Saturday, September 14, 2013


Release date:
September 13, 2013
Indra Kumar


Riteish Deshmukh, Vivek Oberoi, Aftab Shivdasani & 6 women whose names I’ve not bothered to find out



A for arses, B for boobs, C for chooths … That’s the English alphabet according to the three heroes of Grand Masti, except that they don’t even have the guts to say those three words, so “A for” uttered by one of them is followed by shots of an array of female bottoms, “B for” is followed by an array of female chests in skimpy clothing displaying lavish cleavage, and “C for” is followed, not by visuals, but by a hurried add-on comment: “guess you’ve already got the picture.” Okay, so they draw the line at vaginas?

Yeah yeah, I’m uttering the words. Improper, did you say? Then you’ve missed the point I’m trying to make. Here’s the thing: methinks there’s no better indication of our Great Indian Hypocrisy than that a film like Grand Masti, replete with the most unsubtle double entendre I’ve seen and heard in a recent mainstream Hindi film, doesn’t have the guts to actually spell things out in black and white; and though the constant allusion throughout is to the body parts and sexual frustrations of the heroes and heroines, not once is anyone shown actually having sex. Oh no no no, that would be so non-kosher, now wouldn’t it? So completely against Indian culture, no? In The Gospel According To Director Indra Kumar, calling a busty woman “sthan-ing”, not stunning, is okay (FYI non-Hindi-speaking readers, “sthan” is a Hindi word for breasts); constant discussions about milk in her presence are okay; but god forbid that we should be shown anything but bodies covered by bedsheets and quilts to indicate the act of human copulation. See, I said a bad word again! C-o-p-u-l-a-t-i-o-n! Hawww!

As we all know by now, male marital infidelity is a constant source of humour for Hindi films. If a heroine sleeps around, we get a gritty, ‘thinking’, socially conscious film like BA Pass, because of course female promiscuity is no laughing matter for the male-dominated audience. When men sleep around though, what we get are No Entry and Grand Masti. So this is a story of three husbands who decide to get some action when they go off to a college reunion without their wives. There they meet three horny, half-clad women called Rose, Mary and Marlo. Their efforts to get into bed with these three and later to escape the man in their lives in addition to the suspicion of their own wives is what the film is all about.

Subtlety is clearly not Grand Masti’s strength so if it arrives at a joke, then the point is repeated again and again and again and again and again and again until even the densest member of the audience gets it. For instance, it doesn’t take much to guess that the three ladies’ names will be said out loud in precisely that order without the use of “and”. Which Indian parent names their daughter Marlo? No one I’ve ever heard of, but what does it matter when Amar (Riteish Deshmukh), Meet (Viveik Oberoi) and Prem (Aftab Shivdasani) get to say Rose Mary Marlo, Rose Mary Marlo, Rose Mary Marlo ad nauseam through the film. Arrey stupid, you didn’t get it? They mean roz meri maar lo and if you don’t understand what that means then you have an even lower IQ than Indra Kumar expects his audience to have!

Let’s be clear here: I’m not against irreverence. I’m not against being offensive either. Point is, crudeness comes easy, offensiveness for the heck of it comes easy; irreverence, on the other hand, requires imagination and intelligence. One of my favourite American serials running on Indian television right now is Two Broke Girls which is offensive to men, offensive to women, offensive to blacks, whites and Asians, tall people and short people, gay and straight people, fat and thin people, and pretty much every majority or minority group I can think of. The show’s creators Michael Patrick King and Whitney Cummings are constantly pushing the envelope with their humour, but that humour never descends to kindergarten level. Grand Masti never rises above KG though.

And so, while there are a handful of scenes that did make me laugh in spite of myself (I counted five such in 135 minutes), for the most part what the film delivers is a complete lack of IQ: A college boy is castrated by his principal, but later surfaces with a massive bump in the crotch area that we soon discover is filled with air. That part is marked out by a big golden patch on his small, tight shorts. Why? Who knows? A statue gets erections when it sees hot women. Okay, funny. But then it happens a second time. And then one more time. And then another time. Oh, c’mon! Prem’s idea of kinky sex with his wife is to wear something that looks like a rat’s head appended to his penis area. Why? No idea. As it happens, right at that moment there’s a cat in the bedroom who sees red and attacks the rat. Now that cat belongs to Amar’s bhabhi and is called Pussy which – of course! – gives people an excuse to say “bhabhi ki Pussy” several times. In another extended scene involving shadow play, a woman reaching into a large bag and pulling out various things is positioned to look like she’s pulling out all those items from Amar’s “nether yeyya” (pardon the spelling), to borrow a term I picked up when Amy Farrah Fowler in The Big Bang Theory quoted Chaucer’s A Miller’s Tale.

Now let’s come to the film’s rape joke, for after all how can you have a Bollywood comedy without a rape joke? Rape is so funny, na? If the mighty 3 Idiots could have that lengthy balaatkaar speech, if Jab We Met could get Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor to chuckle about rape, how can we expect anything less of Grand Masti? At least these guys don’t stretch the joke beyond a sentence. At one point in this film, in the exact tone in which he has cracked all the stupid jokes until then, one of the men says: “Balaatkaar se yaad aaya, meri biwi kaha hai?” Why? Because it is okay to speak of rape in jest, I guess? Yes I heard you loud and clear, those of you who think I’m a humourless feminist. Here’s my answer: I love irreverence, I enjoy equitable sexism, I’m not one of the people demanding an end to item songs, all I ask is many more such numbers with shirtless and pantless John Abrahams, Hrithik Roshans and SRKs. Jokes about rape, however, I will never understand. What’s amusing about one of the vilest crimes a human being can commit? Those of you who condone rape jokes, would you also condone jokes about the Jews in Hitler’s concentration camps or the Hindus killed in the Godhra train burning or Sikhs burnt with tyres placed around their necks in the 1984 riots or Muslims hacked to death in Gujarat in 2002? If these acts of cruelty don’t amuse you, could you please explain what’s so amusing about a man forcing his penis into an unwilling woman’s vagina?

Gentlemen who think rape jokes are funny, I’d request you to read this article titled “The Rape Of Men” in the UK’s The Guardian newspaper and then tell me honestly if you will ever again make wisecracks about sexual assault. It’s not so amusing, is it, when it’s not happening to “the other”? As for ladies who are tickled by rape jokes: in the name of your absent self-respect, I’d urge you to find other ways of scoring brownie points with your gentlemen friends and being “one of the boys”. Yes, I’m being judgemental. No apologies.

The difference between Grand Masti and most other sleazy Hindi films of this genre is that this one dehumanises not just its heroines, but its heroes too. The women of GM are never more than a sum of their breasts and buttocks. The men here have their entire beings centred around their penises. Watching this film, I wanted to take a moment to mourn the loss of Indra Kumar, Vivek Oberoi, Riteish Deshmukh and Aftab Shivdasani. Indra Kumar is the man whose film Raja is eternal proof of what a live wire Madhuri Dixit can be in an over-the-top, out-and-out comedy. Given the right material, Riteish is capable of being inexorably funny. Remember Vivek from the pre-Salman-Khan-press-conference days? Remember the buzz around that young actor brimming with potential in Ram Gopal Varma’s Company? And Aftab… my god he was once a Farex baby! Look what life and Bollywood have reduced them to. Grand Masti is a Grand Embarrassment.

Rating (out of five): -10 stars 

CBFC Rating (India):
Running time:
2 hours 15 minutes


  1. Mam, You need to calm down.
    The movie delivered what it was expected to deliver, crass, under the belly, tasteless humor.( which majority audience laps up!) No wonder its now the 4th (YES FOURTH) highest opener this year.

  2. Wow Anna socha nahi tha itna Kuch kaha Dogi but ye sab sach hai aur ish mai Kuch galat nahi...ishi liye aaj rape ho rahe hai...!!!

  3. Great review as usual. This may work in favour for the makers as there is a hugh market for dirty humour hungry, sexually deprived men/women. Yeh toh "forbidden apple" wali baat ho gaye. Rape jokes on the other hand are neither funny nor tasteful ever. This has been the human psychology where someone falls down and gets hurt and people find it funny.

    1. Dear Anonymous,,

      Thank you so much for condemning rape jokes. Wish more people would speak up.



  4. Movie itni aachi nahi hai...mai 1&1/2 star dunga kyoki sceen hollywood se copy kiye hai aur baki joke nd dialogue sab purane hoo chuke hai

  5. Comeon Anna, Now you being moral police! (and not bajarangis or Ramsena guys)... y Diss, every movie!? this movie is clearly adults only and you pay and watch it... people have paid n watched, inspite of knowing what is waiting for them, via trailors! So, why blame them? Sex n SRK sell, is what Mahesh bhatt opined. n these days they r cashing in on them! whats wrong? Kya kool hai hum, Kya sooper cool hai hum... blah blah everywhere.... having said this, yes MaSTI was better, GrandMAsti, I didnt enjoy much, cos of those silly "sms" jokes!!! btw, u guys need to chill... ;-)

    1. Dear Anonymous,,

      I won't speak on behalf of all the people you so politely refer to as "u guys", nor can I address every single one of the factual or logical errors in your comment (for instance, FYI it's Neha Dhupia who said "only sex and SRK sell in Bollywood"), but I do feel compelled to ask how you so casually equate me with the Bajrang Dal and Shri Ram Sene? Have I at any point either threatened violence or committed an act of violence against the films makers? Or is it your contention that since a lot of people have watched the film, no one has a right to criticize it and therefore, that all the film's critics can be bunched together with extremist organisations like the Bajrang Dal and SRS? Do you think it's acceptable to make such serious allegations casually because of the anonymity the Internet affords? I'd urge you to be more responsible on public platforms.

      Regards, Anna MM Vetticad

  6. Dear Anna,

    I completely agree with you that rape isn't funny. I work as an assistant director in films and gave up a very well paying offer because the very had an extremely distasteful scene in which rape was being projected as funny.

    But I do not believe that films or art of any kind can turn a non-rapist into a rapist. we all watch these movies and yet we don't suddenly transform into these horrendous monsters. In fact, i believe that the maximum numbers of rapes happened during partition and there were no sleazy films or short skirts to "arouse" men... no one wants to talk about the real issues and people just blame cinema for it...

    Although many times cinema has glorified stalking and harassment as romance. Honestly, unlike you I don't mind the fevicol song that much as in it, the woman is saying what she wants the man to do to her... i mean if she wants to be dominated in bed or whatever, she has the right... what worries me more are songs like "ladki hai kya re baba" in laadla in which Anil kapoor strips a woman while his punters hold her... that was extremely offensive...

    I don't even want to comment on this movie as it was 2 hrs of my life i am never getting back and don't wanna waste another minute talking about such crapfest...

    1. Dear Sumit,

      I'm glad you agree with me that rapes cannot be a source of humour in films. However, I did not at any point - either in this review or on any other platform - say that films or art can turn a non-rapist into a rapist, so I'm not sure where you got that from. It's really unfortunate that people assume an opposition to rape jokes or offensive movies automatically means you are saying people will watch such films or hear such jokes and run out to rape women. Never have I said that. However, rape jokes definitely do trivialise rape, thus desensitising us, thus contributing to a wider social attitude of casualness towards rape. The key word here is "contributing". Other contributory factors are gender segregation, sexual repression, lack of gender sensitisation in our education system, dowry, overall crime rates, poor policing, weak laws, weak implementation of existing laws, police insensitivity, lack of political will, the social stigma associated with rape as a result of which most women don't report the crime, low conviction rates, traumatic judicial procedures, etc etc, and from such a society emerge rapists. You may argue that low conviction rates won't turn a non-rapist into a rapist, but will you deny that it's a contributory factor? Same goes for the arts. Film makers who refuse to acknowledge that their films are at the very least a contributory factor are just plain irresponsible.

      About the Fevicol song, firstly this is not a question of whether the woman in question derives pleasure from being dominated in bed or not. The point is that in a social context where it is widely assumed that sexual pleasure is a man's prerogative and sex is a woman's duty, this woman is equating herself with a piece of dead meat. Second, I can't always buy the argument that since the woman wanted it, it's okay. Many groups of people have played a role in their own exploitation. That does not make the exploitation acceptable, nor does it absolve the exploiter of wrongdoing.

      As for songs from films of the 1980s and early 1990s - my skin crawls even today when I remember some of them. Just the reminder of them ruins my day... Now look what you've gone and done!

      Regards, Anna