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Weekend Binge: If they’re angry at Padmavati, they’ll flip out at these 5 movies about forbidden romance

It’s scary how we’ve become so accustomed to fringe groups protesting against films, and threatening violence. But if these trolls though Padmavati was controversial, wait till they watch (or not) these 5 films.

weekend binge Updated: Nov 18, 2017 11:00 IST
Rohan Naahar
Rohan Naahar
Hindustan Times
Weekend Binge,Padmavati,Deepika Padukone
At least Deepika Padukone plays a human being in Padmavati.

Every week, we will curate a collection of titles - movies, TV, general miscellanea - for you to watch (and in some cases, read, or listen to), in a series we call Weekend Binge. The selection will be based on a theme which binds the picks - which could be extremely blunt in certain instances, or confusingly abstract in some. No rules apply, other than the end goal being getting some great entertainment to watch.

While the idea is to base the theme on the week’s major events - it could be the release of a new movie, or show - we could also use this opportunity to comment on our world in general, and turn to art to wrap our heads around some of the more difficult stories of the past seven days.

It’s staggering how we’ve normalised fringe group protests. Over the last week, as Padmavati’s release date inches closer, members of far-right ‘organisations’ have emerged from their dank holes to claim their 15 minutes of fame. And to pretend like they have beliefs worth fighting for is stupid - it’s a shakedown, plain and simple. Factions like the Karni Sena and the Kshatriya Mahasabha aren’t bound by ideology - even if they do have the support of certain politicians. They’re fuelled by chaos, and greed.

But if these hooligans can threaten (and carry out) violence against a film they haven’t seen, based on a fictional person, and whose filmmaker has officially stated contains nothing that could prove to be objectionable, then they’ll have a conniption after (not) watching these 5 movies.

Her

At least everyone involved in Padmavati is a human (even if not all of them are treated as such), but in Spike Jonze’s trippy science-fiction classic Her, the mild-mannered Theodore Twombly falls in love with an operating system. It’s the cinematic equivalent of that ‘future liberals dream of’ meme.

Baran

In Majid Majidi’s near-silent 2001 film, a teenage Iranian labourer finds himself falling for an Afghan refugee girl who disguises herself as a boy to evade capture. Theirs is a romance that is as forbidden as they come, but Majidi’s stark style softens the blow - which would otherwise have been too tough to digest.

In the Land of Blood and Honey

Angelina Jolie’s first feature as director, however, doesn’t hold back. Jolie’s career as director is deceptively diverse - she has made a ‘60s style psychosexual thriller, an epic World War II movie, and an intimate drama set against the backdrop of a revolution. In the Land of Blood and Honey is set during the Bosnian War, and tells the love story of a soldier fighting for the Bosnian Serbs and a Muslim woman, the sort his people have sworn to eliminate.

Lars and the Real Girl

This strange movie was, along with Half Nelson, the one that announced Ryan Gosling to the world - it’s perfectly in line with his off-kilter sensibilities, and could even be called a sort of precursor to Her. In it, Gosling plays a meek man named Lars, who develops a romantic relationship with a life-size doll. Any dolls’ rights groups out there in the mood for a good protest?

Lakeview Terrace

Tragically, the one thing this under-seen (and under-appreciated) pulp thriller does is that it reinforces the notion that prejudice exists all over the world, and not just in India. And like the hidden anger that bursts out of some of our compatriots against people who do not look like them, sound like them, or believe in the same Gods as they do - this prejudice erupts at odd, unexpected moments in Lakeview Terrace. Samuel L Jackson plays a bigoted neighbour, who decides that the young couple who’ve moved in next door must be harassed. Why? Because they’re interracial.

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The author tweets @RohanNaahar

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 10:58 IST