POWER OFTHE AAM AURAT
Has anyone noticed how male dominated our political debate has become? Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal are involved in a battle unto death, all in the name of the aam aadmi. Which is why it’s time they watched the new film, Queen, for some good old-fashioned aam aurat political sense to be drummed into them. Two hours of Queen’s refreshing flight from jilted singledom in Rajouri Garden, Delhi, to freedom in Paris and Amsterdam will arm them with enough lessons for the tough contest ahead. Lesson #1. Never underestimate the power of the aam aurat. Just when her fiancé dumps her at the altar, Rani, the lead character of Queen, decides to take off on her honeymoon alone. So Modi and Rahul be warned. Don’t think Amma Jayalalithaa, Behenji Mayawati and Didi Mamata need you to form a government. They could discover in each other their own best friend. In Modi’s case, he better be warned of Sushma Behen too. To us, she seems pretty miffed. Lesson #2. Make peace, not animosity. As Modi, Rahul and Kejriwal head into a messy war of attention, learn from Queen. Make the world your friend, not enemy. Mr Kejriwal, the media is not against you if it writes stories that don’t suit you. Rahul, interviews are not your undoing, lack of preparation is. And Mr Modi, a rainbow coalition like Rani’s is the answer, not polarisation. How does the sheltered Rani survive the strange experiences thrown at her by travel? She makes an ally of whoever she meets: From the half-Indian, halfFrench hotel maid Vijayalakshmi, to the angry Russian Oleksander, the black Frenchman Tim and the little Japanese who lost his parents in the tsunami, Taka. Lesson #3. Keep your ideas simple. If you want to win India, all you need is the will. In Queen, Rani wins a cooking competition organised by an Italian chef she has a crush on, by making gol gappas. As an idea, it beats even the laddoos of English Vinglish, which allowed Sridevi’s emancipation. Lesson #4. Use technology to unite, not divide. So please order all your trolls and tards off every critic’s timeline. Rani keeps her family and friends informed of her adventures by skyping them throughout the day. When she doesn’t know the answer to something, she crowdsources it. What is hing called in English? Should she meet her dog-like fiancé or not? Confused? Don’t be. Just take a vote. Lesson #5. Be yourself. Don’t try to be something you’re not, the world will eventually find out the truth. Look at Rani. She learnt to be as at ease in the church as she did in a seedy bar in Amsterdam, watching Rukhsar/Roxette from India do the pole dance. She didn’t scoff at her friend Vijayalakshmi for her sex life, she merely advised her to be a little choosy. Lesson #6. Don’t worry about where you’ve come from. Think about where you’re going. Rani begins from a mithai shop in Rajouri Garden and ends up in a youth hostel in Amsterdam, sharing a room with three boys who become her best friends. Anything is possible.
We could ask our chief candidates to learn a lot more from Rani. Her dance moves for one. Her dress sense for another. Her ability to laugh at herself, even when mistaking a dildo for a massager. And her courage, whether it is in fighting a mugger in a Parisian metro station or driving her drunken friends home in Amsterdam. But perhaps it’s expecting too much. Mostly, what Rani has is what she has imbibed from the aam aurats in her very ordinary family: A cool grandmother who tells her of the Muslim boyfriend she left behind in Pakistan during Partition and the husband she met in a refugee camp in independent India; and a loving mother who doesn’t coerce her to seek her fiancé’s forgiveness but allows her to mourn her lost love on a foreign vacation. Bollywood movies have finally learnt to love behenjis. It’s time India’s politicians did too.
SO NARENDRA MODI AND RAHUL GANDHI BE WARNED. DON’T THINK JAYALALITHAA, MAYAWATI AND MAMATA NEED YOU TO FORM A GOVERNMENT. THEY COULD DISCOVER IN EACH OTHER THEIR OWN BEST FRIEND.