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Ranjish Hi Sahi: Mahesh Bhatt’s Predictable Tale Of A Narcissistic, Deceitful, Not-So-Wronged Man!

Ranjish hi Sahi again draws from the pain of a woman who has been dead for over 15 years, and is relentlessly crucified in the guise of commemorating a love - a love that reeks of nothing but deceit.

Ranjish hi Sahi again draws from the pain of a woman who has been dead for over 15 years, and is relentlessly crucified in the guise of commemorating a love – a love that reeks of nothing but deceit.

I just finished watching the Voot Select web-series, ‘Ranjish Hi Sahi’, helmed by Pushdeep Baradwaj and created by Mahesh Bhatt. Interestingly, it is loosely based on the latter’s notorious affair with Parveen Babi.

As a person who has neither watched Arth (1982) nor Woh Lamhe (2006) – both works of Bhatt based on the same premise – I was curious to see his rendition of their affair and a woman he claimed to have loved earnestly.

Set against the backdrop of the golden 70s era, the series revolves around Shankar Vats (Tahir Raj Bhasin), a director trying to make a mark in the world of showbiz. With 3 consecutive flop movies in his kitty, Shankar is desperate for a script that will transform his life. His wife, Anju (Amrita Puri), is seen as his backbone, encouraging him to do his best and driving sense into him as the situation demands.

How this lowly director’s life gets intertwined with the successful actress, Amna Pervez (Amla Paul) is shown as a cruel twist of fate. But, as an objective viewer, I see it as a grown man’s repeated indiscretion and a complete and utter failure to respect his marital vows.

Shankar’s character is based on Mahesh Bhatt, Amna’s on Parveen Babi and Anju’s on Kiran Bhatt, his then wife.

A loser depicted as a ‘powerless’ man?

As I write this, I want to clarify that this isn’t so much a review as it is a vehement protest against a series that paints a deceitful, miserable excuse of a man as someone powerless, caught in the conundrum of his own life. Did Shankar go through hell? Possibly! But it was a hell of his own making, fabricated through his own lies.

Amna, on the other hand, is portrayed as the ‘deranged other woman’, someone so tragically lonely that she sets her sights on a blissfully married man and usurps his marital paradise.

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On multiple occasions, we witness the unfortunate unravelling of Amna, her emptiness permeating through her sad declarations of love to an emotionally absent man. Did this really happen? Maybe, maybe not! We’ll never know – Parveen Babi cannot rise from her grave to speak her truth. What we do know, however, is that Babi was indeed clinically schizophrenic, making it easier for us to understand her actions. But, what about the man who nearly 40 years after their affair, continues to cannibalize it to his benefit?

An attempt to whitewash his image

Mahesh Bhatt often attributes his relationship mishaps to his absentee father. Apparently, he was his parents’ love child, and his father did not live with them. Unbeknownst to him, despite his best attempts, he had become a reflection of his father. In ‘Ranjish Hi Sahi’, Bhatt attempted to capture the essence of this relationship and its subsequent impact on his romantic relationships.

In a candid conversation, Shankar’s mother (Zarina Wahab) diagnoses his inherent nature of running to the rescue of distraught women as something rooted in his childhood, frozen in time. She reveals how he sees his mother in every harried woman, birthing an unbridled desperation within him to help her. But in all honesty, this whole scene seemed like a ridiculous ploy to whitewash Bhatt’s Casanova image and bring about a semblance of dignity to his character.

Keeping aside my indignation, I must reluctantly admit that all the actors rendered compelling performances, especially Amala Paul as Amna Pervez.

By and large, Ranjish Hi Sahi is an unnecessary series. We have enough works of art romanticizing this torrid, yet morbidly toxic love affair and definitely did not need another one. A woman who has been dead for over 15 years is relentlessly crucified in the guise of commemorating a love – a love that reeks of nothing but deceit. ‘Ranjish Hi Sahi’ feels like a one-sided narrative that makes a hero out of a cheating husband and takes liberties with the silence of the dead ‘other woman’.

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About the Author

Trisha Goswami

HR by profession, but a writer by choice, I find creative respite through writing. read more...

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