Monday, March 02, 2015

Dum Laga Ke Haisha : An Ode To Women

I am just back home after watching a Dum Lagaa Ke Haishaa. And boy! How disappointed I am! I mean how can such a film not have a budget for promotions. Does Yash Raj Films only promote films that have the Rani of their house in it? If there is a film that’s truly a feather in the cap of Yash Raj Films, it is THIS ONE. I mean, Dum Lagaa Ke Haishaa.

The film is an ode to women in our country.  The story in short - The film is set in the Varanasi of the 90s. Prem Prakash Tewari  is a tenth fail who is forced to marry a fat woman – Sandhya Verma. The woman is a graduate, his family lies about Ayushman’s qualification, to match her. They get unhappily married, and they are doomed to a life of being unhappily married forever. Sandhya but discovers that Prem has been forced to marry her when she catches him red handed in an angry rant to his friends about how his wife is as fat as a buffalo. She leaves him, but not before slapping him and getting slapped at that very moment.  What follows is a series of dramatic turns that I want you to watch and experience for yourself.

A film has a soul of its own. This film has a soul and a heart and a mind of its own.  The Hindi film industry is not known to be respectful towards women. She is either a devi or the devil, never the average Joanna you meet everyday. This film does just the opposite. It  gives you a peek into the life of an average looking plump woman who is at complete ease with how she looks. She agrees to an arranged marriage, but holds the reigns of it in her able hands. Even the groom gets married to her with no dowry, in awe with her qualifications as she could financially uplift the  family  in crisis. While widespread misogyny is captured in the terms of expectations from a woman, the film also captures the fact that a woman could be empowered with education to take a stand. A woman can be in complete ease of her body and doesn’t have to turn to size zero for her hubby dearest.  Sandhya, the character, also reserves her right to sexual desires, and is in control of what she expects from life. She battles misogynistic mindsets from the women in her maternal home and sasural ably. She doesn’t mind telling her father-in-law that he did no right by getting his son forcefully married to her.  She doesn’t mind reclaiming her room from her younger brother, when she returns home, determined to divorce her husband. She is in control throughout. She does feel bad, she does express that she feels insulted, but she doesn’t resign to a life of self-pity ever, she rather does the opposite. She reclaims her life and takes her freedom.

The film is set in 90s, but is relevant even for this era. Given this, why the director chose the 90s as a theme to set the film in is not apparent in the film, but nevertheless, it is one of the most enjoyable things. Production wise,  A lot of effort has been put in to set every frame in the 90s. The film also has the male protagonist named Prem which was the most popular name then, thanks to Salman Khan and Sooraj Bharjatya. I wonder why there has been no opposition from Right Wing Groups, considering that this film shows  Half Chaddi Boys of RSS in a not so very flattering way.
After Queen that released last year, this film marks the beginning of roles that are Women Empowering and that too without giving us any gyan on Nari Shakti and stuff.

Watch this film and you will agree with me that Bhumi Pednekar deserves every award. Ayushman is kiss-worthy.  Sheeba, as the nasty Bua is another star worthy of every award.   This film may not have ‘london thumakda” moments, like in Queen. But makes a strong case for valuing self worth just as Queen does.  Though no one can match a kangana doing a  Rani in Queen, Bhumi takes the character of Sandhya to heights of brilliance. This is the kind of performance that could easily make a classroom study for young  actors who wish to learn about the nuances of acting.  She is too good.

Lastly, this is one movie where you will wait till the credits finally roll.  Why? Watch the film and find out. Believe me, it is worth your money.  This is the kind of film that should be released on 08 March. This is a piece of art, a mark of brilliance.


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