Why You Should See Dostana2008

Here are a few good reasons

But before that let’s go over the don’ts first.
1) Don’t expect Wong Kar Wai’s Happy Together when you are watching Karan Johar.
2) Don’t expect Satyajit Ray or Akira Kurosawa. It is unfair. You paid for Karan Johar.
3) Don’t think “sensitive”. Karan Johar is about the senses. Sit back, enjoy the colour and the ambience.
4) Don’t expect “revolutionary”. Karan Johar likes to get along and isn’t a non-conformist!
5) Don’t expect “steamy” – Karan Johar has delicate taste (even when he shows women, its tastefully done 😐 )

Now the reasons:
1) Excellent cast

Two fab eye candies. Priyanka, John Abraham.
Priyanka Chopra, who simply looks gorgeous in every outfit she wears, with Shilpa Shetty in the opening song sequence. For those who like to bird watch, should be good.  Tarun Mansukhani gets all the nice angles, guys.I heard the men quietly ooh and wow all the time while I watched  🙂
John Abraham with his “sculpted body” as the media has already reported, is your made to order hunk 😐

2) Excellent Acting

Bobby Deol appears in a wonderful cameo role of a single father and astute businessman minus all the usual Bollywoody hero-mannerisms. Very quiet, very controlled acting from our action hero.Total contrast to what he normally does. Director’s achievement? Or the casting director’s?

Priyanka Chopra plays the insensitive, calculating yuppie woman to the tee. To secure a promotion in office she doesn’t hesitate to use her Gay roomies to entertain her Gay Boss, Boman. She calls them her ‘friends’. (How many of you have Gay friends and have tried to use them so? Men do it to their women friends a lot of times, here we see a woman doing it …well…almost….). So that is a bit of cameo reversal of roles.

But Boman is no fool. He proves stereo typical expectations wrong and sensibly bequeaths his chair to someone more deserving!  Bobby Deol.  Again a little reversal here. These should make for lovely moments 🙂

Boman Irani is superb in the role of a ‘typical’ Koti type, the effeminate Gay. He does it to perfection, just to see this very manly man from Everybdoy Says Am Fine morph to a perfect koti from heel to the little finger is a treat to watch.

Never mind the stylization of this particular character, that is part of the way characters in films of this genre are presented. Like if you are watching a Jaatra Paala in Bengal, you woud not expect the subtleties of a Group Theatre play, would you?  The same here.

Remember you agreed to “typical” above.  Boman is the way a Gay in India is “typically” perceived by the clueless innocent.

Kiron Kher is her usual self.  She looks like most mothers.  Good looking, soft, religious, gentle, loving, homemaker, self effacing. Moreover, intelligent enough to be able to be her own self too. So, she is located in London and can take herself to the airport and come to the US by herself.

She gets to behave like a “typical” mum too. Resistant at first, shocked, hysterical, undecided – but finally, when she realizes that it is a fact of life, nothing like a disease or ugly in it,  is tenderly accepting. Anything for the well being of my son. Again, “typical” that most Indian mothers would identify with, easily. So successful on this count too. Karan knows if the audience likes Kiran, what she did,  would be more acceptable to them in the long run.

So, one step taken in the right direction of persuasion of Mother India.

Abhishek Bachhan is bright as usual. Treat to watch him bring out the dark and shade of reality and truth. His portrayal in the “Venice sequence”, acting the perfect ‘koti’ (the submissive feminine equivalent in a Gay relationship) to the ‘parikh’ (male or the dominant partner in a Gay relationship) John Abraham is delightful. The story he concocts is in keeping with how things can be with such couples, how they court, how they are with each other.

The story within the story is used to gently push the idea into the viewer’s thought. On the other hand when they are at ‘home’ they portray how Gays around us are normally, no mannerisms, just plain simple men we see around us. Which again is in keeping with reality. Those who have known Gay men in real life would know that you cannot tell them apart from other hetero men! They are just anybody except in their bedrooms and in privacy of their thoughts and aspirations and fantasy and dreams. Most real life Gays ARE NOT EFFEMINATE at all!!!

Besides, that Abhishek – Abraham kiss, long, with the camera swirling around them showing how their hands are not on each other – well, it takes a lot to do that kind of a scene. Its one of the most memorable scenes in the film, especially if you are NOT Gay. (Er, I think that passionate hands free kiss is something most of us would give a lot to experience  😉

3)  Message About Gays

The message is John Abraham here – Karan is telling those who would be alert enough to notice,  or prepared to listen, that Gay is also the type represented by Abraham here, the very, masculine, dashing Parikh most women would fall for automatically.

It takes both types in a gay relationship.  A Koti and a Parikh.

It is the last type we fail to notice in everyday life, because we are unaware. These are the ones that are married off to unsuspecting females, and suffer all their lives feeling an emptiness somewhere inspite of everything.

Ignorant or unaware of his orientation , she never can guess, what is really missing from their own relationship. This one would usually have a double life with a male lover somewhere in his life.

With Gays it is just simply NOT sex, as most people think it is. It is the other most important issue that we miss here – emotional bonding. They fail to bond with a female lover. They crave the affection and attention of another man! So, they live with a woman,  father her children,  all the time lost in that ‘friend’ of his somewhere, who is life and soul on the emotional plane.  His hidden muse.

Often mothers would think its his need for sex and the conservative norms of a restrictive society that drives him to be like that. So her solution is to get hold of him and marry him off to a nice good looking woman, thinking it would cure him of his strange habit.  But sadly enough, she paves the way for miserable lives for quite a few people and a divorce perhaps.

Karan wants women to be aware of this. He builds it gently into the presentation. While the hoi-polloi laughs at the ‘cartoons’ Karan knows the thinking modern woman would not miss the parikh.

No, there is no mocking anybody here. At least not senseless stereo typing. Type casting here has been used for a cinematic purpose.

Karan is no fool, if you have watched his television programmes or read his blog (ok, so he might have paid somebody to do it for him, after all, he is rich, but he would oversee something like that going public, as it represents him and his family and business and image). Besides through all interviews I heard, all statements he gives, his choice of words when he speaks to media,  everything suggests him to be an extremely intelligent aware,  fairly well-exposed,  sensitive person. Very style conscious. Very image conscious. Not your run of the mill unschooled filmy family guy at all.

So in his films, it isn’t all senseless. If he puts something in, I would look for a reason behind it. The film is a craft. The brain behind it is that matters, isn’t it?

When I read his blog after Rock On! was relaesed and the interview he had given TOI, he had been extremely conscious about not having done anything significant for a long while. He repeatedly expressed his hunger for doing something considerable soon, something  sensible.  And if rumour is true and he is Gay himself, would he care to mock his own kind in his own film? I doubt it.

What is being hidden under the veneer of humour and fun is the real story in this film. You have to watch it eyes and mind open looking for those hidden clues.

4) Message for Gays

Most of that is in my other post. One thing I missed there is this message to the community of Gays: Guys perhaps you could give it a try – coming out with her in this manner, use a girl friend maybe etc. Or maybe, take her to watch this movie  🙂 . Let her hear the term again and again so she gets used to the idea a bit so that the effect of the shock at first time hearing it might be numbed  a little. So when you finally, do bell your cat, well, your old woman, she would be prepared atleast with something – for or against and ther can atleast be a dialogue. Better than straight rejection and heart break and misunderstanding, right?  🙂

And Fashion recently showed this designer marriage between the two friends, a gay fashion designer and his long time female friend – a very workable, very ideal marriage in a way, unless one thinks marriage is only about sex, or about children. So Karan’s film is well timed in a way. Loha garam thha aur ek hathhoda pada is par, driving home a good point in the Indian woman’s psyche. (Why are both the Fashion Mom and this Mom Punjabis? Are they more accepting?)

5) Lastly – The Indian Context

It is a criminal offence to indulge in sodomy here. IPC 377 is syill in force. Which crudely put means, if they know you are doing it the police can come and pick your man or son up any time.

In this context it is even harder for an Indian man to come to terms with his own sexuality. He blunders a hundred times in his life and secretly suffers with absolutely no one to turn to for help, solace or support – least of all people he loves, maybe a wife, a friend, his own family. It means a terrible lot this man on the street to be able to see it all in Karan’s film and be reassured – he is okay! He is fine.  Nothing wrong with him that he finds that man across from him attractive or about the time he has done it….

He would watch it carefully, secretly blessing Karan Johar for his thoughtfulness.

And all the Gays out there, would screen the movie at the next LGBT film Fest in Kolkata Max Mueller Bhavan am sure.  Or in Mumbai or India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. Of course in the contemporary Blockbuster category  😉  There is so little Gay Art or Media content, that they would lap it up.

Yes, this film would be remembered by many. Openly, secretly….but for a long time until something better, bigger, finer comes to take it’s place.

The do’s for those who are unfamiliar with Dharma Production movies:
1) Expect the “typical” in terms of characterization, storyline, plot.
2) Expect “gorgeous” in terms of looks of cast, costume, location, shots, locales.
3) Expect “peppy” in terms of hummable jingle-like tunes, easy to remember lyrics, orchestration for music.
4) Expect lots of “fun” in terms of events, sequences, dialogues. KJ likes to laugh and smile.
5) Expect a little carefully constructed twist or a “ruse” as cover for the real thing. KJ isn’t in favour of raising hackles.
6) Watch Birdcage and Brokeback Mountain along with this if you can. They are genuinely about Gays confronting the straight world.

Well, you are ready to take it as it should be, so go ahead,  take off!  🙂

And am going to brace myself for brick bats I probably have invited through this post of mine. I expect it would either be that, or cold indifference.  Either way though, I do care – but had to be honest. It is a sensible film people should go watch.  For their own sakes.

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9 thoughts on “Why You Should See Dostana2008

  1. Hi Trisha,

    I liked the way you started this post with the dont’s. It is important for KJ dislikers (like me) to watch his movies keeping in mind his strengths and weaknesses. Thanks for reminding.

    You explain the ‘its not only sex but also…’ point nicely here. Afterall gays are also humans. Maybe watching this movie is not a bad idea afterall.

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