Apparently, if you’re a guy from South Mumbai — sorry, SoBo; for South Bombay, naturally — then there’s a new way to hit on a girl. You go up to her and pretend to be a dude from Andheri. This involves saying things like, “Hey, wanna dance?” (with dance pronounced with a Texan twang) or “You wanna form a friend with me?” Girl dissolves into laughter, friendship is formed, happily ever after is beginning already. If you think this sounds idiotic, cast your eye at how some recent Bollywood heroes behave when striving to be attractive to the opposite sex. Salman Khan wore cut-offs that were so tight and skimpy that ladyboys on Bangkok’s Walking Street would have second thoughts about them. Aamir Khan had to say, with a straight face, the naïvete of a slow 6-year-old and fluttering eyelashes, “You cum cum, madam”.
For a mind-bogglingly patriarchal society, it’s weird how stupid and juvenile a hero has to look in our movies. Cases in point, this week’s new releases: Jail and Ajab Prem ki Ghazab Kahani. In Jail, which I have not seen, Neil Nitin Mukesh has to strike this pose —
Now explain to me, what the hell is he doing there? It looks like a) someone took a video into a primitive locker and b) he’s trying to do a dance that mixes up Govinda’s thrusts with the funky chicken routine. Forget the ignominies of being strip-searched in prison or having to pee in your cell, that’s just way more humiliating. Inexplicably director Madhur Bhandarkar believes this is going to make us more sympathetically inclined towards the hero of his film. In Ajab Prem…, Ranbir Kapoor is supposed to have studied till Class IX, which means till the age of 15 he had some sort of formal schooling. God bless our education system if by that time we haven’t taught our students how to string one sentence in even vaguely-correct English. Setting that aside, he spends the first half of the film (that’s all I could watch before leaving in order to prevent my brain from self-destructing) behaving like an idiot adolescent. How is this attractive and to whom is this attractive? Another character claiming to be an adult was the guy called Tony Braganza, who is briefly rivals Ranbir Kapoor for Katrina Kaif’s affections. While attempting to flirt with Katrina Kaif, “Little Tony” gesticulates the way deranged people did in eighties’ Bollywood flicks (the particularly bad ones, I mean). This, according to Little Tony, is masculinity.
It almost makes me wish for the return to the time of polka-dotted bow ties and white shoes when men were men (albeit in polyester shirts) and boys were played by mullet-headed little girls in shorts.