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Simmba: Not the usual review that you read!

So, I happen to watch Simmba today, and this isn’t exactly the review that you would love to read. To begin with the usual disclaimer, spoilers ahead, but if you have watched the trailer, you can pretty much guess the movie. But just to put context to this post, the movie revolves around a heinous rape case, that changes a corrupt, self-centric police official into a messiah of humanity.

Absolutely nothing wrong with the movie. Rohit Shetty, Karan Johar, Ranveer Singh and the new heartthrob of the town, Sarah Ali Khan combined together to give us a two and a half hour long entertaining blockbuster, which also very emphatically deals with the rape culture, which stands in as a blot within our society. An entertainer (read: flying cars, highly animated dialogues and physics-defying fight sequences) with a message, I think that’s the guru mantra for success these days.

Also, since I could not resist, Sarah’s role in the movie is very similar to LK Adwani’s role in the present government; she is just there.

Now, before I get back to the movie, at the cinemas, I sat right next to lady, who was supremely excited to watch Ranveer Singh. She must have been a little older than my mother, and from her habits, she recently hooked onto the WhatsApp addiction. She is also a fanatic clapper as she stood out as the only person clapping in the hall on multiple occasions. Behind me, sat two guys who have clearly seen the movie before, and were super excited to complete the dialogues before they are delivered on screen.

So basically, I paid Rs. 350 plus internet handling charges to not just watch a Rohit Shetty time pass (will come back), but also to witness an overtly excited lady and the live commentary of two douche, who had no respect for movie hall etiquettes. But unfortunately, these three characters made me compile this review. So, everyone serves some purpose in life.

Never the less, why a time pass, well because one, expect Ranveer, Sara and a handful of others, casting was mostly repetitive of Singham and Dabangg franchises; dialogues have also been cited from the previous versions of the movies and lastly even songs were mostly remixed. Okay, maybe calling it time pass might just be a little too harsh; Simmba is just a smart work. It’s like that assignment which you pull off just one hour before the deadline and yet manage to score a B+.

To something little bit serious now. The storyline of the movie revolves around a heinous rape incident. The context might not have been the same, but the brutality of the incident clearly had the indications of the Nirbhaya incident. In fact, the most powerful monologue of the movie had the Nirbhaya incident mentioned. The entirety of the first half was quite the Rohit Shetty affair, you don’t need to flex a muscle in your brain to watch it. You can well leave your brain outside and relax with a laugh (the basic ingredient for the success of Indian movies). The half after the interval is where the movie kicks in; and this 10-minute monologue, which I mentioned above, is basically the reason why the movie would pull itself from a crappy affair to something worth at least a single watch.

The second half (I am a football writer, so I prefer using the word half) of the movie talks about the prevailing rape conundrum that we as an Indian society face today. The facts, figures and narratives used by the scriptwriter in the movie, are the ones which are most commonly used by the media and resonate the most in the public domain. The unfortunate society that we live in, crimes against women happen in a shamelessly frequent manner, and every time something similar happens, we collate these thoughts and figures and write about it, talk about it, discuss it. I will not mention them, but would rather request you to watch the movie and retrospect it yourself. 

But Rohit Shetty and Karan Johar are smart people you know. They know us, Indians, very well. They know that the percentage of Indian audience who consciously understand and believe in the thoughts, narratives mentioned are relatively less, in fact most of us are ignorant. They know that the unfortunate fact that rapes are quite common in India and their widespread coverage has very less impact on a significant fraction of Indians. Some in that fraction are blindfolded by the deep rooter patriarchy that we believe in, while others are the ones who wait for things to happen to one of their owns or to someone, they know, to actually believe in the unrealistic situation that we dwell in. And this is why, Simmba will probably barge in as quite a popular year end blockbuster.

The lady who sat right next to me, the one who clapped at every appearance of Ranveer Singh, was appalled when she got to know the rape-related statistics of the country (a part of the monologue mentioned earlier). She also had tears and a tone of vindication when a part of the movie talked about killing the rapists. It was as if, these are things which she heard for the first time, the arguments, the figures and the thoughts. It was quite an eye opener for her. But trust me, if you are an average consumer of news, the same things are talked about very frequently, especially after the 2012 incident. So, can you imagine how ignorant a society we live in?

And then coming to the two idiots who sat behind me, when the rape victim dies in the movie (sorry for the spoiler), they muttered, Ab mazza aayega (It will be fun now). Please don’t get them wrong, they were basically happy by the fact that the hero will be all charged up now and hell beat the shit crap out of the villain. Their intellect was basically to ignore the sensitive bit of rape culture and respecting women narrative, but to focus on the hyper masculinity of the hero who when charged up defies physics, chemistry, biology and maths (PCMB) to teach villain the lesson. They watch the movie to enjoy the cameo appearances of in the movies and blow a whistle when Sara Ali Khan asks Ranveer out.

Never the less, do watch the movie. Won’t call it overrated and overhyped. But probably because where we as a society stand, this will be much appriciated work of the filmmakers and the actors. Also, maybe we need movies like Simmba to infuse these important narratives into society. What news and education failed, popular culture can always fill in. If a movie like Simmba can bring the issue of rape culture to the light for the lady sitting next to me, then why not?

And about the other two guys? Well, maybe you can ask them if they like Modi or not and figure out of their intellect is really low or are they just pretending?


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