Laaga chunari me daag, chhupaun kaise, laaga chunari me daag…
Chunari me daag, chhupaun kaise, ghar jaaun kaise, laaga chunari me daag…
And so goes one of my favorite songs since childhood!! Not only did I like the lovely lovely music of the song, I also kinda sensed the pain, the irony, the anguish, and yes, the helplessness hidden and yet so obviously present in the lyrics of the song. And in the movie titled so too!! But alas, where the song leaves you thinking; the movie forces you to stop thinking, by ending itself in a goody-goody manner, and it’s all the more irritating, because till the interval it gives you so much to think about!!!!
Phew!! I guess I’ve confused you… :-P. Ok Ok, so keeping things straight, Laaga Chunari Me Daag is a movie made by Pradeep Sarkar(Of Parineeta fame!!), and deals with the ‘profession’ that girls are made to pursue outta their ‘majboori’!!
Rani and Konkona are the daughters of Anupam Kher and Jaya Bachchan, a “traditionally-rich-but-now-on the-verge-of-bankruptcy” couple in Benaras.(I dunno how this happens in bollywood movies…. haven’t they heard of savings and investments and insurance policies???? But anyways, lets continue..). Yeah, so to pull out the family of its financial crisis, the ‘un-matric’ elder sister Rani marches off to Mumbai to hunt for a job. I know it’s a cliche, but in big-bad-world of Mumbai(!!!) , the hunter becomes the hunted, and falls for a job offer into the bed of her boss-to-be. Actually not straightaway, she first calls up her mom and tells her that she’s gonna deny the offer; but her mom is so tensed about her husband being ill, that without listening to the qualms of her daughter she tells her not to return until she makes a living. What a mom!!! Anyways, as expected, no doors opened lead to the job! (now anybody with a little bit of grey matter in their brains would know that a call center boss will not employ a highschool dropout!!). Hurt, angry, resentful, pained, and bitter, she decides to make a job out of her first attempt to get a job. Groomed and styled by a high-society whatever(we really dont know what Suchitra Pillai does for a living, or did I miss it??), she transforms from a gauche village belle to a sophisticated-n-sexy call-girl, or ‘escort’! She starts getting clients right from the word go, and her house in Benaras, her sister’s education and her parents all start basking in the glory of her money! Money only, not her, ’cause we Indians are hypocrites…although we can accept the dough, we cannot accept the ‘tainted’ girl who kneeds it and dishes it out!!
So by virtue of her money, her house gets a new life, so does her dad, her sister gets an MBA, a great job and a loving boy-friend; and after a little bit of rona-dhona, black-mails, realizations and self-realizations and counter-realizations; the sisters-duo of Rani and Konkona get married to the brothers-duo Abhishek Bachchan and Kunal Kapoor. And they live happily ever after! <Phew!>
Ok, after reading this you all might think that I did not like the movie at all…..well, it’s not exactly so. The movie is watchable, but not a must-watch! The first half of the movie is thought-provoking, intense. It makes you think abput how difficult life is for certain people, as opposed to us, who have had such a comfortable upbringing. But in the second half, the director tries to pull off a happy-ending in a biiig hurry. Yes life is not so difficult to everybody, but for those for whom it is, the conclusions and endings are not so simple either!
On the positive front, we must give full marks to Rani and Konkona, around whom the movie entirely revolves. If anything holds your interest over the entire movie, it’s the power-packed and yet spontaneous performances of the two! Abhishek and Kunal surely serve as eye-candy 🙂 , and Mr. Kher and Mrs. Bachchan are efficient as usual. The cinematography is grand and at the same time soothing to the eye; and the music pleasant. And yeah, a special mention to the costumes of Rani and Konkona: they are authentic and rich in Benaras, and trendy and really smart in Mumbai and above(!).
Now if only more attention was paid to the story and screenplay…If Only!!!!