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An Open Letter To Aanand Rai – Director Of Raanjhana

Dear Sir,

I happened to watch your movie 2 days back.  This is your 2nd movie I am watching, the first being Tanu weds Manu.   Good choice of actors here, Sir.  Dhanush and Sonam because of their physical attributes can be used to play characters more than 10 years younger than their real age.  You must have saved a lot of money there. I liked the acting skills of your actors, but about the story I have to give you some gyaan, Sir.  Please don’t say no, this is free of cost.  I will not charge you. (Note, this is not a review but contains some spoilers – Ed).

Pssst, Sir I have a secret to tell you, When a girl says NO it means NO.  What Sir, you tried to show that a 10th Standard boy gets a 9th Standard girl to say ‘Yes’ to his so called proposal by slitting his wrist?? At the age of 15 obviously the girl got scared and said ‘Yes’.  Did you know that the reason parents are advocating that their girls marry off early even before finishing school, is exactly because of such menace.  So I have a question Sir, if after watching your movie some 10th Standard boy does the same and the girl still says NO then what should he do next?  What would be the next gruesome step you advocate?

But in the same movie, another girl Bindiya is head over heels in love with our hero Kundan, but see, she is intelligent and instead of slitting her wrist she believes in feeding cows!  I am grateful that you projected women in a good light here and tried to tell the audience that women have more common sense even if they are madly in love with someone.  But Sir, why were you hell bent on showing that men are dumb?

Then you show our Heroine Zoya comes back after 8 years and announces her fairy tale love story with another man.  Your hero again goes and slits his wrist.  What is this, Sir? You are an intelligent person no? You should know such a person needs mental treatment; you have shown him highly suicidal.  At a point I thought that even if Zoya sneezed loudly, our Hero Kundan would slit his wrist! And let me tell you another secret Sir, women have a brain of their own so even if by any chance our Hero ended up marrying our Heroine then by the time they celebrated their 1st anniversary the Hero would not have any blood remaining because every time his wife did not listen to him (which is quite obvious since she seems more intelligent than him) he would slit his wrist, no?

Sir, you have left no stone unturned to show that a girl can be scared and forced into a relationship, but you did not even leave her parents. When you showed that Zoya’s parents are been conned by the team into believing that her lover is a Muslim, I want to know what happened to his parents. Yes Sir, the same parents who came from Punjab to see him when he was in hospital.  Are you trying to say that Zoya’s conservative family was getting their daughter married off without even meeting the boy’s parents? You really think that a girl’s parents can be stupid, don’t you?  Here is another secret Sir, even if they consent to a love marriage the parents like to do a background check!

I don’t even want to mention all the other potholes in your movie Sir.  Like how after they realize their daughter was having an affair, Zoya’s parents send her away somewhere all by herself! Another fantastic thing is in the entire 8 years they never knew who the boy was? You just loved showing them as dumbos didn’t you?

Sir, you have a great medium ‘Cinema’ to educate our country against all these crimes like rape, forced marriages and street harassment.  I would have really appreciated if you would have used it in the benefit of eradicating these issues rather than promoting all these problems further.  There are a lot of people like myself who wish they could make a difference, but don’t find any medium other than the occasional outburst on the social media, but you have your chance Sir, you have access to the world with your camera and screen, why not use it to make a difference?

So it is a humble request Sir that you do not glorify such suicidal elements to a heroic level in the society. Because then this really further motivates the already aggravated society against the freedom of women. You will not understand the pain of feeling scared to go out just because some maniac is ready to attack you. So Sir I hope this letter of mine reaches you and you really read this with a open heart and hopefully some sense will prevail upon you.

Yours truly,

A woman who is constantly fighting for her right of freedom to choose.

Sunita Kurup Sapru a.k.a SuKu calls herself an ordinary person with an extraordinary life! A freelance writer, she says, “fun” is her middle name. You can find her blogging at Sukupedia

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  1. Awesome-exactly my thoughts but penned down in a far better fashion than i ever could have. Really hope the director reads this letter.

    • I am glad you liked it Sharmi 🙂 🙂 .. if it is any consolation the first draft of this letter looked like a threat to the director 😀 .. then calmed myself and re-worked the whole thing 🙂

  2. Yay yay Yay… Thank you for putting this together so well… This is a review of scores of such movies… And then we go after boyfriends when Jia Khans of the world commit suicide. Why do we have to be so negative in movies? What makes it right for people to say “Dont get married to a man because you love him. Get married to the man who loves you.” This was a staple mantra in a lot of Tamil movies… What crap! The man (or woman) who ‘loves’ you might be the obsessive psychopath and your life is forever in his control. But No! We have to be nice because he is nice to us, never mind his creepiness?

    Thank you for this review..

    • yes absolutely agree with that ‘marry the man who loves you’ comment of yours… I really don’t understand why they are hell bent on showing such creeps as heroes O_O … thank you for reading and commenting Uma 🙂

  3. SuKu, I appreciate you taking a stand to defend the women and the parents of the girls. That movie looks like it has some serious potholes. Sad that the Director thought his audience too would be as dumb as the characters in the movie and can be taken for a ride.

    • thank you Bhavya :)… these people forget that their movies impact a lot of people and there is a lot among the audience who get influenced and do the same thing…. you will be surprised to know how many people actually think that if they do what the hero does in the movie then their lives also will be similar… hopelessly not understanding that the movie is only for 3 hrs but their entire life and emotions is much more than that…

  4. A standing ovation for you….

  5. Suku, you have really muted down the anger that women would have felt at this movie – this was a decent way of telling the movie makers that they are feeding crap to the masses, and making them believe that women are just toys to be taken advantage of, by hook or crook.
    I think the censor board should take a social and moral responsibility for trashing such movies since the society is already intolerant towards women.

    • speaking of the censor board.. only if every institution took it’s responsibility seriously we would be seeing a much more better world for the female folks.. but sadly money triumphs … Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  6. Great post!!

    Haven’t seen the movie but read a lot of reviews…was surprised how this movie became such a big hit!

    Agree with you completely, when a woman says No, it means No…if only men understood this!

    • Thank you Sri 🙂 .. it was a mass appeal movie… must have made a lot of money… Dhanush’s popularity especially after the kolaveri song was encashed nicely in this movie…but only if the makers had taken it the other way and passed on a positive message.. imagine the impact it would have had…

  7. Very well said Suku, completely agree with you. Most of the movies released today are senseless, of late I have almost stopped watching latest movies, of course even many of the yesteryears movies are bad at logic! Directors! we need Really Good Movies..

    • Thank you Druga 🙂 .. yes i really hope the movie makers understand what a strong medium they have and how well they can use it …

  8. Very creative way to put it ! Though I haven’t seen the movie, I could certainly catch the drift 🙂

  9. Pingback: A letter to Aanand Rai, Director of Raanjhana – Women's Web | Raanjhanaa

  10. Very well said SuKu! I do hope this letter reaches him!!

  11. Arunima Shekhar -

    Awesome! Just my thoughts! Take the story out of the movie and Raanjhana was a great movie in all other respects.

  12. MOLEY SUKU! Proud of you.
    Uncle Chellappan (the brown fellow who is friends with the black fellow)

    • Uncle Chellappan ….now I can die in peace 😛 😛 … you commented on my article 😀 :D… thank you very much.. I am glad you liked it .. 🙂 🙂 …

  13. Stalking is a dangerous thing. You feel suffocated if someone continuously does this. I loved the movie but the point you have mentioned here is extremely true. It’s not only about girls, sometimes even boys are stalked. It’s a psychological issue and should be treated with medical help. The director here just sprayed some reality in the story. In small towns these things are very common and I seriously think, portraying such things in a movie will inspire wannabe stalkers to grow bigger and better. Great post!

    • Thank you Pallav… The director did mention in one of his articles that he made this movie for small town people.. but what he forgot is the kind of coverage these movies get is not only in small towns.. they are shown worldwide… and the impact it would have is absolutely negative in an already flaring world…

  14. Stupendiously fanastically awesomly clappingly appalaudsly expresssed dear Suku!!! Kindly ignore my self invented words…but am too happy to bother copying any words from any dictionary!! Thnx..rocking 🙂

  15. hi SUKU.. this is a great letter … I too feel like cinema is a highly permeable medium… and has great impact on people too… so it should be used wisely… i m not saying that we should only make serious or educating movies .. but at least the underlying sense on the story should be justifying and not made on any Dream that happened Mr script writer of the story .

    • Thank you for your comment Deepti… you are right.. cinema is such a strong medium in our society and it can used to educate people to live a better life than to be used to further instigate the already existent problems like harassment ….

    • Madam,

      What about your comments on other crap movies which show two men chase the same girl…

      Your comments on a man who after his wife’s death is convinced by his daughter to get married who his ex-girl friend…who had still had not forgotten him….

      what are your comments about the hero who quits his foster parents just for a few angry words by his father…

      What about the hero who chases each and every girl, but still is LOVE with the heroine of the movie….

      Please show your earlier reviews on those films…

      And a nice review this…

    • Thank you Sir as mentioned clearly in the article by the editor.. this is not a movie review…but if you are interested in knowing about my opinions on other movies then please feel free to follow me on twitter… I do post my opinions there…

  16. I think it is very offensive the way men are stereotyped in movies. And the amount of violence they undergo is sickening. Not to mention how they are shown to act like stupid donkeys in front of women. Please put a few lines about that too in your mail.

  17. Pingback: The Real Gandi Baat: Stalking in Indian cinema

  18. kya yaar.. I think you’re making til ka taad or raai ka pahaad (mountain out of a mole). You’ve got it all wrong! Bollywood, or any other film industry, is not created to educate the society. If it were so, you’d find movies listed under “Education” rather than “Entertainment”. (Of course there ar some movies like Taare Zameen Par and 3 idiots who teach us something, but then, every movie cannot do so.) Tell me, who goes to watch a movie to ‘learn something’? Cinema is for fun. And Raanjhanaa was a fun movie. So were the others. Yes, they are stereotyped, and if you look at them from this perspective (the one with which you saw), you will definitely find mistakes! Actually if you’re trying to find a mistake anywhere, you’ll be successful, coz nothing is perfect. Talking about Raanjhanaa, yes, Dhanush did cut his wrists twice, but what’s the big deal? Did you see his friend Murari or Abhay Deol do the same? It is just one person’s character! It was the story’s demand, so the director showed it that way. Now, I understand that there are certain issues in our society which infuriate you. And not only you, everyone. I am not a girl, I have never been molested or attacked, but I hate those bastards as much as you do. But the thing is, it is their mentality which make them so. Listening to speeches or getting beaten up by cops wont change it (I wish it did). But the ones who are clean, who respect women, I dont think they would become “bastard” by watching Raanjhanaa, or any movies for that matter. Why do you think that this movie or the ones like this will aggrevate the situation? People watch it for fun, not to learn. Sure, people do get ideas from movies, like robbing a bank or proposing a girl. How much percentage of the population you think really applies them? Negligible! But if you think that movies like this are deteriorating people’s mindsets and adding fuel to the fire, you are wrong.

    On a different note, I did like the way you wrote the letter, just like a casual conversation, to the point, from the heart. Loved how you used ‘Sir’ to express your disagreement in a polite manner, like a taunt. Anyways, if you wrote this letter just for fun, you know, to put up something related to recent events in your blog, then its okay. It was good. I liked it. But if you were really serious at that time, as in, this is what you felt after watching the movie, then I think you were just, angry about something, perhaps not necessarily related to the movie. But you did find out good points in the movie to label them as ‘wrong’, I’ll give you that. You used your right of freedom to express, I used mine, so did the director. None of us is wrong. But do me a favour, next time use your right of freedom to choose and choose NOT to see such movies which turn you Hulk-ish green. This being said, I hope you read this from an open mind and light heart. Cheers!

  19. my best friend’s life was also threatened similarly. He said that he will cut his wrist if she won’t marry him, (she didn’t however)

  20. Pingback: Learning from the American fight against racism

  21. Dear Suku, Everything you’ve highlighted is very very important!! For all the creativity that directors and story writers are famed to have, why in all these years is there hardly any break in stereotypes in Indian cinema. And as you’ve rightly said film makers entirely seem to miss that these methods to woo women are not only offensive and possibly deviant but even illegal too!!!! Yet they are so grandly and openly glorified. It defies common sense that the majority of the “aam-aadmi and aurat log” have become so de-sensitised that it no longer offends anyone, to view Indian courting or wooing practices to be this ridiculous, twisted and very perverse portrayal in Bollywood films, as perhaps normal or permissible. Even more saddening, is the sensor board’s complacence in not seeing this as a horrifyingly glorified portrayal of violation of human rights and women’s rights, worthy of censorship or banning. If you ask me, we need statutory warnings flashing on our screens for many more dangers including all types of commodification and sexual perversity that denigrate women and their bodies, in any form or guise and presume our preferences or consent regarding such matters. Women need to be more vocal in denouncing such nonsense as rubbish and we need to advice young men that these practices far from being permissible are deviant and dangerous.

    As for those who view this as the fun angle of a movie that director’s or public may view it from. It may be so until the day a loved one is pursued and harassed and then you watch a film like this, you may not see this in the same light. I wonder if you could see a film with a ragging in a Boys’ colleges scene perhaps with a suitable peppy song in the background as fun? Would you condemn that as inappropriate and avoidable? Sometimes we get so de-sensitised by constant bombardment of the senses, that we cannot see right from wrong. They seem fine and the same -until it happens to you or a loved one, then only perhaps you may view things differently.

    I distinctly remember this interviewer on TV, stationed outside a theatre years ago, asking random people who had just watched a “super hit” masala action movie in a regional language, about their opinions on the reasons for the success of the movie. A big gang of young boys so happy to be on TV and clearly thrilled with the movie they had just watched all with smiling faces, listed the pre-requisites that made this movie a winner- good fight scenes, good songs, a handsome hero and beautiful heroine and
    a GOOD RAPE SCENE(!!!!!!!!)
    Are directors moulding the minds of the young boys or are the young boys determining the mind of the director when he makes the movie? Am I going to just stand by and watch while everyone who is lost, gets progressively more lost or perhaps will I just join them too or perhaps…will I stop and question what is the right way and change my track instead?

  22. I know I am years too late in reading this. but better late than never. I can not begin praising the letter you wrote and I so hope that it made a difference. my best wishes to your initiative.
    please do email me if there is anything that I could do to help in any way.

  23. Its a pity that I read this so late. Exactly my thoughts when I watched the movie. Surprisingly, very educated men also believe that a girls NO actually means a YES… the effect of stupid cinema I guess.

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