Friday, January 14, 2011

Turning 30 

Bridget in Bombay?

A look and age obsessed society had made it tough enough for women, when Bridget Jones Diary came along and turned all 30ish women into objects of mockery.

The creator of that demeaning character was a woman (Helen Fielding) and a few years later, the one to bring all these women and aging stereotypes to the Indian screen, is, alas, a young woman.

Alankrita Srivastava gets just one thing right—the characters of her film, all upmarket Mumbai professionals-- speak in English, which is how it is.  That automatically curtails the audience of the film to urban multiplexes, so it was a brave decision in a way.  However, her mishmash of many Hollywood chick flicks is a humourless narration of one year in the life of Naina Singh (Gul Panang), who on the verge of turning 30, loses her boyfriend (Siddharth Makkar) and her advertising job.

Among her friends is a one who overlooks her husband’s philandering because she wants to have a baby while there’s still time; the other, who seems comfortable about her age, turns out to be a lesbian. And yes, there are the mandatory-in-urban-films gay pair in the ad agency too.

Naina is a bore—whiny and clingy to boot. The nth time she goes “uh-uh-uh” and makes a sobby face, you ant to throw something at the screen. Her predicament is as superficial as the solution—writing a book!  Oh, and she promptly gets a new replacement lover, and the ditcher wanting a second chance. The rebound guy is  photographer (Purab Kohli), who goes around with a sorry expression and colourful mufflers around his neck. If the choice is between these two, being single seems like a good idea.

According to Srivastava, 30 is middle age, and reaching that age is so terrible, that random strangers in bathrooms tell you to have boob jobs, the parlour masseuse offers sex toys and you get to work on campaigns aimed at older women.

There maybe women like Naina, but watching this one’ ghastly and desperate thrashing about is not pleasant. There is no element of satire in it to lessen the tedium of watching a too-long film about a wet blanket, and Gul Panang, cannot, for all her efforts, pull off a film by herself.


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