I'm Ignorant You Are the Player

“Main Khiladi Tu Anari” symbolized Bollywood in the 90s. Garish costumes, loud makeup, nonsensical plot, Shakti Kapoor—–total 100% masala…..none of the pretentious MTV music-video-cool-camera-tricks-that-disguise-mediocrity cinema of the 2000s.

Then I came across this—-a subtext I totally missed when I saw the movie. I shall let Ashok Row Kavi, India’s premier gay activist, enlighten you about it.

I reviewed a film a few years ago titled Main Anadi, Tu Khiladi which translates as “I’m Ignorant, You’re the Player.” The two main characters are men who seem to touch each other too much. It was clearly gay. But that is how same sex happens in India. While you’re sleeping, the other guy ‘plays’ with you. My sub-text created such a row that the film producers threatened to sue me for insinuating the movie was gay and the male co-star was furious even though he had done a terrific role. So you see, my “voicing” the gay sub-text had made visible the invisible. No wonder they were upset.

You can read the above article for the etymology of the term “masti”, why Bhishma is a gay icon from India’s mythology and other factoids you never wanted to know and never bothered to ask.

Now here’s the deal. Why do people like Mr Kavi want to make everything sexual? In India it was very common among us guys, to slap each other’s shoulders in public, walk around shoulder to shoulder and in general stay in, what Americans would call, each others’ “personal space”.

However one of the first advice we got on landing in US , besides the fact that STD does not mean long-distance and rubbers don’t erase pencil marks, was that such public displays of male-male affection will be construed as something else.

That’s because everything in US is super-sexualized—-nothing is innocent anymore.

But why does Mr Ashok Kavi want the same thing to happen in India? I am all for acceptance of alternative sexualities but how does it serve the gay movement to ascribe bizarrely gay overtones to activities deemed asexual according to Indian mores ?

Coming back to the original point, Main Khiladi Tu Anari was gay? Sure Akshay Kumar and Saif sang :” Hum Dono Hain Alag Alag, Hum Dono Hain Judaa Judaa”. But gawd….that did not mean that they two were different from the others….it just meant that there was a difference between them—Saif being the womanizing, non-serious guy and Akshay the steadfast, intense cop.

What next? Veeru and Jai were gay? That Jai felt jealous of Veeru’s attraction towards Basanti and hence his caustic comments when Veeru was teaching Basanti shooting. Hence also his endeavour to scuttle Veeru’s marriage to Basanti (the talk with Mausi).

Why stop there? Why not Amitabh and Shashi Kapoor in “Suhaag” ? Remember how the two guys, snuggling together on a bike, sang “Bari Khoob Jori Hamari Hain” ?

Come on Mr Kavi. Stop the over-analyzing. Please.

6 thoughts on “I'm Ignorant You Are the Player

  1. Good post…

    Yes, it’s perfectly normal in india for guys to bond like that… on back slapping terms basically, but the west sees things differently, what is totally asexual in indian (subcontinent) context could be construed as gay in the west, where a lot of emphasis is given to ‘personal space’.

    If i am not wrong, countries like ‘Italy’ etc are similar in the sense that men hug and touch with ‘gay’ abandon :D. On a serious note, i guess it’s just the way different cultures are accustomed to different things.
    Yeah…Veeru and Jai would be gay, by that logic…i guess you are right, its loss of innocence and complicating simple things.

    Btw ‘Main Khiladi Tu Anari’ should be ‘I’m The Player, You Are Ignorant’ 🙂

  2. “Ladki dekhi muh seh seete
    Baje haath se taali”
    Clearly one of the main actors in the title song was ungay. Or bi.

  3. @Aparna, Yes it should have been the other way round…now we let Mr Kavi find the gay subtext in why he “turned the thing around”.

    @Bridalbeer, Yes exactly.

  4. Maybe the movie had a gay sub-text which was put in unconsciously by the director. For I definitely felt that the back-slapping was carried a bit too far in this film.
    On the defense that back-slapping is a part of Indian culture, well what else can poor guys do, when touching a woman (married/unmarried) has been all but outlawed. (I guess the change took place sometime in the middle ages when the sexual identity of women was downplayed and their maternal divinity emphasized).

  5. Incidentally, Sholay has been called the gayest movie ever. I don’t know if you have come across this post. It was on desipundit a while ago


  6. Hum dono hain alag alag,hum dono hain juda juda-Never “thought” about the lyrics in “that” context.Ha ha.Thanks for the post.

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