Of Male Vulnerability

Pyar ka Punchnamais a movie that I’d been hearing a lot about over the past few weeks, and that scene (rant) from it is one of those that has been shared the most across the time-sink that is my Facebook and Twitter timeline. All that had given me an impression of it being one of the many forgettable comedies that the Hindi film industry keeps churning out, albeit one with a few laughs.
I was happy to be proven wrong when I realized that I was laughing harder than I had for a long time (in a Hindi movie), that I was not inclined to be updated on Twitter/Facebook while watching it (as I am prone to do when I am watching something at home that doesn’t have my complete attention). The movie has more than a few laughs, is very close to reality when depicting how guys in general and engineering grads in particular talk amongst each other (unlike for example the fruity exchanges shown in 3 Idiots ) - and this depiction does not come with the impression that the director is trying too hard to show that his guys are cool for speaking like this (as is the attempt here). The conversations are very natural, as are the scene settings - the guys house, though big and spacious, is a mess with the couch doubling up as a storage unit, the office-spaces are shown pretty much the way office-spaces are, most of the guys go for the 11 Rs per plate Aloo ka Paratha leaving the lush office cafe behind in real life (as does Liquid in the movie), and if the girlfriend of one of the guys is visiting all the other guys living in the house do tend to be in some other room, huddled together.

That said, the movie is decidedly one-sided in depicting the exchanges between the male and female of the species. That isn’t to say that all the stuff that has been shown doesn’t happen, just that gals would have their own share of justifiable pet peeves which are not for exhibition in this movie. Each guys’ equation with the respective gal is used to portray a specific negative aspect of the guy-gal exchange and as I said earlier, you get to see more of the guys’ side. He is the victim and she is the tormentor, that’s it.Still, as the title suggests, this post is not about the movie and it’s treatment of relationships (you would be forgiven if you ask why then am I rambling about it, I said all that I said above since I wanted to say it and I didn’t want to do two posts for the same movie.). This post is about male vulnerability as depicted in the second half of the movie. I have seldom seen a guy’s total submission to his love depicted in a way as close to reality as this one. When Rajat’s girlfriend tells him that she is leaving him (and is looking at possible matches for marriage), all he can do is fall in her lap and cry with helplessness. No signs of any bravado, no show of confidence telling her that he is sure she can’t move on without him, no qualms in bending down and accepting his role as the lesser of the two in the relationship. All he wants is for her to tell him that she won’t leave him, and he is willing to do anything to guarantee that. I don't know a guy in love who wouldn't identify with that.Liquid, on the other hand, knows in his heart that the girl that he loves does not want anything to do with him in the longer run. He knows that she is stringing him along just because she could use the help and because she is lonely at this point in her life. Yet he cannot help being at her beck and call, calling her multiple times to check on her, trying to spend as much time as possible with her, spending on her to the point of getting broke, and being miserable through it all.Chowdhary is apparently the least vulnerable of the three. But that is in some part due to the fact that his girlfriend is the most obvious bad one, who has trouble understanding the basic tenets of commitment. It is still not easy for him to question her behaviour when they are in a relationship, and he does have to put up with a lot of stuff before he decides that enough is enough.When the movie starts, our protagonists are three happy-go-lucky fellows who do not take too much tension about anything. Anything and everything that might cause some friction is handled then and there and then pushed to the back of the mind, never to be retrieved again. By the end of the movie these guys are literally pummeled into submission, losing all notions of self-respect and ego, two of them reduced to tears and hopelessness. This is a side of men that hasn’t often been depicted in Hindi movies in a non-filmy way, and the director needs to be applauded for that. Though you get more glimpses into the male mind and heart, it doesn’t mean that the women are cardboard characters. Just that for once they are shown properly in shades of grey rather than the good/vamp/bimbette that we are used to seeing them as.
One of the favourite line for many women is ‘All men are dogs’, watch this movie to understand how a regular guy is turned into one.

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