The Bulgarian Blunder


Whatever plans we had of visiting Bulgaria, of which we had none in the first place, were scuttled on watching this scary movie about crime, Russian mafia, police corruption, and child trafficking in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria, the poorest EU member state, which sits on the cusp of the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, seems a primitive, developing country, just like any in Asia or Africa. One feels rather at home in its potholed, animal cart-filled, aggressive, honking traffic, and poor infrastructure: just like our own. Bulgaria remains the No. one source in Europe for human trafficking and card skimming fraud. That’s something I can vouch for, for when I was admitted in a Romanian hospital in Africa, my telephone card was busted of all money within the few minutes I’d left it on the bedside during a visit to the washroom; and all calls had been made to Romania, Bulgaria’s equally talented and poor East European neighbor.

That said, Shivaay, a Himalayan mountaineer with pretenses to the Supreme deity Siva: with his body tattoos; his smoldering hash pipe, his ascetic and erotic nature; his celibate status; his exulting in romantic dalliance with his Bulgarian paramour in the snow-clad mountains; his trident; his conch with overtones of cosmic vibration Aum; and his naming of his daughter Gaura – meaning one begotten of Gauri; all point toward subtle incantations of his reincarnation of the Destroyer; of his being a Superman: a force that transcends human archetype. He is indestructible, he is balanced, and when immersed in his Tandav dance, he can destroy the world: it is only the soft glances of Shakti, his consort, and her languorous footsteps that can becalm his tempest.

Our desi version of ‘Taken,’ mixed with fair skin, Hindu mythology, dollops of melodrama, and impossible midair stunts: this movie has roared to the box-office with a whopping 70 CR in its opening week. The movie is three hours too long with a pinch of a story – a foreign woman leaves Shivaay after begetting him a daughter, who on growing up wishes to meet her mother, ends up getting kidnapped by the Russian mafia; leading to her rescue by the aforesaid father in defiance of all authority, science and logic – which is quite all right – for people visit cinema only to be mollycoddled and served a beautiful lie. Don’t tell me its otherwise – for what charm in reliving sordid reality lies?

The title song is nice, with a thundering beat epitomizing Siva’s calamitous temperament. The action is a bit over the top – bullets never seem to find Shivaay, no matter how many of them are dispatched his way. I haven’t come across many leather-jacketed mountaineers in jeans, with beer bottles and hash pipes et al, kissing and making love in little tents suspended midair – at least not the ones who take their job seriously. Rajnikanth’s bedlam seems to pale, nay fade…nay evaporate in comparison with the mayhem wrought by Devgn here.

The actors, a bunch of new, inexperienced lot, have as much repertoire of emotions as Tabasco’s pepper sauce. Hence they do not come across as well-rounded, developed personalities, and their expressions seem disturbingly insouciant and incongruous with the situation at hand. One has to do their bit in reading a character’s emotion from their blank looks. I have a lurking suspicion that they made Ajay Devgn’s daughter, Gaura, mute because they couldn’t train her to speak Hindi! They didn’t even teach her sign language – she just whines all the while annoyingly – her ultimate gems of emoting are when she badgers the poor father for no apparent reason.

It’s hard work done here; some like the mix of action and emotion; it’s never been done before, so I would say, give the movie a shot.


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