So I finally watched Kahaani 2. When I had seen the trailers, I had thought I’ll watch it the first day. But probably after watching Aye Dil Hai Mushkil and Dear Zindagi, I was not too excited for cinema. With mindless movies like Befikre hitting the theatres, the shows for Kahaani had reduced to a one show every day, and I was afraid that the one show may also go away on this Friday. And so I booked for a late night show on a Thursday. Had it been any other Bollywood movie, I would have fallen asleep.
But here I was watching Vidya Balan, my favourite actress. I don’t think our generation has any other actress who is so brilliant with her performance, and naturally beautiful (without any surgeries) and also talks sensibly in interviews.
Coming back to the movie, I loved it for touching a tabooed topic. The last time I saw a Bollywood movie on the topic of child abuse was Monsoon Wedding and Highway. Monsoon Wedding was also good, a little ahead of its times. I found Highway weird but the last part where Alia speaks up was impactful.
There are little things about the movie that are realistically and beautifully depicted. Lots of spoilers ahead…
1. Milli’s teachers loved throwing her out of the class because she is not good at studies and is unusually silent and sleeps through the lesson. Reminded me of Taare Zameen Par. This is common in a lot of Indian schools. Teachers (not all) don’t care to find out the reason for a child’s peculiar behavior and conveniently write him / her off as dim witted, making things worse for the child.
2. In one of the scenes, Vidya Balan points to her body to the little girl, and talks about being touched in private parts. I don’t think any Bollywood movie has had a scene like this. The only time we see something like this is in some awkwardly made educational videos teaching children about good touch and bad touch.
3. Vidya Balan, who has been abused as a child had a failed marriage with Arjun Rampal, because she could not get intimate with him. It takes time for women who have gone through abuse to get intimate with another man again. If they communicate to the partner, and he is understanding and patient then it makes things easier. In this case, Arjun Rampal was unaware of the horrors of her past, and assumed she did not like him. A man’s ego is easily hurt, so feeling rejected would have been pretty much been it for him.
4. Vidya Balan used to shiver every time Arun (the new guy she was seeing) touched her. Yet she wanted to lead a “normal” life with him and was trying for that. She was even eating fruits to make her skin look better, for him. It was endearing to watch all this conveyed from a woman’s point of view.
This is what survivors do. They don’t die and cry their entire lives because they have had a bad past. She may have had a phase where she was still affected (with Arjun) but then she moved on and was in a happy relationship with Arun, who respected her and whom she liked.
This is what I liked the most. Her character was neither glorified not victimized. It was an honest portrayal of the emotions she was going through. This is important because society loves to believe that a woman’s life is easily ruined and she can never find happiness again, probably the reason there is so much stigma around these issues.
First Pink, Then Kahaani 2. This has been a good year!