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Friday, 9 May 2014

Yeh Hai Bakrapur

Janaki Vishwanathan, in her debut movie, picks 2 statements that I have always strongly believed in and don’t hesitate to repeat ad nauseum ad infinitum.  You can sell anything in India under the garb of Healthcare, Education and most importantly Religion.  The second and more important one – India is a country of literate but uneducated people.

Put these two statements together to the background of a remote village in India. Add a decent story to back it up and you have Yeh Hai Bakrapur.  Yet another satire that has come out of a Bollywood studio hot on the heels of the likes of Dekh Tamasha Dekh and Aankhon Dekhi. A trend that I am not complaining about.

Set in a village somewhere in India, YHB is the story of Shah Rukh – a goat.  Shah Rukh belongs to the family of Majid (Faiz Mohammad) and Suraiyya (Suruchi Aulakh).  They have a son Zulfi (Shameem Khan) who would be about 8 and a daughter Naaz (Yaushika Verma) or marriageable age.

Zulfi’s only friend in this world is Shah Rukh.  He loves the goat to bits.  He is distraught when he learns that his family is planning to sell the goat at the monthly market due to their financial misery.  He runs away with the goat but thanks to Naaz’s boyfriend Jaffer (Anshuman Jha), he comes back.

Now Jaffer is a trained hairstylist and he decides to help Zulfi out.  Using some high quality dye (one can only assume – because it doesn’t come off at all) he paints “Allah” in Arabic (of course) on the goat.  Of course, the intelligent village folk fall for it and Shah Rukh turns out to be a craze not just in Sirauni village but across India.

Janaki Vishwanathan could not have been clearer in her message.  She could have polished the movie a bit with some more attention to detail but the untrained eye may not even notice those minor errors.  They have no impact on the story as such.  Over time, I am sure she will get distinctly better at these finer aspects.

From the Aam Aadmi to the Indian cricket team to the local MLA or a businessman – all of them are shown to be enamoured by the “Allah” on Shah Rukh.  And when all possible pokes are exhausted there is a new twist to the tale – the aspect of the Hindu’s staking claim to Shah Rukh because Shah Rukh’s father Kaalia was from a Hindu house.

This is the story of the average Indian.  We get swayed by the most inane reasons.  It just takes someone to stoke strong emotions related to religion and we have ourselves a fight or a riot.  Needless to say, the 2 other people in the hall with me could not get the simple message.  I hope you will.  6 on 10.  Watch it because it is exactly what we deny – day in day out. Also watch out for Agnee’s music.

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