Sunday, January 09, 2011

Dabangg

What a difference some lightness, shadow, and cleverness can make! In some ways, Chulbul Pandey is a close cousin to the lumbering, grunting, glowering hero of Veer, but thank Helen above (as Arbaaz Khan did in the credits!) he seems aware of and completely comfortable in his limitations and context. Veer wants to be great and wound up an epic fail, but Dabangg wants to be a winking entertainer with a nice masala dash of something for everyone and does so gloriously well - so much so that as we all look back on 2010 Dabangg has obliterated Salman's poor personal pet project from our collective consciousness.

I watched Dabangg twice within a few days, and after the glee of the growling, flying, and silliness has worn off, the well-structured and -paced story remains. The second time through, what I noticed most was how the story shifted focus or a new arc appeared before I realized I was ready for that happen but without lurching or short-changing any ideas or characters. There's a brevity that, for me, kept tricks like Salman's line delivery, the heartless shouting stepfather, or yet more Matrix-y stunts from bloating into annoyances. The world of Dabangg is satisfyingly murky, setting up a hero of sorts that is so much more engaging than some of the perfect police-wallahs of masala of yore the film connotes (sorry, Shashi). Nobody in this film is perfect, and they provide an important relatability that supports all the dubious deeds and CGI trickery. For every time he is blunt and thumping, Chulbul turns around and learns a lesson, does something with real heart (standing by his mother, working to make his lady-love smile, forgiving his brother), or slays you with a flash of emotional turmoil.

I also loved how the villain's true nature was revealed slowly, starting with just a minor ego clash with our hero to classic criminal to political player to full-on evil just when it counted most. And as someone who doesn't particularly care about fight choreography, I was grateful that the brawls and chases were evenly spread throughout the film - and often mixed with humor that worked for me, most notably Chubul stopping mid-clash to shimmy to a baddie's cell phone ring. Bravo to the writers (director Abhinav Kashyap, who also worked on the enjoyable 13 B and dark and careful Manorama Six Feet Under, with a story assist from Dilip Shukla of Andaz Apna Apna), I say (with one caveat I will get to in a minute)!

I'm no particular fan of Salman Khan, but my goodness is he hilarious in this movie. I haven't seen enough of his filmography to know with certainty that this is self-parody, but his performance was full of winks at film heroes. He parlays his considerable screen presence to out-swagger an enemy who towers over him.


Sonu Sood is taller, shinier (SO SHINY), more handsome, and maybe even more sculpted, yet he loses. Welcome to Chulbul's world, b*tch.
And Inspector Tight Pants really sold the moves, too. I often find Salman's dancing a little stilted by his overbulked frame, but here it worked brilliantly - Chulbul Pandey absolutely would not know how to dance like Hrithik or Shahrukh and would do funny little moves that paralleled his funny little dialogues. Even head over khaki-clad teakettle in love in "Tere Mast Mast Do Nain," his lilting shuffle seemed perfect, full of that tiny spring in your step you just can't control when you're really happy.

If the fact that I loved Dabangg makes you wonder if a pod person is typing this, the following will sound refreshingly familiar: once again, I ask the writers "WHERE ARE THE WOMEN?" Nirupa Roy would be proud of Dimple Kapadia's turn as a Maa whose love for her sons leads her to bad decisions, but she was the only female character of sustained interest. Sonakshi Sinha's Rajo is quiet in an interesting way rather than a whimpering weakling and expresses herself when it counts,

but her fate in the film is more a factor of the men in her life deciding for her than her own will, and she basically disappears from the plot as the action ramps up towards the climax. Mahie Gill's character also does nothing but react to what her father and fiancé decide, and in her case it's hard to understand why she goes along with any of it since her love interest is such a dolt. I almost wonder if some early scenes of their love story were cut, so blank are both her character and the tone of their romance.

Prompted by Temple to explain where I think more female characters could have appeared, I propose an awesome female police colleague, someone like Tabu channeling Rekha - she could have gone undercover as Munni to trap the criminals! Or, maybe even more interesting, a sister for our 70s-style brotherly hate and love plot, a lazy pampered baby whose devotion to her father is stretched to fascinating ethical limits just as Makhanchan's was. No one would expect a Dil Se-style female mango-carrier! Even one major female player in the story would do little to dilute this testosterone-flooded film, so anyone who loved this mostly for its macho shenanigans would have little to fear.



Update to post (January 2012): I've just discovered a review of Dabangg that restates precisely what I don't like about how the women in this film are depicted. The author and I come to the film from different places and I am thrilled to see someone else, especially someone who is not demographically and cinema-background-ly identical to me, pin down the problems so well. Read Ashwin Pande's take on the film here.

Another quintessentially Beth-like complaint: Salman's love interest is 22 years his junior (
literally half his age!)* but the actor playing his mother is just 8 years his senior. YUCK.

Those are really the only things I didn't enjoy in Dabangg. The music works so well**, down to the snatch of "Emotional Attyachar" at the wedding; the Mexican western style theme and "Hud Hud Dabangg" pack particular wallop in the context of the film, perfect for Chulbul's macho-with-heart persona. The cast is a delight down to Amitosh Nagpal as Rajo's similarly sad and quiet brother and Chulbul's various silly colleagues. Even though Om Puri and Vinod Khanna are probably under-used, I wouldn't have given their characters more screen time at the cost of anyone else. And how funny is Sonu Sood? I haven't yet seen him in any of his amazing-sounding cartoony villain roles from southern films but clearly I must. All he has to do is stand there in a scarf and sunglasses and I laugh. I have a hard time getting past how much he looks like young Amitabh Bachchan, and in this film that similarity was smartly channeled into an angry young man gone very, very bad.

He paints Chedi Singh with that sort of disarming casualness that the truly psychopathic sometimes have, completely detached from the destruction and suffering they cause. The town itself is fascinating, full of nooks and crannies for discovery and open landscapes for reflection and peril - and how could I forget the lane of lanterns and neon lights to mirror the fireworks of romance?

Maybe my favorite thing about Dabangg is that all of this is done not only with characters and situations more complex than I expected but also with the kind and amount of self-awareness that I love. "These are the tools of our trade and we're going to have a blast playing with them," the filmmakers seem to say. And to my eye, they seemed to do so with a lot of thought towards what would make more interesting and satisfying experience for viewers than simplistic hero worship, parody, or re-hash/re-heat of R(ecommended) M(asala) A(llowance) of standard ingredients (Maa, family reconciliation, retribution of evil). Dabangg does all those things and ends up making something more. I can think of no better example of this kind of appreciative, joyful, exalting meta- than the Shirt-Off in the final brawl. In a victorious position, Chedi pauses the action to rip off his own shirt. The camera gazes upward adoringly at Sonu's remarkable torso as the actor holds his weapon in his teeth and then beckons at almost-defeated Chulbul to get up and continue fighting.

All I could think was "THIS CANNOT BE. SALMAN WILL NOT BE OUT-OFF-SHIRT-ED!" And of course he was not. Proving Chulbul's moral high ground even as he hovers near defeat, his muscles bulge out of his shirt and the winds of righteousness whip away the last symbol of constraint.
Post-modern hero zindabad!

* There is nothing Salman-specific about this complaint. It was gross in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Sawaal (Shashi opposite Poonam Dhillon), too.
** My opinion on the Self-Aggrandizing Item Number of 2010 Debate falls as follows: I prefer "Munni" for how it works and appears in its film (picturization and plot), execution of choreography, lyrics, and its gloriously lower and earthier female voice, but "Sheila" squeaks ahead as something to listen to outside of its film (singing and dancing to while doing dishes, that kind of thing).

26 comments:

Rum said...

Masala Pradesh approves this review, even if it is months down the line! I absolutely agreed with all your comments, and the age difference with the two women and Sallu definitely irks me now, but alas I don't think the 40+ plus hero is gonna be chasing after a gal around his age for some time, unfortunately!

But I had to note that it was approved by the Masala Pradesh for having an appearance by another Sheroo wonder bird hawk! And that's entertainment in my book!

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Sounds like you had a lot of fun watching this! I do think that the women get enough coverage in this film, considering the genre and the fact that it is Salman's home production- of course he is center stage all the time. I do however do not (and have complained about everywhere) the editing issues- clearly Om puri and Mahie both had back stories which were edited out badly- the broken strings of dialogues and scenes show that. Other tan that- its perfect! cant wait for the sequel :)

notabilia said...

re: Munni vs. Sheila: Sheila. I can't get that song out of my head.

re: the new chick in this movie: Sadly, all I read about her in India was that she lost weight for this movie and she and Sallu (and the media, I suppose) thought this was a *huge* accomplishment. Le sigh.

carla_filmigeek said...

I am looking forward to seeing this.

Re: Sonu Sood, I wonder if anyone who casts him sort of *has* to implicitly acknowledge the resemblance to Amitabh - ignoring it would make it the elephant in the room.

Sharmi Ghosh Dastidar said...

Love the film and love your post :)

Filmi Girl said...

Excellent review! I have three words: Inspector Tight Pants. I think the brothers Khan should register that title immediately.

For a nice taste of Sonu Sood villainy, I recommend checking out "Ek Niranjan." V. fun film and you know heroine Kangana Ranaut would never be cast as a weakling! And she even has a job - guitar teacher.

Lime(tte) said...

I wrote a small review on this, but I totally agree with you... I love that you actually write a very long review, but it's still interesting.

However, Sonu Sood is just not my type. As I wrote in my post, he needs a bra and a hairdresser. Just my opinion.

ErinGee said...

...Huh.
I honestly have to say I didn't think you'd like it (strike one for calling out the pod people, because I thought they were up to SOMETHING!) but I ever so glad you did!

So shocked. So happy.

"Winds of righteousness" ha!

Anonymous said...

Interesting review from one who is not a Salman fan.

I just want to react to your comment about the female characters in this film. Most of the Bollywood blogs online are by non-desis. On the one hand, I admire their willingness to explore a kind of cinema and culture that is very much outside their personal experience -- and some have gone to extraordinary lengths to learn about and even become expert at that culture and its language. But OTOH, it seems that, even with all this awareness and dedication, they cannot leave their cultural bias behind in their reviews. How can you expect the kind of female characters you wanted (undercover policewoman, for example) in a setting like this? The film is specifically set in a small town in the "heartland" of India, in a state that is one of the three most backward as far as female emancipation goes (despite having a powerful female Chief Minister). In this setting, the kind of female characters you want are simply impossible.

On the one hand people complain that Bollywood films are "unrealistic" and yet when their stories and characters are driven by realism, they complain that such realism doesn't meet their idealized world view! This comment isn't directed particularly at you. I have just come from another blog where the owner made a similar complaint about a different film, and have been reading various blogs by non-desis in the past few days, and your comment just pushed me over the edge. :)

Perhaps you are not aware of just how unconventional it is to have a widow who has (apparently) happily remarried, with no social repercussions, and whose son from the first marriage is also brought up by her (and not by her relatives). That in itself is an enormous feminist statement, and, as is usual in most of Salman's films, it is made in a very understated and subtle way.

Second, Sonakshi's character (whose name is Rajjo, not Roja) is again very independent given her circumstances in life, which are very realistic. For such women, most of their lives *are* decided by the men in their family. In any case, Rajjo makes her own choices about earning her own living (refusing money both from Chulbul and her brother), whom to marry, when to marry, and criticizing her husband's conduct. So I don't really understand why you think her life is controlled by the men in it.

Regarding age differences, the point about Dimple Kapadia is not her actual age, but the "era" to which she belongs. Don't forget that she made her debut with Rishi Kapoor. Just as Rishi has been cast as Salman's father in other films, it is logical to cast Dimple as his mother.

Finally (sorry to go on at such length!) did you miss reading about Sonakshi being Shatrughan Sinha's daughter? Since this is her first film, there is not much else to say about her, is there? Especially since she wasn't interested in becoming an actress before. As for her weight loss, I'd rather read about overweight girls who became heroines by losing weight to a healthy level (such as Sonakshi and Sonam Kapoor), than about perfectly healthy girls losing weight and becoming scarily skinny to fit some Hollywood wannabe director's "vision" of the ideal female figure (such as Kareena Kapoor or Priyanka).

To end on a positive note, I really appreciate the fact that you saw how well-written the script was. I'm so fed up with all the people going on about how this is a "leave your brains at home" kind of film! Maybe they did leave their brains at home, and so couldn't see all the subtleties and complexities in it.

SVH said...

Oh yeah, Salman is BACK!

Bombay Talkies said...

Anonymous,

I wish you'd linked to yourself (do you have a blog?)! I'd love to read more of your thoughts on films--what you wrote here was really interesting (and well put).

Beth said...

Rum - Yay! It's so hard living in the sticks filmi-wise! I love my town but we get maybe one new release a month, if that, and usually with little advance notice. This one didn't make it here, so I had to wait for DVD, which was hard given all the interesting hoopla! Anyway, I'm glad MP approves. I LOVED the bit with Sheroo! I should have included a photo just because :)

Shweta - Maybe I haven't seen enough of this genre to know what is typical; I didn't actually EXPECT more substantial female characters but I always hope for them regardless.

I'm glad you pointed out Om's missing story - I agree that his character and even his very presence seem sketchy at best. I was curious why a senior officer would be under the sway of Chedi, for example.

But yeah, much fun was had and I will happily watch another! :)

notabilia - I KNOW!

Re: Sonakshi - I vaguely remember that too and thinking "god, this discussion again?" and wondering why someone didn't think of something more interesting to say/ask her about.

carla - I think you'll enjoy it! And I agree about Sonu, though someone recently told me Amitabh writes in his blog that he does not see the resemblance. Clearly he has never looked in a mirror.

Sharmi - Thankooo! :)

FG - INSPECTOR TIGHT PANTS! Maybe Captain Tight pants could make a cameo appearance in the sequel!

I have heard SUCH good things about Ek NIranjan from you and Temple and others. Last time I was in the Chicago movie shops I looked for it but no dice. I'll be sure to keep trying!

Lime(tte) - I'll be sure to go look for your review. I mostly avoided reviews when the film came out because I knew I would see it as soon as I could and wanted to keep my head clear.

As for length - sadly this is probably one of my shorter ones, so I hope I don't lose you :)

And as for Sonu, he was a model before he was an actor, right? Maybe you're picking up on some kind of glamor hangover.

Erin - I tend not to like macho shooting and stunts, so if one walked away from this film with those as the dominant impressions, one could easily assume I wouldn't like it much. (Not that you did that.) I dunno, it totally worked for me. I most definitely do NOT need to see a million copies of it, though, because you just know that the things that made this one so good would get lost in the shuffle and/or overplayed. Let's just let this one be special while still learning from it.

Anonymous - I am going to reply to yours in a separate post because I know there will be a lot! :)

SVH - Heehee! I hadn't realized he'd been gone, unless you count his little detour into Salmanistan for Veer.

Bombay Talkies - I agree all around! I

Beth said...

Anonymous - part 1 - First, thank you so much for such a substantial and well thought-out comment! Exchanges like this are probably my favorite thing about blogging! I also appreciate your caveat that what you've said is based on reading various things, not just this single piece.

I agree with you that I, at least, have a hard time leaving cultural bias behind. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, there is a difference between expectation and hope, and really what I was writing bout for this film was a hope more than anything based on, as you smartly point out, the reality of both films like this and of the real situations/contexts they are referring to or aiming at.

It is exactly because of complex and deep social problems with female emancipation and basic rights of many kinds that I always hope films will do more for women. I do not expect every film to be a "social issues" film but there are so many, many different ways to address things like this, even if just in more subtle or light ways. For example, if viewers rarely see female authority figures, it is less easy for them (us!) to even conceive of such concepts or to interact with real-life examples. Cinema (and tv and novels etc) can do a lot to shape the ideas that are in our heads or just in public consciousness generally without having to be heavy-handed or direct.

You didn't ask me about this, but I'll say it anyway - this kind of concern from me about addressing, or at least engaging with, social issues absolutely applies to many American films and tv etc too. I rarely mention specific examples on this blog because US pop culture is not what this blog is about. But I think about it often. Here is one example: over the holidays I watched the first season of the US version of Ugly Betty and was fascinated by the depiction of Betty's family, particularly her father and his immigration issues. (For those unfamiliar, Betty's father is revealed to be an illegal immigrant from Mexico, a fact that was unknown to any of the characters on the show.) I am still undecided whether i think this is lazy, stereotype-based writing - i.e. Mexicans are here illegally! OH NOES! -type nonsense - OR if it was the show trying to address a particular current event and hot political topic without having to be a "topical" show. Was it just stereotyping or was it depiction of contemporary issues in a non-charged way? I'm not sure.

Beth said...

part 2 - Anyway: as you say and which I give you great credit for pointing out because I for one had never thought about it - if Salman can pause midair as he leaps form building to building or do Matrix-style bends to avoid shards of glass, then why not also include different types and/or more active female characters? :)

I also had completely overlooked DImple's character being remarried. That is a great point and I'm glad you reminded me. That is a great example of a film being fairly quiet about something significant. I don't know enough of Salman's other films to say whether i think it's regular but I agree with you that it is quite meaningful here.

Re: Rajo - I agree with what you're saying about her earnings and decisions about marriage, but to me it seemed her actual marriage, when it came time, was decided by her father, whom I read to have committed suicide in order to let his daughter move on to a life with Chulbul. And then Chulbul simply strides into her home and interrupts mourning to tell her what she should do next. I wish there had been a little more discussion between them about whether she was actually ready to move on from her home, etc.

And no, I knew who her faith rise. I didn't think it was relevant to her performance in the film :) Whether there is something to say about a performer in a particular film depends on what's in the film, not about what number appearance it is for them, who they are, etc. And anyway, there's tons of ink spilled about lots of other debuts, particularly those of stars' kids, it seems to me - Ranbir Kapoor, for instance, even in the mess that was Saawariya.

I am SO WITH YOU on the "leave your brains at home" thing. Personally that's not an approach I value at all, but even if I did, I agree with you that it means one misses out on a lot in a film like this!

To close, thanks again for sharing all your thoughts! I hope you'll comment again on whatever strikes your fancy here and on other blogs :)

Anonymous said...

Industry Reactions on Dabangg awards (Satire) http://tinyurl.com/dabangg-reactions-industry

SVH said...

Anonymous, I'd also like a link to your blog if you have one.

Ever since someone told me that almost every Indian film is a "social" I have relished finding those little rad moments. I loved how blase Munna was about widow remarriage in Lage Raho Munnabhai--granted, the widow was a Christian which makes it less controversial, but Munna's reaction was what was significant to me, along the lines of, well, what's the problem? Marry her.

There were a few nice moments in Namastey London too, e.g., where Kumar's character tells his family he wouldn't ask Jaz to give up her career, which made up for his dodgy abduction joke earlier.

And weren't there some nice bits about single moms in Partner, another Salman flick?

SVH said...

Beth, Veer was such a flop, and personally I can;t think of a Salman film I've enjoyed since Partner and Salaam-Ishq. until Dabang. So that's what I meant by "Salman is back!"

Anonymous said...

I watched Dabangg yesterday for the second time. I liked it better the second time. Once the 'surprise' funny moments (like Salman shaking for cell phone ring) are out of the way, I liked the story and pacing too.


I think this movie has a lot of interesting stuff under the carpet. As anonymous mentioned above, widow remarriage, self-earning Rajo who refuses to marry, and Nirmala's father who stops the wedding (Contrast to yesteryears BW with bride's father begging for wedding to go on..) are some of issues that are subtle but deviate from 'marriage at any cost' theme (which even overrides 'rape' in some movies).

I wouldn't have personally liked a sister. That is just too much murkiness into the emotional life of two brothers and their father. That lack of female contrast made the Salman's tears all the more better for me (where he asks his step-father to accept him after his mother's death).

Any substantial role for her would deviate from main narrative. Most realistically she would've ended up at her father's bedside when he is ill rather than delivering any mangoes.

Also, the theft of Salman's money and how he finds out about it is one of the other things handled beautifully.

I think the 'Neta' could have been a woman to show in authority position but that is not any substantial role. Munni being a police officer would just make life hard for other real-life woman police officers IMHO.

Finally, I found the love story between Sonakshi and Salman sweet. I don't know how it came across for someone outside of Indian culture. But it appeared to me that Sonakshi dictated the whole wooing/marriage according to her terms. It didn't seem to me that she was necessarily at the mercy of others (Her words that she isn't afraid of a 'slap' but more scared of 'love'. Her father's description that she is 'stubborn'-- a short-hand for 'goes her own way').

By the time Salman interrupts mourning and brings her home, my feeling was that she was quite capable of refusing him even then.

Looks like, I might have to watch Dabangg once again :).

-Violet in Twilight

SVH said...

I need to watch it again too.

In the context of Indian society, Anonymous is right. But in the context of a potential crossover audience, Beth's observations are 100 percent valid. What works in the villages of India won't always work in Chicago, especially with a female audience, which is the key demographic for Bwood in the west outside of the NRI audience.

the iscussion is always lively on BLB.

CheeC said...

Hi Beth ( my first time commenting here but been lurking, as you well know), these Dabangg discussions are interesting indeed! Especially the points Anonymous and "Violet in Twilight" make. So much so, I want to watch it again, and more closely this time (coz my last viewing was during the holidays, amid a multitude of distractions; consequently, I found myself nodding away to what Samrat was saying about Dabangg on your podcast's "What the Frack - part 1"... I too (from my piecemeal first viewing) thought it was rather lame for a so-called Masala movie, the Sonu Sood enmity bits were not fleshed out, etc). I might still wind up siding with Samrat, but at least I'd have accorded the movie a more solid viewing. :)

CheeC said...

ps - And oh, "Post-modern hero zindabad!" is a brilliantly observed bit of pure awesomeness!!

Carol said...

I don't like Salman Khan, but I loved Dabangg so much that I even started looking at him with better eyes. It's strange that I've been watching Indian films for so few time and I'm already missing masala movies.

I'm sorry, but I had to do the "leave your brains at home" thing to feel like watching the movie (I'm telling you, I really don't like Salman). By the time when Tere Mast Mast Do Nain was playing, my brains and my heart were already back to me. I just kept sighing.

If you had not talked about Mahie Gill, I would not remember she was in the movie. Why didn't that woman asked her lover where the hell he got the money for the marriage? Did he just showed up suddenly rich and she started jumping and smile? Her character appeared so few times that I'll never know.

I need to watch this movie again.

Beth said...

SVH - Looking for little rad moments is a really admirable approach, I think! And as you say, let's hear it for good discussion!

Violet - After all this good discussion, I'll be watching it again too! Maybe a few months from now, to make sure there's time for stuff to percolate :)

CheeC - So glad you commented! Now that I have finally seen it, I need to have a much longer discussion with Samrat about it - he and I usually dislike the same things (whereas we might feel positively about stuff in much different degrees and ways), so I'm very curious why we disagree so much on this one.

Carol - My problem with Salman is really his personal life - I don't have any issues with him as a performer but I often find myself not wanting to give him any attention. I'm glad this one engaged you - that is always a wonderful feeling no matter who's in a film!

Bollywood Talk said...

He is Real Dubbang

Anonymous Too said...

"That in itself is an enormous feminist statement, and, as is usual in most of Salman's films, it is made in a very understated and subtle way."- Anonymous Above

I am glad someone else has noticed this about Salman Khan and his films. I thought I was the only one. I feel like many non-desi Hindi film viewers like to write Salman off as some sort of Himbo. (I believe that the media's unfair portrayal of Salman has a lot to do with this.) But from my viewing experience, I've always felt that his films showcase a lot of respect towards the heroine and the female audiences, albeit in a very subtle, very Indian way. I'm not Indian myself but I am Asian, so perhaps I could connect with this subtle feminism.

For instance, "Erotta" Rajjo in Dabangg to me is quite the feminist figure, and a lot of the reasons Anonymous above has pointed out.

It is strongly hinted at that Rajjo isn't the typical "pure" virgin heroine. The impression I got is that she is a disgraced, ostracized figure within her society because she is never seen interacting with anyone other than Chulbul and her father in the film.(I've created many backstories for Rajjo's character while watching the film. That said, I like how they kept the reason for her being called Erotta ambiguous and yet obvious.) Even in her introduction scene, she is introduced in a state of undress, which implies a certain loss of modesty pertaining to this lady. (One theory I came up with is that Rajjo is the real "Munni Badnaam") And do note how Chulbul lowers his gaze and passes her the dupatta, making her respectable again. And this visual of him covering her up is again repeated in the song "Tere Mast Mast Do Nain." I interpret this as giving honor and respect to women who are ostracized or regarded to be "dishonored" and therefore silenced in society. Rajjo hardly spoke but when she did, her dialogues were powerful. And the fact that the audiences loved Rajjo, and Sonakshi's performance was majorly lauded by both critics and the audiences is the icing on the cake isn't it?

Anyways, I have to give it to you for not brushing away this film as a "mindless entertainer." Gosh, this film is SO good, I feel like lashing out at people who call it mindless!

Beth said...

Anonymous Too - First, I'm sorry for being so slow to respond to this! I lost track of comments there for awhile.

I would love to know more about some films/scenes that you feel demonstrate Salman's respect for heroines and female audiences, what that respect looks like, and how it works in the films. What a lovely thing to investigate!

Your analysis of of Chulbul's treatment of her is very thoughtful and I hope the people who made the film were doing what you suggest! :) I wish I could watch the film again right now as I read what you're saying. Based on what I remember, I definitely agree that Chulbul is not one to care much (if anything!) about what society thinks of his personal morality and the behaviors that stem from it, so it makes sense to me that he is a defender of those he loves even when there is only the film's audience (rather than characters in the film's world) to witness it (and we're the more important one anyway!).

I'm with you on this film not being mindless. I have no idea where people get that. As I've said many times before, it's hard for me to understand how any film can be completely dismissed - there's almost always something to be understood from what people choose to make and how others react to it.