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Delhi Belly Filmmaker Akshat Varma’s irreverent take on Hindu Epic ‘Mahabharata’ is priceless

Akshat Varma after a bone tickling performance in Delhi Belly, will now be seen in a short movie with a satire on 'Mahabharata'

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Hindu Epic Mahabharata. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Mumbai, Sept 08, 2016: Akshat Varma, last seen in the movie Delhi Belly played an infamous role of tickling our bones to the best. the actor now is back with a bang and will be featuring in a short film with an outstandingly courageous yet subtle mockery attempt at the polyandry of ‘Mahabharata’. Agreeably the story is juicy enough for a lot of criticizers but simultaneously will leave no stone unturned for the audience as well to raise their eyebrows against the attempt of making a farce on the respected Hindu Mythology Epic.

But sigh…giggle… ahem… Varma dares the unthinkable in this day and age of sanctimonious rage when saffron is the colour that determines all our moves. Here is a fantastically twisted… And yet curiously logical and rational look at the timeless mythology.

It starts with Arjun (played by an endearingly vulnerable Amol Parasher) bringing home Draupadi while mom Kunti (Neena Gupta) cooks ‘tindas’ in the kitchen.

Akshat Varma. Image source: Youtube
Akshat Varma. Image source: Youtube

Draupadi, as played by the radiant Aditi Rao Hydari, looks definitely more inviting than the ‘tindas’. And even the Pandavas agree on that, at least one Pandava, Bheem (Arunodoy Singh) seems hopelessly horny as Draupadi at the gym (if you please!) comes on so strongly, you suspect she is not very happy with just having Arjun around.

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Amol Parasher as Arjun is almost as if he hopes his brothers would share instead of just stare at Draupadi.

Yudhishsthir (played with a sinister kala chashma and an indecipherable scowl by the underrated Akshay Oberoi) couldn’t care less. He is not disinterested in Draupadi’s oomph. Just more interested in gambling.

Sahdev (Jim Sarbh, the terrorist from ‘Neerja’ brilliantly bang-on as the sardonic son who is not interested in Draupadi in ‘that’ way) and Nakul (Vivaan Shah) are into other things.

There is a fabulously funny scene in a shopping mall where the ever-seductive Draupadi tells her giggly gal pal that she only has to deal with three lustful husbands, not five. This is said with Draupadi eyeing a male mannequin’s lingerie-selling bottoms.

Mama Kunti is of course the last to know. Oblivious of their preference, she tells Nakul and Sahdev that she is getting them married, to twin daughters, if you please.

Sarbh, who is possibly the best of the brilliant cast, gives his mom a befitting reply. “Maa, main khushi se paagal ho gaya.”

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We can’t go that far in our appreciation of Varma’s rigorously revisionist look at a revered mythology. But full marks to this long-legged luscious and hilarious short film for leaping into an arena that most would avoid in this day and age.

Thankfully, some spirit survives even in this era of castrated cheekiness. And for that, this short film deserves three stars. (IANS)

  • Arya Sharan

    Interesting portrayal of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

  • Ayushi Gaur

    The censor board’s call for this movie will be a treat to watch

Next Story

Know How The Content Providers Seem To Have Decided To Capture The Attention Of Masses

There are voices that the OTT content should come under CBFC certification. It is reported that at the CBFC, while the films from big makers are cleared out of turn so that they can meet their scheduled release dates, makers of smaller films have to wait a long time for that kind favour from the censors?

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Usually, the films with family entertainment, RomComs or mildly plausible action films work (Salman Khan types). The religious and saas bahu family themes have been hijacked by television channels. Pixabay

By Vinod Mirani

When a fad invades India, it does so in hordes. May it be mobile manufacturers, car makers, and so on and so forth. But, now, we have a line-up of streaming content providers. They enjoy an open, unhindered run on your small screens.

Usually, the films with family entertainment, RomComs or mildly plausible action films work (Salman Khan types). The religious and saas bahu family themes have been hijacked by television channels. Presently, though suddenly, we are now into this genre called nationalism/patriotism and biopics. But, that market is flooded and all future announcements for forthcoming films seem to be on patriotism and biopics! Not long before the law of diminishing returns takes over.

In fact, this week’s release, Romeo Akbar Walter, may prove to be an indicator to that considering the lukewarm reception the film has got. The thing is, those people who want to watch these films, they are mainly available in cinema halls. These films would not be as much fun on a small smartphone/tablet screen, also known as Over The Top (OTT).

The content providers seem to have decided to capture the attention as well as the initial eyeballs through a nonconventional way; providing content which is not available on cinema screens. That is to majorly deliver content that is morbid, gory, semi pornographic, drugs and all those things that are repulsive to a normal entertainment seeker and the family audience. Now this is the content designed for personal viewing with no one else watching over your shoulder!

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The CBFC does not work on precedents. Does not matter that a number of films, Hollywood as well as Indian with lengthier kissing scenes, have been passed with UA certificate! There is no consistency in policy. Pixabay

The target viewer is the youth and the purpose is to change their taste and preferences. Indian, Spanish, Mexican, all the content that I scanned through had gore, sex, and all that as common as well as the dominant factors. While providing such content, there are also some decent features but not enough yet.

But, how long can this trend last? There was an era when Malayalam films with a lot of titillation and suggestive sex were dubbed in Hindi language and, for the interior audience, interpolation was a regular practice as explicit sex scenes from porn films were added. They worked for a while but faded soon.

So, the issue is, while the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) makes all kinds of demands from a feature film producer before his/her film is approved for public exhibition, this morbid mobile OTT streaming goes unchecked! The CBFC, in fact, has become the moral guardian of the Indian moviegoer; one to check on its ethics and morals!

Pahlaj Nihalani, the recent past Chairman of the CBFC, asked to delete a kissing scene from a Bond film from some 15 seconds to six seconds. Isn’t that ridiculous considering that Nihalani in real life can’t finish a sentence without adding a couple of BCs and MCs no matter if women or kids are around! Is it possible that a single panel member of the examining committee of CBFC, who watches films to rate them, has never watched an illicit porn film? And, to think that these people think a film is kosher only for six seconds, not 15! Do this politically connected panel members really qualify to sit in judgement over what the people should watch? That has been an eternal debate.

The CBFC does not work on precedents. Does not matter that a number of films, Hollywood as well as Indian with lengthier kissing scenes, have been passed with UA certificate! There is no consistency in policy. As is the wont of Indians, a seat of authority robs them of logic. It is a high to be able to judge others, especially when in an official position. As a rule, this lot found fault with every film presented for clearing. For example, the examining committee suggested 14 cuts to a children-oriented film, Mr India, in 1980. I can quote numerous such examples.

But, the issue is about parity. That is to say, while almost all other mediums are free of a watchdog, why are films censored? Why not OTT content? Come to think of it, what does the ‘power’ that the CBFC panel members and the Chairman
amount to when a motely mob negates their certification and blocks a film? Padmaavat, Manikarnika and so many other examples.

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Also, considering every other so-called group or organization or a community can ignore CBFC clearance and block a film’s release, the Board means nothing. And, this despite the highest court order ages back that the CBFC is the ultimate authority on cinema content! Pixabay

Coming back to streaming content and films, how come the film, PM Narendra Modi, is denied even the courtesy of a screening for the examining committee yet while the streaming episodes on the same subject, Modi, are already on people’s mobiles? So, how is the CBFC and Censor Certificate relevant anymore when a biopic on a person is blocked indefinitely while the same subject OTT platform, Modi: Journey Of A Common Man, produced by Eros Now, has already started streaming?

There are voices that the OTT content should come under CBFC certification. It is reported that at the CBFC, while the films from big makers are cleared out of turn so that they can meet their scheduled release dates, makers of smaller films have to wait a long time for that kind favour from the censors? In that case, suppose OTT content had to pass through censors, what would be the scene? Would it be the Amazon and Netflix that will get priority or a score of others who apply? After all, big shots get priority! Imagine the chaos that can follow. A 30-minute episode can end up
being chopped off to 15 minutes and the second episode of a series may appear weeks after the previous one!

Also, considering every other so-called group or organization or a community can ignore CBFC clearance and block a film’s release, the Board means nothing. And, this despite the highest court order ages back that the CBFC is the ultimate authority on cinema content! Something needs to be set right in the Cinematograph Act. To start with, the word Digital Content, should be made part of the Act.

@The Box Office
*The latest release, a highly promoted film, Junglee, just about manages to stay afloat. With a meagre opening day collections of three crore, it managed a face-saving weekend of around 13 crore. The film had a tapering effect at the box office with the start of the new week and closed its first week with a total of over 19 crore.

*The other release of the week, Salman Khan’s production, Notebook, failed to make its mark. With an opening weekend of Rs 2.3 crore, it had a low opening week figures of Rs four crore.

Also Read: Cambodia Approves Hydropower Dam, Solar Energy Plant to Meet Electricity Demand

*Akshay Kumar carries Kesari on his popularity though a regional subject with a limited appeal, it collects Rs 19 crore for its second weekend and Rs 30 crore for its second week taking its two week tally to Rs 135 crore.

*Badla has collected Rs 5.3 crore in its fourth week to take its four week total to Rs 79.3 crore. (IANS)