunachalam Muruganantham  before Twinkle Khanna had come up with her book or Akshay Kumar with the movie. It was very impactful.   It is not easy to did what he did.  I have immense respect for him. Since, I had seen his story, I knew that a lot of things shown in the movie was in fact true.

I love Akshay Kumar! I think a lot of girls had a crush on him since the ‘Chura ke dil mera goriiya chali’ days. I feel his career graph has been amazing. Commercial success along with a social message is not an easy thing to achieve.  And he had done it with ‘Airlift, ‘Toilet’ etc. Movies that show how gratifying it is to think about something / someone other than us.

What worked for me:

  • The first half is quite entertaining. Interesting premise.
  • Radhika Apte was apt for her role! This is the first movie of hers that I have seen! I may have seen parts of Badlapur.
  • The audience would completely sympathise with Laxmi’s character. Poor guy is trying to help. He talks about logic and hygiene. But the stupid villagers are not willing to accept anything beyond their backward beliefs. I will not call them illiterate because even Arunachalam Muruganantham is a school dropout. Education is a good start but it does not guarantee anything. It is a lost cause on many! Our society is full of people who hold on to their regressive beliefs for dear life and do not care about much else. I guess it is a combination of ego, bullying by elders, hypocrisy, resistance to logic and unconditional love for stupidity!
  • When Laxmi’s “product” gets rejected by his wife as “bekar” or with other women being skeptical to try it on, you really feel for the guy. It reminded me of the movie, ‘Toilet’ when they had broken the washroom he had contracted within his house! It was such a nice washroom with tiles and even a jet spray faucet!!
  • The way women are treated during “those days” is well depicted in the movie. Even so called modern, women (who have access to sanitary napkins) are not allowed to visit temples or performing pujas during periods. People do not realize that these rules were made at a time when there no access to hygiene. They do not apply anymore.
  • Radhika Apte (Gayatri)’s dialogue “Hum aurateein ke liye bimari se marna, sharam se marne se behtar hai.”.  I think stupidity may the biggest disease in India!
  • There is a scene in which Gayatri leaves her husband is back to her brother’s house because everybody (including she herself) thinks Laxmi is crazy. There, her Bhabhi falls down in the bathroom. Her brother taunts his wife for being fat, eating too much and breaking the pipe as the poor woman is struggling in pain. Gayatri looks at her insensitive, rude, mean, brother in horror who is a contrast to her husband, who was so sweet and caring. This was a very impactful scene. Girls, we may fight with our boyfriends, husbands for whatever reason but ultimately if your guy treats you nicely and cares for you, it is what matters. There are enough horrible men like this idiot!

What did not work for me:

  • Sonam Kapoor! I don’t know why she was there in the movie. The one-sided love angle was completely forced and unnecessary. The movie dragged in the second half. I don’t know why Bollywood always has to have two women to show contrast between the gaon ki gori, bholi bhali girl vs the modern, English speaking shehar ki ladki. Sonam Kapoor (Pari) is playing herself. A privileged woman with an accent who says “Ashir what?” There was a girl from the medical college who was sympathetic towards Lakshmi. I think it would have been more credible if Sonam’s role was given to her.
  • Pari’s father is a widower who raised her alone. He cooks for her, and they both seem to have a very honest, friendly relationship. In an absurd dialogue he says to Laxmi, “Baap hone ka asli ehsaas / maza maa ban kar hi aata hai!” “Aur mard hone ka asli maza aurat ho ka ata hai”. The writers may be trying to make a progressive movie but they carry their gender stereotypes to work. A father cannot cook for her daughter! If he is doing so he is being like a mother! Wow! Why can’t we just let good fathers be good fathers! They can be appreciated as fathers also.
  • Laxmi’s speech towards the end should not have been made so comic. I did not find it funny but annoying, and corny. What I did find funny was Sonam Kapoor’s kiss before, and an unsuccessful attempt after! It was not romantic. It made me laugh. Why Bollywood! Why!

Towards the last 15 minutes I was just waiting for the movie to be over. Maybe the movie dragged. Maybe I should not go for a night show! Maybe when Akshay Kumar was delivering his ‘Linglish’ speech, all I could think of was the original Padman’s speech. I could not find the video which I had seen years ago, but I did find this Ted Talk link.  Do watch it. He talks about how after making lots of money, people think about philanthropy. Why not do it from he start! Very inspirational video.

Overall, I understand that spreading a message is important. But in order to reach more people, our Bollywood keeps commercial success and  commercial constraints in mind! Chalo koi nahi. What is important is that now everybody knows Arunachalam Muruganantham. A great man who did what probably no other man could. And who does not care about money! Respect! What is important is we are breaking the taboo around periods. Bollywood, we forgive your flaws, as long as the cause is good. Padman is definitely better than most Bollywood movies!

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An Open Letter To Ms. Swara Bhaskar – A Response To Padmaavat

Dear Ms. Bhaskar,

I used to be a fan of you. You  were terrific in Raanjhana (a movie that validated stalking)  and Tanu Weds Manu – I and II.  I loved your acting. In ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’ when you said, “Ghar wala sab dimag kharab kar diya tha, 4 saal ho gaya hai. Bachcha nahi ho raha hai, kyun nahi ho raha hai” or “Tanu ne to aajevan kuch sahi nahi kiya hai” I felt like YOU Swara Bhaskar are such a sensible, funny, relatable person.

It is a mistake that we often make as an audience. We fall in love with the character and forget that it is just cinema and an actor playing a role. Probably the same mistake you made when you as an audience watched ‘Padmaavat’. You probably did not realize that Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the director had made a movie. A period film. Set in the 13th century.

I watched the movie yesterday. At a time when your open letter became old news. And the latest from you was:

“There’s a real problem of intolerance of opinion in India. We see difference of opinion as dissent and dissent as sedition.

Everything is in my letter. I stand 100 percent with what I said,”

I am so sorry that you “felt reduced to a vagina” after watching the movie. Before watching the movie I had thought your statement was out of context and therefore, stupid. But after watching the movie, I thought it was not just stupid, but judgmental and insensitive. In your own words:

“It would be nice if the vaginas are respected; but in the unfortunate case that they are not, a woman can continue to live. She need not be punished with death, because another person disrespected her vagina without her consent.”

Ofcourse. Could not agree more. I just cannot place it in the context of 13th century. How many men were there – reaching the castle “ready to disrespect the vagina” of these women? Hundreds? Thousands? Lakhs?  I cannot tell but what I did understand was there were many. Ruthless. Violent. Obsessive. Merciless, entitled men. What would these men have done to these women?  Not once. Not twice. But for the remainder of their lives? Who did they have for support? The men they knew were already killed. The women they know would become sex slaves themselves.  They did not have the option to pop an I-pill. Or go to court. Or go to a counsellor for support.  Or a hospital for abortion.  Or treatment. There would be no journalists or ordinary,  aware citizens trying to get them justice in case the legal system failed them. It was the time of war.  Entire kingdoms were wiped out.

“I felt my existence was illegitimate because God forbid anything untoward happened to me, I would do everything in my power to sneak out of that fiery pit– even if that meant being enslaved to a monster like Khilji forever.”

Madam, you sound so judgmental and insensitive. It is very easy to watch a movie in the 21st century and say that YOU would have done something else. I do not think it was so simple to “sneak out”. I do not think it was so simple to be “enslaved to a monster like Khilji forever.” The women chose death because it was a better option that being raped all their lives with EVERYONE they could reach out to for love or support gone.  Does not sound like a life anyone would like to lead.

“No Sir; Rajasthan in the 13th century with its cruel practices is merely the historical setting of the ballad you have adapted into the film Padmaavat. The context of your film is India in the 21st century; where five years ago, a girl was gang-raped brutally in the country’s capital inside a moving bus. She didn’t commit suicide because her honour had been desecrated, Sir. She fought her six rapists. She fought them so hard that one of those monsters shoved an iron rod up her vagina. She was found on the road with her intestines spilling out. Apologies for the graphic details, Sir, but this is the real ‘context’ of your film.”

You would have felt happy if Mr. Bhansali had changed the ending and infact shown a gory account of the women getting raped, yet surviving? Do you think that would have been an empowered ending? Or you wanted him to forget the time period completely – and show a legal recourse and them getting justice? You had said that you had supported the movie until you watched it. I don’t know what you were expecting in the end? You thought the johar angle would have been changed and that was the suspense factor of the movie?  I do not understand what you were thinking.

I do not think the movie was misogynist and it did not portray women as weak. The Rani was smart. She strategized. She did not listen blindly to her husband. She fooled Khilji with her intelligence. She ignored the men and did what she felt was right.  Khilji’s wife was also shown  taking a decision herself, defying her husband’s wish. And after watching all of this, you felt reduced to a vagina? Madam, that is  EXACTLY what the Rani and the rest of the women would have been reduced to, if they had not committed jauhar – a vagina.

“You will say that you put out a disclaimer at the beginning of the film claiming that the film did not support Sati or Jauhar. Sure Sir, but you followed that up with a two-hour-45-minute-long paean on Rajput honour, and the bravery of honourable Rajput women who chose happily to sacrifice their lives in raging flames, than to be touched by enemy men who were not their husbands but were incidentally Muslim.”

Two of my closest friends are incidentally of a different religion.  They watched the movie before I did.  We discussed the movie. They told me the movie was not as good as Bajirao Mastani. They said it got  a little too long. They told me that the girl who played Khilji’s wife, Aditi Rao looked prettier than Deepika. I did not seem to remember who she was. They told me that she is the girl in the song, Ankhiyon ne likhe love letter,’ a song which I love. They also told me that the girl who played the first wife of the Raja was in the recent movie, ‘Tiger Zinda hai.’  I joked that thankfully Mr. Bhansali did not make Deepika and Aditi dance together.  They did not say anything about being offended because Khilji was shown in the bad light. Maybe they have read about him. Maybe they are not ignorant. Maybe we do not find unnecessary reasons to spread communal hate in a country that has already seen enough of it.  Maybe none of us saw what you saw.

There was a disclaimer in the beginning of the film that the movie does not support sati. You said it did not matter because the rest of the movie glorified it.

“Maybe in the 13th century that was the case, but in the 21st century we do not need to subscribe to these limiting ideas. We certainly do not need to glorify them.”

Madam, it was integral for the story line to glorify the jauhar given the time period. It was impactful. It was the truth.  It was history. Can you please tell me why in your own movie, ‘Raanjhana’ stalking was glorified? What was the excuse? That was fiction right? Set in the 21st century? The chances of young men getting influenced by that movie and stalking women is much higher than women getting inspired to kill themselves god forbid, if raped after watching this movie.  Why did not you not think about this when you agreed to be a part of Raanjhana?

  • “Women have the right to live, despite being raped sir.
  • Women have the right to live, despite the death of their husbands, male ‘protectors’, ‘owners’, ‘controllers of their sexuality’.. whatever you understand the men to be.
  • Women have the right to live — independent of whether men are living or not.
  • Women have the right to live. Period.”

I agree 100 percent. So, does Mr. Bhansali. He did not personally place the honour of these women in their vagina and decided that they should die in case it was violated. Neither did I. Nor did the people who disagreed with their views, who you called intolerant. But this movie was not about you and me. Women from the 21st century. It was a tribute to the women from the 13th century.   It was something that happened during that time. Horrific times. Times so nightmarish that jumping into fire seems less painful than the painful life that lies ahead of them. They did what they could. Something you and I cannot imagine. And cannot change.


A woman from the 21st Century who does not judge women from the 13th Century.



















Tera Mujhse Hai Pehle Ka Nata Koi….

I don’t know when the crush on Shashi Kapoor had started. All I remember was it was a pretty serious crush.

Le jayenge le jayenge diwale dulhaniya le jayenge

The dance moves in this song that would make you want to rebel and marry someone against your parents wishes.  Until I watched this song I loved that tiny bit of it sung during the movie Dilwale Dulhaniya le jayenge by Shah Rukh Khan during the antakshri song.

Jaane tu ya jaane na

The song that I did not know existed until I saw a movie starring Imran Khan and Genelia D’souza. It made me watch the movie Aa Gale lag jaa, which made me crazy about another song:

Waada karo nahi chodoge tum mera saath

Who said you could not fall in love while ice-skating?

Keh doon tumhein ya chup rahoon

This song was  known to me only through a remix version which started like ‘I just wanna be close to you. Show you the way I feel.’

Kabhi kabhi mere dil me khayal aata hai

The supporting husband in Kabhie kabhie or the helpless husband in Basera?

Yesterday I was playing these songs over and over again. He was so handsome. I had a family friend who looked like him – a married man twice my age with two kids. I would blush every time he came home. Thankfully, I am not in touch with him or his family and they don’t follow my blog. 🙂

Shashi Kapoor for me still remains the most handsome man of his generation or  even my generation . He will continue to be my only crush at an actor of those times.

A great life well lived and remembered.






Qarib Qarib Single – Refreshing and realistic

The name of the movie is Qarib Qarib Singlle. I thought it was Qarib Qarib Single Single. I enjoyed the movie in the first half thoroughly. Few good laughs. In the second half, I felt the movie lost its plot. Nonetheless, it was better than most Bollywood movies.

Yogi and Jaya meet through a dating website. Jaya is a 35-year-old widow. Yogi must be older. What is the romantic life like for a single woman in her mid-30’s in India? What is dating like through these mediums?

In a pro- nepotism industry where most love stories revolve around good-looking college students who magically fall in love over a series of songs shot across foreign locations, a realistic romantic plot revolving average people, in mid-30’s is a breath of fresh air. I will overlook all other parts of the movie which I could not relate to (like how come Yogi was rich!)

Here is what worked for me:

  • Jaya’s single life

The casting song captures Jaya’s lonely, uneventful, painfully boring life brilliantly. The highlights of her day are her skype chats with her brother. Doing well in her career, confident at work and hesitant about relationships. She spends time outside of work babysitting her friends’ kid, cats and paying for their shopping too. Her friends seem to be taking advantage of her.

I remember an episode of Sex and the city if which one of Carrie’s married friend with kids had shamed her for buying very expensive shoes. Her friend told her that she has a very lavish lifestyle, something which was a luxury for her – a woman with a family. Carrie counted how much money she has spent on her and her family so far – Wedding gifts, children’s birthday gifts etc. Story of all financially comfortable, single women. Little (big) things we buy for our friends and their kids are always measured against our “lack of real responsibilities” in life. I had written an article on this but never published it. I do not wish to get boycotted by all my married friends! 🙂

  • No efforts towards relationships

Jaya seems to have accepted her single status. She does not seem to be doing anything about meeting people until one of her friends reminds her that she might “regain her virginity”. This phase also comes in the lives of single women. Where they give up on men completely!

  • Dating sites

Jaya is hesitant to put her picture on the site. The moment her profile becomes active, she starts receiving all kinds on creepy messages.  It reinforces her belief that probably she should not have done anything! Something that has probably happened to all of us!

  • First meeting between Yogi and Jaya

Yogi looks extremely objectionable the first time Jaya sees him. It reminds me of the movie, ‘Life in a metro’, in which Konkana’ s character meets Irrfan’s character for the first time. She rejects him because he stares at her chest (something he later tries to justify to her)! In both these movies, Irrfan Khan looked weird to the women, and the audience the first time. However, as the story progresses the women saw the better side of him. Does that happen in real life too? Someone who we meet through a dating / matrimonial site is given second chances? What would happen if instead of being judgmental we would give them a chance?

  • The ex- factor

Both Yogi and Jaya seem hung on their exes. However, they don’t realize this about themselves, as much as they realize about each other. This for me is the number one biggest turn-off in a man!! A deal breaker!

  • Ex-lover turns into Mamaji

Yogi lives under the misconception that his exes are destroyed because of the break-up! He meets one of his exes, who is now happily married with her family. She introduces him to his children as “mamaji”. Yogi explains this happens in small-towns.

I know this is true. Non-lovers were put into “rakhi brother” categories, before the “friend-zone” was invented!

  • Good acting and zero songs!

Irrfan is perfect. We know that already. But I had never seen Parvathi before. She was very good too. Reminded me of another actress, Madhu from Roja. Nice to see a character of a hindi film heroine who was just being herself. Not young, not wearing skimpy clothes and not dancing to vulgar lyrics, not even in a dream sequence. This itself is an achievement!

Go for it! Better than most movies we spend our money on.

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Hrithik Breaks His Dignified Silence on Kangana

Hrithik Roshan recently tweeted his response to the controversy with Kangana. You could read it here.

It was so well-written. It is difficult to find anything wrong with it. It was so dignified, graceful and respectful.

I do not know Hrithik or Kangana personally so it would be stupid of me to say who is right or wrong in this.   I also do not plan to be Sherlock Holmes and refute each and every statement made by Hrithik with evidence available on the public domain, like KRK did recently against Kangana.

Had I seen Kangana’s interview on ‘Aap ki Adalat’ or read this tweet of Hrithik’s few years back, my views would have been very different.  I had not met so many people in life. I had not seen as much as I have seen now. I was far behind in the dating scene myself and had had far less interactions with the opposite gender.

I request you to read the following keeping Hrithik Kangana aside. It is NOT a reflection on them. I will come back to them.

When I was growing up, I thought that men do not hide relationships. Women do. Men are considered studs when they are with multiple women. They take pride in it. It boosts their ego. However, women are called names for doing the same. Women are also expected to be more careful, because they have so much more at stake in relationships, physically and emotionally.

At the risk of generalizing, men sometimes get into relationships with women they have no intention of marrying. Women more often than not get attached in relationships. These relationships have to end because one person had no intention of anything ‘serious’ and he knew this from the beginning.  How do such relationships end?  Is it possible to end it amicably? Or would it leave one person bitter, usually the one dumped?

I have seen that men are also very particular about their reputation. They would not want their mothers, parents, sisters etc. to know that they are “sleeping around”. They can be quite secretive when it comes to the girls they are dating, who they are not serious about. They would lie. They would deny. Are they trying to protect the woman? Are they trying to protect themselves? Nobody wants to be the bad guy who hurt and betrayed a woman!

Ending a relationship involves a lot of drama. You have to deal with someone’s emotions, allegations, take the blame, guilt. Denying the relationship on the other hand is very convenient. Defenses such as ‘I never promised to marry you, I never lied” are strategically applied. “Ghosting” is a term very commonly used in the western dating cultures where a person ends a personal relationship with someone abruptly, without offering any explanation and withdrawing all forms of communication.

Men fall in love with their eyes. Women fall in love with ears. Such a cliché! Yes. Some men know how to say all the right things.

I have met men who consider themselves very “ethical”. They claim they have immense “respect for women”.

What he says:

A married man with a child told me that he has had multiple affairs. He said there is nothing wrong with it, as he treats his wife very well. He has never bitched about her to other women. He never projects that he is in an unhappy marriage and therefore needs support. He is honest that he wants to have a good time, and if the woman “consents” then why not! I asked him if it is okay if his wife does the same. He said sure, he is liberal.


He does not tell women with whom he has had extra marital affairs that he is married! His wife has no idea what he does! When she does not know, where is the question of being okay with it, or doing the same herself!

What he says:

 Another guy who is a player dates a lot of women. He says that he treats the women very nicely, and has never done anything without their “consent”. He said that he would love to be friends with them even after things end. But it is women who are complicated and don’t like to stay in touch with their exes.


He starts dating other women while he is still with someone! By the time the woman realizes this, she is already an ex, without a choice! He tells her that he could still be friends, if she would stop behaving like a needy psycho! How generous of him!

Psycho, clingy, crazy, needy are terms used for women who are attached to a man who no longer wants to be with them.  The guys in the above example consider themselves good and respectful of women because of one reason: They have never violated a woman’s consent. In a country where rape and domestic violence is so high, it is a virtue when a man does not force himself upon a woman, or abuses her.

But if you ask the women they have been with, would they also say they are “good”?

Average, middle-class, single, non-celebrity men try to protect their reputation.  Those with money, power, access to the best lawyers, wife, ex-wife, children can go to even greater extents.

Words can be beautiful. But the actions have to match the words. I would like to say this to all the women who are dating – Do not just fall for the words. See that the actions should match up as well.

Now coming back to Hrithik Roshan,  where is the “dignified silence”?

  • Making a statement, “Ther r more chances of me having had an affair with d Pope dan any of d (Im sure wonderful women d media hs ben naming. Thanks but no thanks!”
  • Sending a legal notice to Kangana for calling him a “silly ex”!
  • Making a statement that “She suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome!” Was she in love with an imposter, or did she imagine it because she is mentally ill? Pick one!!
  • Revealing personal emails?

Does Hrithik have the right to do the above in his defense? Sure. But how is doing the above “silence” or “dignified” as he claims? I also have some other questions:

  • Kangana works with many people (and we know movie starts shoot 24’7), producers, directors, co-stars, teams. Nobody could ever figure out all this while that she is so crazy?
  • Wouldn’t a sensible person block unsolicited emails or would wait for the spammer to send 3000 emails?
  • An actress who has received three national awards would do something like this for publicity?

I am not supporting Kangana because she is a woman. I do not support having an affair with a married man either. I support her because what she has been saying makes sense to me.  I like her brutal honesty and lack of tact.  People who oppose her from the industry have little credibility. Like a certain older man whose son has been responsible for a young  woman’s alleged suicide and whose wife supports her cheating husband, and even worse son unconditionally. Or another young man and his father who allege that she is a “witch” and performs black magic!!

Hrithik’s tweets were beautiful. Politically correct. Kangana’s words;

“Mere birthday party pe floor par lot lot kar kyun naachta tha woh?”

Such words cannot be planned, rehearsed and made up!!!

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She Deserved it!

I think like me most of you knew even before Anamika Majumdar started playing Kaun Banega Crorepati, that she is the contestant who would be winning Rs 1 crore, thanks to news and previews of the episode. Anamika Majumdar was the first contestant of this season to win Rs 1 crore. She is a homemaker from Jamshedpur who runs an NGO called ‘Faith in India’ which uplifts children and women through arts and social awareness. It was not clear to me whether she educates or employs them, but it seemed like she gives them a direction in life by engaging the children in dance, and the women in bhajans while teaching them about personal hygiene. I will update this article once I find out more about her NGO.

I have been writing a lot on KBC episodes lately. People who come on this show are ordinary people like you and me and they reflect societal attitudes. I also feel guilty because these are not celebrities and they are not putting themselves out there to be judged. Therefore, I do not want to make this article about attacking her husband. But here is what happened:

Mr. Bachchan asked Ms. Majumdar’s husband how he feels about her NGO work. He said that it is okay as long as she is able to manage her household work. He added that if he comes home, and she is not there then it may not be so great. Mr. Bachchan asked Ms. Majumdar something like who needs her more, her own kids or the NGO kids. It was a strange thing to ask, and I felt that his only intention was to get the response from her, that she manages both well.

Would a male contestant ever be questioned on how he spends his time and justify how much of it is worth spending on other than his family?

Then there was an audio visual where the lady went on to explain how she finishes all her work of home, and then only she goes to the NGO. She added that initially the kids may not have been used to not having her own around but they soon understood that their needs are being taken care of. Her mother who by the way was very intelligent herself, and answered one of the ‘jodidar’ lifeline questions correctly, supported her daughter.

Ms. Majumdar was beautiful. She had such a sweet voice. She knew the answers. She had great general knowledge. She was so smart that even when she did not know the answer for sure, she could make an educative guess through the process of elimination. She was confident. She was kind-hearted. She cares about children and women who are not her own, and she wants to do something for them. I could not stop admiring her.

I know a lot of women like Ms. Majumdar. They are almost perfect. But forget about being admired, they are made to feel undervalued. They are made to feel guilty and worthless. Often, by a person who has vowed to support them for life.

She said on the show that at one point she had felt hopeless in life, and would speak to a tree for guidance. I do not know this couple personally so I would not like to blow all of this out of proportion and impose my assumptions.

Keeping them aside, I would like to say something to the women reading this:

You are much more than what you may be given credit for. Don’t let anyone define your self-worth. Do what gives you happiness. People will always be unhappy no matter what you do. Might as well do what makes you happy.

And to all men, please value your wife. She is probably doing the best she can. A little empathy and support from you could you make all the difference.

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The Real Men

Friday night I had gone to a Durga Puja pandal. Yesterday I went for dandiya. Today is a relaxed day at home, so I thought of catching up on the ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ episode that I had missed.

All the guests who are invited to play for the ‘Nayi Chaah Nayi Raah’ segment are fascinating. One guest I remember was from Patna who conducts IIT coaching free of cost for children who cannot afford tuitions.  His mother even cooks for those children. In this one lifetime, some people manage to find something so meaningful and selfless, and then there are others for whom there is no end to greed.

Friday’s guest contestant was Mumbai-based lawyer Afroz Shah, who has been honoured by the United Nations, for his environmental initiative of leading the clean-up of Mumbai’s Versova Beach. The next visuals were of Afroz and his volunteers removing the garbage from the beach with their hands, wearing gloves. On the show, he said that the garbage gets buried under the sand, and it requires a lot of strength for them to pull it out. Would I be able to do that? Who knows what kind of garbage would come out! In a country where people don’t even bother cleaning up after their own garbage, and civic sense is uncommon, this was an unusual sight.

I was especially impressed by this gentleman, and this episode made me very happy. Few things I saw touched me. This is an exceptional human being, and the qualities he exhibited show what being a good man really means. There are some stereotypes of being “masculine” which I feel are absolute rubbish and damaging for men. The false sense of “masculinity” has ruined many lives – including men who are expected to conform to them, and women who have to live with such men:

Men were born to be dirty. Cleaning is a woman’s job!

Here is a man who has been honoured by the United Stations for ……….. Cleaning! Cleanliness and hygiene has nothing to do with genders! It is a personality trait!

Men should not cry!

Another rubbish! Men should not make others cry. Afroz got emotional when his mother spoke about him on the show.

Men should not be emotional!

  • Afroz said that he is very attached to all his volunteers! I thought it was such a sweet thing to say!
  1. Men should not be hugging each other! That’s a girly thing!
  2. When Mr. Bachchan gave Afroz a key to a tractor and an excavator, he was overwhelmed. He asked Mr. Bachchan for a hug! 

Yes, these are the real men. The good men. Who care about the society. Who care about other people. Who are making a difference. They should be the role model for young boys. It is probably too late for old boys to learn but I will take a shot anyway. Being emotionally distant, saying ‘boys will be boys’, and not showing emotions are not “macho” qualities. Being sensitive, kind and expressive is. Integrity and goodness will always be the most endearing virtues in a man!

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Simran: Kangana Impresses Yet Again

I know the movie has just released. So, I will not give a synopsis and ruin it.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Simran. The script may be “flawed” according to some elite reviewers but then again it is based on a true story. Yes. Truth is stranger than fiction.

What worked for me?

  1. Female protagonist. 30-year-old divorced woman. She cleans hotels for a living. She is not rich and does not wear expensive dresses. Her make-up, and clothes match her character. There is no hero. There is a “love interest”, who she is not really interested in. She is quite okay rather content with her single status.

2. No unnecessary songs. And no, the heroine does not transform to look gorgeous in the songs. Her look in the songs is as real and natural as in the rest of the movie.

3. In one of the scenes, Praful (Kangana)’s grandmother speaks to her (Praful’s) love interest who admits that he has been heart-broken before. She says that it does not matter if the relationship is the first. What matters is that it should be the last. Bollywood is finally getting over the “pehla pyaar, pehla nasha, pehla khumar”, becoming more practical and mature.

4. Praful asks her arranged marriage guy – What if she has some character flaws? He responds that he is a very progressive man. He wants his wife to be loyal to him after marriage but it does not matter to him if she has had previous or current (?) boyfriends. Praful tells him that is not what she means by character flaws! “Ladko ko patana to art hai!” By character flaws she means what if she is into gambling, or stealing!

A 30 plus man telling a 30-year-old woman that he is progressive because he does not have a problem with her having prior relationships!! That too in the context of “character”! The woman correcting him and showing him his place. Thank you Bollywood!

How many of us have met such “progressive” men?

The song ‘Single Rehne De’ is already being considered an anthem for single women.

Hafte mein chaar bekaar

Aise ristey lekar aate ho

Jaise daily mall mein

Window shopping karne jaate ho

Phir laakhon mein ek aisa sample dhoondh ke laaoge

Aur bina meri marzi us’se shaadi bhi karvaoge…

Can single women relate?