Despite scrutiny and debate over its film’s title and political correctness, after watching the film it seems that this title persists as a more appropriate one.
Plot Devices are generally evasive and cut short. They are supposed to be a tool of getting across a point. They are the basis of any film, a defining characteristic for any character or just there to prove a point. Mental illnesses become plot devises for many films, to either explain a villain’s psychopathic tendencies or well, or to explain something inconsequential.
Judgemental Hai Kya is built on a story of mental illness, of Bobby Batliwala trying to live in the world with voices in her head. The film takes you inside her headspace. It is loud, clumsy, cluttered, convoluted, chaotic and curious. Here, this acute psychosis of her isn’t just a plot device to explain why she is the way she is. It is the story of her accepting it and moving on with it, being unapologetic of those voices, and images, and peoples, and ideas.
I wouldn’t call this romanticising like many would suspect it to be. The film delves into the dark side of her obsession and mental instability. They are sensitive towards it and begin it all with a flashback of her life’s tragedy.
This is a simple thriller involving murder, accusations, funny cops, a time leap, realisations and pretences culminating in a fiery climax, all this made complex by its stock characters played by the ever-dependable Rajkumar Rao and the brutally hardworking Kangana Ranaut.
Bobby’s character has the most weightlifting to do; it is the story of her paranoid turning real depicted by the constant eerie background music, the comparisons to the reel life characters she voices and her hallucinations. Her perspective is the one which remains constant and her point of view is as vibrant and startling as it can get.
This movie is a cinematic representation of how perspective works. The camera moves along with Bobby as if she is putting herself inside what she is seeing and experiencing. Her hallucinations, the cockroaches, the fire and the Ramayana characters in her head, everything works out precisely.
We see people inside and outside the screen judging her for the way she is. Hence, the title works. No one stops to sympathise or empathise with her and she doesn’t even need it. She remains an unstable weirdo for many and it questions our innate reactions towards everyone, and how problematic they can be. More than once several characters say ‘Voh Paagal Hai! (She is mad)’ meaning it in a colloquial sense, just the way many of us in the audience also do.
In the end, she doesn’t even pretend to not see or get bothered these judgments being passed, rather, she embraces them, calling herself mad, being okay with the abnormality in her perspective. This again might sound romanticising these ideals, but it works as way more than that. It is a commentary on the way our society refuses to think beyond pretences, outlooks, words, and behaviours.
Judgemental Hai Kya might have the most meaningfully presented and meticulously crafted opening credits in a Bollywood film in a very long time. They gave me chills in the very beginning even before the film began. It reminded me of The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson where he uses real-life statistics of violence against females in Poland when a new part in his novel began to re-emphasize that his story might be fiction, but this story is real for many.
Image Credits: Times of India