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Shalini Singh
Shalini Singh

Theatre experience

Why can't women have some 'Great Grand Masti'!

  • Bananas, strategically-placed cats, gravity-defying assets, gym-perfect bodies, dirty puns—all the formulaic elements have been well hacked in to the movie.

What do seven, rather elegant working women on a gloriously rainy Saturday decide to do? Having long giggled over the trailers and posters the day before, we book tickets to the latest release in town called Great Grand Masti—an Indian adult comedy film—in one of the oldest, now somewhat seedy, theatres in Delhi.

Arriving at the hall, we rehearse how to behave when going in for the show. “Pretend we are here for Sultan and gasp in horror: 'What? It's a different film?!'” says one. “Don't say a word and quietly take our seats. Hope we are placed far away from the crowd,” adds another.

At the entry the usher asks, “Which movie?” The quietest one in the group promptly offers him the ticket with the film title printed on it. “Yeh wali (this one),” she says, face red with embarrassment, and scuttles in as fast as she can.

We follow, like we are about to embark on a decadent adventure. Why can't women have fun, we vehemently wonder.

The seats are uh, bang in the middle of the theatre among the rest of the crowd. No fancy seats. Decades-old velvet ones placed rather closely to each other with a painted patterned ceiling above for alternative view. The leader of the group bravely sits next to two men, while the rest shoot stern looks at them.

The theatre goes dark and the customary hooting begins. We pull our stoles closer around us, shuddering at what's in store. Thoughts of having gone to an 'upmarket' theatre circulate telepathically.

The film, over two hours long, is replete with double entendres, sexual innuendos and symbolism. The most reluctant viewer from the group has put her feet up and is guffawing the loudest. Bananas, strategically-placed cats, gravity-defying assets, gym-perfect bodies, dirty puns like a cross between a cactus plant and a synonym for a rooster exaggerated expressions, shrill acting... all the formulaic elements have been well hacked in. Intermission brings extra salted popcorn and giant samosas (definitely no puns intended here) and the group is energised to watch the rest of the raucous film. The zippy first half—even the most serious and boring of the group has managed to chuckle, albeit quietly—gives way to a loose second half and an absurd er, climax.

Takeaways from an adult Indian comedy in 2016: wives will be covered up and stereotypically feminine. They will observe traditions like karva chauth that will protect their lusty husbands from all vile. The lusty and lust-worthy woman will be virginal and non-human (ghost in this case). Indian men's all-time fantasy to land up among a sea of oomph women will consist of semi-clothed foreign (white) women, all 'hot' women in the film will be fair, tall, skinny with long hair (blonde highlights preferable).

Everyone must have sex.

If they wait for too long—six months in the men's case then they are prone to cheating and 30 years in the woman's case—she will turn into an evil ghost who will attain nirvana only through coupling with a man.

The two so-called ways of being progressive is that even older, widows and younger unmarried members of the family can have sex.

Oh, and even ghosts can have sex.

An experience akin to a McDonald's 'feast' for the intellect at the very least livened up a dreary weekend afternoon.

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