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Is Haryana the new Switzerland for Bollywood?- Filmmakers romanticise Jat land like never before

Anand L Rai was spot on to capture the fierceness of Haryana through the protagonist Kusum Sangwan.

Priyanka Srivastava |

Updated:May 25, 2015, 3:50 PM IST
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Is Haryana the new Switzerland for Bollywood?- Filmmakers romanticise Jat land like never before
Anand L Rai was spot on to capture the fierceness of Haryana through the protagonist Kusum Sangwan.
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London: Bollywood’s fixation for regional stereotypes is well known. Peculiarity and beauty of any state, religion, region and language can become a trend in Bollywood in no time. Let’s admit it, from having the leading ladies sensuously flowing chiffons in Switzerland or Aamir Khan’s Bhojpuri lingo in PK, Bollywood has gloriously relied on clichés. Hackneyed plots revolving around a region or a particular state goes back to the time of Padosan (1968) when Mahmood played a loud south-indian musician.

Narrative highlighting the regional peculiarity and idiosyncrasies adds to the plot and get the audience instantly connect with the film provided filmmakers think beyond the obvious.

Anand L Rai was spot on to capture the fierceness of Haryana through the protagonist Kusum Sangwan. The pixie cut, no nonsense lass mouthing matter-of fact dialogues with heavy Haryanvi diction –“phone number main kaun ko doun na” lit up the screen and brought alive a quintessential tomboyish girl from Bhiwani or Bulandshahar. Her accent coach needs to be given due credit for helping Kangana to make raw Haryanvi lingo sound uber cool. Kusum, a state level athletics champion represented the typical Haryanvi lass fighting the shackles and yet, dreaming to make it big.

After Kangana Ranaut’s portrayal of Haryanvi femme fatale in Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Aamir Khan will soon be unleashing the Jatland flavour. In his upcoming biopic Dangal, Aamir reprises the rustic Haryanvi wrestler Mahavir Phogat. Known for his fetish to keep it real, Aamir’s portrayal of Phogat will be the real test. Directed by Nitesh Tiwari, Dangal will capture the inherent Haryanvi fieriness and the eventful life of Phogat who trains his daughters Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari to become champion wrestlers --- a sport, traditionally not meant for women.

Filmmakers’ sudden attraction towards Haryana has a lot to do with the state being in news for all the wrong reasons. Depleting male-female ratio, khap panchayat, honour killing, increase in crime against woman have given interesting ideas for perfect filmi-plot. Strong social subtext offers a suitable content driven drama ideal for the fast-emerging multiplex audience.

Navdeep Singh took the burning issue of honour killing and presented it in a compelling manner in Anushka Sharma starrer NH-10. He picked a few finer details of the patriarchal society such as Deepti Naval as village pradhan upholding the rigid laws and supporting the waywardness among men in the family. The film confirmed the existence of a world which had its own set of rules and lawlessness.

Vishal Bharadwaj in Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola, explained in its subtext the capitalists and greedy politicians eating into the rural expanse. Pankaj Kapoor as the rich hallucinating, drunkard industrial grabbing poor farmers’ land by the day and showing his Marxists’ ideologies by the dusk, once he gets drunk was an apt and unique. Shabana Azmi as a ravenous politician forcibly marrying his son to Anushka Sharma, as foreign educated Haryanvi lass, spoke about the depleting villages and mindless industrialisation in the rural belt of Haryana.

Bollywood stereotype and cosmetic makeover has its own flip side. In their enthusiasm to exploit a trend, filmmakers often forget to keep an eye detailing or something as simple as right casting. Seasoned southern star Prakash Raj, for instance, was a disaster as a stern Haryanvi village head following the Khap rules and gunning for her daughter, eloping with a boy from different caste, in Sabbir Khan’s Heropanti. Prakash’s Haryanvi dialogues heavily laced with a southern twang made him unacceptable as a dau.

Plots revolving around Haryanvi heartland cannot be complete without the mention of blatant love for buffalo. Soon to release satire Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho, directed by Vinod Kapri, captures the bizarre reaction of people in fictitious Tanakpur village who value a buffalo more than human beings and lovers are seen as biggest criminals. Om Puri, Annu Kapoor and Ravi Kissen are ready to unleash the raw Haryanvi humour, which is desperately needed to give a spin to the popular trend.

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