At one of the countless award functions, when Vidya Balan was asked the classic question of television, “Aapko kaisa lag raha hai. How are you feeling?” she gushed, “If I knew that sleeping with two men, drinking and using expletives would win me the ‘Best Actress’ award, I would have done it much earlier.”
What set my mind ticking was the fact that the trophy was for the leading lady, the heroine, and not for essaying a ‘negative role’. Undeniably, a decade ago the same award would have gone to a vamp – the evil woman.
Playing Bad is looking Good on the big screen.
No wonder then that vying for the ‘Best Actor’ award was Salman, who featured as a corrupt cop, blurting flatulent jokes about stink making. Yes, the saving grace was that a la Robin Hood, he was fighting the larger evil, hmm...oops sorry the largest evil, the local goon/politician.
The biggest hit film this year, Dabangg, depicts Salman, asking his gang of grubby cops in to narrate jokes to make his beloved smile. The crass bunch bursts into vulgar gags, finally managing to amuse the lone girl in the police station. The audience is in splits, cheering for an encore. Robin Hood’s mother, Dimple protects her son’s ill–gotten wealth till her last breath. A complete antithesis of the erstwhile Nirupa Roy, who refused to support her loving but corrupt son.
The loathing for the corrupt politician has created such bitterness that perhaps the audience applauded the ‘politician bashing’ by the two brothers. Whatever be the case, the stereotypical honest cop has paved way for an abusive cop with doubtful morals. And he is the new hero…the one with bangla, gaadi and paisa. Not the one with ‘Ma’.
How silly of me. I thought ‘Peepli Live’ was an exaggeration, until the ‘Banda Rape’ case happened. Both were shamelessly politicized. In reel, it was ‘farmer’s suicide’ whereas in real Banda, it was ‘rape’. The victim was a Dalit and a minor to boot. What better stick to thrash BSP and fish in troubled waters? Policemen were squatting near the victim’s hut on charpoys and every political party worth its salt went there to extract a pound of flesh. Real transformed into reel. The victim being a prized catch, just as Natha was in ‘Peepli Live’. The girl will either be forgotten, or will stand for the forth-coming elections and win with a huge majority.
As corruption scandals bounce off the television screens and scream out of newspaper headlines, they find an echo on the big screen. Movies are celebrating nuances of corruption and we seem to be enjoying.
In ‘Do Dooni Char’, Mr Duggal, a teacher was offered thousand bucks for every mark that he gives to his dumb yet resourceful student. The honest teacher is tempted but refuses. The audience at some level is thinking, “Man why doesn’t he bite the bait? If he is so cash-strapped, why can’t he jump the gun and move from his rusty scooter to his new car? What's the big deal?”
I am all for moving with the times. The point really is that moving with the times comes with a caveat. Be cautious while celebrating the nuances of the C- word. At some level this celebration has all the chances of becoming acceptable and tolerable. While politicians have become poster boys for the C- word, there has been a somersault of morals in the society. How else can we explain the pouring of kerosene and burning of another human alive?
‘Sin is King’ for the ‘Kamineys’, ‘Dabaangs’, and the ‘Tees Maar Khans’. All tinged with subtle shades of the C -word. While the news is that the Dabangg of 2G has been arrested, the Dabangg of movies is having a jolly good time, contemplating on making a Dabangg 2 which promises more. More of what, is your guess.
And the award goes to the eponymous villain who is the new hero. So what if he cons loots or bribes? He does it in style. And he doesn’t get caught. If at all he does, he brazens it out. He does not resign on moral grounds – for there are no such grounds anymore.
The news is that Jennifer Lopez’s sister Catrina Lopez will be gyrating to an item number, in a forthcoming Hindi movie. She does not understand the lyrics but says she loves the song. The lyrics go, ‘Taan ke seena…ho ja kamina’. I guess that says it all.