Film: Dostana

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.

dostana.jpgTo 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?

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8 Responses to Film: Dostana

  1. Nilu says:

    I slept through much of it. That John Abraham can’t act. This Priyanka Chopra has small boobs and that Bachhan boy is gay and acts like a straight man who acts gay.

    Okkara mudila. ‘indhi ozhiga.

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  2. buddy says:

    vaaranam released in boston…not dostana though sigh!

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  3. I am with you on this one : “If I find some bits of Dostana offensive, do I have the right to be offended at all. ”

    Otherwise a Bollywood buff, I have decided not to see the movie as a principle, as I am pretty sure it contains stereotypical and offensive references to Gays. You can argue its all in a light vein but still its one thing to laugh on yourself versus laughing at someone else’s cost. If Karan Johan declared himself gay publicly, I wouldnt have any problems going to the movie.

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  4. Pingback: Dostana and Gays | DesiPundit

  5. rads says:

    ah, my 2 favorite hot men and the characters they play don’t kiss? Bah! Chickens!

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  6. Aravind says:

    economic recession.. cost cutting…its rather costume cutting…lols..

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  7. Maya says:

    Nice one maami… I like the point about humour defusing situations. This is where the horrid PC police come in, usually within rather than without. for something to be truly funny it has to be a little mean (i think), for something to be interesting it has to be a little angry (i think)…. it is the nature of humour/comedy itself. ethnic humour being case in point…

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  8. Jim says:

    The movie went as far as it could go and still be a mainstream commerical movie. The scenes with Kirron Kher are the socially progressive scenes in the movie that show estrangement from one’s family due to coming out, and then acceptance. It doesn’t negate it all that Sam and Kunal are not technically gay in that scene, there is still empathy for the estrangement.

    The use of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham background music is inspired as the theme of that movie is very relevant to the situation.

    The end, whether one sees the kiss or not, is bold nonetheless, to have a crowd cheering on a kiss and making that the climax, rather than reacting negatively.

    I really didn’t find it stereotypical or offensive … Mainstream Hollywood movies would do much the same. Dostana is actually ahead of Hollywood in terms of showing same-sex couples as being normal and openly gay soldiers being normal — yes, in the U.S., and yes that isn’t actually true in real life, but the movie never once implies that the normalcy is a bad thing for the society that it’s in.

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