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Dirtscapes

Read. Suffer. Try to Enjoy.

Of Mind. Doesn't Really Matter.

Picture this:
A mental hospital. Slick on the outside, with American style drug-dispensing counters inside, where the patients walk up on hearing their names announced on a PA system for their meds. Plush wards, definitely air-conditioned. Fantastic bathrooms, would put many gymnasia to shame. Patients never had it so good in India. At least the Bollywood ones.

Till, one guy refuses to take his medicines. What next? A bunch of uniformed security guards walks in, American style ‘lathis’ in hand, joined by nurses and doctors, shouting out the following

“Abbe paagal”
“Abbe yede”
“Abbe bewakoof”
“Saala paagal”
“Maaro usko…maaro saale sarphire ko”

Then again in another scene, a patient spills ink on a doctor’s desk.
“You stupid idiot! Paagal! Dekho tumne kya kiya!!!!”
Slap.
Slap.
Slap.

A fraction of the above might be true in overstretched, overworked public hospitals. But evidently, worse can happen in such an opulent private hospital, even if your relatives have given the authorities a blank cheque for treatment expenses. Ah well, the vagaries of etc etc.

In what must rank as the most sensitive depiction of how mental patients must be treated, in recent times, “Kyon Ki” comes across as a stellar achievement.

After all, what are poor, mentally sick persons there for? To entertain the classy, educated, urban audiences here who will laugh intelligently at their antics (The rural audiences will laugh even if you show them misspelt credits. Even if they cannot read). Bombard them with half an hour’s worth of ‘comedy’ in the form of a bunch of supposedly unhinged people who go at their insanity with such gusto, that there must have been a regional surplus of pork and associated products for the whole month while those rip-roaring scenes must have been shot… people will lap it all up. It’s a new age, multiplex audience after all.

It’s harmless comedy right? Our movies don't exactly make fun of the diseased or the terminally ill do they? But then, maybe they do… just think of all those AIDS, TB, cancer related jokes you would have seen.

You don’t exactly see our movies make fun of the disabled do you? But then again, maybe they do… Just think of all those langda, kaanya, behra, andhaa characters you would have seen. Think of all those stammering and other speech disorder afflicted characters, those guys with facial muscle tics and spasms. I'm laughing so hard, I can hardly type.

So what’s the big deal about poking fun at mental illnesses then? It's just extending the concept isn't it? People want to unwind, have a good time after slogging their sedentary behinds off all week. Even if it means doubling up at ANY available apology of an opportunity. So what better ploy than to have a deranged guy who also has a weight problem, and call him “Abbe maide ki bori…uth! Saala bewakoof” every alternate line. Stereotypes? Who said anything about stereotypes? It’s new-age entertainment brother.

Bring on the yedas, paagals and sarphiras then. We can’t get enough of this!

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