Saturday, September 02, 2006

Munnabhai MBBS (MMBBS) and Rang de Basanti (RDB) – Flawed Beyond Recompense

Both are, in a manner of speaking, super-duper hits. Both are targeted at the Indian youth and makes pretenses to be different cinema. Both have captured the imagination of the Indian youth who swear by the originality of both movies, not realizing that both movies are flawed beyond recompense, at least, to me, a minority of one.

RDB was shown on Independence Day, probably to incite patriotic feeling in citizens. Patriotism? Is killing your own father – as one of the protagonists does, although, the subject is a corrupt politician – patriotism? The message here is that murder is good and that would include parricide. Are we back in the dark ages? Amir Khan in a scene from the film is clearly shown giving money to a policeman to stay off a fight that his friends had started. The message here is that bribery is also very good and worth emulating.

In another scene which I found very objectionable, the character played by Amir Khan is shown standing on a high wall bending backwards and drinking beer, a hit song sequence, I guess. Drinking while bending backwards down into a precipitous pond is a juvenile and dangerous exercise for a youth, of that everyone is aware. But the movie is absolutely insouciant about the wrong images it is sending to the youth. Firstly, the impression created is that drinking is good, and drinking and doing risky things are even better.

What sort of message does this convey to the youth? I will summarize: Parricide is good, bribery is good, drinking and doing foolish stunts is good. How can such a movie not even be panned by critics who rave about its great qualities and even confer awards on it? How can a censor board – which has been constituted for this purpose – not object, at least, where the politician is shown as being bad and killed by his own son?

There are many more flaws in this supposedly youth cult film which I am not mentioning here. One of them is lewd remarks made to a white girl which she cannot understand. It is clear that there is sexual harassment involved. The movie left a bad taste in my mouth. Are our youth so cynical as to applaud all these bad qualities in themselves? The stereotype here is youth of the north somewhere around the Punjab. Do they behave so grossly, if so, what can the nation expect from these citizens? Peace or violence?

This is over the top, way too exaggerated, and made with a view to appeal to the baser instincts of viewers. Is it an ironic reflection of the state we are in that this movie is a huge hit?

Here's another flawed film that is a super box-office hit. Here the protagonists are Central Indians, most notably Bambaiya, and talk the language of the Bombay hoodlums. The character played by Sanjay Dutt is admitted to a medical degree college to train as a doctor. There is a shortage of bodies to be dissected and the hoodlum phones his sidekick to bring him a body from somewhere. The sidekick played by Harshad Warsi clobbers and kidnaps an oriental-looking man and brings him to the dissecting table.

Okay, okay, what went wrong here? Raju Hirani, in an interview said the film portrays some of the problems that MBBS students face during their training. Yes, there is a shortage of bodies in medical colleges, but, can it be solved by clobbering a foreign-looking oriental and bringing him to the laboratory in a sack? Again, what message are you sending across Raju Hirani?

Munnabhai doesn't know a single letter in the proverbial three "r's", even to spell or sign his own name and forces a doctor to impersonate him in the medical college entrance examination. And, surprise, surprise, he is admitted. He is doing all this to take revenge for some slight against his family's honor. Message: cheating in exams is good for your family honor.

The irony doesn't end there. Munnabhai becomes a doctor in the end. That means cheating, lying, impersonating, threatening teachers; all are accepted behavior in Indian medical colleges. Believe me when I say freaky messages are being conveyed here, messages full of bitterness, insubordination, deprivation, and the use of violence.

Would the people of India trust the medical fraternity after seeing such gross exaggerations of their profession? Why didn't they speak out? Is that again an indication of some malaise at the root of the medical system that extracts millions of rupees from students seeking admission into medical colleges?

And this film too is a box office hit. It raked in enough cash to encourage the director to make a sequel with the same theme. The sequel goes a bit further and hints that hoodlums should be treated on the level of national figures – with pictures of them printed on currency notes. What an insult to the nation's leadership! I can only say, what guts and gumption these directors exhibit to the public, and that when it comes to exaggerations Indian films recognize no boundaries.

As they say, "Whither, Indian Cinema?"
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rahuls said...

u need help .. u need serious serious help .

John said...

Hey there Rahul, (;or whoever you are with enough vile vitriol to leave an anonymous comment, I guess you are one of those pimple-faced, over-weight, anal-retentive types, who troll the net and leave such crappy drivel, right, Rahul?)


Now it's you who need help leaving a comment like this. Do you have the education or the intellectual capacity to makee one intelligent comment on this piece? I guess you don't and that you are mentally challenged. So you hide behind your anonymity, wallow in your fat-assed horse shit, right Rahul.

Go get a life, and don't dare come on my blog, for heavens sake.

hahaha, got you, didn't I?


John said...

Oh I forgot to mention. I don't tolerate trolls on my blog.



charuta said...

hey john,

why r u taking films so seriously? not every scene or action has to "convey some msg. to the youth". everyone knows standing on a wall & drinking beer is dangerous & not that ppl are gonna imitate it. ppl take risks even without seeing films.

"One of them is lewd remarks made to a white girl which she cannot understand. It is clear that there is sexual harassment involved."
johnnie: that was some fun time by college guys.

the oriental man scene is just to show his level of thinking: not that students r gonna do that!!!chill man. why this negative attitude?

movies spell entertainment.
else there wld be documentries alone!!!

charuta said...

hey john,
we at office were shocked to see ur language for the comment left for this post. hey johnnie, ppl praise & ppl critise. commnets does not mean praise alone!!!

John said...


Hello, is it you, my dear friend Charuta (and my other friends) speaking? I thought you were supposed to defend me when this guy attacked my person and not my writing.

I wrote this piece so that those who didn't agree could point out what was wrong with my logic and ideas that went into writing the piece. But he said something very personal, attacking me not my writing. Do you think it is right on his part, coming to my blog and attacking me as a person? If he didn't like what I wrote he should have either said what is wrong in my logic and writing or left and not commented. As for what I have written, I belief, what is written is written. So I won't retract from what I have already expressed, in anger, or otherwise.

Come on, Charuta, tut, tut, I thought you were a friend and well wisher.

Anyway, nice picture of you there, very good contrast and touch up on Photoshop. Guess Mandar did it. Tell him I liked it.