Two friends walk inside a multiplex showing two versions of Gulabi Gang. One chooses to watch the documentary directed by Nishta Jain, while the other catches up with the ‘Bollywood’ version directed by Soumik Sen. They both walk out with a wearied expression and catch up over a cup of coffee and have an interesting popcornversation:
Mr. Documentary: I feel like I just walked out of a village in Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh!
Mr. Bollywood: I feel like I just walked out of a 90s film with Juhi Chawla playing Amrish Puri.
Mr. Documentary: Hehe I told you to accompany me! There’s no hope for these Bollywood potboilers who make a film out of nothing. You should have seen how Sampat Pal braves through her way to get justice for others.
Mr. Bollywood: Hey even Madhuri Dixit did that in this film…the only glitch is she broke into a song every time her gang emerge triumphant after beating the pulp out of the ‘evil’, ‘Singham ishtyle’. We also get to see a corrupt cop being forced to crawl between a woman’s legs at the behest of the ‘villian’ Juhi Chawla!
Mr. Documentary: Disgusting! See, there’s where the difference lies…Sampat Pal does that without those Singhamgiri or playing to the gallery. (Smiling proudly). Such films are for the intellectuals.
Mr. Bollywood: So what does she do?
Mr. Documentary: She investigates two cases. One is about a bride being burned for dowry and other is about activists being killed.
Mr. Bollywood: So does she grab the culprits?
Mr. Documentary: Nope. She convinces the parents to get the case investigated by cops.
Mr. Bollywood: Bas? No rivalry and dialogue-baazi with the neta?
Mr. Documentary: There’s no neta here…(Smiling proudly). Such films are for the intellectuals.
Mr. Bollywood: No backstory of Sampat Pal?
Mr. Documentary: Yaar it wasn’t a Bandit Queen, for god’s sake! (Smiling proudly). Such films are for the intellectuals.
Mr. Bollywood: Then how on earth were you able to watch such film? A film where nothing happens except investigations? You could have watched an episode of Savdhaan India or Satyamev Jayate …maybe a YouTube search on Indian documentary films would have been enough…
Mr. Documentary: (Smiling proudly). Such films are for the intellectuals.
Mr. Bollywood: Now if you say that line again, I’m going to kill you! What intellectual intellectual you’re talking about? You spend 200 bucks to watch camera following a woman investigating two cases with no apparent conclusions and not even a befitting backstory? Did it make you laugh?
Mr. Documentary: Not really…a few smiles here and there maybe…
Mr. Bollywood: Did it make you cry?
Mr. Documentary: Nope…It didn’t have any lump-in-the-throat moment.
Mr. Bollywood: Did it inspire you?
Mr. Documentary: Not really…I mean I found that there wasn’t anything to say…I mean Gulaabi Gang had no story to tell and didn’t touch me… unlike many other documentary films that I’ve seen before…
Mr. Bollywood: Same here. Gulaab Gang, too, had no story to tell and the only saving grace was Juhi Chawla’s performance…but again, that didn’t entertain me…unlike other Bollywood films that I’ve seen before…
Both: (Laughing aloud). Maybe such films are for the intellectuals.