A nation of bitches

We, collectively, have become a nation of bitches. Ready to be slapped, ready to be plundered, ready to be f*** and we feel so happy about it that there is a tension and joyous build-up every time this happens. They come in hordes, kill, kidnap, murder, shoot people right in front of everyone's faces, and we go on to immortalize them by making them our idols. I am talking about the genre of Bollywood movies that have started idolizing every single gangster and hooligan who plagues the nation.

I recently learned that the movie Gangster was actually based on this dirtbag Abu Salim's life. And then started remembering Shootout at Lokhandwala, D and its sequel Company. How sick does one need to be to actually glorify someone who has come and shot your brother dead in broad daylight? And how effeminate one must be to stand in awe in front of a theater showing the life of a guy (more like hero-worshipping him) who is probably responsible for the kidnap, rape and death of your neighbour's daughter? There is a difference between depicting reality and paying homage. Vaastav and Hathyar are the former: they show the way we as a society gradually turn a simple boy into a maniac who finally has to be shot dead by his own mother. Depictions of D and Company, on the other hand, are homages to the gangsters and people who have probably killed someone you know: directly or indirectly.

And more importantly, look at the way these characters are portrayed in the movies: they are the height of coolness! There is a slick way in which they go on to kidnap little kids and extort money from a person. There is a certain aura of godly authority when they come and kill/torture a person asking for money: it is their due, of course! We don't see them as the scoundrels they are: we see these on-screen gems, performing heights of bravery, undergoing special training in shooting guns, ripping off people's chests with a blunt knife, and doing a lot of stuff. To us, they become the closest equivalent of macho men, rugged, strong people who can terrorise the police at will! And sometimes they will let the wife and kids live, out of sheer generosity. Damn cool, don't you think?

There is a new movie coming out, about guess who... Ajmal Kasab. I'm pretty sure his role will be played by some good actor. I am pretty sure as he will be shown as this dude undergoing extreme physical training under hardships, learning guerilla warfare and becoming the perfect commando. Then there will be this shot of him going around the Mumbai CST station with a gun with a certain swagger in his way of walking, just shooting some scampering rats Indians. I am pretty sure he will have a tag line and a catchy way of wearing this cap around his head that will become the next style icon. And then you will go to watch the film, dote over his acting, muse to yourself how the Pakistani terror camps make you mentally and physically strong. You will literally be in love with the guy, ready to be shot at, fucked, kidnapped all over again.

And there will be this short 10 minute segment about the police officer Hemant Karkare dodging bullets, slipping and being shot by Ajmal. He will inevitably be a fat bulging dude who just happened to be caught without his aides. And then you will see his life ending in a Clint Eastwood-esque scene with the terrorist holding the gun at his forehead and saying, "Tell me, punk, do you feel lucky?". Like I said, we are becoming a nation of bitches.

Comments

  1. I think we must all remember that the underworld practically controls almost all of the Hindi film industry for a long time now. I am sure that most of the big actors, producers and directors are either in the D-Company's payroll or in mortal fear of their lives if they dare to openly defy the underworld.

    I think that's a good indicator as to how gangsters are shown in our movies today.

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  2. I agree with you on the ground that it is a very irresponsible act on the part of the director and the actors to take it upon themselves to glorify the life of some anti-social. They could, instead, capture the story of the people who ultimately help bring them under the thumb of the law.

    But the adulation and admiration which people bestow, is more for the actor than for the character being portrayed.

    When people on the street emulate the way the character wears his cap, they actually try to be as near in style as they can be to their on-screen idol.
    The claps for the swagger, the whistles for a particular look and the breath held for the scene where the lead threatens the hapless in a silent stare -- are in appreciation for the acting skills of the actor portraying the don.

    I would like to think that very few people actually applaud the way the character depicted moves in for the sleek kill.

    But then we eventually end up being a part of endorsing the bad lives --- by going to the theaters and making it a box office hit.

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  3. I agree with Hari on this. Actually that were my first thoughts too. If you want the Bollywood to stop producing such movies then simply stop watching movies. If there are no lucrative profits associated with Bollywood, mob will loose interest in Bollywood. But I know it's easier said then done. There are a lot of people who earn their livings from this industry so guess we simply have to suck it up.

    BTW, on a femisit issue, You said:

    And how effeminate one must be to stand in awe in front of a theater showing the life of a guy (more like hero-worshipping him) who is probably responsible for the kidnap, rape and death of your neighbour's daughter?

    You sure you want to use word "effeminate" in this particular sentence as females are far more horrified by prospect of rape than men are.

    In general, I don't like the word effeminate. I think it's a degrading word. I am just saying because you seem like a feminist yourself!

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  4. Hari, agreed, but what can we do as people, as the viewers? We can stop eulogising them and writing negative reviews about the concept, and maybe refusing to go see the theaters.

    Anonymous (sky?), lets just say that I disagree. People don't go gaga just over the acting: the message always hits home. That the gangsters are cool, they are mentally the toughest of the lot, they make ideal singers, dancers, etc. You cannot isolate the persona from just the artistic acting.

    Richa, yup, agree 100%! I am definitely not going to watch the movie depicting this Kasab son-of-a-b***. Had it been about Hemant Karkare,I would have definietly seen it, written about it, etc.

    About your feminist question: the word itself does seem to imply that females are the ones who don't have the guts, I agree. But for lack of a better word, I wouldn't change it to anything else, since I am very clear about the meaning of that word in the given context. I mean those men who can't stand up for themselves or their near and dear ones in the face of adversity: they simply don't have the guts to do it.

    For that matter, I don't consider myself a "feminist" - I'd rather call myself a gender equalist. Don't you see something wrong with the word "feminist" itself?

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  5. I think there are people who do isolate the persona from the artistic acting. But yes, maybe a greater percentage get influenced in a negative way.
    It is actually a two way process. The film makers think about their profits, and not the fact that they are giving out a wrong message. The audience too do not think that everything being shown is not worth watching.

    And no, it was not Sky.

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  6. Ahona, hi, and officially a welcome to the blog :) (although I suspect you have commented before and I've replied as well). Yes the category of people you mention do exist, perhaps, but I'd consider them to be a drop in the ocean. Unless one gathers up as a scient self, there is little hope that you will find people pure enough to just enjoy the art and not be influenced by the theme itself. I somehow doubt that you can fully enjoy a movie without analysing the character in the context, and the context itself forces you to look at it from the character's point of view - which, ultimately, is what I'm protesting against.

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