“Ghazals over guns!”
By Priya Malik
When talking about two types of human attractions in A Suitable Boy, Lata the protagonist, quips “One that merely excites, unsettles and makes you uneasy, the other is a calmer, less frantic love” and when it comes to my viewing habits, I choose the latter!
With 2020 being a year that has unsettled even the most Zen of us, I am done with watching a world as dystopian as the one we live in. The ghazals of Saeeda Begum sound far more escapist than the guns and sons of Mirzapur.
Just like Lata’s choice in love, I choose the less frantic shows. I loved Schitt’s Creek, I hated Game of Thrones. I passed up on Money Heist but had a passionate love affair with Gervais’ After Life. Mirzapur must be great. In fact, some of my favourite actors are in it but I was more moved by the poetic gaze of Daagh Saheb as he brainkisses Saeeda Begum with his eyes. I was more shaken by the platonic queer love between Daagh and Firoz. I was more taken by the restraint of Haresh for Lata and how he waits for her to make the final decision on who she chooses to marry!
Each frame was a poetic metaphor based on Vikram Seth’s novel about a newly-partitioned India coming to terms with its socio-political climate and value system. So, if you’re a lover of history, a worshipper of poetry and a romantic by heart, I suggest you watch A Suitable Boy. And, when you hear them speak English and wonder ‘Who talks like that?’, you’re right. This was a colonially hungover India of the ’50s. Accept it and pay more attention to what is being said rather than how it is being said.
Priya Malik is a comedian and poet who is known to speak her mind
“The cliffhanger got me”
By Karishma Kuenzang
The last weekend of October was packed with gripping content – perhaps the best coping mechanism during the pandemic – that came in the form of Season 2 of Mirzapur and Mira Nair’s A Suitable Boy. Both released on the same day.
But, on D-Day, and I woke up wondering about the cliffhanger Season 1 of Mirzapur left us, and before I knew it, I was on episode two, watching a detailed ‘revenge’ plot unfold. But more than Kaleen bhaiya (Pankaj Tripathi) – who was stellar – I was keen to see the character arc of his son, Munna (Divyendu). It was in Mirzapur Season 1 that I fell in love with Rasika Duggal, though she’s also there in A Suitable Boy, but Beena Tripathi felt more empowering. And, of course, pandemic-appropriate and meme-able dialogue ‘yeh bhi theek hai’.
Also, I didn’t mind the swearing. It is, after all, a reflection of reality. Mirzapur worked as it brought together my scattered thoughts with its gripping, well-paced storyline – there was never an inconsequential moment.
Which brings me to A Suitable Boy, which I watched right after. The cast was exciting and the topic hit home. Unmarried women in India don’t need reminders about the question, which creeps into conversations with family and friends (who have just finished watching Indian Matchmaking), no? Especially those who are done with finding ‘a suitable boy’ of their own.
Karishma Kuenzang is a Senior Correspondent with HT Brunch