Making Indian cities safer for women

The molestation incidents in #Bengaluru are reminiscent of the incidents of ‘Taharrush’ in Europe which have been attributed to immigrants from non European countries. This is a very sad state of affairs when women in India can’t go out on the streets to celebrate New Year’s Eve without fear of being molested. What’s sadder is that on such occasions the focus invariably shifts to insensitive remarks made by politicians. This incident should rather make the authorities wonder how something like this can be prevented. If a large number of people have to be controlled by force, we will not have a safe society in our lifetime. Consider that if just 5% of car drivers in Mumbai decide to disobey the traffic laws tomorrow morning, there would be chaos. Cars would pile up on highways and there would be massive casualties. Consider what happened in Kashmir last year. Large mobs of people attacked the police station and destroyed it. The cops had to run away. There are never going to be enough cops to prevent crime. People have to be responsible for their own behavior. Crime needs to be prevented by changing society. This isn’t just about ‘changing the mindsets’ of people. The problem is much larger.

UPDATE: The Times of India has since published a report claiming that this incident was blown out of proportion.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Earlier this week, when I paid my bill at a restaurant, the guy taking it chuckled saying ‘That’s like half my salary!’. I realized that is probably true. And this guy is among the gainfully employed ones who will probably be far more comfortable financially in a couple of years time given his efficiency and drive. Look at the ones who have nothing going for them. No education, family background and zero employment opportunities. Many of them migrate halfway across the country to work as labor in a city where they can only afford a vada pav for breakfast and a little room in an overcrowded slum. They see people spending more on shoes than they have saved over months. They live in sub-human conditions, have no access to healthcare or basic sanitation facilities. For most politicians they are little more than a vote bank to be used and discarded. There is growing discontentment among these have-nots in our society which needs to be addressed. These people come from a society that is deeply patriarchal. Recognizing women and their equality with men is probably slightly higher on their list than their concern for the environment, global warming and saving tigers. They see urban women many of whom are far removed in their appearance from the women in their families. To go from an environment where women are not allowed to interact with men outside their family to a city where couples cuddle and kiss in the open and women step out in shorts is apparently a huge culture shock. They know the odds are very long of being able to befriend or even make an acquaintance with urban women. As a fallout of this distance, these people have as much empathy with you as you have with them, which is probably close to zero. This leads them to objectify women far more than the average person. That they are wrong in the way they perceive and treat women is unquestionable. The troubling reality is that you and I can do little to change this. It’s our government, which has to step in. They must encourage industrialization and generate employment in India’s hinterland so everyone can stay in villages with their families, while the villages develop into towns and eventually cities. Right now in metros like Mumbai, we’re living in an insulated space, away from the harsh realities of India outside our air conditioned cars and Uber cabs. How long can we do this though? We need a massive overhaul of the system with a crackdown on red tape and corruption to encourage industrialization across the country. Education and healthcare facilities also require an expansion to ensure a better quality of life. It’s about time people stopped batting for their pet causes and demanded a more equitable India.

It’s high time our government got its act together in sex education

For a country with such a massive population and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV on the rise, it’s high time our government got its act together in sex education. The Human Resource Development ministry forced an expert panel to shorten its recommendations on sex education to just one sentence, to avoid use of words ‘sex’ and sexual’ in the document. Our sex education program is in trouble and this moralizing could cause irreversible long term damage to our society. The HRD ministry should find out how other countries with cultures that are relatively conservative impart sex education and replicate that here, with some customization.

As it stands now, a lot of schools and even colleges keep boys and girls segregated, even dictating what they may wear or not. Doing that for twelve years and then suddenly imparting sex education to the teens is hardly a way to tackle this. The end result is that we are turning out socially awkward and inept teens. The worst case scenario is that a lack of interaction mystifies the opposite gender leading to stalking and sexual assaults. Some believe Bollywood can influence change and many films are projected as ‘progressive’ but a lot of mainstream films focus more on sexual liberation and promiscuity rather than sexual responsibility. These days many female characters in Bollywood films wear their promiscuity on their sleeve with pride in an effort to ‘break the stereotype’ when in reality, having had multiple partners for anyone should be a reason for neither pride nor shame. Sexual responsibility needs to be focussed upon in sex education programs including consent, one’s own and that of others. This can only be effective if it is done in a holistic manner. Right now there is a strong rhetoric of consent but without a lot else the effectiveness of this rhetoric will be limited. There needs to be a demystification of the genders and society must enable them to interact without the burden of morality.

There also needs to be an effort, through sex education to demolish the perception of sex as a zero sum game where the man gains something and the woman loses something. This is a very wrong, unfair and warped perception of something so beautiful. This will also hopefully gradually do away with the guilt and shame that many people, especially women and seniors, associate with sex. It is perfectly fine to experience sexual desire whatever your age or gender. It’s one of the signs you’re still young and alive! It will make for better, more fulfilling lives when this happens. Even our laws of consent go against this, as of now.

Another aspect of guilt is that somehow in our society people in their sixties or older feel embarrassed to own their sexual desires. All these teenagers, if they eat their broccoli and carrots and are lucky will be sixty someday. This cycle of feeling guilty about sex as you grow older needs to stop. I see this propagated in Bollywood today. When I watched the remake of ‘Shaukeen’, I couldn’t help comparing it to the original which was a wonderful comedy about three loveable old men. I was disappointed that the remake had turned it into a comedy about three sleaze-bags. As a filmmaker myself, I realize that Basu Chatterji being the sensitive filmmaker he is would approach his film without being harsh in his judgement about three old men looking for a fling while someone else might see it as wrong and slot them as ‘dirty old men’ looking to get laid, doing whatever it takes, ruining the premise entirely. This also needs to change and sex education to teenagers can sow the seeds of change. Finally, some believe that with porn on the internet easily available, sex education is redundant. This is absurd because porn websites won’t address the important issues of safe sex, consent and social interaction. For what it is worth, porn has always been easily available. The mediums have changed, from magazines to video tapes and DVDs to the internet. We need teenagers to get educated about sex, just not the way they are being currently.

GST is injurious to our health

The government is gearing up to pass Goods and Services Tax (#GST) next month. This will reduce compliance for large companies and help in movement of goods across state borders. This has the largest companies of our country excited but it won’t work in favor of small entrepreneurs. It is going to increase their compliance burden and drive them to deal in cash. It is also going to increase inflation and put pressure on the middle class and the lower class. Taxation has to be progressive. Direct tax is progressive which is why you pay more tax and at a higher rate when you make more money. Indirect tax inherently is not progressive. When you buy a packet of biscuits for Rs.10 you pay the same tax, whether you are a blue collared worker or a billionaire. This makes indirect taxes regressive because they burden everyone equally irrespective of their economic status. The only way the government is countering this is by taking the opportunity to tax luxury goods. The day is not far when microwave ovens and iPhones will also be classified as luxury goods and taxed at a higher rate. What has made it worse is the way in which GST has been framed. The theory put forth was that multiple taxes create a compliance burden and lead to a high rate of tax. A single tax to replace all would solve this. All the taxes including taxes on tobacco, alcohol and fuel were added together and averaged to arrive at a benchmark average tax. Then the GST rate was discussed. After GST had caught everyone’s imagination, the three most important sources of revenue, tobacco, alcohol and fuel were excluded from GST. However the GST benchmark rate continued to remain the same and was now artificially higher than the earlier effective rate. Additionally, while there was an assurance that no additional taxes would be introduced, there is already talk of a ‘sin cess’ which will apply to among other things even aerated water! There are four rates of GST proposed 6%, 12%, 18% and 26%! The rates for GST which were earlier to be part of the act may now be out of it, which will make it easier to raise the rates. We will soon have a peak income tax rate of 33.6% and a peak GST rate of 26%! To reiterate what I said earlier, GST is injurious to our health!

You know Banwarilal, right?

I just thought of Banwarilal today. You know Banwarilal, don’t you? Of course you do. Everyone knows Banwarilal.

There was this one night when Banwarilal was having a drink at a bar in SoBo. This guy Joe was standing at the bar, and Banwarilal tapped him on the shoulder and said “Hey, don’t you know who I am?” Joe said “No, why the hell should I?” Banwarilal said “I’m Banwarilal. Everybody knows me.” Joe said “Yeah, whatever, buddy.” Banwarilal said “No, really. Everybody knows me. Hey everyone, who am I?” Everyone in the bar shouted “Banwarilal! Yay, Banwarilal!”

Joe said “Yeah, sure, maybe everyone in this bar at SoBo knows you. But they don’t know you in any bars in Oshiwara.”

Banwarilal said “Sure they do. Everyone knows me.” To prove it. Joe and Banwarilal took a cab across town and went into a different bar at Oshiwara. When they walked in, Banwarilal shouted “Hey everyone, who am I?” Everone shouted “Banwarilal! Yo, Banwarilal! Yay!”

“Sure”, Joe said. “Average people in Oshiwara bars know you, but I bet the local MLA doesn’t know you.” So off they went to the local MLA’s house. The butler answered the door. “Ah, Mr. Banwarilal. The MLA was just asking about you. Come on in.”

Joe said “OK, so the MLA knows you. I’d bet that our local MP doesn’t know you.” So off they went to the local MP.

Hours later they were at the house of the local MP “So Banwarilal, good buddy. It’s been a long time. I haven’t seen you since you helped me win the elections. How’s business?”

“Alright”, says Joe. “Everyone in bars knows you. The MLA knows you. The MP knows you. But I’m SURE that Amitabh Bachchan doesn’t know you.” So off they went to Jalsa.

When they got there, Banwarilal said “Now Joe, not everyone gets to see Amitabh Bachchan in the flesh. So here’s what we’re going to do. I’ll go in, and I’ll get THE Amitabh Bachchan to show up with me there and wave to his fans. Then you’ll see that the Big B knows who I am.”

Banwarilal walked into Jalsa. A few minutes later, he and Amitabh Bachchan were on the balcony. He looked down, and saw Joe passed out. He ran downstairs and to the door and through the crowds to Joe and said ‘”Joe, Joe! You OK, Joe?” He managed to revive Joe and then asked him, ‘What happened? How did you faint?”

Joe said “Yeah, I was standing here, looking at you and Amitabh Bachchan. There was this huge crowd of people taking pics with their phones, jostling to get in. Then a couple of people came by and asked ‘Hey, who’s that up there with Banwarilal?'”

A reply to anyone who supports stopping the release of films with Pakistani artists in them

If you still don’t agree that these films with Pak artists should be allowed a smooth release, consider this. There’s a sentiment building against buying China made products. Fair enough. Yet, if I asked you to locate all electronic items in your house which have even a single part made in China and destroy those products, would you do that? Almost all phones, computers, refrigerators, TVs are at least partly made in China. If you do destroy your gadgets, please share a video for me to see but I know you wouldn’t. Your reasoning would be that when you bought the phone, there wasn’t such a strong anti China sentiment. This is how the pressure on the film producers to stall the release of these completed films which cost way more than your iPhone is unfair.

Why we shouldn’t blame the voters

A meme keeps cropping up on my timeline that says, “Stopping (Donald) Trump is a short term solution. The long-term solution is fixing the educational system that has created so many people ignorant enough to vote for Trump”. This assumes that everyone who votes for the Republican side is ignorant, semi-educated or both. There’s also another point of view, closer home, which is about blaming the 31% who voted for Narendra Modi, every time the government seems to go wrong with their policies.

This is a very condescending approach. When you look at it, this is what polarization does to people all over the world. In a polarized electorate, everyone has real fears and real concerns. What voters seek, is the same on both sides. Whether it’s a Mexican angry at Donald Trump talking of building a wall to keep all Mexicans out or a white American frustrated at having to live on welfare after being replaced by an Indian call center employee, they’re looking for job security and a way to make a respectable living. They don’t want to scrimp and save to send their kids to college, while keeping the wolf away from the door. They don’t want to turn down small requests of their families. They want to feel safe. If you see any misery close enough and long enough, with an open mind, you’ll empathize with it. Live for a week, with a family of refugees from a war torn country and you’ll wish you could stop their country from being bombed to dust. Imagine losing every single possession and having to settle in a new country where so many are hostile to your presence. On the other hand, spend time with European women who have been the victims of Taharrush and you’ll want your country to kick out all the refugees. The pain is real on both sides and voters want similar things. They are sometimes stuck with a leader they don’t like but have to choose the lesser of the two evils.

In 2014, we had to choose between the Congress which faced several allegations of scams and had to endure a near stalemate in the last two years of power and the BJP, which promised economic development. What complicated this further was that the Congress was perceived to be secular (or a party appeasing Muslims, depending on who you were talking to) and the BJP has been known for its Hindutva agenda, because of the RSS connection. So, which way would you go, if you’re a secular Hindu? What if you were a Muslim entrepreneur bored with the economic stalemate? Choices become complicated for voters. Eventually, their heroes are wrong and idols have feet of clay. Many voters are reluctant too. A section of Democrats is unhappy with Hillary Clinton and wishes Bernie Sanders could be in the saddle. Many Republicans would rather abstain than vote for Donald Trump. There is little choice here though when you have to pick a side. The hate mongering is because many politicians are adept at whipping up a frenzy and stoking emotional fires, which is what swings elections. No one ever won an election promising a 50 basis points boost in GDP growth. Picking up the most scummy vote bank of a candidate and assuming every voter on that side has the same thought process is unrealistic. And every single person who votes for a politician isn’t buying into the most outrageous promise made, whether it is Narendra Modi’s ‘jumlas’ or Donald Trump’s Mexican wall. Let’s not blame the voters. It’s unfair and cruel.

Here’s why Chinese goods are cheaper

I’ve been seeing a ton of memes on my timeline appealing to people not to buy China made crackers and lanterns. The sole reason why goods sourced from China are cheaper is because it costs them less to produce their goods. So they can sell them for less. This raises the question, why are Indian goods more expensive to produce as compared to Chinese? It’s because the government doesn’t do its job. It’s because we are at a disadvantage in terms of all four factors of production: land, labor, capital and enterprise. When you leave your office in a city like Mumbai, it is torture to get to work. Depending on your social status, you could be stuck in a second class Churchgate local or in a luxury sedan on the way to your corner office at BKC. Traffic snarls are an equalizer due to the poor infrastructure. This wastes time that could be spent productively. You also guzzle more fuel which adds to the production cost of whatever you produce directly or indirectly, whether as an entrepreneur or labor. Taxes in our country are ridiculously high. Millions of people are waiting excitedly for Goods and Services Tax (GST) to be introduced but GST will only add to inflation. Many small businesses may not be able to claim set off because anything to do with the Indian government is fraught with red tape, if history is anything to go by. Also, while the initial rate may be 18%, it may be revised upward anytime. Service tax was 5% in 2003. It’s now 15%. That should tell you something. You can’t trust the Indian government when it says this will be the sole tax, either. A different government will just shrug off any assurances given by this one. Inflation is high and if you believe the 6% figure that the government claims please inbox me. I have a bridge I want to sell you. Corruption and red tape also increase production costs. If a builder has to give bribes to get permissions for his project, he will factor in this in the selling price. Anyone who invests in a commercial premises built by the builder will ask for rent based on his investment. A company that takes it on rent will factor in the rent in its products. Now whether they are producing apparel or furniture or running a poultry farm, their products will be expensive because the builder had to bribe someone. Businesses continue to need permissions and licenses from various government bodies. All this red tape adds to corruption and increases inflation. It also leads to inefficiency. Loans are hard to get for small entrepreneurs while big businesses get their billions easily. Businesses and individuals have to waste a lot of time that would be better spent on productive activities. Ask any student how long it takes to sign up for a course on the Mumbai University website or to look up results. Ask tax payers how tedious it is to register for tax, get an importer exporter code or incorporate a company. Why are our government websites so slow, unreliable and vulnerable to being hacked? Why should the productive time of millions of people be wasted because the government can’t ensure dependable technology solutions? So, stop whipping yourself. Chinese products are always going to be cheaper till the government gets its act together. It’s not you. It’s them!

Do films have to bore us and lose money to be considered art?

From the reactions on social media to Naseeruddin Shah’s quote about #RajeshKhanna, one point of view that emerges again is that many perceive #NaseeruddinShah’s films, also known as ‘art’ films, to be more ‘intelligent’. Anything targeted at a mainstream audience, especially something that makes money at the box office is considered ‘trash’ and synonymous with ‘running around trees’. This has always seemed a rather biased point of view.

To begin with, what are ‘art’ films? #Filmmaking is an art, the seventh art. Architecture, sculpture, painting, music, poetry, dance are the first six. Does making money for yourself and your producers make you less of an artist? Films are a business as much as an art and creative pursuit. Filmmakers don’t make films purely as an indulgence but for them to reach an audience. Having a larger number of people patronizing one’s work is always more satisfying to any actor or filmmaker. I have run into a lot of people who assume you can either make a good film or you can make a successful film. They assume that if a film is successful, it has to be bottom of the barrel in terms of sensibilities. To further make this point, they cite the most mind numbing and crass film they can think of. Ever so often, an ‘art’ film releases to a few hundred screens and interviews appear where people say ‘such cinema has to be encouraged’ and must be watched. This is usually said in a very sombre tone, like urging people to save tigers or an endangered species which is at grave risk of going extinct. Sometimes it is said like a doctor would, recommending that a patient take a dose of vitamin D pills everyday if he or she doesn’t want their bones going brittle. I’m aware that some films targeted at a larger audience are complete garbage. However many of these ‘art’ films make your eyes water with boredom and are absurdly pretentious. It would be an understatement to call them insufferable. We have had many entertaining films from great filmmakers over the years, which haven’t played to the gallery but are yet timeless in their appeal. Films have to make you laugh or make you cry or make you angry. They must affect you. They don’t need to lose money or be boring to be considered great art and filmmakers don’t have to be defensive about making entertaining films. Far from it.

There has been mutual disdain between the two sides. I recall Manmohan Desai, director of many blockbusters cocking a snook at ‘art’ films telling my father, “Kaise filmein hain yeh? Ek kutta rakh do frame mein, camera chalu kar do. Kutta so raha hai, so raha hai. Aur kuch nahin ho raha hai. Art film ho gayee!” translated as, “What sort of films are these? Keep a dog in the frame and roll the camera. The dog sleeps, continues to sleep. Nothing else is happening. You have an art film!” Manmohan Desai saw these films as a waste of his time and never attempted to make one. #ShashiKapoor produced many of these films. However, when he faced a financial crunch in the mid eighties he got good friend #AmitabhBachchan to feature in his out-and-out commercial film ‘Ajooba’, which eventually bombed at the box office.

The reality is that films cost money and must appeal to a sizeable audience for the filmmaker to get another opportunity to make a film. Anyone who puts in money does so with the idea of recouping his investment plus more. If there is anything that saves a film from degenerating, it is usually a bunch of artists who care what they make and who want to continue doing what they love.

To those who brush away commercial cinema, I would say, read about the era gone by and watch enough films before you sit in judgement. The requirements of every era are different. In the late seventies, it was the anti-establishment sentiment because of the emergency that set the stage for Amitabh Bachchan’s thrillers replacing the mushy sentimental romantic fare and melodrama of the sixties. The degeneration of films in the eighties is oft-repeated. This is only partly right because not all films during the eighties were bad. Amitabh Bachchan dominated the eighties and featured in ‘Naseeb’, ‘Silsila’, ‘Shakti’ etc in the early eighties. Gulzar’s ‘Angoor’ came in 1982. None of these films can be clubbed with the lousy films of the eighties. The second half of the decade saw the proliferation of video cassette players and recorders all over the country. This is when the family audience stopped patronizing cinemas altogether. It was expensive and more of an effort to go to a cinema when you could pay between seven and ten rupees to rent a video cassette. In the late eighties, new films were sometimes shown on cable TV. So they didn’t cost a dime. This meant that filmmakers had to cater to the lowest common denominator, which was the cinema going audience. This is what led to all the vendetta dramas that every major star in the eighties featured in. This is also how ‘Lamhe’ that came in 1991 bombed badly at the box office, despite it being #YashChopra’s best work and a wonderful film. Had it been released today, ‘Lamhe’ would have worked in a big way with multiplex audiences. All of this changed in 1994 when Rajshri Productions decided to put their foot down and refused to release ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun’ on video. It went on to become one of the biggest grossers of all time. Salman Khan was going through a rocky phase in his career but bounced back with this blockbuster and never looked back. This film brought back the family audience to the theaters. Yash Chopra followed it up with ‘Darr’ and ‘DDLJ’ directed by #AdityaChopra who made his debut, the year after and the tide had turned. Today there is a strong sentiment that women in India are unsafe. This has led to this theme being pushed in every form of fiction, from mainstream films to ad films, webisodes and short films. Riding on this wave, many films have gone on to become money spinners. Society undergoes changes and films change with them. A lot of films that get favorable reviews in the media today will be mocked and laughed at, twenty years down the line.

Before we evaluate harshly a style of filmmaking or an entire era we must acknowledge that each period also has its limitations. Artists have had to grapple with technological changes apart from social changes. The transition from silent films to talkies made the actors with weak voices redundant. Those who didn’t move with the times became irrelevant. The introduction of color changed tastes and many lost interest in black and white films and some films couldn’t be released. I spent my entire childhood watching films. My father introduced me to the cinema of the decades before I was born. Apart from watching Hollywood and European cinema, I watched almost all the Hindi films I could, even the ones made long before I was born. It amazed me that a man like K Asif who could neither read nor write, made a film like ‘Mughal-E-Azam’, which had a budget that (adjusting for inflation) could be put at Rs.300 crores and it took over a decade to make. ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ has brilliant performances by the cast including Dilip Kumar, the stunningly beautiful Madhubala and Prithviraj Kapoor. When bookings opened, people slept overnight outside cinemas to queue for the tickets the next morning and it remains one of the biggest grossers of all time. More than 50 years before ‘Queen’ was made, ‘Mother India’ captured the imagination of the nation and it was a woman-centric film that dealt with societal issues at that point of time. Mehboob Khan again wasn’t formally educated but made a powerful timeless film that is sadly, as relevant today because debt-ridden farmers continue to kill themselves, as it was then. #RajKapoor was a school drop out, yet a genius filmmaker. The man directed ten films in all, all of which had powerful stories, great music and a lot of symbolism. None of them were pretentious. ‘Mera Naam Joker’, arguably his best work almost ruined him but he bounced back with ‘Bobby’, which played to the gallery unhesitatingly. It went on to be one of the biggest grossers of all time and became a landmark film. These people never went to film school. They probably didn’t have access to a tenth of the books an aspiring filmmaker has access to today and many begun at a time when the medium itself was still relatively new. Directors were exploring the medium. If we must sit in judgement on them, it is only fair that we consider the limitations of the artists at that point, the changes in society, technology and the flow of information that time has brought about.

Udta Punjab movie review

I just watched #UdtaPunjab. The film is excellent and holds attention all through. This is #AliaBhatt ‘s finest performance to date. She surpasses herself and you see Pinky Kumari up there, the farmhand from the hinterland who’s battling the odds, not the beautiful, vivacious star. She handles every scene with immense prowess. Knowing the craft of acting, I can tell you that it takes a lot out of an actor to give a genuine performance when portraying extreme trauma. You have a tap a part of yourself and it can be very draining emotionally. To pull that off at 23 is commendable. To be a small town girl in your late twenties and have to portray a small town girl in her early-twenties (Kangana Ranaut in at least three films) is probably easier than having a protected existence and portraying a character at the other end of the spectrum. Alia is helped by a good script, competent direction and a fabulous get up. #ShahidKapoor plays his part effortlessly. His personality helps him portray the underground pop sensation. It also doesn’t hurt that dancing is his strong suit. We see the intensity we were witness to in ‘Haider’ when he broods on the the time gone by and dwells on his regrets. #DiljitDosanjh has a large part too, since he is a name to reckon with up north and does well, especially in the second half. He plays a key role in the climax. Unfortunately there’s very little chemistry between him and Kareena Kapoor. Kareena delivers a restrained performance, playing a doctor who helps drug addicts battle their demons and feels strongly about the issue. Where the film falters is in part of the characterization. Diljit Dosanjh is shown as particularly naive about the drug problem, which is surprising considering he’s a cop. Cops and crime reporters see a lot of crime on a daily basis and it takes a lot to shock them. They also usually become cynical along the way and often overly protective towards their family members. This aspect was authentically portrayed in ‘Taken’ where Liam Neeson is paranoid about his daughter’s safety. So, Daljit’s naiveté and ‘babe in the woods’ act seems rather contrived and more of a narrative device to give #KareenaKapoor the moral high ground as she talks down to him. More so, because he is shown as complicit in the drug racket, even if somewhat reluctantly. Except for one character who struggles with rehab, very little is shown about the struggles of addicts trying to kick the habit. Alia Bhatt’s clash with the mafia is also overly stretched. With the number of people gunning for her, you wonder why they are wasting so much time over a farm hand? What makes her so special for all of them? Also, some scenes in which she gets into a physical fight with hardened goons to rescue Shahid Kapoor seem implausible and overly done. This is however the film industry riding on the coat-tails of new age feminism, playing to the gallery. #SatishKaushik delivers playing his part. The expletives in the film should be a non issue really. You hear more expletives at an average north Indian wedding. Had the CBFC not played moral guardian, no one may have cared about the swear words sprinkled through the film. When you see the film, you also realize that the film is somewhat unfair to the state of Punjab. The film has dialogues like ‘Zameen banjar to aulaad kanjar’ which tar the entire state with the same brush. Also Diljit Dosanjh appeals to Kareena Kapoor to join him in battling the drug racket saying that all the men in Punjab are sleeping, intoxicated by drugs. So the women have to do something. This dialogue would understandably annoy Punjabi men and it seems unfair also to club all of them together as drug addicts, whichever political party may be in power. The cinematography is good. So is the editing. #AbhishekChaubey holds your interest for most of the film. The film is a gutsy take on the drug crisis that Punjab faces and it’s great that someone went through the effort of making a film that gives an insight into it. The Punjabi dialogues are easily understandable. Besides, the film has English subtitles. Some of the scenes like the car chase in the beginning of the film seem stretched but overall, it’s a film worth watching.

Teen movie review

‘Te3n’ is an official remake of ‘Montage’, a South Korean thriller. This is a film about John Biswas, a man in his seventies, who is obsessed with tracking down the kidnapper and killer of his grand-daughter and spends eight years on the trail before making a breakthrough. Amitabh Bachchan as ‘John Biswas’ gives a flawless performance. The poster and the trailer of the film show Amitabh Bachchan riding a scooter that’s as old as the hills. John Biswas struggles to start this scooter, has to clean it to get it going once but you can see a bond between the man and his machine. It’s not in-your-face but it’s there. At one point, John Biswas has to bribe a government clerk to get some information that he badly needs to zero in on the killer of his granddaughter. When he realizes he can’t afford the bribe, he gives the scooter as a bribe instead. This scene is the highlight of the film. It’s a very well written and directed scene and Amitabh Bachchan further elevates it with his sensitive performance. You realize how the same scooter means two entirely different things to two different people. It’s a scene that brings a lump to your throat, despite the director not giving it a build up or rather because of it. Nawazuddin Siddiqui has an interesting character and does justice to it. Vidya Balan is stuck with a somewhat underwritten, one-dimensional ‘tough cop’ character and tries hard to rise above it. Padmavati Rao as Nancy Biswas is fine but has little to do. Sabyasachi Chakraborty also delivers. The film is somewhat disappointing on the script level though. There are inconsistencies in the way characters behave. John Biswas tells Sarita Sarkar (Vidya Balan) that his wife won’t be able to live in peace till the killer has been found. Five minutes later, his wife expresses boredom with his obsessive pursuit and seems to have reconciled with the reality. The film’s screenplay is not linear. There are flashbacks, which would have been fine if they wanted to show a glimpse of the past. Instead, they go the whole hog, showing all the relevant events of eight years ago except one key event. This is more like ‘conning’ the audience preventing them from reaching a conclusion that they would otherwise. Characters act in ways that are unconvincing. You wonder why they make certain choices and not other more obvious, easier ones. Police investigation methods are somewhat contrived and amateurish. Kids behave oddly. I can’t give away any more without including spoilers. The cinematography is good. Shooting the film in real places, gives the film an authentic feel. If you can ignore the plot holes, watch it for the performances!