All about living in this crazy, wonderful city called Bombay

November 27, 2006


Vivaah and Dhoom 2. Two films...both hits, both based on their maker's translation of contemporary India. Yet they seem to be miles apart, not only in storylines and fashion styles, but also in terms of the India they attempt to capture on celluloid. Which one is more "India", which one should we believe in and which should be discarded as a sweet fantasy - wonderful, exciting, gripping, but still fantasy??

Vivaah is the story of a young couple, who agree to an arranged marriage that spans practical cultures (he is a squash-playing urbanite from Delhi, she is a Rabindranath Tagore-reading innocent from Madhupur), fall in love at first sight with each other at first sight, respect traditions (they think a million times before meeting each other alone on the rooftop even after the engagement), follow the words of their elders and stick with each other through thick and thin. The romance is through half-hidden glances and soft spoken words, and there is a sense of the sweetness in waiting. There is an innocence in the film, an unquestioning acceptance of traditions and a sense of the sanctity of marriage that we have not been faced with since years now onscreen.

Dhoom 2 is aggressive, its brash, its about a generation that follows no rules but its own. Its about men and women who live life on the razor's edge, about a world where love is shouted from the rooftops, relationships are sometimes a minefield and self gratification is no sin. This silver screen is about a generation that takes its destiny in its own hands.

So which one is more "real"?

To me, both are accurate reflections of the current generation of Indians - two sides of the dichotomy we all live with. After all, aren't we all a mixture of Poonam and Sunehiri, of Prem and Aryan? Yes, we are urban and ambitious, we like fabulous, modern lifestyles, we love clubbing and partying, are no strangers to mini skirts and hard drinks, and prize our independance above everything else.

Yet, come wedding time and I bet you that most of us will go a sea change. We automatically discard our jeans-and-T-Shirt wardrobes and shopping for saris, lehangas and glass bangles with unrivalled happiness. We turn to our traditions, and to our elders, and actually enjoy following them (or most of them). There is the same excitement, the same innocence, the same hope for a good family, the same wish to keep your loved one happy. There is a new patience, a new willingness to adjust and accept.

And that's what I love about being an Indian. The fact that two such diametrically opposite streams can co-exist for me. Its a rare thing to have the best of various worlds - touch wood!!


Anonymous said...

i landed on your blog searching for some information on the rann of kuchchh. i saw that you had visited in 2003. do you have any photos?

this map interested me because it shows the rann as water, while the indian map i have in front of me right now shows the whole of kuchchh as a swamp but not water.

- s.b.

shruti said...

Hi Anubha!
I've read a couple of your writeups in the marie claire...n your name rings me a bell!! R u Anubha Charan from Springdales DK???
I'm shruti malik, dont know if u remember...mail me back if u do....its been many many years...
u can reach me at:
Your take on both the movies and our generation is potently true!!