Changes between Version 5 and Version 6 of Rebellious Tapori by Ranjani Mazumdar

Jan 7, 2013, 5:19:32 AM (12 years ago)
Lawrence Liang



  • Rebellious Tapori by Ranjani Mazumdar

    v5 v6  
    185185everyday conflict and tension among the three characters, linked pri- marily to the differences in social class and aspirations for a changed life. Munna sees himself becoming increasingly distant from Milli’s world. After a series of twists and turns, Rangeela ends with Milli finally getting together with Munna. This simple story is energized through Munna’s role, performance, and playful resistance to the seductive world of the commodity. By weaving in interesting plot situations, Rangeela seeks to create a series of seemingly superficial conflicts that speak to a larger experience of the city. 
    186186For Munna, the street serves as his home, his life, and his place of entertainment and is the place where he encounters both the everyday and the spectacular. The street is the stage where a certain freedom enables Munna the chance to perform for his public. Munna’s supposed confidence in the street rests on an absence of inner conflict.12 His per- sonality combines cynicism with audacity, and he retains a sense of humor in his performance. In Rangeela, certain encounters are planned within the narrative that will enable such a performance. These encoun- ters serve to create a conflictual space where the most ordinary and rou- tine aspects of life turn into political performances, like street theater where the actors dialogue with the audience. These encounters produce bitingly sharp, sarcastic dialogues that are meant to convey both the 
    187190Urmila Matondkar and Aamir Khan in Rangeela (1995). Courtesy Ram Gopal Varma’s Factory. 
    200206Aamir Khan selling tickets in Rangeela. Courtesy Ram Gopal Varma’s Factory. Amir’s public outburst 
    201209Hey brothers, look! The perpetrators of the Bombay riots were never convicted. Millions were embezzled in the stock market. But did they arrest anybody? And me, a simple man who comes to see a film, is harassed! It’s your rule anyway. . . . What will happen to this country yaar [buddy]! (Laughs) 
    202210This encounter reveals the centrality of performance in the sequence. Munna’s loaferlike clothes are contrasted with the police constable’s uniform. The appeal to the public is made through references to well- known incidents like the Bombay riots of 1992–93 and the share market conspiracy of the early 1990s.13 By contrasting Munna’s petty crime with the larger world of intrigue, violence, and corruption invoked in the dialogue with the public, a certain character development is made. Munna’s style, performance, and posture are presented as a critical strat- egy, while at the same time his charm is introduced to the audience. Actor Aamir Khan says about the tapori: 
    207215The Rebellious Tapori 57 
    209220Aamir Khan facing the policeman in Rangeela. Courtesy Ram Gopal Varma’s Factory. 
    210223all around the performance space. The use of stereotypes and direct vi- sual contrasts also closely resemble the traditions of street theater. The encounter in front of a movie-theater crowd becomes the space for the policeman and Munna to act out a larger world of conflict through an everyday encounter or incident. The tapori’s street encounter, while intro- ducing the character, also establishes his particular appeal to the public, similar to what happens in agit-prop theater. One is reminded here of Brecht’s concept of the social gest. Gest constitutes an ensemble of ges- tures that can evoke the conflicts and contradictions of society (Brecht, 283–84; Barthes 1977, 73–74). Gest becomes social when the interaction or performance is implicated in a larger space of hierarchical conflict, either in the form of a physical gesture or in the twists and turns of lan- guage. By invoking the public during Munna’s humorous encounter against a policeman, the movie-theater sequence appears like a “Brecht- ian tableau,” in which Munna’s playful one-liners are directed both at the people outside the movie theater, in the frame, and at the spectators watching the film, outside the frame. Munna depends on the crowd in the street for his identity. The crowd heightens Munna’s performance and establishes him as different and uncaring of power. 
    211224Located at the intersection of a range of forces, the human body either submits to the pressures of authority, coercion, and surveillance or cre- ates “spaces of resistance and freedom” (Foucault). This assumption is based on the ways in which power is exercised within organized spaces 
    230243Munna walks into a tea stall with his friend Pakhiya. The two friends are established as drifting personalities in the city, with no real commitments or responsibilities. Suddenly Milli walks in. She talks to them about her frustrations at the film set where she works as a dancer. During the con- versation, Munna tells her that his own experience is that of the street, which Milli cannot understand. Milli responds to this in irritation: “The problem with you is that you can’t think beyond the footpath! You should try and get a job somewhere.” Munna replies emphatically in the negative: “Rather than be a dog living on the crumbs of some rich man, I prefer to be on the street, in control of my life.” This exchange is significant and leads up to one of the most important songs of the film (“Yaron Sun Lo Zara”), in which Munna’s “footpath” worldview is pitted against Milli’s desires and aspirations. Munna gathers with his friends as the song becomes the conflictual space where the world of the commodity con- fronts both desire and playful rejection. The song, which becomes a dia- logue between Milli and Munna, is: 
    23324760 The Rebellious Tapori 
    236253Munna: Friends! Just listen a while 
    262279Munna’s performance in Rangeela is charming, but a deep sense of despair informs the narrative. Munna is not an idealistic figure but someone who would like to make his adjustments with the city without losing his sense of pride and dignity. His desire to settle down with Milli 
    265284Aamir Khan with his friends in Rangeela. Courtesy Ram Gopal Varma’s Factory. 
    284303Munna is willing to make fun of his physical strength and masculinity in Rangeela. This is highlighted through a drunken conversation between Pakhiya and Munna, which starts with Munna confessing his love for Milli to Pakhiya. Pakhiya does not believe Munna has the guts to tell Milli (tere me daring nahin hai). Pakhiya says he himself had proposed to a woman a while ago and told her he would buy a house and have their children study at a school where the medium of instruction is English. Munna looks at Pakhiya in wonder and asks what happened next. Pakhiya says the woman took off her sandals and hit him! The entire conversa- tion is laced with humorous one-liners in the best tradition of the Bam- bayya language. The conversation is as follows: 
    285308Munna: I must say this to Milli. 
    286309Pakhiya: You will say it? What will you say? You don’t have the guts [the 
    361384Sidhu’s encounter in Alisha’s apartment is reminiscent of the five-star- hotel lobby sequence in Rangeela. Alisha’s penthouse symbolizes the lifestyle myth of Bombay. Sidhu’s entry using the water pipe shows both the inaccessibility of the place and its distance from the street. Like Munna in Rangeela, Sidhu displays a fascination for elite spaces, but does not lose his street arrogance or performativity. 
    362385Immediately following Sidhu’s encounters in Alisha’s apartment, the persistence of performance is highlighted through the film’s most popu- lar song, “Ati Kya Khandala”(Will you come to Khandala). By showcasing the tapori’s body gestures during the song, Ghulam attempts to create an alternative spatial landscape of gestures. Despite Alisha’s father’s rude comments about Sidhu’s loaferlike appearance, Sidhu retains his dignity through his subsequent performance. The song is staged at an empty stadium. Sidhu’s solo performance, with Alisha as his spectator, is laced with sharp, cutting lines. Sidhu’s body discourse and performance reject conventional forms of propriety, to foreground a unique language of 
    364391Rani Mukherjee and Aamir Khan in Ghulam. Courtesy Studio Links. 
    367394The Rebellious Tapori 71 
    369399Publicity still for Ghulam. Courtesy Studio Links.