There are stereotypes enough in 2 States to populate a new planet. And the film does nothing to deny that the country’s million IIT-IIM-minted men’s sex-appeal is a myth after all. Nevertheless, the three-hour-long guide to dealing with the angry Indian, and forever-suspicious mother, might still be a runaway hit.
In these magical times in Bollywood – when Akshay Kumar’s chest seemingly doesn’t grow hair anymore, when Honey Singh and Himesh Reshammiya together make a film and the world still doesn’t end and selfie connoisseur Sonam Kapoor is called an ‘actor’ – ‘2 States’ is not much of an atrocity. Ah yes, there are stereotypes enough to populate a new planet. And the film does nothing to deny that the country’s million IIT-IIM-minted men’s sex-appeal is a myth after all. Nevertheless, the three-hour-long guide to dealing with the angry Indian, and forever-suspicious mother, might still be a runaway hit. Here’s why: Arjun Kapoor’s Krish is the boyfriend you (Indian girls) will suffer. So your boyfriend (like Krish in the film) has hair that looks better on a shoe-brush than on a human head, you still don’t mind being seen with the same in public. You have legs worthy of a Vogue cover but he minds being seen with them, if they are mostly uncovered, in public. Or any place that has any ogling men, which is pretty much every place outside your father’s study.
Your boyfriend dreams of being a writer, works as a banker and is basically required to have coherent opinions to make a living. And then he meets the mother at the dinner table. Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor in this screenshot from film. The Indian mother, you know, who is also the protector of the realm of the vulnerable sons of India. Those young impressionable men prone to losing weight, money and virginity to wildlings aka women whom the mother has not chosen herself. And in a magical moment, the man you call your boyfriend turns from a steak hoarder to a palak connoisseur if the latter is what the mother approves of! Alia Bhatt’s Ananya is the girlfriend you (Indian men) always dreaded and always wanted. Unless women of the world have stopped being narcissistic (which would also mean Miley Cyrus now sells insurance and Ram Gopal Verma teaches power yoga) Alia Bhatt is the nightmare to male-conditioning in the garb of an exceptionally pretty, smart girl. You have known that girl. The one who knows she needs to just hint that she might want to smile in the next thirty seconds to turn men – those who haven’t had much time to look up from their textbooks in life – into mush.
She is also the one who completely disapproves of the way average male hormones work. And approves of men who vow to be ‘just friends’ (asexual chai companion and rant hearer for the uninitiated) unless she wants otherwise. And if you are a ‘good friend’, you are also her Facebook DP-taker, fellow beer drinker at cheapish pubs she can’t be seen alone at, tissue-holder when she cries watching a film, nacho-getter during the break and auto-finder after a friend’s birthday party. You, young man, have just been doomed to being the ‘good friend’. Till she realises later in life that you can also be the man who will leave mother, dog, house and logic for her after just one phone call. You call a sardar ‘Santa-Banta’. You think only one word exists in the Tamil dictionary and everything from a cat to your grandfather is, well, ‘ille’ Basically you are the reason why David Dhawan in the nineties and Rohit Shetty now can boast of a career.
You’re sitting on a pile of stereotypes and see no reason to question them. According to you ‘South Indians’ are flatulent, fermented-rice eaters who shower thrice if they crossed path with a chicken in the bazaar. Punjabis, on the other hand, have a plate of tandoori chicken on their centre table, taking the place of the fruit bowl in most other homes. Tamilians learn Carnatic music before they learn alphabets, and Punjabis learn nothing. A Punjabi boy is a natural dancer and a Tamil girl will thrust one Bharatnatyam mudra after another under your nose on any dance floor. Punjabi mothers are intolerable. Tamil mothers are intolerable too. The first is loud, carries a box of laddoos around with her like it’s her driving license and will disapprove of even a money plant, if she can’t establish it has some Punjabi connection. Tamil mothers never talk, only glare. And are reluctant to attribute humanity to anyone who cannot spell Bharatanatyam properly.The Punjabi mother brings up boys to be boors. The Tamil mothers bring up girls to be Bharatanatyam dancers. Amrita Singh playing the Punjabi mother and Revathi playing the Tamil mother at war, are products of compulsive stereotyping such as above. If all of the above don’t seem mildly disturbing, fictitious or a case of gross generalising to you, you’ll love ‘2 States’. And since you’re not one of your kind, and, in fact, have millions for company, ‘2 States’ will be a thumping hit.