Monday, November 11, 2013

The Irrelevance or Relevance of Marriage by Vikram Bhatt

Dalliance, Love, Marriage With Vikram Bhatt

“To me, marriage is an archaic and oppressive institution that should have been abolished years ago. And love? Its magical comfort food for the weak and uneducated. Yeah, it makes you feel all warm and relevant but in the end, loves leaves you weak, dependent and fat” says the character of Matthew Mc Conaughey in the film ‘Ghosts of Girlfriends Past’


Vikram Bhatt’s views are not far behind! Vikram has not only blazed a trail for his own brand of cinema but is also known for his unconventional personal life. 


- In my years of knowing him, he always came across as a very outspoken, real person sans pretensions, positioning, flim flam! So that when I was the Indian journalist doing the documentary ‘Twenty Four Hours In Mumbai’ the French journalist with me asked him superciliously ‘what do you feel about poverty in India’? Vikram answered cockily ‘what do you feel about drugs in France?' (sic). 


That pretty much says it all. Direct, self-assured, wry humor & delightful. 

So his views on the current scenario of marriage , while unconventional, are stimulating.

 Is it obsolete according to him? Does marriage have consequence in our times or is it just an institution to give us support and succor?  In this age many view it as a “contract” commissioned by the government ‘to disenfranchise intercaste, interfaith and interracial marriages.’




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As we sit at his spacious sea-facing home, I reflect over a cup of coffee that Vikram could have made an actor, with those eloquent eyes and expressive features, were he not set upon being a director! There is an engaging politeness about him, and in that earnest expression, is a hint of watchfulness - asking questions of me even as I am questioninghim. Gauging? And eloquent as they are, it is the eyes that reflect his cynicism about marriage , while trying all the time to be non-judgmental of those that still believe in this age old institution. 

As we talk, his expression gives away that flicker of personal disappointment, that touch of vulnerability.

With a wry look he answers my query "there is a Chinese saying that says, ‘are doomed to make some mistakes’. We are waiting to trust- wrongly- when we shouldn’t. Marriage is a legal issue, seldom an emotional issue. A marriage of minds is more important. 

However societal infrastructure is important. Marriages are broken all the time today, so how is it any more dependable than living together. It is an ironical paradoxical situation.” He continues charitably “but then to each his own. If you feel documentation and ceremony is important, you have a right to it. Personally I feel it’s bullshit. What you get from each other is more important. You can cop out any day either way isn’t it? There are different circumstances, different drivers for everyone.”

Given a chance would Vikram marry again? “I wouldn’t marry again. To me societal, ritualistic institutions don’t exist. Why does love and marriage have to be the same, I don’t confuse marriage with emotion. There is nothing emotional about marriage. Through time marriage has been used for kings to retain their kingdoms and recently for business families as tradeoff’s, and shouldn’t be confused for love.”

And what about love? “it has been invented by Archie’s cards I think” and we laugh together at his diverting observation. “Love is actually lust and companionship. – A very marketable idea for people still looking for it. It is a very selfish emotion, an immediate response of “I love you”. It is a seeker, it seeps you. It is merely the old animal lust of mating and seeking someone who likes the food, sex, music and you basically seek things in common.” So you say to yourself “Gotcha! That’s the combination I want. We’re all seeking a combo of requirements. Over time the person changes. Then you say you’re not in love, because you’ve changed.”

True love for me is that of a mother for a child, selfless, non-male-female, universal. It’s just different things for different people” concludes Vikram, as his mother walks in with fresh coffee. "He is the best son in the world!" she dreams of her son being the next Guru Dutt. But Vikram is practical. "All I want to do is entertain myself and the audience". Getting the audiences to see my films is the raison d’etre to be in the business after all! Vikram describes his creative experience "I see the entire film in my mind in two days!” The designer in me resonates – indeed that is how it is for a truly creative person!! “And then I set out to create the film as I saw it”.

Stimulating views, intelligence and charisma, yes I look forward to seeing more of his work, often a welcome break from convention – watch this space!

Nisha JamVwal 
& Tweet her on @nishjamvwal
Email Nisha at nishjamwal@gmail.com



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