dub review


This article is an insight on ‘Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani’ and how it delves to the social paradigm of our country.

As I walked out of the theatre feeling that I have been called poor by Karan Johar in 3 languages I couldn’t help but wonder, are over the top popcorn flicks the one stop solution of inducting social cues in the Indian audience.
Beneath Flashy costumes and larger than life setting Rocky and Rani ki prem kahani slips in commentaries on social hierarchies and prejudices . Be it the textbook feminist Rani Chatterjee’s relentless pursuit of a ghoonghat free Randhawa palace, Rocky’s glamour doing a solid uno reverse the overt sexualization of female heroines in Bollywood or the gender no bar kathak performances, the movie does not shy away from inclusion.

One might find the rom-com a little dismissive about matters that set televisions reporters (and seemingly the nation) on fire, be it the discourse on racism , profiling of gender restrictive talents or patriarchal set ups in general. Through the clash between a stereotypical ghoonghat clad loud Punjabi family with a high end cultured Bengali intellectuals, the subtle undertone that hit was about how quick we are to dismiss notions that do not quantify well in our spectrum. For example Rocky Randhawa’s speech after Rani’s father’s classical performance is publicly shamed by the hip Punjabi audience is one for which the dialogue writer deserves a raise if not a superior mandate into any conversation that mentions the ‘woke culture’ in the Indian society . What really struck a chord in his monologue was how accurately it portrayed the cultural bias we have nurtured
through our social settings. The contemptuous outlook at everything that doesn’t resonate with our presumably superior understanding of the world deserves nothing but a dismissal followed by a grunt.

The lionising of culture contrasted with the seemingly steep curve of understanding presented a dilemma that any diversified culture would relate to. Him reiterating again and again the need to have a more comprehensive understanding of different point of views hits the bullseye in the current social climate , given that every contentious issue divides the public into three spheres where one group hold the higher ground of intellectual injunction, the other of dogmatic persistence and the third being the ones who are at this point too afraid to jump into the complex web battling information and misinformation. The fear of being ‘cancelled’ by the woke culture leaves little to no room for them to inculcate new world views, something that our protagonist seemingly struggled with through half of the movie and culminated into a quirky yet thought provoking monologue.

I’m afraid that the monologue in  Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani has done more for West Delhi gym guys than for feminism. Although the reactions to the movie can range from the audience bursting into loud ‘awws’, to scornful side eyes to the melodramatic social messages, the movie does provide a handful of insights that serve well to the ‘Dharma-tic’ audience.

Image Credits: Mint

Priya Shandilya
[email protected]


What distinguishes Taali is that it is one of the first biographical works that focuses on the challenges and life of a transgender person, therefore providing a glimpse into their tough lives from their own perspective.

Taali is a biographical drama series based on the life of Shree Gauri Sawant, a transgender activist played by Sushmita Sen. The series, directed by Ravi Jadhav, lasts for three hours and is broken into six thirty-minute parts. It is available on the Jio Cinema platform in India. I was thrilled to watch the show after watching the teaser for the first time and being aware of the real-life inspiration. While inclusion of the LGBTQA+ population in mainstream films and series has expanded recently, there are a few that highlight the realities of the transgender community, such as – Laxmii, Super Deluxe.

What distinguishes Taali is that it is one of the first biographical works that focuses on the challenges and life of a transgender person, therefore providing a glimpse into their tough lives from their own perspective. Many notable biopics based on the lives of athletes, freedom fighters, army officers have been produced by the film industry. Taali thus adds a feather to the cap because it is innovative in its approach to raising awareness and praising the efforts of many such activists who seek to improve the status of the Third gender in India. This is certainly one of the most compelling reasons to watch this series.

Before we go any further, here is a quick summary of the transgender activist as to why she is remarkable –

Shree Gauri Savant is a transgender activist from Mumbai who has been working diligently for the transgender community for many years. Gauri established the Sakhi Char Chowghi Trust in 2000. The NGO encourages safe sex and offers transsexual counselling. In 2014, she was the first transgender person to petition the Supreme Court of India for transgender adoption rights.  She was a petitioner in the case of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), in which the Supreme Court declared transgender as a third gender. She also starred in an affectionate Vicks commercial and in Kaun Banega Crorepati. In 2019, she was appointed as the Maharashtra Election Commission’s goodwill ambassador.

Taali, focusing on the Supreme Court’s watershed decision in 2014, which officially recognized the third gender, It flashes back and forth in time to Gauri Sawant’s life, from her days as a child battling with identity to her days as a mother advocating for equality. The show seeks to cover major events in her life, such as her childhood and troubles with her father, gender affirming surgery, adopting a child, and handling the atrocities of the society. In the first episode, named Teesri ladai, she explains how her battle is separated into three stages: struggle for identity, struggle for survival, and struggle for equality, with the final one referring to the Landmark Case.

Krutika Deo’s performance as Young Gauri, known as Ganesh, helped viewers connect to the character’s predicament of feeling unfit. Her desire to be a mother, which no one around her understands, her loneliness after her mother passed away and her father’s reluctance to accept her identity are all major points where the audience can relate to the helplessness faced by young Gauri trapped in the body of a boy, wishing to be a girl.

Sushmita Sen, who plays a grown-up Gauri, does a fantastic job in the part. Her performance was a combination of grace and aggression, accurately calibrated to the necessities of the scene. Sen is depicted in the story’s midsection, where Gauri works with an NGO and as a waiter to earn and teach at the same time. These were the rare sequences where Sen seemed out of place in huge Kurtas, shirt trousers and even a fake moustache.

The story progresses from her days of survival to finally founding her own non-profit organization, dealing with other transgender people. The affection and warmth between Gauri and her new family could be seen in these specific scenes. Sheetal Kale’s performance as Nargis, a fellow transgender, was another highlight for me. Her friendship with Gauri, from once saving her life to presenting her a neckless that Gauri tressures as a trophy, are heartwarming experiences that will also have an impact on Gauri’s life.

Aside from the impressive performances, the show had its own set of flaws. To begin, despite the fact that the show drew out Gauri’s life across six episodes, it failed to give greater space to crucial moments that required more creativity, more time for viewers to absorb it and appreciate the depth of it. Factors such as Gauri’s transformation as a mother and her struggle to gain support from her own community were mentioned but not adequately developed. There are several situations in which Gauri faces adversity and hatred from members of her own community who believe that her work is harming their daily lives, even to the point where a fellow transgender tries to poison Gauri. However, these scenes are addressed with dialogues such as Mere paas na dushmano ki directory nahi dictionary milegi (you won’t either the directory or the dictionary of enemies with me) or inhone mera makeup kiya hai mei inka pack up karwati hoon (they did my makeup, I will do their pack up).

What was missing was a genuine confrontation moment to really show why many transgender people believed Gauri’s work was harming them, and it could’ve led the viewers to the real issue of why many of them are resistant to these changes. This alternate perspective was not properly explored.

Another letdown was the addition of sequences that felt like an attempt to inject some drama into the show. Scene of Gauri celebrating the commencement of her womanhood while dressed as a bride, was paralleled by her father performing Ganesh’s final rites. This was done to symbolically represent Gauri’s father’s reluctance to embrace her new reality.  Instead of this addition, it would have been good to devote more screen time to Gauri’s metamorphosis.

Other attempts at eliciting emotions were made with background music and almost poetic dialogues. It seemed as though Gauri’s every response was designed to be an inspiring statement. Gauri’s more open exchanges with people, such as the flight attendant on a trip to the United States or the school principal, were much appreciated.

Taali provided to the audience something that they had already seen on the internet and in the news. There was a lack of artistically narrating the story so that viewers could better comprehend the perspectives of the third gender. Taali remains an amazing first-of-its-kind biopic packed with a number of profound performances, and we hope that mainstream cinema brings out more work of such activists while providing LGBTQ people the opportunity to play these parts.


Read Also : https://dubeat.com/2016/09/03/transgender-accepting-the-non-conformist/

Featured Image Credits: JioCinema

Priya Agrawal

Heartstopper, the on-screen adaptation of a well-known graphic book by Alice Oseman, debuted its second season on Netflix on August 3, 2023. The television show, much like the first season, reshapes representation by delicately examining topics of love, identity, and friendship while offering a genuine and multidimensional picture of queer lives. Here is a careful examination of some of the themes that the show so wonderfully explores, thereby casting them in a new light.

Heartstopper, the acclaimed LGBTQ+ series, has emerged as a trailblazer in reshaping the portrayal of queer relationships, love, identity, diversity within the community, and friendship in a world where representation and diversity are becoming increasingly important and where representation is based on misconceptions and stereotypes in literature and cinema. The show has challenged these deep-rooted clichés by depicting its characters as diverse individuals whose sexual orientation or gender identity is only one aspect of their existence.

Heartstopper is centred on two primary protagonists, Nick and Charlie, as they navigate their way through love, self-discovery, friendship, and acceptance. However, the series covers much more. Whereas mainstream LGBT representation in films and television shows often focuses solely on two cis-guys falling in love and their sexual relationships, Heartstopper delves deeper. It highlights trans representation, lesbian relationships, self-discovery and acceptance, asexuality, disability, normalising older queer relationships, dilemmas in friendships, eating disorders, consent, healthy relationships and friendships, and highlighting that coming out is a personal choice and that it is not mandatory to come out.

While Kit Connor and Joe Locke steal the show as romantic leads Nick and Charlie, recognition is also due to the creation of characters such as friends Elle, Tao, Tara, and Darcy, perfectly crafted parents, and even attentive teachers. Heartstopper succeeds because it is such a well-rounded and balanced narrative about preteens navigating the challenges of a same-sex relationship.


Trans Representation

Transgender representation in both literature and cinema is sorely sidelined or completely absent. Most transgender representation in literature and film only touches the tip of the iceberg, as trans characters are portrayed as “supporting characters” or “the best friends of gay protagonists.” Moreover, trans roles in film continue to be mainly acted by cis individuals, eliminating the very purpose of representation. However, in Heartstopper, Elle was presented as more than that. The series digs into Elle’s life and emphasises that her transgender identity does not define her.

Heartstopper sends the message that trans people are allowed to fall in love and be loved. That they too experience all the wide range of emotions we all do.


Elle and Tao’s tale is equally lovely. The dilemma of admitting your love to your closest friend, as well as the dread of losing them as a result, is well expressed. The bond between Tao’s mother and Elle is one of the most lovely aspects of the story. Tao’s mother’s reaction when she learns that her son and Elle are dating is heartwarming to say the least.

Bisexual Representation

There are many misunderstandings about the bisexual community, both within and outside the queer community. Bisexual individuals are frequently questioned about their sexuality, with the assumption that one cannot be bi if one prefers one gender over the other.

Nick had to constantly tell people he’s bi just goes to show how many people dismiss his sexuality and how disregarded bisexual people are in general within their queer community. He has every right to be loud and proud about his sexuality. don’t take that away from him.

-a Twitter user

This portrayal and discussion of Nick’s bisexuality sends a clear and loud message that bisexual people who have only dated people of the same gender are just as valid as bisexual people who have dated more than one gender or haven’t dated anyone at all.

Lesbian Representation

Queer representation in films and literature has been traditionally dominated by the narrative of two homosexual protagonists. When it comes to WLW relationships, a lot of stigma and misconceptions permeate society. Tara and Darcy’s story is just as important and eloquently depicted as Nick and Charlie’s. Season 2 showed Darcy’s connection with her mother and how queer people face a lot of alienation and hatred from their loved ones.

The reoccurring animation of darker colours flooding Darcy’s house, because it’s such a negative place for her, is so. It’s not safe, it’s not her home; when she’s there, it feels like she has a storm cloud over her head like she can’t be herself at all, and my heart breaks for her.

-Twitter user @spring_nwinter

Asexual Representation

The portrayal of asexuality and aromanticism is one of the most brilliantly crafted sections of Heartstopper. Isaac’s frustration at his friends for assuming a romantic relationship between him and James demonstrates how asexual people have to go through a lot to come to grips with their sexuality. The series emphasises the value of platonic love, demonstrating that romantic or sexual desire is not constant but fluid.

Isaac getting his own “heartstopper moment” as he clutches a book on being ace means so much to me. As an aspec person seeing that little thing reserved for moments of love symbolises his first steps in working out who he means a lot. self-acceptance is a form of love.

-Twitter user @clingynelson

The Dilemma of Coming Out

Coming out is never easy for queer people. In season one, Nick is coming to terms with his sexuality and is torn between wanting to come out and being afraid of doing so. The best aspect is the support he received from his friends and his boyfriend.

I want you to come out when and how you want to

-Charlie to Nick

Coming out as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community can be a complex and deeply personal process, often accompanied by various emotions and challenges. While it can be liberating and help individuals live authentically, it also comes with potential risks and considerations.

Normalising Older Queer Relationships

Older queer relationships are not free from societal stigma, a stigma they face from not only those outside the community but also from the younger generation of the community.

Queer people of all ages exist. It will always be so important to show that the way Heartstopper manages to pull it off is so beautiful. I love queer happiness. It gives you hope for the future, you know?”

-Twitter user @spring_nwinter

Families and Queer Acceptance, or Lack Thereof

Having a supportive family may be quite beneficial for queer individuals, but it can also be a deep challenge if the situation is reversed. The fact that season 2 gave us a glimpse of everyone’s family, whether supportive like Elle’s parents, Tao’s mother, Nick’s mother, and Charlie’s sister, or not supportive and hostile like Darcy’s mother and Nick’s brother, these small characters had such a large impact on the series and the emotions its viewers felt.

I appreciated that Elle got her stereotypical girl come down the stairs moment while her parents were interrogating her date. She gets to have all of these movie-worthy girl experiences, and it makes my heart feel so full. It’s something so small but so special to me.

-Twitter user @spring_nwinter

Friendships and Queer Platonic Love

Heartstopper discusses not just love and the queer community but also the importance of platonic love and friendship.

I will always praise Heartstopper for how they show such healthy friendships. how they show platonic love can be just as strong as romantic. Charlie and Taos’ bond is something so important to both of them and so familiar. they’ve got each other’s backs and always have.

-Twitter user @clingynelson

Healthy Relationships

Heartsopper discusses the characteristics of healthy relationships, both platonic and romantic. Whether it’s Tara confessing her love for Darcy or Charlie being the shield for Nick when Nick was deciding to come out.

I love you. That’s not me asking you to say it back or anything.

-Tara to Darcy

I am gonna do everything I can so that Nick doesn’t have to deal with what I did (in reference to bullying).

-Charlie to his sister

Eating Disorders


Heartstopper season 2 slowly introduces the conversation on eating disorders. By examining disordered eating in one of its main characters, who represents a wide range of identities and experiences, Heartstopper Season 2 defies preconceptions. The series deftly addresses compulsive eating, gradually bringing it to light as Charlie’s boyfriend, Nick, becomes aware of his eating habits. Heartstopper explores a variety of aspects of disordered eating, stressing how it affects relationships and loved ones and underscoring the value of open communication and support.


In essence, Heartstopper is more than just a straightforward love story. It represents a push for accurate and inclusive representation. The series bridges understanding barriers, develops empathy, and promotes a more inclusive society with its multiple characters and relevant situations. Discussions regarding the value of recognising queer relationships and people’s freedom to live truthfully are made possible through this.

In both cinema and literature, Heartstopper is a transformational force that has changed how queer relationships, love, identity, and friendships are portrayed. The show sparks dialogue and questions social conventions by emphasising the universal features of human connection while accurately depicting LGBTQ+ experiences. Heartstopper not only presents a moving narrative but also advances a more forgiving and accepting future in a society where varied perspectives are respected evermore.

Featured Image Credits: Heartstopper on Netflix

Read Also: Where are the Queer Movies, Bollywood?

Dhruv Bhati


A collection of poems, ‘Kyun-Dastan Khoj ki’ by author Suraj Singh discusses fundamental aspects of life ranging from wealth to love and friendship. Read on to learn more. 

‘Kyun?- Daastan Khoj Ki’ is a thought-provoking book that delves into the profound question of “why” and its significance in our lives. With a target audience of young adults, college students, and university goers, the book aims to inspire and guide readers as they navigate their aspirational goals and explore the depths of their curiosities.

The book’s investigation of the “why” question is one of its central themes. Although, it encourages readers to contemplate the reasons behind the major aspects of life, invites them to embark on a journey of self-discovery and understanding. And challenges them to seek answers, unravel mysteries, and find their own unique perspectives. The book severely suffers from a lack of coherence and thematic consistency. The poems seem disconnected and randomly placed, making it difficult for readers to find a unifying thread or sense of purpose throughout the collection. The absence of a strong thematic foundation leaves the reader feeling disjointed and disengaged, preventing any meaningful connection with the poetry.

The author, Sooraj Singh, a recent graduate of Hindu College, University of Delhi has demonstrated a empathetic understanding of the target audience, recognizing their aspirations, dreams, and challenges in the book. Through his poems, he aims to inspire and motivate young individuals to question, explore, and pursue their passions.

Additionally, Singh tries to spark readers’ curiosity by incorporating the “why” question throughout the book. This is done in the hopes that the readers’ future endeavors will be guided and shaped by their curiosity. Often times, though, these lines come out as unoriginal and overused, lacking the inventive wording and novel analogies that make poetry engrossing.

In conclusion, “Kyun Dastan Khoj Ki” by Suraj Singh is a good read  for those who enjoy contemplating profound questions and exploring certain aspects of philosophy, but is not recommended for those who are seeking an impactful exploration of Thematically-rich Hindi poetry.

DU Beat

An ultra-rich backdrop, razor sharp dialogue, and stellar acting is what makes Succession the gold standard for television right now.


Jesse Armstrong’s multiple-Emmy winning series has a deceptively simple premise – the patriarch of media conglomerate Waystar RoyCo is ageing and must choose an heir to his business empire. Thus, the stage is set for an endless game of musical chairs between his children for the throne – power-hungry Kendall, derisive Roman, politically-savvy Shiv and estranged oldest son Connor. Power-struggles, corporate backstabbing and constant plotting ensues between the siblings and a host of well-fleshed out and complicated side characters who form the heart of the show throughout its four-season run.

Succession’s portrayal of the wealthy and influential is both captivating and horrifying. ‘Multi-faceted’ is one way to describe the narcissistic and money-obsessed characters who reek of upper-class privilege and can manipulate the course of the nation as per their whims and fancies. Yet, despite the absolutely vile character arcs, it is impossible not to root for them in their achingly-tender moments of humanity. This is a testament to the masterclass in acting done by the ensemble of actors who deliver the show’s signature sharp and biting dialogue to perfection. There is something revolting yet fascinating in the obscene, and hilariously vulgar lines.

Besides the personal narratives of each character, the show also provides insightful commentary on wider social issues such as influence of media and technology on society, politics, culture, and identity. It calls out the power-mongering and under the table lifestyle of the luxurious. Familial influences and power structures dictate the living of the top 1%. This adds a fresh layer of analysis to the already complex individual storylines, making the show a wonderful mix of satire and insight on capitalism and American corporatism.

Exceptional locations, cinematography, background scores and production value – the hits keep coming. The glorious theme song (this plays in my head 24/7 on repeat) and opening credits hook you in for a wildly funny, tragic and jaw-dropping ride. The music perfectly captures the mood of the show – sinister, dark and greedy but whimsical when need be. Another standout is the work of the costumes department. The lack of ostentatious displays of wealthy but quiet luxury at its finest where a single cap costs millions of dollars is an absolute stroke of genius. The symbols of wealth like the fleet of black SUVs, the helicopters, the elaborate real estate and the constant entourage just add to the sensory delight of the show.

Succession is a much watch for fans of pitch-black comedy and suspense. It is a gift that keeps giving and the fascinating character-driven plot keeps you hooked despite your utter disgust for the characters. After all, the ultimate question remains – who shall be the successor and nab the top job?

Come for the family and corporate intrigue, stay for the absolute finest filmmaking seen in recent times. Be right back, going to make Nicholas Britell’s Succession theme song my new ringtone.

Feature Image Source: Pinterest

Read Also: Film Criticism: Of Subjectivity and Stars

Bhavya Nayak

[email protected]