If 2018 has done something good for Bollywood, it is to bring out the deep contempt that some of the ‘progressive’ filmmakers have for our Sanatan Dharma, and above all the Brahmin community. While Anurag Kashyap went out bashing the Brahmins and their fight against cow slaughter through his botched ‘sports drama’ Mukkabaaz, Anubhav Sinha lowered the bar with his extremely pathetic propaganda movie ‘Mulk’. It is another matter that despite the best of their efforts, both films barely manage to recover their costs.
Now, in his latest flick ‘Milan Talkies’, filmmaker and actor Tigmanshu Dhulia has lowered the bar further. In the name of showing the tale of two star crossed lovers, who have to overcome the hostility of her parents to their relationship, the filmmaker has insulted the Brahmins and Sanatan Dharma in the most derogatory way possible. So much that even films like ‘Mukkaabaaz’ would look benign in front of the same.
To be honest, the story is hardly fresh at all. A Bollywood fan Annu Kumar, who aspires to be a legendary filmmaker like Raj Kapoor, falls in love with a local girl Maithili, who deliberately flunks her exams in order to avoid marriage. How the two achieve their respective dreams while facing the wrath of Maithili’s ultra-conservative relatives forms the crux of the story.
If you thought that movies like ‘Mukkabaaz’, ‘Mulk’ etc. are the epitome of Hinduphobia, you’ve got it really wrong. Enter Tigmanshu Dhulia, who has shocked us all with his absolutely contemptuous portrayal of the Sanatan community. The antagonists of this movie are Janardhan Panda and Guru Panda, who not only sport the ‘Tripund Tilak’ on their foreheads but also abhor any kind of inter-caste relationships. As shown in the trailer of Milan Talkies, Janardhan Panda is rather proud of his actions, and wouldn’t hesitate to slaughter anyone who raises a question against the same.
In Milan Talkies, Guru is the living embodiment of a tyrant, who in the name of anti molestation campaigns, doesn’t even hesitate to castrate young men, as he does in a few instances in the movie. Throughout the movie, the director has deliberately portrayed Brahmin priests in the most derogatory ways imaginable, and we are made to feel as if protesting against molestation is a crime, and the makers did not leave any stone unturned into taking clear potshots at the anti-Romeo squad. This was certainly not expected from a director like Tigmanshu Dhulia, who himself is a resident of Prayagraj, where this story is set.
It is one thing to show the malpractices in a certain region, it is another thing to demonize the entire community for it. Is it necessary to insult Brahmins and portray Sanatan Dharma to show your modern approach to life? Is displaying gross Hinduphobia a green card for being labeled as progressive? Also, in one scene, the heroine comes to meet the hero in a niqab, which is shown as a symbol of liberty, since she ran from her conservative relatives to meet him. Isn’t the same hypocrisy for which the left liberals are well notorious for?
For a director, who has made memorable films like ‘Haasil’,’Paan Singh Tomar’ etc., this is clearly a huge downfall. Even his last film, ‘Raag Desh’, though having sported controversy for its shady producers, was still a refreshing change from the overrated propaganda that glorified the role of Mohandas K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru in India’s independence. Was it that tough to bring out an unadulterated script, Mr.Dhulia? If not, why did you have to demonize an entire community for absurd allegations? Like Mukkabaaz and Mulk, Milan Talkies shall go down as a movie, which had potential, but was ruined by the ideology of the director, who allowed his own prejudices to get the better of his skills.