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Bollywood, Modi And The Donald

Chaos and anarchy dominate in reel and real life plots

3/2/2017 3:18:20 PM
written By : Shobhaa De Print

I watched two Bollywood blockbusters, Kaabil and Raees, back to back last week. If one overlooks the gratuitous violence which saturates both films, one can better appreciate the subliminal messages embedded in both: Raees is an old-fashioned ‘bhai’ film involving hooch, murders, vamps, sidekicks, choreographed dances and a hero wearing a great deal of surma in his eyes. It’s a portrait of evil. The protagonist wants more! More money, more power, more love, more respect. At any cost. There is also a half-hearted attempt to project him as a Gujarati Robin Hood (ahem!). But the ‘hood’ is what he stays. It’s a film about an archetypal baddie who can shoot dead just about anybody who crosses his path – even a goon standing behind him!

If Raees is a badass movie, Kaabil resembles a winter speciality from Punjab, gajak – sweet, tough, with a lot to chew on. The hero here is cunning and quick, sightless and sentimental. He is also capable of the most imaginative violence. But only when provoked big-time, like when a local goonda destroys his marriage. This is being sold to audiences as a ‘revenge thriller’ in which the mind sees more than the eyes can.

Both movies feature guys with great abs. Both movies make sure the abs stay covered. Huh? How dumb is that?

Cut to real life – and action! Rarely has the world gone through such messy times. Is Donald Trump a Raees (played by Shah Rukh Khan)? Or is he more a vision-challenged Rohan (played by Hrithik Roshan)? Does The Donald ‘see’ what others don’t? The oft-repeated dialogue from Raees goes, “baniye ka dimaag aur miyanbhai ki daring.” It’s a cunning line full of deeper implications. Spookily enough, Trump is after the world’s ‘miyanbhais’, but does he have their daring? Or is he more a ‘baniya’ under that bleached-blond combover? What about poor, powder-blue Melania – Mahira Khan from Raees or Yami Gautam from Kaabil? Which one of the two non-leading ladies is she?

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