Did I just watch this? Has Bollywood truly come of age? Can a movie be made where I am hitting my head with my hand thinking how could they think of this? Why didn’t I first? Where I am physically in pain when the female lead actor in the movie cries? So much so that I have to put on a peppy number (ok, quite a few peppy numbers) to get out of the zone of sadness this movie has put me in? This is getting discussed in therapy. For sure.
So first things first, sakshaat pranaam to the makers of the movie. Like lying on the floor pranaam the way you surrender in front of God, and don’t want to get up till God herself (or himself or thyself.. whatever, not getting into this debate right now!) lifts you by the shoulders and gives you a hug. Kudos Sonam Kapoor, Raj Kumar Rao, Anil Kapoor Sir, Juhi Chawla, Akshay Oberoi, Regina Cassandra, Madhumalti Kapoor, Shelly Chopra Dhar, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Gazal Dhaliwal for this exceptional coming out of the closet movie. I never thought this could be made in Bollywood. Sachi. The subject of lesbianism has been dealt with so aesthetically, it tugs your heart. You might’ve been saying that you stand for LGBTQ rights forever, but you finally understand what love means. And how it can hurt. And must be hurting so many people already. I am so sorry… sorry the society made you feel this way for so long, and still does. This story might just help a lil bit, and will try to spread the message with my writing a lil bit more… meanwhile you want to cry it out? Come here, it’s ok. It will all become ok eventually.
Coming back to the movie, not revealing the story but the setting of the movie is in a small town of Moga in Punjab. We all might be sitting in the metro towns where we all say that we are ok with our friends and family being gays and lesbians (the operative word being ‘say’. I still don’t know how many of us are really ok.) But India resides in those small cities, smaller towns, and even smaller villages. Where people don’t know what Section 377 means. Where they don’t even want to know or talk about it. Coz it’s disgusting. And dirty. And not normal. And a disease, which can be wished away with therapy and medicines maybe? Where there is family shame involved in coming out. And many might continue to live in the closet forever. Like their entire lives in pain and suffering just because forget the society, their own family will never accept them.
This is what Sonam’s character portrays. She is a lesbian since birth. But she can’t say it. Due to fear of being outcast, causing family shame, hurting her father, and many more reasons. Even though she has found love (which honestly, how many of us really do? Yes, we are married with a spouse or maybe with a girlfriend / boyfriend /partner, but love? That unconditional, encompassing one? You found it? Hold on to it tight. God does love you more, you lucky brut.) For all who must be thinking they will get to watch some girl on girl action, this movie ain’t it. The sequences have been so beautifully shot that all you can feel is love. And pain. Exceptional acting by Sonam and Regina. I must admit I was a bit disappointed when Sonam got the Best Actress for Neerja. I felt Alia deserved it more with Udta Punjab. But with this movie, she just deserves every award there is ever. The last scene where she appeals to her father to rescue her from the closet? It’s heart-wrenching. I cried… like crunched my stomach and cried. Not because I am a lesbian (more on that later!), but because I could actually feel the pain of so many of those who might’ve never told the truth for the simple fear that they will not be accepted. Worse still, they will be ridiculed and abused – physically, mentally and emotionally. Just the way the girl in this character was by her brother, who knew since childhood what her orientation was. And why? Because they loved? Just because the way they loved is different from the way society deems is right? So? They have to marry someone they don’t love and bear babies? Anil Kapoor nails it when he says to Raj Kumar Rao, ‘No one can force you to marry a guy right? Just like that no one can force her to marry a guy too.’
And that proud moment when he finally hugs her and says, ‘Arre, I used to think you are like your mother. But you are exactly like me! I too love women!’ And that’s from a man who cooks a mean meal in the kitchen. And finally gets together with a divorcee who has decided to live for herself post spending years devoting her life to her family. And they have a Bijee who dreams of movie stars and has their names as passwords, coz well, older women have needs too, ok? So many stereotypes this movie breaks.
Kudos Gazal Dhaliwal and Shelly Chopra Dhar for penning this script. It is uplifting, to say the least. I can’t wait to talk about your journey as to how you went about conceiving this idea to giving it lease of life. If I can breathe beyond my fan girl moment that is.
And oh, all those planning to troll me for this review. Bring it on!
Also, all those thinking I am a lesbian, and that’s why penning this review. Nope. Am not. With all due respect to anyone who is. Bisexual? Maybe. I can’t say whether I like or dislike something I haven’t tried right? Just like when I sat in Taj Hotel Mumbai, trying my first beer worth Rs.2000 + taxes (loads of money for a glass of drink!) with my father and in a sip, I decided this is the most disgusting thing I have ever tasted. Might be the most popular or ‘in’ thing to have. But not going inside my mouth. Like ever. That day when I was 21, and remains till today. Never have drunk beer, never will. A great tasting smooth wine a different question though. So there. Not a license to be free for all. We are all deeply looking just for love. Everything else is peripheral. And ephemeral.
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