Angry Indian Goddesses

Director: Pan Nalin | Year: 2015

Frieda Da Silva ( Sarah-Jane Dias) invites her six of her close college friends to her sprawling old bungalow in Goa. Only on reaching  her place do they realize that they have been invited to her wedding. They are  Suranjana (Sandhya Mridul), a corporate boss who kicks some serous ass in her dealings with people and she comes with her six year old daughter, Pammi (Pavleen Gujral), a Delhi housewife who is treated like a commodity by her husband and his family; Mad (Anushka Manchanda), a pop singer who has sung a few Bollywood numbers but her original creations have no takers among recording companies, she has tried to cut her wrist twice and has a caring boyfriend who lands up in Goa when he doesn’t hear from her for two days and ‘jo bahut achchha bajata hai ..guitar bhi aur mujhe bhi’ as per Mad ; and half-Brit-half Indian wannabe actress Joanna (Amrit Maghera), who is trying to make it in Bollywood starting out with seedy B-movies; and there is Nargis Nasreen ( Tannishtha Chatterjee) who has led an agitation against one of Suranjana’s pet manufacturing projects. There is also Laxmi the amid who has been fighting her demos, which is actually a protracted court case involving her brothers murder.

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We learn the snatches of all these details in the course of a truly wild and uninhibited ride these ladies give us as they go about painting the town red. The gags are truly hilarious and it’s refreshing to see the girls let themselves go in spite of the censors blipping out all the dirty words. There is a scene where we see Suranjana atop a tree talking on the phone because the connectivity is bad everywhere else. There is another, where the ladies enter a gents toilet on the beach after swim and get their legs all wet trying to use the urinals.

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I am not entirely happy with the violent turn the film takes and the vigilante-justice end, even though it bats fir women’s empowerment. But I like the other twist that comes a little after the interval. (It’s a SPOILER, but I am giving it away anyway. Please don’t read any further if you do not like crucial plot points revealed before seeing a film.) Well, the surprise groom that Frieda is going to marry turns out to be a woman, none other than Nargis. This really perks up the proceedings and the way the friends react to this leads to some outrageous gags as well as touching moments of camaraderie. Pammy talks of Article 370. One of the friends corrects her…that is about Kashmir, you probably mean Article 377. Yes, yes. So I hope you won’t end up in jail or something. Oh, we will make love in jail. Someone else adds, Artcle 377..it’s about unnatural sex. You know even between men and women. You know like oral sex. So we may all end up in jail. Pammy: Not me. I don’t allow all that . All: Don’t tell lies.  Soon  they are all understanding and tender towards the couple. Then Pammy stats again, “But tum log karte kaise ho?” Frieda ( in mock anger): Okay. Let me show you.

It might sound like mildly titillating. But it is  not. It is more about letting us into these women’s world and empathizing with them.

It’s that kind of a film. And an interesting departure for Pan Nalin after ‘ Samsara”

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