Monday, October 21, 2013

More on "The Good Men of India"

A cyclone of outrage tore through the Twitterverse yesterday, like most other days. It is worth mentioning only because it had greater wind speeds than the daily outrage. It was occasioned by a piece in the New York Times titled "The Good Men of India".
Great fury erupted at the mention of the words "good" and "men" in close conjunction, because this is clearly a technical impossibility. Men must always be bad. We are all Shakti Kapoor in a B grade Bollywood film.
Some of the loudest outrage, however, came from men, so they must be the heroes in said film. These men are all rich, well educated, generally belonging to the upper classes and castes that for some reason like to falsely call themselves the middle classes. In India, they would be in the top 5 percent of the population. Last I checked, you get middle when you divide by two.
The heroes were upset that a positive stereotype was being propagated by no less than the NYT. A negative stereotype is fine. A positive stereotype? Are you fucking nuts?! It's a stereotype! Down with it!
Dude, if there are so many heroes, maybe the NYT is right. There must be a few good men, such as your most honourable selves.
I'd suspect, in fact, that there ARE. This is because I kinda noticed that the lives of women in South Asia have changed more in the last 100 years than in any comparable period in the last 10,000 years.

Let me say that again, slowly...lives of women in South Asia have changed more in the last 100 years than in any comparable span of time in the last 10,000 years.
This happened pretty much everywhere in the world, actually. France, the birthplace of liberty and equality, gave women the vote in 1944. Cambridge University, beacon of learning, admitted women for degrees in 1947 for the first time in 750 years or so.
The change has been especially sharp in our context, because we had more ground to cover. We were coming from a culture of Sati and such. Control over women is deeply embedded in our societies, across religions and languages. Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian all do it or did it. So do Punjabis and Bengalis and Tamils and all others.
This is what is being changed at present. It is a work in rapid progress. Social change on this scale, affecting billions of people, has not happened in so little time, anywhere, ever. 
Clearly, we must be going too slow for your liking, because you'll are so mighty pissed off. Change the fucking society before I wake up tomorrow, or else I WILL BECOME ARNAB!
Heck, guys, you're already Arnab. Now stop foaming at the mouth and get a sense of perspective.
No one is denying the bad. To deny the good only reflects a negative mindset.
The rapid changes in women's lives in the past 100 years would have been impossible if a majority of men did not support it to various degrees. If you want to see male opposition to women's emancipation, look at what the Taliban are doing, quite successfully.
There are certainly a lot of men who are still in need of reform. Some are reconstructed to a degree that is not adequate by the standards of the Left Liberal elites with colonized minds who take all their cues from America or the United Kingdom. Many of these individuals do not speak any language other than English, though they live, in a manner of speaking, in India. Others have left for the great and glorious countries where they are more comfortable.
A few remain here, and rant endlessly. Their whole lives are laced in hypocrisy, but they are too dim to realize it. Worldviews come from templates which are easily imported like their perfumes, gadgets and favourite drinks. Approval for said worldviews comes from one another. They form mutual admiration societies and give accolades, and more, to each other.
They also form packs and excommunicate those who criticize them, because for all their liberal pretensions, they are actually just as rigid of mind as religious conservatives.
They display the same attitudes that they rail against. In the specific case of the NYT article with which I started this piece, I'd say that their evident need to bite off the heads of anyone who dares say a good word about Indian men is a good example of this.

Indian men are patriarchal bastards, and no one must dare say a good word about them.

Now, for the sake of a thought experiment, replace the words "Indian men" in the previous sentence with "Dalit men" or "Muslim men". Whoa! Horror! See what I mean?

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Besharam: The 1 min review

Besharam is fully faltu. It is also, as it should be for its name, quite shameless. Director Abhinav Kashyap has made a film that is Dabangg lite minus Salman Khan. He also probably made it without a scriptwriter, because I saw no evidence in the movie that there was one. However there is indeed a lot of Bollywood's bright new hope Ranbir Kapoor making an ass of himself, with the encouragement and support of his doting parents Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, who play major roles in the film. You could therefore call it family entertainment, by and for the Kapoor family.

A lot of the tomfoolery, dialogue baazi and action references other films, including Kung Fu Hustle.
Even the name of Rishi Kapoor in the film is referential; he is called Chulbul Chautala, to Salman bhai's Chulbul Pandey in Dabangg. The humour descends to scatalogical quite early in the film. There are also three cheap, peppy songs, one shootout and a car chase within the first hour.
As we all know, every hero in every such film must have a signature move; in this film, Ranbir's is adjusting his testicles in his always overtight trousers. Given all this, I am confident that the film will do really well at the box office. It could even hit the Rs 100 crore mark. The only reason I'm not sure of that is because it's a Salman Khan movie without Salman.