(At the very outset let me apologize…this is an extraordinarily longish post. So readers, if you lose patience, are not to be blamed) 

imagesHave you read  Robert Louis Stevenson’s  The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? If you have you’ll know that the novella, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or simply, Jekyll and Hyde, pivots around the unnerving plot of coming to terms with the dichotomies co-existing within human personality – the residence of the Angel together with the Devil inside – unearthing the negativity within one self clashing with the positive side, time and again, perhaps to the acute discomfort and non-acceptance of the conscious mind! The litterateurs may delve deeper into the connotations and scoop out allusions to social divides but what concerns me here is the realization of the inner-insane popping up at the most unexpected moments in stark contravention of the broad-daylight-sane-image one claims to brag of and associate oneself with!

Not because it’s a classic, that Jekyll and Hyde absorbs my interest and usurps a post space, its that suddenly staring at oneself in the mirror, one fine morning and getting perturbed over an unaccustomed reveal, that my mind flies to this conclusive theorem that I too am in possession of this J & H factor! “How sordid!” Should have been my prompt ejaculation, but no, being the evergreen rationalist, I mulled and lulled over the fact till it blew out of proportion and had to be regurgitated out of my cerebral system, per force, for the sake of, oh again, sanity!!(There’s a contra here, whether you agree or not!)

So what made me propound this theory, subjecting myself, the hypothetical guinea pig, to an experimentation of my own? On the onset, let me clarify that it was not intended to be a so-called experiment. It just happened like so many other momentous occurrences of Life!!

It was last to last weekend – the one which juxtaposed with Christmas – extended into a prolonged holiday to our unbridled excitement! All we insufferable pen-pushers were so relieved to get three full days to laze around…am sure our workaholic Premier would be most disgruntled at this self-motivated confession.

Anyway, coming back to that historical TGIF moment when the Family decided to go berserk with that overbearing feeling of togetherness and chalked out an elaborate programme of lunching out followed by an evening show at the PVR to be again followed by another late-night show at the same PVR the very next day!!! Height of celebration!! And I was pulled along, (not exactly, because initially it was my idea of bonhomie, you see), with teases like, “At last she’s got time to devote sometime to the clan!”

Till now everything was hunky dory. Stretched out on our favourite seats (which take care of viewing pleasure as well as leg space both!!) – yes, we also have our claim to exclusivity (what with visits coordinated with availability of vacancies in a particular row of a particular PVR!!) – we let ourselves in for an enthusiastic guided tour down the lanes of history, though the disclaimer in the beginning of the chronicle itself was a detour, indicating a morphed version of chronology for the sake of cinematic adaptation and liberty.

bajirao-mastani

Notwithstanding, I was whelmed by the opulence of the larger-than-life settings, the power packed performances, the distracting grandeur of period couture, the ensemble of impressive cast and crew, and above all, the sweeping narrative of epic proportion, all packed into a hypnotizing package of high-voltage visual imagery and impact. How the muscle-rippling, lightening-speed warrior Peshwa Bajirao (Ranveer Singh), the Ultimate Kshatriya,  is wooed by the valorous temptress Mastani (Deepika Padukone), who is as adept at warfare as she is on the dance-floor. How the pious and dignified beauty Kashi Bai (Priyanka Chopra),  Peshwa’s wife and confidant, is pushed to a cursed life of increasing isolation. How palace conspiracy dominates the lives of the trio ultimately leading to the inevitable estrangement which transmutes a royal saga into a legendary tale of love and familial piety, emblazoned in the annals of  history, in letters of unalloyed gold.  It is one of those classic enactments which leaves the audience heavy-hearted after the curtains drop down and long after one is wont to brood over the futility of all divides and demarcates that the society is so adamant about imposing on earthlings through ages. Director-co-Producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali endows the age-old clash-of-the-regalia an un-thought of dimension. It is on one hand, the ghar-ki-bahu Kashi Bai versus the bahar-wali Mastani Bai, on the other, it is the shrewd Radha Bai (Peshwa’s mother played by Tanvi Azmi) versus again the undeterred, madly-in-love Mastani Bai. War of words cut deeper wounds than the slash of swords. Hovering largely amidst questions of transcending social and moral bindings, is the looming issue of religiosity –  the great pure-blooded Hindu Maratha espousing a ‘muggle’ Muslim, off-spring of a mixed alliance sans social sanction. Somewhere in this blood-soggy period drama, the omnipresent contentions of royal inheritance and consolidation of power get somewhat diluted.  In the final analysis, if you ask me, my heart goes out to Kashi Bai, not because she is, obviously the most neglected of the threesome, though Peshwa does valiantly attempt at performing the balancing act between love and duty,  but because the choice of an adulterous entanglement is neither available to her nor does she opts for one. I am, to be very honest, rather taken aback by the way Peshwa tries to retain both –  lover and wife –  on almost equal footing, whether that is possible or not, am yet to figure out.

It was in this palette of dismal grey that a sudden spout of the most shocking shades was indulged the very next night. Had it not been the mindless slapstick comedy that we coaxed ourselves into watching a full two and a half hours on Saturday, I might have carried on with the morbid mood and written a dozen poems of heartrending love-sickness for the next succeeding fortnight.

Cut two…. I take pride in predicting every turn of head, roll of eyes, flick of the jell-dripping strands, stretch of flailing arms, twists inDilwale the script, twirls in the choreographed moves and whiplashes in the dialogues that incessantly follow, like a torrid spree, one after the other. The baddie-turned-the-respectable-guy-next-door, burying his past behind, spoiling a brat of a younger brother, who is not actually his own blood-brother and refraining from falling in love because he cannot forget his first love who exited from his life with a bucketful of hatred for him, is actually staying in the same city, but that very fact is not known to him….phew! I can finish the entire screen-play in one sentence, which we sat through to stomach for one hundred and fifty four minutes, to be precise.

Atrocious! No, it wasn’t. I actually, thoroughly enjoyed the roller-coaster ride, the complete absence of coherent plotting, the repetitive-to-the-point-of-no-return-SRK-menagerie (if I may say so!) who unconvincingly tried to look twenty years younger than his present age and the vivacious Kajol (after a self-imposed looooooooooong hiatus), returning ageless on screen making one wonder whether she has been secretly making regular trips to  Shangri La (Of course, if you don’t mind overlooking the creeping harshness contouring her well-disguised years of habitation on this planet Earth). There are also a horde of  unimpressive sideys, like the ugly-as-a-beast Vinod Khanna and the Botox-ki-dukaan Kabir Bedi, who can be royally ignored in this wild than the wildest of confounded concoction. Dilwale, as is evident from the name itself, is undoubtedly styled to be the come-back vehicle for the lead pair and the forgettable eight-abs-sinewy Director Rohit Shetty has tried his unsuccessful best to recreate some of the classic DDLJ moments (e.g. the palat scene) minus the effect and the ardour. But now what else can you expect of a brainless brawny?

Having said all that, herein pirouettes the interplay of the J & H factor! Since that fated weekend I have been constantly agonizing over the fact that how could, I repeat, how could I not only focus my precious attention and time but also relish the most idiotic display of histrionics chomped into an equally unforgivable caricature of that much-touted Rs. 100 Crore celluloid extravaganza which briefly boils down to nothing but an ungainly show of financier’s unaccounted money, and pots and pots of it at that. Of all the populace on Mother Earth, I, who do not fail to intellectualize a single strain of thought and rationalize even a millionth of a grain of emotion, could sit through two movies of diametrically opposite genre and walk out of the promenade satiated in no uncertain terms!! This and this can only mean that either I am given to phases of temporary insanity wherein I act, think, behave and above all like things which are in total contradiction to what my friends and foes ascribe me with or there is a side to myself which is not known to me at all and that’s scary by all means (one of my dear colleagues once commented that I am a perfect psychological case study for Multiple Personality Disorder! Seriously!!). If you ask me, it is in all probability, the latter. This could be it….the only explanation! Only and only that inkling of abnormality, that hidden personality disorder that strain of a persona unknown to me yet residing within me – in short the J & H factor-which makes me forget who and what I am and give in to pleasures of the most deplorable and paradoxical kind!! What else?

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About gc1963

A working woman with interests in reading, writing, music, poetry and fine arts.

38 responses »

  1. So December was a month of movies for you. Of the three, I have seen only BM, that too after missing the initial 35 min I suppose. I didn’t understand what was the big deal about Bajirao having two wives, when they didn’t have much problem accepting her as his mistress, were happy to accept the gifts from her father, and later raised Mastani’s son as well. Btw, since when did Vinod Khanna become ugly as a beast? I thought he looked good for his age in Dabang.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gc1963 says:

      Remember VK of Achanak or Imtehan? My heart broke when I saw his distorted countenance in Dilwale…more later on BM.

      Liked by 3 people

    • gc1963 says:

      Am not a PVR person but yes 2015 ended making me one.

      BM is all about feudal patriarchy…retaining the son but letting the mother die! Peshwa justifying adultery. Kashi Bai accepting Mastani largely for Peshwa’s sake or is it one female sympathizing with the other, but neither getting the most of Peshwa and both sacrificing their lives for him. Peshwa wishing to have the best of both the worlds – a wife at home and a mistress to boot. Its only Radha Bai who stands apart epitomizing the call of an era. The Maratha women, for that matter, have always played very strong roles in history. Remember Jeeja Bai?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Feudal patriarchy indeed, plus religious bias. Women too played up to the politics and indulged in scheming to secure their position. Obviously Kashi Bai felt hurt & left out and later reconciled, yet things would be much easier for all if they had accepted the marriage. Anyways she had a separate palace. But then an ideal world is never to be and insecurity always shows its head,

        Liked by 2 people

      • gc1963 says:

        Right as always.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gc1963 says:

        Somali, no one can tolerate competition, especially, women. Kashi Bai felt betrayed. Mastani Bai wanted royal acceptance which could not be achieved due to the socio-political and religious set up of that particular era. In addition, the clash of egos, palace politics, the struggle between power that be and the pundits for supremacy…We may be a modern nation but our mindset remains the same. What happened to Peshwa and Mastani happens now too in the name of khaap and honour killing. The more pertinent question here is have we really progressed in any way from that medieval stage? While discussing the issue, it also strikes me how contemporary the love story of BM is…Kudos to SLB!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hummingwords says:

    interesting reviews in good details! I have heard mostly good abt BM and Dilwale is just another desi-silly stuff with aging leads 😛
    I watched some movies too in 3-4 days- Drishyam and Calender Girls. Both were nice!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes, yes, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…. I remember them very well…they made me think that any person could show up with their ugliest side at any moment. I was a child though..anyway… 😀

    It seems I’m the only person in this country (and abroad too) who is still to watch these BM & D 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Bikramjit says:

    Jekyll and Hyde well I think everyone has a bit of both in them.. In today’s world it very hard to find someone who is 100% true..

    Not watched any of the movie mentioned ..

    Liked by 2 people

    • gc1963 says:

      True ! Very true! But please do, especially, Dilwale, if you are too tired and do not want to apply your mind into what you are watching and be entertained at the same time. Of course! That’s not the J & H factor speaking. I have heard the same from many of my most scholarly acquaintances, friends and colleagues. BM, of course, is a different cuppa tea. If you like period movies, serious stuff, Indian heritage, do go for it, if not anything else, just for the sheer exotica of it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Rakesh Pandey says:

    So, finally I met someone, who’s brave enough to watch Dilwale. Possibly, it was the bravado inculcated after watching Bajirao Mastani. 😀

    Vinod Khanna was considered one of the most handsome actors in film industry, along with Dharmendra, Manoj Kumar and my favorite Dev Anand. I’d recommend Dharmendra of Shola aur Shabnam, Vinod of Mere Apne, Manoj of various Deshbhakti movies and Dev of Kala Bazaar.

    Unfortunately, all three look like those Khandahars, which were beautiful monuments in their heydays.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gc1963 says:

      Why brave it Rakesh? Please recall I enjoyed the fracas!

      True, VK was once known to be the handsomest hero. He would shine even in a guest appearance, e.g., in Gulzaar Sahab’s Parichay. He gave a few unforgettable performances too, though in his time, he was not much recognized for his work. From a side kick to a full fledged village to a matinee idol, he did come a long way. I can’t forget him in Achanak. Have you seen the film? Or Imtehan? The bespectacled professor. I loved him in Amar Akbar Anthony and all other films where he paired with Big B. They matched each other well. I have not seen Lekin but I suppose he must have done pretty well in that movie too.

      Dharmendra was my all time favourite. Remember Anupama? Satyakam? Chupke Chupke? Shikaar? Kinara?There are so many of them….but sorry I don’t remember having seen Shola Aur Shabnam.

      And what to say of Dev Saahab….the Gregory Peck of Bollywood! Can’t forget Guide. Can’t forget Jewl Thief and all other Goldie Anand movies wherein he was the hero….and what about all those beautiful S.D. Burman composed songs….

      Manoj Kumar was a little heavy for me yet I liked him in many movies before he became the quintessential Bhaarat.

      I will take this opportunity to take you a few more years back. There were a few other dashing personalities who graced Bollywood with their screen presence…Guru Dutt, Motilal, Balraj Sahni and Dilip Kumar. Though Balraj Sahni and Dilip Kumar did not fall in the category of handsome heroes but handsome is that handsome does. Can you strike them off just because of that? What about their understated, much-ahead-of-their-times performances? Guru Dutt and Motilal of course fitted the bill of aristocratic heroes, no doubt.

      While on the topic, I will also take two other names, though again, in my view, they are not particularly handsome faces…Shammi Kapoor and Sunil Dutt.

      Though Shammi Kapoor lacked acting ability his Teesri Manzil is my all time favourite which I have seen perhaps n number of times. Sunil Dutt has done innumerable memorable movies though he, according to me, suited the most in the role of khunkhaar dacoits.

      And last but not the least, how could you forget our Shashi Baba? Shashi Kapoor?

      Well, I have almost written another post…haven’t I?

      🙂
      🙂
      🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Whoa! I don’t know which to address first! 😀

        I was always taken by classic movies and have spent a night on Vadodara platform to watch Raj Kapoor movies in cinema hall in 1989.:D

        Guru Dutt was my all time favorite! They and Dev Anand formed a tag team. No one could beat his sense of spontaneous music, to which Dada Burman complemented. It’s said that in Pune’s NSD, they (Dev and Guru) promised each other that whoever will get the first break, will help the other. Guru Dutt was learning cinematography and Dev acting. Dev got the break first in Bazi, which was produced by his brother Ketan. He gave break to Guru as a director. Pyasa, Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam, Mr and Mrs 55… you name it.

        Incidentally, this trail reminded me of a song from Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam. It was composed by SD and sung by Asha. It’s the copy of a Bangla song, one of the few, which I know completely and it was taught to me by my grandma, who was a bong: Hindi: Meri baat rahi mere man me. And, bangla: Ami dur hote tumare dekhechi. The bangla version is sung by Hemant Kumar. It’s a toss up to decide which one is better. The Hindi version is very emotional, and the bangla version is too romantic.

        God! Loved this discussion! Classic movies and old Hindi songs are my passion! :&

        Liked by 2 people

      • gc1963 says:

        Rakesh, the song that you mention from Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam is composed by Hemant Mukherjee. Loved all the inputs shared by you. In this connection would recommend you to visit J. Mathur’s blog on WordPress. He is known to me and is a movie buff. A living encyclopedia on Hindi movie, music and literature. He also maintains a Hindi blog on blogspot by the name swayamprabha. Am sure you will enjoy interacting with him.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yes sorry. Hemant da composed both the bangla and Hindi songs. My bad! He and RD have composed many songs, which were originally composed in bangla and then Hindi.

        I’ll visit Mr Mathur’s blog. Thanks a lot for introducing it. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • gc1963 says:

        That gives me an idea to post something on “gaan”. So, I suppose you understand and speak Bangla, Rakesh? And am not wrong to presume the Bong connect between us. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Unfortunately I don’t. 😀

        I’m originally from Benaras. My grandfather was kinda maverick like me. He was sent to Kolkata for education. Instead of a degree, he brought back a bong beauty and was banished from the village for many years. 😀

        Music and literature are her gift to me. No one else in my extended family is remotely interested in any art form. I’m basically a flute player, but also play guitar and piano for western. Music is my passion, especially Indian Classical.

        Please do post something on music! In fact, even I’m planning to write a story, which my granny used to tell me. It’s on music too.

        Awaiting yours! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • gc1963 says:

        Lovely! Will do shortly.

        Liked by 2 people

    • gc1963 says:

      I remember visiting Benaras quite a few years back. Loved its old world ambiance.

      Once upon a time, I used to learn Hindusthani Classical Music. But that’s once upon a time…I had this secret wish to learn the Piano from time immemorial..But alas! All wishes are not to be fulfilled.

      So, you have a family history…interesting! Very, very interesting!

      We have grounds of common interest…music, art, literature! Oh!! Am loving this…More to come for sure …it seems divinely ordained!! 🙂
      🙂
      🙂
      🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. jmathur says:

    Hearty new year wishes Geeta Ji. Quice a nice write-up from you. Fortunately I have not seen Dilwale. However I have seen Bajirao Mastani and liked it overall (it has cliches and deficiencies in treatment of script and development of characters which one has to ignore to appreciate the effort of the filmmaker). If I decide to put my comment (s) in entirety, my exercise will be no less than an independent article or film-review. Hence I am restricting myself. I am restricting myself also because women are in majority here and they may not be able to see the point of view of a male. With a lot of hesitation (and omitting the major chunk of my views on the movie and your write-up), I am simply asserting that sincere love of a male and female should not be termed derogatorily as adultery. A relationship born out of love in the hearts should be differentiated from that purely based on lust. Besides the period of the story was that when polygamy was widely practised and accepted at least in the royal clans. You’re able to see the pain of Kashibai but not of Mastani. As far as I am concerned, I happened to hate Peshwa’s mother who did injustice not just to Mastani but more so to her own son and also the state. Ironically her own name was Radha but she could not perceive Mastani as the Radha in the life of Krishna (that is, her son).

    Jitendra

    Liked by 1 person

    • gc1963 says:

      Mathur Sahab! A true lover only knows the pangs of a passionate pair. I bow my head, if not in agreement then reverence, to your opinion. Radha Bai denotes the era. She is stereotypical. However, when we talk of love here, aren’t we forgetting the fact that Kashi Bai was also in love with Peshwa? Or before Mastani happened, Peshwa was also besotted with Kashi? Is it possible to love two women at the same time equally and give them equal status in life and society? And if not, then one of them is surely being betrayed or neglected. At the expense of you calling me a feminist, I think for the umpteenth number of time, I would request you to consider the equations here in the light of relational justice…sometimes we have to sacrifice or compromise just to provide natural justice to an equation, which is what Kashi Bai did when she indirectly accepted Mastani….a brave woman and an intelligent move, indeed! In doing so she incurred Peshwa’s respect and Mastani’s gratitude. But was Peshwa able to incur Kashi’s respect?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Amit Agarwal says:

    Wow! what a wonderful post! ..and great exchange of comments too..I am lost;)
    Thoroughly enjoyed..thank you Geetashree:)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jmathur says:

    I appreciate your thoughts Geeta Ji though definitely it’s difficult for you (and the other women) to see a male’s perspective. Believe it or not, admit it or not, like it or not, a lot of men can be polygamists without being lecherous. And though such men can’t do justice to more than one woman in their lives in practical terms, they can very well love all of them with utmost sincerity. That’s how nature has made males different from females. Anyway I won’t drag this issue too much. Kashi’s empathizing with Mastani is admirable but the effort made by her was not only too late but also out of her love for Peshwa whose death was a writing on the wall before her. She did not respect Mastani’s love for her husband (obviously out of womanly jealousy). As compared to her, Mastani’s character was stronger and free from any bias against Kashibai. Due to social structure, we have developed a habit of looking upon ‘the other woman’ derogatorily and considering her a vamp though she may not be so. She may be as nice or even nicer than the first woman in the man’s life. Love cannot bloosom according to social structure or stereotypes. If love is sincere, it’s to be admitted and adored at least by those who have loved someone / been loved by someone sincerely at any point of time in their lives.

    I don’t believe that Peshwa did not respect Kashi’s feelings. In the end when Kashi made her effort to free Mastani and pave the path of the union of Peshwa and Mastani, Peshwa had already lost his senses and was not in a position to understand such things. He had become a victim of delusions. And could Kashi see the selfishness of the younger brother of Peshwa and his negativity towards Peshwa by the grace of whose valour only, he was enjoying all the fruits of life ? Kashi was lonely at emotional level but she was not lonely as Mastani was. Her mother-in-law was on her side. Her grown-up son was on her side. Eventually it was Peshwa only who was completely lonely sans Mastani in his life. I agree, he could not do justice to Kashi after Mastani’s entrance to his life (he was doing complete justice to Kashi before that as a devoted and loving husband) but he never neglected her. In fact, it there’s someone he couldn’t do proper justice to, it’s Mastani and her son. It’s a pity that the second woman is always misunderstood and looked upon with contempt although upon a majority of occasions, herself only is the victim of injustice.

    Hating is a crime which was committed by Peshwa’s mother who was no less selfish and contemptuous than Peshwa’s younger brother. Loving is not a crime. It can never be. Peshwa and Mastani did not commit any crime by falling in love with each other. Brains can never be used for loving someone or not loving someone Geeta Ji. It’s a field meant for hearts only.

    However when someone’s love is divided between more than one person or someone is not able to respond to the sincere love of the other one, he / she should at least acknowledge and respect it because a true lover should be able to understand / feel the other’s love towards him / her even when he / she cannot reciprocate it. In this context, I urge you to again carefully go through my reviews of – Goonj Uthi Shehnaai (1959) and Barfi (2012).

    I have spelled out a male lover’s viewpoint above though I am, by no means, a masculist.

    Jitendra

    Liked by 1 person

    • gc1963 says:

      I respect your views Mathur Sahab! True, intellectualization of an emotion called love is unjust. It is a heart thing. I realize I should stop understanding it mentally though it is hard for me as I am more reliant on my grey faculty for most matters. Also love for the sake of love versus love within the periphery of an established social structure is a continuous debate. To each according to his/ her view…

      Peace!

      Liked by 1 person

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