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Rakesh Omprakash Mehra’s Mirzya tries to make contemporary the tragic love story of Mirza-Sahibaan but ends up glorifying illogical violence instead.
Weekends are all about lazing around, simple home cooked food and watching movies on television. Last weekend, we had some relaxed family time of this sort. I was flipping through the movie channels and was very happy to see Mirzya on the list. This was one movie which I had missed watching in the theatres.
Mirzya made by Rakesh Omprakash Mehra is a movie based on the legendary love story of Mirza Sahibaan. Eternal love stories like this always excite me. I propped myself up on the couch in front of the tube. However, after watching the whole movie I felt that it was good that I didn’t spend my hard earned bucks on theatre tickets for Mirzya. It was a disappointment, especially when the movie came from the maker of Rang De Basanti and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
The beautiful heart rending love saga of Saahiban and Mirza interpreted for contemporary times failed to strike a chord with me. Cinema in India sets trends; Indian youth are inspired by Bollywood stars and the stories of the movies. Therefore I believe that filmmakers need to be very responsible in terms of what messages they send society through their work.
Some spoilers below.
There is a sequence in the movie when Munish i.e. the modern day Mirza, kills his teacher with a pistol which he stole from Suchitra’s dad’s drawer (Suchitra being the Sahibaan of today.) The reason behind this extreme step by Munish is that the teacher had punished Suchitra. She had given her homework book to Munish and he showed it as his own. Firstly, he didn’t do the homework. And when his love was punished for his wrong doing, he kills the teacher. What kind of message does this story give our kids? And the act is glorified as an act done out of love! Is this what you call eternal love?
The next illogical event in this movie is that after getting higher education from a foreign university, Suchitra comes back to India after almost 20 years, and she feels Munish didn’t do any wrong in killing the teacher. She chooses him over her fiancée and elopes. This whole thing questions the rationality of educated women. How can any sensible, educated girl find nothing wrong in the killing of a teacher for the sake of revenge? The whole movie made me think that if we are presenting such stories as legends of love, then no doubt society will see many more killings like that of the Principal by the student in Haryana who was reprimanded for his misbehaviour.
When cinema glorifies such acts as act of bravery or love, it sends wrong and dangerous messages to society and especially to teenagers. In our movies, for decades we have seen the hero wooing the heroine by following her, and teasing her. Songs and dances on such situations have been made; whether it is Shammi Kapoor following a petite Sharmila Tagore singing ‘Akele akele kahan ja rahi ho from the iconic An evening in Paris or ‘jise dekh mera dil dhadka’ from Phool aur Kaante or for that matter the latest heartthrob Varun Dhawan singing ‘Palat, tera hero idhar hai‘. These heroes are worshipped and imitated. In real life, if somebody follows any girl like that, it comes under IPC section 294 of harassment and molestation. Why then is such behaviour acceptable on screen? Real heroes don’t do such things. One of the portrayals of a real hero is by Darshan Kumar, who played Mary Kom’s husband in the biopic made on her life. He supports her and paves the way for Mary’s success. Such heroes are rarely portrayed on the silver screen. Romance does not lie in following and stalking a girl. It is in respecting her, loving her and supporting her through every struggle.
The love story of Mirza-Sahibaan is very beautiful and tragic at the same time. Sahibaan breaks all of Mirza’s arrows, as she is afraid that he might kill her brothers who were coming to take her back. Her love for Mirza and her love for her brothers tore her apart and tragically ended both her life and that of Mirza’s. The movie Mirzya failed to deliver this message of love and sacrifice. I wish our talented filmmakers take care in the process of making a film because for the Indian audience it’s not ‘just a movie’. It is a way of life that young minds imitate and worship. Spread beautiful messages of love with lovely stories.
In India, protestors burn private and government property over Deepika’s midriff shown in a song. But no noise is made over rapes, rapes of minors, female foeticide, child abuse and trafficking. For such incidents, a silent candle march is enough. Why doesn’t society protest against such crimes with the same force and conviction? I guess the answer lies in our double standards. It is an irony that people here feel that banning a movie can protect the dignity of women, while obscene messages and rape videos are freely circulated via whatsapp and other messaging services. Movies like Dangal, Secret Superstar and Padman are a thin ray of hope from the film fraternity.