Entertainment Bollywood 28 Nov 2019 A flawed interpretat ...

A flawed interpretation

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SUBHASH K JHA
Published Nov 28, 2019, 12:25 am IST
Updated Nov 28, 2019, 12:25 am IST
Parvathy Thiruvothu
 Parvathy Thiruvothu

There’s been a huge roar of approval for actress Parvathy Thiruvothu for calling out the much-discussed misogyny of Telugu blockbuster Arjun Reddy and its Bollywood twin Kabir Singh during a roundtable chat moderated by critic Anupama Chopra — that too, in the presence of Arjun Reddy star Vijay Deverakonda.

“Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh had the visual grammar of glorification. Joker did not. At no point did I look at the character Joaquin (Phoenix) played and said, “Arre yaar, I totally agree with you. You must kill everyone,” she said.

However, she ended up putting her foot in her mouth by describing the behaviour of the protagonist in Arjun Reddy as “bipolar”, a sensitive mental condition whose casual use to describe the character’s unpredictable behaviour in the movie has rightly incensed Twitter users. The actress apologised later. Also, nowhere in Arjun Reddy is there any idealisation of misogyny. No one in the audience wants to be as boorish and arrogant as the protagonist. The hero, — if he may be called that — is nobody’s ideal. Apparently, even Vijay Deverakonda, who played him and Sandeep Vanga, who wrote the character, hated the man, but loved the challenge of creating a character steeped in his own self-serving hedonism.

Meanwhile, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker has triggered a worldwide debate on glorifying loneliness and despair to the point where taking revenge on an uncaring world seems to be the only antidote. No doubt, the film has also played havoc with millions of already troubled minds across the globe.

In that sense, Joker is an extremely toxic film, though a brilliant one. Joaquin Phoenix’s  portrayal of destructive desolation is real enough to cause havoc in the collective mental equilibrium of our already trouble-ridden universe. On the other hand, Arjun Reddy seems hell-bent on destroying only himself, and is no role model for even the most debased generation of pleasure-seekers.

It only goes to show that it is all too easy to go on a bashing binge against one of our own films and very trendy to praise a Hollywood film which unabashedly celebrates the collective subconscious fantasy of a trigger-happy nation.

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