Ever since I’ve discovered my constant “outsider” status, I’ve attempted to be funny about it. Mostly because I get so tired of political correctness. So as am in the UK, I make politically incorrect statements about being brown or being Indian, and it usually gets the “white crowd” to relax a bit. I am offended by maliciousness. Not by humour.
So here’s the dilemma. Like the next person, I enjoy my share of gay jokes. It’s not meant to offend, but perhaps make people more comfortable with the situations that arise out of not being in what is considered the conventional way to be. If I find some bits of Dostana offensive, do I have the right to be offended at all.
To be fair, this film was far better than I expected it to be. I thought it was going to have far more disparaging jokes about homosexuality. Instead, it makes fun of the possible situations that come up when you dare to challenge the hetero-centric worldview. Sure, sometimes the gags just annoy you. But there’s this whole touch of acceptance, like a mother who first resists the idea but warms to it anyway. And she’s quite honest about it – she doesn’t understand the intricacies. Does she call her son’s boyfriend her bahu or damaad? Will they have kids? Of course, at points you cringe.
Though you wish they had resisted getting a few laughs from the constant caricaturing. Yes, there are men who are effeminate and gay. But there are other kind of gay men. I know this isn’t a film that is supposed to educate. But you wish they had at least one gay man who didn’t fit into the stereotype, and had something substantial to offer to the storyline. Through whose character you could get a glimpse into the kind of homophobic behaviour that dominates society. But perhaps this is how you build acceptance? With a bit of humour? Get people used to the idea.
As with all films that come from the Dharma Productions stable, you can safely leave out any semblance of realism at the theatre doors. Like one beautifully simple process to get some sort of a residency permit apparently. Or how Priyanka Chopra doesn’t notice that the two gay men in her house who are supposed to be a couple never cuddle or sleep together.
The gags are way better than the stuff of Kantaben jitters from Kal Ho Na Ho. Yes, they are a lot of puns. Tonnes of innuendo. But mostly in good spirit. And Abhishek Bachchan seems to wonder why they paid him for having so much fun. He just sails into the character. He’s so believable. And in a way is a slightly effeminate straight man.
What disappointed me was the smooch between the two men. You never see the lips locking. It’s one of those 1980s kisses on screen. When all you see are two heads, with the screen filled with one person’s hair. Sigh. But I laughed at quite a few points in the film, uncontrollably so. I obviously don’t have a very refined sense of humour though. So don’t take my word for it. Like I totally laughed at some point when Kiron Kher welcomes her potential son-in-law into the house. Completely with an aarti thali, and background music. Totally hilarious.
Also, someone please tell me what song this one (Jaane Kyun) is a copy from? I have been racking my brains about this, and I know for a fact that there is some English song that has a very similar tune. But I just can’t put my finger on it.
More… because my post isn’t long enough. Clearly.
PS – In my hurry today morning, still sleepy.. (In my defense, I wrote this post at 8 AM, having slept at 1 30 AM the previous night. Err)… I totally forgot about the dead parents bit in the film. Priyanka Chopra consults her dead parents before taking important moral decisions. Like should she have almonds or hazelnuts in her chocolate. (I would really go for the hazelnuts anyday!) They apparently died when she was really young. So she toes their moral lines. So the premise of the story of course is that her parents would have forbidden her to live with two men. But because her dead parents were somehow okay with her living with two gay men instead. All is cool. (She consults the Dictates of The Dead.)
Also why did they do what they did to Boman Irani? He is somehow half hearted about this. He is so capable of being more OTT than he is in this film. It’s just not stereotypical enough I tell you.
Also, I think the credit crunch affected the making of this film. Which would explain why the clothes are so small. They just couldn’t afford more meters of cloth. Okay?