Ms. Representation: Films I should have hated, but didn't
This weekly column is a rumination on how women are portrayed in cinema, and this week the writer revisits the films she liked that critics didn't
There is great joy in discovering something new about yourself. Like the fact that you love films that critics don’t. Or films that don’t do well at all. Better yet, both. It’s almost joyous to like a film when you are expecting to hate it. One feels like a radical. With the strike in the cinemas, I revisited the films I liked, despite being told not to by the gatekeepers of pop culture. Oops. Part of the appeal, for any film that I like, of course has to do with the sensibilities the film is going for, especially with its women and their journeys… So here are three films they told me to hate, but I went ahead and loved anyway.
By the time I watched Befikre, it had been declared a dud and had gone out of the theatres. And then it came back on a streaming website. I was expecting to not like it. But decided to brave it anyway. I am happy to inform you that it ticks off all the boxes of a rom-com rather well. And I am sucker for well-done rom-coms. Who isn’t? What’s not to like? The good looking people? Their lovely clothes? All that Paris in Befikre? And a very decent story arch with a leading lady not written by clueless people? Sign me up for a low-key evening of Befikre and pizza to get over hump day, and I am all happy. Vani Kapoor as Shyra is interesting and the ‘modern-ness’ of the film, far removed from all the grungy grittiness and reality of a Shuddh Desi Romance, is actually a whiff of fresh air. It’s nice to be around silly well-meaning hustlers in faraway lands living out their happily-ever-afters.
Hasee Toh Phasee
Parineeti Chopra, in all of her films, has the air of someone waiting on the wings of greatness and is willing to pay her dues until she gets there. The sincerity she brings to her role, the affability… be it Dawat e Ishq or Meri Pyaari Bindu, it’s unmissable. She plays a complex role with an accessibility that is amazing to watch as Meeta in Hasee Toh Phasee. She is a genius with a few ‘issues’ and is effortlessly funny in many of the scenes. It was a rare ‘quirky’ heroine film that was rewarding to watch. The things they do to women in cinema in the name of quirky, otherwise! Maybe Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap should produce more films together. This was an overlapping of their sensibilities that I thoroughly loved.
This adaptation of Karachi, You’re Killing Me! starring Sonakshi Sinha, is about her - Noor. Her dreams, aspirations, frustrations, romance, what she desires… it’s light, it’s a great rainy day afternoon watch. Granted they may have overdone the trailer with that peppy song Uff Yeh Noor, because the film is actually a bit slow. It proceeds at a gentle pace, not like a rom-com because it isn’t one. It’s a coming-of-age film. It gets indulgent with a lot of conviction and I am kinda sorta happy about it. How many indulgent (yawn) films of men realising their ‘dreams’ have I endured? This was fun. It wasn’t perfect, but I wasn’t looking for perfection anyway.