Dimple and Alexander

Published: October 3, 2011

PHOTO: FILE

The movie Mere Brother ki Dulhan is full of twists and turns. In fact, it is so twisty that I am tempted to use the old chestnut that appears in about ninety-eight percent movie reviews in our papers: ‘a rollercoaster ride’ — except, this movie is really a donkey cart where the donkey routinely mistakes his own backside for his face.

In the movie Katrina Kaif plays Dimple. But she’s not just any Dimple, she’s Dimple urf D, which means she’s free-spirited and spontaneous too. Someone who was born in London and bred there for 18 years before showing up in Delhi with short-shorts, long legs, zero acting skills and some silly dialogue to boot. In these initial scenes that last for about ten minutes she’s a rockstar. Why just in these scenes, you may ask? Because the movie wants you to mistake her for a certain type of girl — you know, one born and raised abroad, plays the guitar and hobnobs with suspicious looking boys? That sort.

But that’s a mistake. And D will have you know very soon.

Immediately after her rock concert which is attended by hundreds if not thousands, D is found in a small closed tent kicking and yelling at her boyfriend for trying to do with her what boyfriends have been notorious for doing in small closed tents for nearly all of human history. She’s outraged. How narrow-minded can Indian boys be? How did such a shockingly offensive idea get into his head anyway? For her, personally speaking, this was inconceivable. So after kicking her boyfriend in the gut and nuts, she clarifies her stance in no uncertain terms — in case you in the audience still didn’t get it —

“Mein andar se tau aik Hindustani larki hoon.”

And as if taking a cue from this amazing insight into her character, the movie also shuns her legs for the rest of the one hundred and sixty minutes, and respectfully shifts its gaze to her midriff and bosom. (No, no cleavage. Hasn’t she just told you that she’s a good Indian girl? And what’s up with you anyway?)

That’s a fine example of the twisty things this movie does. It fights stereotypes with even worse stereotypes. It repeatedly leads you to believe it is about to break out of formulaic situations, characters, etc — but then lunges right back to hug their deep, comfy grooves. Its ultimate message seems to be: Just relax, okay? Nothing’s changed in Bollywood.

That sums up the movie, thank you. Let’s move on to poetry. 

The Leap

By Daud Kamal

 

Alexander on horseback

leapt over the Indus here,

or so the storytellers say,

 

and on the other side

of that hill in a grove

of mango trees he listened

 

in rapt attention

to a naked sadhu

talking of immortality.

 

This poem doesn’t seem like much at first but read a bit carefully and you will see Alexander’s leap over the breadth of the Indus is an invitation for the reader to make a leap of imagination. The other part of the story is only accessible to the one who lands safely on the other side. Once there, you walk down to the grove of mango trees and find Alexander listening to a naked sadhu. The poem ends leaving you at the bank of another river: Is Alexander making a leap of faith over the abyss of death into the promised land of immortality? Or, like the story in the poem itself, is his too a leap of imagination? Perhaps, he stands there lost to himself with the spectacle of the naked sadhu. You must make the leap with Alexander on your horseback.

And while you are out taking leaps: pray that Bollywood also takes a leap, for God’s sake.

Bilal Tanweer

Bilal Tanweer

A writer and translator who teaches creative writing at LUMS.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://awaisaftab.blogspot.com Fatima

    D is found in a small closed tent kicking and yelling at her boyfriend for trying to do with her what boyfriends have been notorious for doing in small closed tents for nearly all of human history.

    Haha!Recommend

  • Phatty

    The guy with D in the tent is not her boyfriend. He’s just a friend, trying to get a lil too close.Recommend

  • Ali Akbar

    Why is an instructor at LUMS (and a male one at that) watching fruity Indian movies??Recommend

  • Javeria Mahmood

    I never thought of these mistakes when I watched the movie… but I just felt like I am watching some old movie againRecommend

  • Good Indian Girl

    I don;t think you got the gist of the scene in the tent…the idea was just because the girl was being “fraandly” doesn’t man she was an easy lay.

    And you went to see an Imran-Katrina starrer for acting skills , really?? Movies like MBKD are ment to be seen leaving your mind at home and 2 disprins in your purse for post movie head-ache.

    P.S. Have become a fan of Ali Zafar since this movie. Was sad to find out that he was already married. Recommend

  • oh god

    I think this movie was an effort to showcase how absolutely adorable Katrina is and can be (NOT!)Recommend

  • Good Indian Girl

    man = mean* (typo error)Recommend

  • Obaid

    @Ali Akbar:
    why not?Recommend

  • MK

    lol. i did have my doubts when i started reading this article, considering i’ve never read a movie review by you. anyway, the point is – MBKD is a typical , feel-good, think-less, smile-a-lot, enjoy-the-beautiful-faces Bollywood movie. Why, oh why, would you be expecting anything different.. Moreover, if you expect different, Yash Chopra’s not going to give you anything. The only time I get something different is when I look for (more recently) an Aamir Khan movie – Lagaan, Earth, Taare Zameen Par, Fanaa (although a bit too melodramatic, it had its moments).Recommend

  • D

    you had me laughing. you shud write more reviews.
    i ditched bollywood long ago , not out of being gora-ish but for them being able to offer nothing more than legs, stereotypes, cliches , hackneyed and copied stories..Recommend

  • Betty

    ohh cummonnnnn!! It wasnt THAT bad. Recommend

  • http://laal.com.pk Taimur

    Bilal at his witty best. :)
    Taimur RahmanRecommend