Super Nani review: Unpalatable, regressive film

Super Nani review: Unpalatable, regressive film

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Friday 31 October 2014

Movie Title

Super Nani review: Unpalatable, regressive film


Indra Kumar

Star Cast

Rekha, Sharman Joshi, Randhir Kapoor

For starters, the film wants you to put on a pedestal a repressed woman who lets her husband and son treat her like yesterday's garbage. Love is all very good, but what about basic respect for oneself? Why isn't that considered a virtue rather than finding some weird satisfaction in letting everyone walk all over you?

Little wonder then, that Bharti A.K.A Super Nani (Rekha) raises an obnoxious son, what we Indians commonly call the "spoilt kid". He screams at her, commanding she get him soup, when she lovingly wants to force another ghee-laden parantha on him. The daughter never smiles, let alone laugh, passing rude comments on her mother. Bharti doesn't object, of course.

The husband is another piece of work. He screams so loudly every morning for tea to be brought to him, you want to gag him with a piece of cloth. And it doesn't help that the role has been played with zero subtlety by Randhir Kapoor. Naturally, the men of the house don't even consider helping around the house, let alone make the tea. All they do is ask Bharti to retreat into the kitchen, when she has something to say.

She laughs off all these misdemeanors of course, even when her hubby thanks someone else (note, sleeveless blouse wearing lady) for his success. So having created these monsters at home by not standing up for herself, she now cries when they disrespect her. The classic trap that several Indian women find themselves in. Or did, at some point in the last decade. Things have changed now, and the film refuses to reflect it.

As per the film, divorced folks and those in live-in relationships are BAAAAD people who need to be shown the "right" path by Super Nani and her annoying minion (grandson played by Sharman Joshi). Naturally this US-based grandson calls the concept of 'living-in' an Amreeki beemaari (American disease). It's all so regressive, it's unintentionally comical. His NRI character is supposed to speak bad Hindi, which he does most times; it then miraculously turns into accented Hindi in the comical scenes, and flawless in the heavy-duty emotional ones.

Now for the Nani, Super Nani as the film refers to her. There's nothing super about this character, except for Rekha's luminous beauty and her powerhouse screen presence. She's sporting and earnest, and is especially fabulous in the song spoofing Bollywood classics. Truly, this fabulous actor deserves better!

As a character, it's as annoying as her family. She says things like "there's no short-cut to success" to her son, and tells her daughter to agree marrying one "ache parivaar ka padha-likha ladka" (educated boy from good family). And when her daughter announces she's going to live in with her boyfriend, Super Nani calls it "paap" and "galat raasta". "He's not the car's owner, only the driver," another character helpfully describes the live-in relationship to us. That statement is disturbing on multiple levels, as you can imagine.

So here's what they do to solve this issue - the morality brigade pretends her "wayward" daughter has a disease which will need a kidney transplant. They announce that the only match is that of the boyfriend. Then they secretly lie and scare the boyfriend that donating the kidney will severely affect his life and masculinity. When the boyfriend opts out of the deal, Super Nani and Minion tell the shell-shocked girl, 'we told you so'.

Meanwhile the grandson and their next-door neighbour (producer-director Indra Kumar's daughter Shweta) start a plasticky romance with songs thrown in. He also helps Super Nani undergo a smashing makeover (naturally, there has to be a goddess reference, in this case Ma Durga) and subsequently pursue a modeling career. The film has us believe that in a model's life a crore of rupees is loose change, she has the power to wield control over film productions, and has fans spread over the world.

Naturally, even after such success, she continues taking pleasure in being the family's common doormat. And even as the film just about begins redeeming herself with an inspiring speech by Rekha's character, it plunges to its lowest.

It has, read carefully, the oppressed wife touching the feet of her oppressing husband, on the stage of an award ceremony honouring her. The film then goes on to call her the inspiration of every Indian woman. It is such a huge cop-out, it's unforgivable.

The newly transformed husband then tells us about the wonderful things of an Indian woman. "However badly the husbands treat them, they still respect them," he says as if this were a virtue.

But how much to rant over a movie such as this? Producer-director Indra Kumar (Grand Masti, Dhamaal, Dil, Beta) gives us an unpalatable mash-up of Baghban, Khoon Bhari Maang (the makeover portion), and the regressive portions from English Vinglish. Yup, that's right. Run the other way.

Rating: 1 star

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