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Judge Me. Judge Me Not.

By Ram Kamal Mukherjee

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Ram Kamal Mukherjee

We often judge people. We often judge animals. We often judge media, politicians, actors, sportsman, even our neighbours and maids. We often judge. Or we just judge often. When things don’t look the same, when dreams don’t match with reality, we often become judgmental. At times just mental.

Just how, I judged the teaser of Shakun Batra’s Kapoor And Sons and told my friends that “It’s OTT!” I felt that the cacophony in the family, sticks out just like Ratna Pathak’s teeth. (See now you are being judgmental about my comment on her teeth!) Let’s, admit we all are. But thank God, that I didn’t go by the cover of the book. Teasers are so deceptive.

In life, we all are weaving a world that we believe in. And when we fear the probability of losing fool’s paradise we become judgmental. Just how Rajat Kapoor was judgmental about his wife’s decision to start her own tiffin service, Alia Bhatt was judgmental about her kiss in a drunken night, Fawad was judgmental about his dad’s extra martial affair, Ratna Pathak Shah was judgmental about Rajat’s fondness for his colleague and Sidharth Malhotra was judgmental about Fawad’s capabilities of writing a flawless novel.

Why are we all so judgemental? Why we doubt everyone? Are we physco? No. We are human beings. We like conflict. And often we pay for our interest.

Let’s accept the fact that we all like it to be ‘my way’, and in most cases we succeed. The germ of the story lies in the bottom line of the movie. Kapoors wanted a perfect family. Rishi Kapoor, tried to bring his family under one roof for a photo-op. Unfortunately he looked like Mrs Doubtfire in that hideous prosthetic make-up. So did I dislike the film? You are being judgmental again. I just didn’t like the make-up. Simple.

We don’t like simple things. Simple love, simple stories, simple ending. We prefer twist in the tale. Or else, why can’t we accept that a married man or a married woman can fall in love again, and not necessarily with the same person. Why can’t we accept that every kid in the bloc doesn’t have to be an IIT graduate. Why can’t we accept that being gay is not abnormal. Because we don’t like simple things in life.

Kapoor and sons selfieComing from a stable like Dharma Productions, Kapoor And Sons is one of the most matured content, after Karan Johar’s short film for Bombay Talkies. The beauty of the script is that, it’s real. In fact, I couldn’t believe that Dharma actually gave green lit to a project like this.
Maybe they wanted to wake up ‘Sid’ so that he can have his own Badlapur. No, I’m not being judgemental.

Ratna thought Fawad is a ‘normal’ Punjabbee munda who lives-in with a gori mem in gora land. Her paradise crumbled like a cookie when she realized that her perfect son loves a man.
A secret that he lived with, like most men in India do.

Most men are afraid of talking about their sexual preference. Some even feel that mingling with gays might just turn them into one. I guess the time has arrived for Doordarshan to call Shabana Azmi once again, this time for gay awareness campaign, so that she can tell the world that, “Homosexuality choone se nahin failti.”

Kapoor and Sons deals with the ordeals of many families. A jolly old grandpa who drools over Mandakini’s wet saree, but has a heart of gold. A body builder who doesn’t even know that he is a butt of all jokes. A photographer who lives a missionless life. A Nepali watchman who pretends to be the dumbest. Few inconsequential uncles, aunties and their kids adding up the crowd. And a OTT mother Ratna who empties a jar full of handmade cookies on her husband Rajat’s head, coz they were baked by later’s close associate.

Shakun deals with various issues, but the fulcrum of the plot stays with Fawad and Ratna. The bond reminds me of Sanjay Nag’s Memories of March. In fact, Kapoor And Sons could be considered as a perfect prequel to Memories of March. Even today, coming out of closet is not easy. We are a judgmental society. When a guy cracks sexist joke he is tagged as ‘dude’ but when Alia punches sexist jokes, our sanskari audience goes “Haaawww”!

fawad kapoor and sonsThankfully Shakun broke all stereotypical ideologies. No one is perfect, and that’s the fact. A friend keeps telling me, “Hum sab shaitaan hain, ussme se jo kam shaitaan hai woh thoda aacha hai.” It’s the theory of Devil vs Devil. The spats that were choreographed in the film looked seamless because that’s how we have seen our parents fighting at home. That’s how siblings squabble over silly issues. That’s how families fall apart.

A perfect frame deserves a perfect picture. But who decides the level of perfection? A mother who stole dream of her younger son? A father who is in search of solace from his wife? A grandpa who smokes weed and watches porn? A girlfriend who kisses one and tells another? A son who doesn’t have any love for his elder brother? Another son who could never share his sexual orientation with his parents?

When we harp on being judgmental,  we know we are struggling with our own world of fantasy. It’s always “What if,” rather than “What if not.”
Pauses that comes in a relationship, gives it a space. A much desired space of freedom. A gap that is created by time, is often filled with memories. If searching a perfect picture means living a masked life, then let’s live an imperfect life.

This film shall remain special in the annals of Bollywood for being simple, non judgmental and one of the most ‘imperfectly’ perfect film.

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