Infidel


Here is yet another typically Shobhaa De piece. Where she boldly and bravely speaks out against the fairytale of happily married. And applauds Karan Johar for having the guts to come out with such a bold film [Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, and it’s about *yawn* adultery], which can potentially damage his credo at the Box Office.
She also says that India needs a Bollywood film made by someone of Karan’s sensibility and mass appeal for the Sati-Savitri stereotypes to crumble. Hell’s Bells, the Indian moviegoer is upto his neck with themes similar to this one. And ha, will one movie, or for that matter, a dozen or more movies of this type do anything to the psyche of the moviegoer from the Cowbelt, or even the multiplex audience?
Well, maybe, just maybe, if the women had any semblance to what women are like in real life. I agree with Ms. De to the point where she feels that women in real life aren’t the self-sacrificing types shown in the movies and people should stop expecting them to be so. But isn’t it preposterous to suggest that Karan Johar portrays women faithfully? Just look at Anjali, or Tina, or Naina Catherine Kapoor, or Pooja… Aren’t they just caricatures of Tomboy, Heroine, Stressed-Out Breadwinner, and an over-the-top, exaggeratedly comic version of Femme Fatale?
And just how is adultery a solution to anything? How does having an incompatible spouse justify your finding pleasure outside of the relationship? Divorce, maybe, is justified by the above reason, but certainly not adultery, which is, anyway just another word for unfaithfulness.
Ms. De foresees that the treatment given to the plot and the theme will be such that the audience empathizes with the philandering woman. But why should they? Why should we accept adultery as just another thing in life, and take it in our stride when it happens? Doesn’t that go totally against our concept of marriage, as we know it? As far as we know, Ms. De isn’t one of those who don’t believe in marriage, or are cynical about it, that her having such a point of view is justified.
As for those who don’t believe in marriage, and are applauding Karan Johar for Breaking the Rules [with adultery], ha, why at all get married, if you’re not going to give all to the relationship?
As for Breaking the Rules, maybe we should be doing so, but not in favour of heartbreak and anarchy, which are not on the path to a more stable social structure.
Talking of a which, the only solutions I can think of, off the top of my mind are Galaxia, which is a global organism, as portrayed by Asimov in Foundation and Earth, or a society of hermaphrodites, like Solaria, from the same novel. What I’m trying to say is that there are no easy solutions to keep a marriage intact, unless the very existence of the parties involved in the relationship depended on the stability of the relationship, as in Galaxia, or the non-existence of such an unstable bond, as in Solaria.
And for this potentially epoch-making film… I don’t think this is going to herald the coming of a great social revolution. Just like Salaam Namaste didn’t make an iota of difference to people’s perception of live-in relationships. It takes a lot more than films to reverse our dogmas and hypocrisies, or even bring them to light. And filmmakers make such films not ‘coz they feel like on the cusp of a dramatic social change, or ‘coz they rightly estimate the sensibilities of the audience. A hatke theme is a big draw, as far as curiosity is concerned, and this includes the Indian media, which promptly laps it all up, blows it all out of proportion and delights in declaring again and again that Indian audiences are growing more open minded. Add to that a dozen-or-so hit song-and-dance sequences, and heartstring-tugging dialogues and a director like Karan Johar who revels in three hours of swinging the audiences’ emotions from crest to abyss to crest, and there you have a runaway success.
As for Ms. De, who so delights in declaring her hi-fi contacts so often in her columns…Pah! Advertising knows no limits.

About wanderlust

just your average books-and-music person who wants to change the world.
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13 Responses to Infidel

  1. shilpi says:

    @priya i didn’t know tat u were an avid supporter of marriage…
    back to the topic..adultery under some circumstances is better than a divorce, than a broken home…yeah u r rite if u commit to a relationship u shud give it all..but same can be said abt a parent child relationship..wat if u desperately want to b out of marriage but still stay in just bcoz of ur kids…even kids need ur 100% too..but just for kids u can’t hang urself..so u go in for an extramarital affair(so called adultery)…life’s not so simple as it seems..n many decisions howsoever outwardly dishonest might b an outcome of immense perseverance n sacrifice….

  2. Ann says:

    Hey.. Well writtten..Intact,Terse and Organised..The link doesn’t seem to be working

  3. Priya says:

    oh… i guess the site got updated… anyway, you can find that piece in The Week, Shobhaa De’s column, The Sexes, titled Will Glory follow Guts?

  4. aJ says:

    This reminds me so much about a play I watched recently. It was about a broken home and how each one (parents and two daughters) in the family dealt with with the break up

  5. Nirav says:

    Hey,
    Totally agree… its not that this subject is being portrayed for the first time in Hindi films. It has been the subject of many classics like Arth, Silsila, Yeh Nazdikiyaan, etc… and if anything Karan Johar will further sensationalize and trivialize it by making a big-budget soap opera out of this
    And… best of luck for Fanaa!

  6. Priya says:

    nirav,
    you forgot murder. and that other clone, with that kaliyon ka chaman female.

  7. srav says:

    btw fanaa is a rip off of “eye of the needle” by follett..

    @ the post..
    well in the lovely country of ours.. where even now “arranged marriage” is a norm.. where the bride gets to talk to her husband for the first time in bed on their suhaag raat.. where u dont even knw the guy.. and like shilpi said for the kids.. n divorce bein a taboo in our society.. i guess ppl indulge in adultery…

    not tat i am supportin adultery… but i guess circumstances lead to it..

    abt the movies… crap.. utter shit.. seriously the purane gen ke movies handled these sensitive topics more professionally

  8. theG says:

    not qualified to comment 🙂

  9. NOTY TONY says:

    very well written, reminded me of tht salaam namaste article of urs..n yes hats off again…100% true..

    the avg indian prolly has had enuf of hindi movies by now..at least one mallu has ;)..i was unfortunate enuf to watch tripe like Neal n Nikki, salaam namaste (even veer zaara sucked!!) n a whole lot more n the much hyped fanaa is a shameless rip off of tht awesome spy novel by ken follett…Eye of the needle..read the book n watch the movie, i swear u’ll break the projector in two..
    n abt adultery – i dont think it can b quite justified unless one is as broadminded as coelho in the zahir..but wen it comes to our own lives, im sure it is an unpardonable sin..keep writin gal gr8 work

  10. randomwalker says:

    There’s a great deal of truth when you say one movie ain’t gonna make such a great difference to the ordinary hindi movie goer…

    But I’m not quite sure if I’m qualified enough to comment on adultery… It would depend heavily on the case in consideration…

    Nice post 🙂

  11. ‘Adultery’ is not a solution and should never get the social license that Ms.De seems to be advocating. Extenuating circumstances or not, it is against the very concept of marriage. How we deal with someone who committed adultery but repents it later is a diff matter.

    Apparently KANK is an Indianisation of ‘Closer’. No surprises there – if it can be copied it is a disgrace if u don’t.

    I haven’t watched ‘Closer’, so I don’t know how good it was. Anybody watched it?

    Lets hope KANK turns out alright. Bah! Who cares?

    p.s. tht article reminds me of Lois Cook in ‘The Fountainhead’

  12. I think many people have extra marital relationships. The fact that divorce is such a big taboo in this country makes things worse…Committment is something I’ve never really understood. How long can you be faithful to ONE person? Is adultery a part of marriage? I think it is. I mean temptation….how much can you resist. Especially after the excitement of marriage and the mutual comfort fades away…

    About bollywood adultery films, I rate Astha starring Om puri and Rekha the best movie with adultery as its theme. Silsilay was delightful…Shabd was a complete disaster, more because of Aishwarya Rai….

    about KANK I’ll comment only after seeing the movie.

  13. Priya says:

    if you arent supposed to be faithful to one person, then how come the rules havent changed to accomodate that?

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