Saturday Small Talk: Vikas Bahl Cleared By Reliance, Bunty Aur Babli Sequel, Article 15 and Game Over Trailers

Happy Saturday! I was up far too late last night, and now I have to run around doing things today. Partly because I am hoping to do absolutely nothing on Sunday. Maybe see John Wick 3.

Here’s a thing, Vikas Bahl was cleared by an “internal investigation” by a committee set up by Reliance Entertainment, the company producing Super 30, which he was directing until the whole attempted rape story came out.

Speaking just for myself, I really don’t trust this “internal investigation”. Especially since they are investigating an incident that took place long before Vikas was working for Reliance. So, how does that work? They listened to his version, to her version, and then tracked down a bunch of random witnesses from years ago who were also not working for them at the time? I mean really, what’s to investigate? There were two people in that room, one of them has a long history of outcry witnesses, personal torment, and so on and so forth. And the other one is the man who tried to rape her.

But I find it interesting in terms of power structures. Vikas’ business partners, the ones who would have the most direct benefit from a cover up, and ability to make it happen, instead tried to make the story as big and destructive as possible, and destroyed themselves along the way. And on the other hand, here is Reliance Entertainment which is a massive massive company and they are doing all this work to clear one guy directing one not-very-big movie for them. I wonder why?

Oh, also weird, Vikas Bahl was officially removed from Super 30 ages ago. Supposedly. So, is he back now? Who was running things in the mean time? What about Hrithik saying he wouldn’t work with him? This is all STRANGE!

Image result for super 30 poster

Bunty Aur Babli Sequel has now moved out of the super rumor sources and into the sort of rumor sources. Huh. It’s supposedly bringing back Amitabh, Abhishek, and Rani. These are not 3 people I can really see together any more. Abhishek is all about finding his actor inside at the moment, Amitabh is all about kooky character parts with surprising gravitas, and Rani is all about movies built around her character. Amitabh is okay, he can do another kooky character, but how is Rani’s desire for a central role going to work with Abhishek’s desire for deep roles?

Also, will there be another sexy song?

Trailers! Article 15 looks so good, and I continue to respect Anubhav Sinha far more than I thought I would ever respect the director of Ra.One. Oh, and also Ayushmann, but that’s not a surprise.

And Taapsee’s movie Game Over looks super scary! Too scary for me, I will be skipping it.

25 thoughts on “Saturday Small Talk: Vikas Bahl Cleared By Reliance, Bunty Aur Babli Sequel, Article 15 and Game Over Trailers

    • Yeah, I am excited! The whole movie is exciting, but also isn’t it neat to see Ayushmann play a serious role? He still has that every man feel, but with anger and grit we haven’t seen before.

      On Sat, Jun 1, 2019 at 7:55 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  1. Happy Saturday!!

    Yes, the Article 15 trailer looks good. Hope it does not run into issues with the Censor Board.

    If you have some “extra” time you could watch Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota on Netflix. Movie was really good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Article 15 already feels like it has more buzz and better buzz than Mulk, so hopefully it won’t be Censored too bad and will get a decent release.


    • Apparently the victim was scared or wanted a closure so didn’t pursue the case further.
      Also she didn’t come in front of the committee itself.
      So vikas bahl was cleared for lack of any evidences.

      I find the entire process quite harmful


      • Thanks! Yeah, that’s a silly way to investigate the complaint. If it’s an internal HR committee they only have to follow their own guidance, there’s no need to have exact courtroom rules of evidence. I don’t see why they couldn’t use the story she told multiple times to other people. It’s bad business practices, Reliance is just opening themselves up to liability the next time he does something like this (and it sounds like it wasn’t just that one time, it was multiple times he misbehaved with women in some fashion, so he is going to do it again).


  2. Article 15 indeed looks very good. Often those serious movies feel very boring in trailers and this one not. Very engaging.

    Other news:

    This one made me happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Also: I saw this poster. The protagonist is Vijay Devarakonda’s younger brother. I can’t lie I excited to see if this guy is good. But I’m disappointed too, because Vijay is one of the very few outsiders in telugu industry, and now only after few movies he presents his brother .

    Interesting article about differences between art and mainstream cinema:

    I’m curious what do you think Margaret.


  4. While I got very excited on seeing the trailer of Article 15 the first time,on repeat viewing couldn’t help noticing that the savior/hero in a movie about caste atrocities is the fair,Brahmin police officer.I hope the movie acknowledges in some way that the hero is in a privileged position to raise the question of caste among his subordinates without sneers and scorns directed his way.But wonderful to see Aayushmann in a role out of his usual zone.The movie seems to be inspired by the 2014 Badaun gang rape case.


    • That’s always the question with these movies, is it better to make the hero part of the group being oppressed so it isn’t a “savior” story, or is it better to make him part of the oppressors group so those watching can relate and learn a lesson? Like Dangal. Hopefully the film makes that clear, has Ayushmann’s character investigate his privilege and also consider the reasons no one expects him to be just in this case.

      Have you seen Eklavya recently? I forgot until my recent rewatch that Sanjay Dutt’s police officer character is low caste. It’s interesting for how it acknowledges the way his caste identity still informs his character, but at the same time he has power in society now. It might have been interesting to see this film do something with that, someone born lowcaste but into a police officer urban family, so very different from these villagers.


      • Ummm,that’s the other myth this movie may play into-that casteism is prevelent only in the rural,village areas. Not at all. It is as much prevelent in every city -among government offices,beurocracy, judiciary,educational institutions etc. An urban lower caste police officer may be better off financially but he would be very much aware of his caste &that of others around him. I don’t know what would be a good way to tell this story but if it hopes of targeting the urban audience by showing upper caste urban hero lecturing poor, caste obsessed villagers, it will be a movie that plays to gallery hoping for easy claps from the all too willing audience.


        • Thanks for opening up this aspect, I noticed the one line where he asked about caste but hadn’t thought about the urban/rural dynamic. Curious, is the actor’s caste ever a part of the conversation about how these things are depicted, or does it only matter how the character is written?


          • Speaking only for mainstream Hindi film, which is the only area I know about, caste issues are dealt with so rarely that the conversation around actor’s castes never reaches that point. The truly lower caste people in India would be unlikely to reach the point of an acting career, being well-nourished and having the education to speak clearly and deliver lines and so on would be hard to reach. Also, while caste is complicated and has many layers, generally speaking the biggest stars in Hindi film have already in some way “lost” caste. Amitabh’s father, for instance, gave up his Brahmin caste in order to marry the Sikh woman (Amitabh’s mother) that he had fallen in love with. Muslims have no caste. Christians have no caste. Sikhs have no caste. All of this is very general, officially they have no caste but if you stayed in your home village or place, you would definitely still have a caste. And generally speaking when people know the specific ins and outs of the specific situation a person is from (say, you both live in Bombay now but your families originally came from the same region), they can tell caste. But if it is a celebrity talking in a magazine interview, you might be able to get away with just a general identity instead of specific.

            I don’t know southern film or culture at all really, but one thing I did learn that has stuck with me is that some of the southern stars go by one name because their last name would reveal caste and, as a political move, they are rejecting caste identity. That’s interesting, right? Oh, and that’s also where the “Bachchan” name came from, it means “child”, and it was the name his father chose when he left his family and used as his pen name.

            Oh, and there were definitely protests about lower caste people “daring” to play upper caste people, the movie Celluloid from the Malayalam industry is about that.

            And now I hope someone else answers because the caste stuff is really really complicated and I just can’t understand it from the outside!


          • To the best of my knowledge,the actor’s caste really doesnt matter.But then we havent had any mainstream representations of a lower caste hero to even raise the question of who is playing him.The heroes of most mainstream films are upper caste heroes or Christians.In the biopic of B R Ambedkar,the Dalit leader and maker of our constitution was played by Malayalam actor Mammooty who is a Muslim in real life.The casting choice was more for physical resemblence and acting chops than any consideration for the actor’s caste.In the movie Kaala,Rajnikath played the Dalit leader while he himself is an upper caste.The Tamil film Pariyerum Perumal was all about casteism, the hero is a lower caste guy who was played by an upper caste hero,but that was okay because the issue was dealt with very sesitively.Its a great watch to understand how casteism is prevalent even in cities,even among the educated.In the recent times though,actor Vinayakan who is from the scheduled caste/scheduled tribe became the first actor from his caste to win a state award in Kerala and consequently he is now the hero of a number of movies and some of the roles are that of a lower caste hero.So we need more representation from lower caste in terms of actors and roles. I hope we get to see a Hindi mainstream film on the lines of Pariyerum Perumal which is more about the psychological and emotional impact casteism creates in the youth when they wake up to the reality of caste as they enter the society.


          • Fascinating, thank you! I didn’t realize there was so little representation of actors or other talent from the lower castes in film, I naively thought that might be a part of society with more social mobility. Will definitely check out Pariyerum Perumal.


          • It’s kind of a multi-step process to get out of caste issues. You have to convert, you have to get out of the village, you have to get an education. And then your children or children’s children can start thinking about film. But by then they may have so successfully camouflaged their caste background that it is no longer apparent, it’s possible your children may not even know what you came from. I can’t really promise there is no one from a low-caste background in film, just no one who can be identified as having a low-caste background. Someone like Nargis for instance (original Nargis that is), her family background is more legend than reality, it’s entirely possible that her mother or grandmother came from a low-caste community and just lied her way into a different level of society. Who knows? Similar story with Rekha, her mother is a bit of an unknown quantity, started as a child actress in Madras and it’s not super clear what her family was before coming to the city.

            On Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 12:38 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • What about a movie like Sarvam Thaala Mayam? Does that read as more of a class conflict, or a caste conflict, or are those all mixed up together?


          • Definitely caste conflict. That’s why the hero is Christian, his family left the village and converted to escape caste prejudice. But it followed them, it is better in the city and fewer people care (our hero is able to be part of a group with no caste restrictions, the film fans, while in the village there is almost no intermixing). But their profession and various other indicators still set them apart. It’s a great movie for how it shows the way caste and class interact. Our hero’s father had no hope of learning anything else and moving up in class, but in the city our hero can get a degree and an office job and move to a better class, even if his caste still holds him back. The new modern professions (like film) allow you to exist in a more casteless world. Only his desire to learn classical music throws him right back into the world of caste.

            On Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 2:08 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • Yes and no. Most of the cast has strong ties to classical Carnatic musical traditions. Which means they are high caste, because only high caste folks are allowed to learn that kind of music. It’s kind of an impossible story, if you were to try to cast actually low caste folks, they would not have the musical background that Rajiv Menon wanted for his actors. On the other hand, AR Rahman and his family (including his sister who is the mother of the lead actor) chose to convert from high caste Hindu to Muslim. They benefited from the caste system in gaining their musical training and background, but ultimately rejected it and chose a religion that sees everyone as equal in the eyes of God. And a musical tradition that behaves the same way, the Muslim classical tradition does not have the caste restrictions that the Hindu classical tradition does. Which the film nods towards when the hero travels India learning other traditions without the kind of agony involved in getting acceptance to the Carnatic training.

            On Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 2:24 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  5. Other random thoughts on the weekend: I watched Bend It Like Beckham last night with my 9-year-old. I really liked that movie when it first came out and it holds up well. The actors are all great and the central conflict between Parminder’s dreams and her family responsibilities are timeless. I hadn’t seen it in years so I didn’t realize when I watched Patiala House how closely it followed the same story. It feels almost like they said let’s make BILB but with Akshay and cricket. And then they had to make the family tension political instead of gender based, and he couldn’t fall in love with his coach do they had to add Anushka’s character. I liked them both, but on balance I think BILB is a better movie. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but watching the parade of producers and behind the camera talent at the end, it looks like a motley crew of anyone they could convince to pitch in to get the movie made, which makes me happy – the scrappy underdog movie that made it big.


    • Yeah, I really like Bend it Like Beckham!!!! But I had a similar experience of “oh, it’s just kind of the same thing,” and it ruined BILB a bit. When watching Bride and Prejudice it felt like the same kind of random combination of people working together. Only in that case instead of feeling warm and fun and scrappy, it just felt confused and mish-moshy. And retroactively made me like BILB less. But it’s been over ten years since I watched Bride and Prejudice, I might have finally cleansed myself and be able to watch BILB again.

      On Sun, Jun 2, 2019 at 1:45 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



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