The Common Man Speaks

22Apr/182

Sachin Tendulkar the bowler: 8 best bowling performances

Sachin Tendulkar, as we all know, is the greatest batsmen of our times. So, obviously, there have been innumerable articles written on his great performances with the bat. However, the Master Blaster’s contribution to the Indian team isn’t limited to his batting. He has a list of good bowling performances, about which nothing much is spoken.

Sachin Tendulkar bowling

Tendulkar has had two 5 wicket and two 4 wicket hauls along with a number of other useful spells. He has 46 test and 154 ODI wickets to his credit (along with one T20 wicket). To achieve this while consistently performing with the bat is a huge achievement. In fact, I seriously feel he was grossly underbowled in his career.

As Tendulkar’s 45th birthday is almost here, let’s have a look at some of his finest bowling performances (listed chronologically).

4 for 34 vs West Indies at Sharjah in 1991

This was Tendulkar’s first triumph with the ball which is his least known bowling achievement. India fielded first and Mohammad Azharuddin brought him first change, even ahead of full-fledged bowlers like Anil Kumble and Venkatapathy Raju. The gamble paid huge dividends as Tendulkar singlehandedly broke the morale of West Indies batsmen. They were all out for just 145 and India won comprehensively. (No video of this match is available)

Final over in the Hero Cup Semi Final at Kolkata in 1993

Tendulkar didn't take any wickets in this match and bowled only one over. Yet this match is still known for his bowling performance. He showed immense courage to ask for the ball when South Africa needed 6 runs off 6 balls and won the match for India. This one over turned out to be one of most memorable moments in India's cricket history.

3 for 36 vs West Indies at Chennai in 1994

Tendulkar repeated what he did to the West Indies in 1991. They were going all guns blazing with Brian Lara and Carl Hooper putting in more than 100 runs for the third wicket. Once again Azaharuddin threw the ball to Tendulkar and he responded yet again by getting the great Lara out. He then got Jimmy Adams and Sherwin Campbell too. After being 176 for 2, the West Indians were bowled out for 221. India won by four wickets. (No video of this match is available)

5 for 32 vs Australia in 1998

It is rare to see a legendary batsman taking a 5 wicket haul and that too against a strong opposition. Tendulkar didn't do much with the bat in this match. But he more than made up for it by making some fine Australian batsmen victims of his quality leg spin and googlies. The turn he got to dismiss Tom Moody was exemplary. It was after this match that people started taking him seriously as a bowler.

4 for 38 vs Australia at Dhaka in 1998

Surprisingly, not much is spoken about Tendulkar's huge contribution in this knock out match in the first edition of ICC Champions Trophy (also known as Mini World Cup then). Once again, Australians looked set to achieve a big score set by India when the Master Blaster unsettled them with 4 important wickets.

Tendulkar also scored a quality 100 in the match and rescued India when they were in trouble at 8 for 2. This was one of the finest all round performances in ODIs.

3 for 10 vs South Africa at Mumbai in 2000

This is yet another bowling achievement by Tendulkar which hardly received fame. In this test match, South Africans were cruising towards India’s score of 225 as they were 90 for 0. As all frontline bowlers weren’t able to take a wicket, captain Sachin brought himself on and he got three quick wickets for just 10 runs. He had also scored 97 with the bat. India lost the match but they were back in the game because of Sachin’s spell.

3 for 31 vs Australia at Kolkata in 2001

This match is famous for V V S Laxman and Rahul Dravid's out-of-the-world batting display. They brought India back when an innings defeat looked imminent. But Tendulkar's 3 quick wickets at the end played a big role in ensuring India's win. His googly to get the legendary leg spinner Shane Warne out deserves special mention.

5 for 50 vs Pakistan in 2005

This was yet another match where Tendulkar couldn’t do much with the bat but still emerged victorious by taking another five wicket haul. Interestingly, this was another fifer at the same Kochi ground. He destroyed the Pakistani middle order with his leg spinners and occasional medium pace and ensured an easy victory for India. However, we have to admit that he was helped by some bad shots by the batsmen.

Honorary mentions: Tendulkar’s googly to get out Moin Khan in the 2004 Multan Test and his medium fast to clean bowl Brian Lara in the Hero Cup Final in 1993.

By: Keyur Seta

15Apr/180

Why rapes in Kathua & Unnao are gaining so much attention?

The rapes in Kathua in Jammu and Unnao in Uttar Pradesh (UP) have, understandably, shaken us to the core. We would have been deeply affected even if such incidents had happened in a fictitious movie. So, after reading the details of what happened in real, especially in the Kathua case, one is definitely expected to feel for it life-long.

But I can see a lot of people asking as to why only these two rapes have received such widespread coverage and subsequent condemnation. According to them, rapes are a regular occurrence in India. So, why only trend these two cases?

Well, they have a point. As shameful as it may sound, rapes, even of minor girls, keep happening in India. And a lot of them have been disturbingly violent too.

Kathua RapeBut, apart from the fact that the incident happened in a sacred spot like a temple, it is the shocking reactions and actions of both state governments and people involved in the governments that have ensured such massive coverage and trending of these two cases.

For those not in the know, a group called Hindu Ekta Manch openly protested in favour of the people allegedly involved in the disturbingly gruesome rape of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua and that too by waving the tricolor! Worse, they were joined by the two BJP ministers Chaudhary Lal Singh and Chander Parkash Ganga from the state. (Read more HERE)

As far as the Unnao rape is concerned, no action was taken on the accused Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who is a BJP legislator from the state, for more than a year. Worse, when the victim’s father carried out a peaceful protest, he was arrested by the police and he soon died in police custody due to torture. (Read more HERE)

The accused was arrested but only after the High Court literally slammed the UP Government for not taking any action and the victim threatened to commit suicide outside the Chief Minister’s home. (Read more HERE)

When did we last hear about a rally being taken out in support of rape accused with a tricolor which is also attended by those who are supposed to govern us? When did you last year of a situation where instead of arresting the accused, the father of the victim was not only arrested but also beaten to death?

These factors make these two cases more serious and worrying.

By: Keyur Seta

8Apr/180

Salman Khan’s welcome reminds us of the horrors of hero worship

After getting released on bail yesterday, Salman Khan got a heroic welcome in his hometown Mumbai. Such was the delight in the hearts of his fans that a large amount of crackers were busted in celebration. A person alien to the entire Black Buck case would feel that the actor must have done some noble deed to have received such a reception.

Little would he or she know that Salman is actually found guilty of killing endangered species and has only received bail; he is not acquitted of the crime. On top of that, the judge who convicted him is transferred (co-incidence?).

Welcoming a convict by busting crackers is surely shocking. But after a while, it didn’t come as a surprise for me. The reason for this is simple. The same person has been let off of a much serious crime of killing one and injuring four in the 2002 hit-and-run case.

Anybody who has followed this case would know how he was let off. The silliest giveaway was Salman’s driver taking the blame on him all of a sudden 13 years after the crime.

Salman KhanBut the manner in which the prime witness, constable Ravindra Patil, was physically and mentally tortured to death not only points to foul play but also gets you disturbed. (Read Patil’s full story HERE and HERE.)

This point alone is enough to question the mindsets of those who can turn a blind eye to the above incidents and welcome the actor as if he carried out a noble deed for the nation. Unfortunately, a good section of the media is behaving the same way. It is shuddering to think that they are the custodians of the fourth pillar of democracy.

This is the extent to which the disease of hero worship has spread in India.

The usual excuse we get from these blind fans is that Salman has been doing a lot of charity. Now, which law states that a person should be excused from charges of such magnanimous nature if he or she indulges in charity work? For the uninitiated, his charitable trust Being Human was started in 2007, much after he got involved in such crimes.

Watch the fireworks and how Salman asks his robotic fans to sleep:

It is obvious that such bhakts won’t question as to how Salman received bail in just 48 hours when Dr Kafeel Khan is in prison since six months and that too for saving the lives of children during the horrific episode of lack of oxygen in Gorakhpur’s hospital.

I don’t think many of them might even be aware of the incident (read about it HERE, if you are one of them). In fact, there are lakhs of undertrial prisoners who are not even convicted but are still loitering in jails since months and years simply because their name is not Salman Khan.

And yet, the blind fans keep giving the laughable argument that Salman is targeted for being a celebrity when it’s the other way round. If he wasn’t a celebrity, he would have been one of the lakhs of undertrials.

The hero worship disease is not just limited to the fans of actors. It goes for politicians as well. So much so that their ghastly crimes are forgotten just because they possess the quality of uttering scripted lines with style and punches. If they say something you love listening to in their usual heroic way, you are clean bowled!

To think of it, this shows how the job of actors and politicians is the same. Both act in front of the audience and mouth scripted lines. The only difference is that actors admit to acting, although not while being off screen.

But the masses won’t realize this since this disease makes you disconnected with logic. One gets so madly attracted to some quality or style of a celebrity that thinking and reasoning is out of question. It makes you fight or even end relations with your near and dear ones just because they don’t agree with your blind worship.

All this for a person who is not even aware about your existence in the first place.

By: Keyur Seta

25Mar/180

How to identify Fake News?

The internet and social media have revolutionized our lives. But every innovation is bound to have some disadvantages. While there are quite a few disadvantages of the internet, the one that is creating an absolute menace these days is Fake News.

To put it simply, Fake News is not news. It is a false story presented to us as a piece of news, which is nothing but a figment of someone’s imagination.

Fake NewsI know this is a spoon-feeding way of defining it. But unfortunately, this is what is required in today’s times when even the highly educated easily fall for Fake News. For some strange reason, people feel that if something is written on the internet or social media, it has to be true.

The results of believing Fake News can be very serious. It can make an innocent person appear guilty and vice versa. It can also damage the reputation of a person, especially of a celebrity for no fault of his/ her. Just recently, cricketer Hardik Pandya was slammed left, right and center for allegedly insulting Babasaheb Ambedkar when it was his parody account on Twitter that had done that.

So, continuing the same spoon-feeding, let’s have a look at how to identify or detect Fake News. For this, we need to know the various sources from where Fake News can emerge.

‘News’ Websites:

When you come across any news item online, do look at the name of the website. Make sure that the website is a proper news website. As far as India is concerned, examples of proper news websites include TheHindu.com, IndianExpress.com, TimesOfIndia.com, HindustanTimes.com, NDTV.com, DNAIndia.com, News18.com, FirstPost.com, DeccanChronicle.com, etc. In other words, it should be a reputed publication.

In today’s era, it is terribly easy to start your own website. It is very cheap too as you can get a domain name for as less as Rs 500. Plus, you can design your website for free too and give it an authentic look. Hence, we see the emergence of fake news websites like Postcard.News, Swarajya.com, etc. Most of these websites tamper actual news or create fake news to promote government as well as religious propaganda and slam those who share opposing ideologies.

What’s App:

What’s App has been the biggest contributor to Fake News. I wonder how people don’t realize that any Tom, Dick and Harry can write absolutely any rubbish on What’s App and forward. Just because it’s written on What’s App doesn’t mean it is true.

Hilarious ‘news’ like ISIS members spreading AIDS by going door-to-door and ‘Jana Gana Mana’ being declared the Best National Anthem by UNESCO (this is being spread even before social media came into existence) are believed at face value just because they are written in a What’s App message.

So, as soon as you read any news related item on What’s App, just do a simple Google search by adding keywords related to that piece of news. For example, if you get a message saying, ‘Shah Rukh Khan’s new movie is titled Zero,’ just search the words ‘Shah Rukh Khan movie Zero’ on Google and if you find the same news on aforementioned proper news websites, only then consider it to be true.

Jana Gana ManaMemes:

A meme is an image with messages shared on social media and What’s App. It normally has an image of a person with a quote. Sometimes, it has only written matter (like the one in the image on the right). Again, this also can be created by just about anyone.

Fake meme makers always use the kind of a picture that goes well with the comment. Hence, people tend to believe it to be true and keep forwarding, not knowing that they are actually spreading Fake News and damaging someone's reputation. The same Google search method is to be followed here to know if it’s true.

What if genuine news websites carry fake news?

There are times when even reputed publications commit a faux pass and carry Fake News. So, it is advisable not to believe something published on only one website. Check if it has appeared in few other publications too. Unfortunately, there have been instances where almost all reputed online publications have carried wrong news by adding quotes of a person who has actually not said anything on that topic.

So, if you find an unusual or shocking comment from someone, try to find its video on YouTube or wait for few days to get a clear picture. It will almost always be AltNews.in that will burst the most recent Fake News bubble. It’s the biggest Fake News buster of India, which is run by man called Pratik Sinha.

By: Keyur Seta

Abraham Lincoln meme

10Mar/180

3 Storeys Review

Dramatic thrillers are found in rarity in Hindi cinema. The last time such genre was explored successfully was back in 2012 in Sujoy Ghosh’s Vidya Balan starrer Kahaani. Debutant Arjun Mukherjee’s 3 Storeys succeeds in filling this void through a thriller that also manages to move you.

There is a pun in the title. 3 Storeys has three main stories, along with few other sub-plots, taking place at a chawl in Mahim in Mumbai. Flory Mendonca (Renuka Shahane) lives alone but receives high amount of respect from her neighbours. She has a dark past. She wants to sell her house and migrate to Goa. Vilas Naik (Pulkit Samrat), a businessman, arrives to buy her place.

Varsha (Masumeh Makhija) struggles to live with a drunkard and abusive husband. She was once in love with Shankar (Sharman Joshi) but couldn’t marry him. Eighteen-year-old Malini (Aisha Ahmed) is in love with Suhail (Ankit Rathi), who runs a general store nearby. The attractive Leela (Richa Chadha) leads a mysterious life.

The first and the foremost ingredient for such genre of films is the writing and that department is taken care of exceedingly well. The screenplay is not just water-tight but it skillfully travels from one story to another while keeping the background of the chawl intact.

3 Storeys movieAll the three stories, and the other sub-plots, are interesting and intriguing. They have subtle drama and can boast of being realistic. After last year’s Tu Hai Mera Sunday, here’s another Hindi film that shows a different side of Mumbai. The prologue at the start about life in Mumbai is what every middle-class Mumbaikar can connect with.

The epilogue, by the same character, brilliantly sums up the psyche of story writers. The content and the style of the narration makes you feel as if you read a book. This is felt further due to the prologue and epilogue.

The regular thriller element is what takes 3 Storeys several notches higher. The film is peppered with moments that either thrill or provide a subtle jolt; most of the times when you are least expecting it in between a simple scene. The one at the end takes you completely by surprise.

In between such positives, 3 Storeys also suffers from a couple of minuses. One important moment each in the stories of Flory and Shankar is difficult to believe.

London based cinematographer Will Humphris’ fine work is at display regularly. The shot where the camera zooms out of the room and continues till way outside the building of the chawl deserves mention. Hindi films are guilty of adding forceful sounds to add thrill. This is nowhere seen in this film, thankfully.

3 Storeys is laced with high quality performances. Renuka Shahane makes a memorable comeback to Hindi films with a thoroughly dedicated act of an old Christian lady. Masumeh Makhija also displays fine acting skills and speaks through her expressions. The acts of these two actresses make you feel bad for them not doing Hindi films for so long.

Sharman Joshi is believable as the simple common man. Aisa Ahmed, Ankit Rathi, Pulkit Samrat and few other supporting actors play their respective parts well. The actor playing Masumeh’s husband overdoes on few occasions. Richa Chadha makes good use of the opportunity she gets, especially in the end.

Overall: 3 Storeys is a well-made dramatic thriller that stays with you for long.

Rating: 3.5/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Arjun Mukherjee

Producers: B4U Movies and Excel Entertainment (Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani)

Writers: Althea Kaushal and Anvita Dutt

Cast: Renuka Shahane, Masumeh Makhija, Sharman Joshi, Pulkit Samrat, Richa Chadha, Aisha Ahmed, Ankit Rathi

Genre: Dramatic thriller

Runtime: 100 minutes

25Feb/180

RIP Sridevi ji: My first and last experience with her

At around 12:30 am today, a couple of chat screenshots were shared in a media What’s App group. It spoke about the death of veteran actress Sridevi. Thanks to the era of hoaxes and the casual tone of the chat, we didn’t take it seriously. It also made me recall how just last week, the death hoax of Sylvester Stallone had made the rounds. Hence, I went to sleep.

All hell broke loose when I was woken up by my brother’s voice announcing the death of Sridevi. Can’t remember the last time I was woken up with such a shock, which was soon overcome by sadness.

But not being in a fully awake state didn’t stop me from recalling that afternoon of July 2, 2017 when I and my brother had the opportunity to interview her (for different publications), although in a group, for her soon-to-be-released Mom. Suddenly it seemed as if it was just recently that we had met her.

People, obviously, dread working on a Sunday. And that day it was pouring badly; monsoon had settled in Mumbai. But who gets a chance to meet such legends again and again? So, I just took off all excited!

Sridevi Generally these interviews happen in hotels. But this one was at Sridevi’s residence. This was another reason to look forward to it. Quite expectedly, her apartment is luxurious. But it wasn’t the kind of modernly furnished home that provide a lifeless feeling despite being rich. I realized it provided a homely feeling as we waited in the drawing room. Her domestic help had welcomed us with respect.

The feel good factor in the home coupled with the high interest to meet Sridevi didn’t make me feel impatient despite waiting for more than a couple of hours. Finally, she walked in. We didn’t expect ‘the’ Sridevi to be wearing such simple attire although her agelessness was clearly visible. It seemed as if nothing much had changed from Mr India to Mom. Her thick-framed glasses added to her beauty.

As soon as she entered, she heartily apologized for keeping us waiting for long. She reasoned that she was caught up elsewhere. This is something you hardly see from big stars… The moment was worth already.

The question and answer session began in a usual way with the actress speaking about her upcoming film with a lot of interest. This is what generally happens in interviews. But this moment was special, not because the interviewee was Sridevi. It was because she is known for hardly speaking anything in the interviews. She has never been comfortable with it.

But that day we saw a changed Sridevi who gave proper long answers. I had sat in the Hindi media group. So, I also got the opportunity to listen to her Hindi. Apart from speaking about Mom and her co-stars, she also went down memory lane and recalled her stint as a child actor when her mother would always accompany her on shoots.

The close-to-25-minutes were spent in a jiffy. Needless to say, it was mandatory to click a picture with her. There was some pleasant surprise in store for us here too. Many a times, big stars prefer giving one group picture. But Sridevi didn’t show any qualms in posing separately with all of us.

Sridevi’s newly developed openness in speaking along with her humility already made me look forward to meeting her in the future. Her fitness level and acting form indicated that she would surely do many more films and would subsequently talk to the media regularly.

But the initial few seconds after I woke up today told me that it was my first and last experience with her.

By: Keyur Seta

READ THE INTERVIEW HERE.

18Feb/182

Gulabjaam (Marathi Movie) Review

Sachin Kundalkar is known for narrating modern stories rooted in traditionalism. He has, especially, maintained this balance in his last three efforts, Happy Journey (2014), Rajwade And Sons (2015) and Vazandar (2016).

He has done the same with Gulabjaam. But this time, he has also bettered his own recipe (which was already pretty good) several notches higher resulting in one of the most delicious dishes one would taste in a long time.

Gulabjaam is about Aditya Naik’s (Siddharth Chandekar) struggle to learn Marathi cuisine in order to open a restaurant in London, where he is settled. He quits his high paying job and secretly visits Pune for his mission. After tasting food from a lunch box, especially gulabjaam, he deeply gets reminded of the food cooked by his mother.

After learning that the lunch box was prepared by Radha Agarkar (Sonali Kulkarni), he instantly decides to learn cooking from her. However, he realizes that the lady is not only a recluse but also rude who doesn’t like anybody’s presence around her. Will Aditya succeed in his mission? Why is Radha the way she is?

Gulabjaam posterIt is rare to see food or cooking being a catalyst to connect two characters in an Indian film.  But it is one of the most unusual and complex relationship to deal with for the writer and director. This is not just because Radha and Aditya are from different age groups and worlds. Their personal journey and diverse natures makes it all the more unlikely for them to form a bond.

To achieve this convincingly and that too with constant humour is the biggest masterstroke here. Plus, throughout the film their relationship remains undefined, which makes it more charming. We don’t often get to see strong and deep relationships that are kept unnamed.

Like Kundalkar’s previous works, Gulabjaam is more like a smooth journey rather than merely a story. You don’t realize when a quirky encounter of two diverse human beings transforms into a tale of deep personal sufferings inspite of the funny and light-hearted mood. The climax might not be ideal for some. But it is certainly garnished with the hope of inner wounds getting healed someday.

The only flaw is the incident of Radha realizing that Aditya has stealthily sneaked into her house and stolen food. One would expect her to scream but she doesn’t. However, the effect of the consequence of this scene makes you ignore it.

Kundalkar has also continued his legacy of getting the technical aspects right. There are numerous moments where one can notice cinematographer Milind Jog’s craft. The background score is unconventional and effective. It follows the important rule of not making the audience realize about its arrival and departure in a scene. The editing also deserves similar praise.

The nature of Radha’s character demanded her home to appear as if it is stuck in a period long gone by. This is achieved perfectly by the art director Poorva Pandit Bhujbal. It would be unfair not to mention food stylists Sayali Rajadhyaksha and Shweta Bapat for their work plays a big role in adding visual quality to the subject.

Sonali Kulkarni and Siddharth Chandekar’s characters are deep and vulnerable, which makes them realistic. But they appear deeply relatable only because of their respective performances. Kulkarni’s act can only be called masterful. She gets the diverse facets like agony and homour with utmost perfection.

With her constant presence, Chandekar might not appear as impressive. But he certainly gets his act of a boyish man constantly trying to move out of his trapped world quite right. Madhura Deshpande, the actors playing Popat and the old lady also impress in the opportunity they get.

Rating: 4.5/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Sachin Kundalkar

Writers: Sachin Kundalkar and Tejas Modak

Producers: Zee Studios and Golden Gate Motion Pictures

Cast: Sonali Kulkarni, Siddharth Chandekar

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 126 minutes

Release date: 16 February 2018

5Feb/180

Photos: Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2018

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is back in 2018! Mumbai might be the only place in the world that waits for the start of February so that the art lovers in the city feel a unique high through this festival. Like every year, the entire street where the festival takes place is full of art structures that speak a lot.

The theme this year is 'Go Green,.' Hence, one will find a number of artworks that remind us of the dangers of global warming and climate change. The most powerful piece is the one where a lot of houses are shown to be built on a tree. Thus reminding us of how we have captured nature and carried out destruction in the name of development.

Here are the pictures from this year's (2018) Kala Ghoda Arts Festival:

(Clicked by Keyur Seta)


 

 

 

 

26Jan/180

Padmaavat Review: Ranveer Singh walks away with glory

Over the years, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has evolved into another genre in itself. Big stars, grand costumes and sets, heavy use of colours, drama, songs and dances are some characteristics of his brand of cinema.

But despite such pleasing factors, there have been times when his films haven’t reached the pinnacle of cinematic satisfaction that it aims. Padmaavat (earlier titled Padmavati and later Padmavat) also falls in this list, unfortunately.

Padmaavat is based on the legendary poem by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi. It tells the story of Rawal Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor), the ruler of Chittorgarh, who, while on an expedition down south, meets the stunning Padmavati (Deepika Padukone). He falls for her and makes her his second wife.

Meanwhile, Aluddin Khilji, ruler of the Khilji dynasty, has acquired the throne of Delhi after murdering his uncle Jalauddin Khilji (Raza Murad). He gets to know about the splendid beauty of Padmavati and heads towards Chittorgarh to set his eyes on her.

Padmaavat DeepikaPadmaavat is one of the most visually stunning films to have come from Hindi cinema. Bhansali’s obsession with minute details is visible throughout. His peculiar use of fire, which is seen in his earlier films, is at the optimum here.

Nitin Chandrakant Desai’s opulent production design too deserves huge amount of credit in recreating different areas of the subcontinent. Like Bhansali’s previous films, he has created a different world for every region. But at the same time, every region is believable.

Bhansali has also displayed his speciality in creating drama, which is ably supported by the background score. But it is Sudeep Chatterjee’s fine camerawork that stands out as far as the technical department is concerned. It adds to the visual quality. The veteran stunt director Sham Kaushal too makes his presence felt. The fight sequence between Rawal Ratan Singh and Khilji deserves mention.

But unlike the filmmaker’s most of the films, the music isn’t as impressive. Songs like ‘Ghoomar’ and ‘Ek Dil Ek Jaan’ fall in the average category. The second one becomes an obstacle in the narrative. ‘Khali Bali’ is an energetic number and the best of the lot. But the weird dance steps don’t let you look beyond. It makes Bajirao’s ‘Malhari’ appear simple and subtle.

Spoilers ahead!

The negative points in Padmaavat are such that they cannot be highlighted without giving away spoilers. Some of Bhansali’s previous films have been guilty of being self-indulgent. The treatment overtakes the main plot, which ensures you don’t feel much for the characters.

Padmaavat Shahid KapoorBut in Padmaavat, character sketches of Khilji and Padmavati and Bhansali’s idea of staying true neither to history nor the epic poem hampers the film the most. There’s nothing wrong with this if the end result is satisfying. It is not in this case.

Going by the historical texts available, Khilji, although villainous, was a ruler with a sharp mind. But Bhansali’s Khilji is an animalistic and impulsive moron who is absolutely incapable of thinking logically. He leaves his kingdom in Delhi and waits outside the vicinity of the Chittorgarh palace just to catch a glimpse of a woman he hasn’t seen ever and that too for months in the heat of Rajasthan!

This certainly doesn’t make him look like a ruler of a kingdom as important as Delhi whatsoever. In other words, Khilji’s portrayal in the film is exactly what Right Wing supporters would love, especially the fringe Rajput groups.

More so, because we are regularly given doses of Rajput valour through dialogues that become redundant an ineffective after a point. Ironically, people claiming to represent them are the ones who have turned violent against the film without even watching it.

The bigger flaw here is the glorification of suicide (even though it is sugarcoated as ‘jauhar’) and the regressive idea of a woman losing her ‘honour’ if held captive or touched by the enemy. It is questionable to see such ideas being dished out at a time when there is constant struggle to free the nation from such dangerous beliefs.

Moreover, the jauhar over here doesn’t go with the character of Padmavati. She is shown to be a warrior who even rescues her husband from the clutches of the enemy. So, to see such a bravehearted person commit suicide without even trying to fight is disheartening and disappointing.

Padmaavat Ranveer SinghPerformances:

Bhansali is known for extracting quality performances from his actors and this holds true for this film too. Ranveer Singh is simply outstanding! He stuns with his dedication to bring alive an animalistic creature every time he appears. Needless to say, his acting graph goes higher with this film.

Deepika Padukone has given one of her best performances, if not the best. It was necessary for her to be the soul of the film and she manages that. She also ensures that the aforementioned flaw in the character remains hidden to some extent. Shahid Kapoor too rises to the occasion and gives a strong picture of a brave ruler. He is clearly the underdog here.

Jim Sarbh also makes an announcement of his supreme talent. His homosexual behavior is so subtle, yet effective. Aditi Rao Hydari and Anupriya Goenka also chip in with decent support. The latter, who plays Ratan’s first wife, should have got more opportunity.

Rating: 2.5/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Producers: Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures

Writers: Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Prakash Kapadia

Cast: Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

Music: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

22Jan/180

We have forgotten how this group did worse than Karni Sena just 5 months ago

As we are all aware how the Rajput Karni Sena is violently dictating terms while putting forth their demand to ban Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padamaavat. The protests began in Rajasthan last year but have now spread to various parts of the countries. In fact, there have been continuous reports of violence over the last few days.

Needless to say, they are being allowed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led governments in some states and center to dictate terms. There has been no strict action taken despite the goons creating havoc uncontrollably.

If violence wasn’t enough, threats are being given by Karni Sena women to commit jauhar (self-immolation). The group is led by men and the violence is also created by them but they wish to be safe. How heroic!

However, although the spineless attitude of the governments is sickening, it is certainly not surprising. This is simply because they had made their intentions clear as far as appeasing fringe groups is concerned just five months ago. Strangely, I have not heard anyone recalling this disturbing incident despite its massive similarity with the ongoing Karni Sena crisis.

Karni Sena Padmavati

Picture: Hindustan Times

Self-styled Godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, known for his roles in and as MSG, was convicted of raping two girls in August last year by the Punjab and Haryana Court. Following this, his huge number of followers went on a violent rampage by randomly destroying public and state properties by either vandalizing or setting them ablaze.

What made it even worse was that 30 people were reported dead in the entire chaos by the supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda chief. See the entire timeline of events HERE.

Manohar Lal Khattar, the Chief Minister of Haryana (the same person who has given some shockingly chauvinistic statements and has taken the recent rapes lightly and labeled some as ‘fake’) came under severe fire for allowing thousands of Dera supporters to gather outside the court premises despite knowing their gruesomely violent nature.

You don’t even need to be half intelligent to predict how his mad supporters would react once their hero is pronounced guilty of such heinous crimes. Not just that, Ram Rahim was allowed an entourage of 200 cars while going to the court! The state acted only after severe damage to lives and property took place. The Dera chief is close to the BJP and his supporters are a big vote bank for them.

In fact, the party spokespersons were not even ready to speak against Ram Rahim on news chat shows that night despite him being convicted of rape (the charges against him are far worse, including mass castration). These are the same people who are ready to bash the opposition even for a tweet.

Similarly, right now they are not ready to condemn Karni Sena’s goons, leave alone take action. After all, Rajputs form a large vote bank in the northern and central areas of India.

So, those who are aware of the five-month old history shouldn’t be surprised to see it being repeated.

By: Keyur Seta