“Revenge is a dish best serve cold.” A popular expression, often mouthed off nonchalantly while watching a particularly gruesome and mind-numbing Revenge flick (Yes its a genre! Indian movies don’t qualify! At least not always!). I am guilty of the same sanctimony I have seen others sighing about every time they hear a story about revenge, a story about blood, a story about murderous men and women baying for the blood of another human being. There is pity in our sighs and may be a little bit of fear; fear of the world we have not really seen and we definitely do not understand. What I or any one like me can imagine or wonder about such a gruesome world celebrating violence, is what we read in a story or watch it in a movie. My crime is similar. I watched a movie, ‘Badlapur!’. An out and out revenge movie, it has taken the trouble to explore the subject of violence beyond aphorisms and the incessant macho-mania (not a dictionary addition yet, it means a man’s crazy urge to capitalize upon his hormonal imbalances; symptoms include chest beating, boasting, harassing the weak and pissing when faced with a stronger opposition; can be chronic in rare cases; prevalent among Indian males) that we are subjected to in mediocre films so abundant today. Seems like the director has actually made an effort to understand something so dear to human psyche and something we all know about.
Violence! We have all experienced it during our lifetimes in varying proportion, quality and type. Our lives begin with a violent tear from our mother’s uterus and we are woken up from our slumber with a slap on our butt cheeks. While growing up, we shed some blood with every new skill we learn and with every mistake we make. We don’t fall off our bikes, we don’t learn to ride. We don’t know what fire does; we learn when our skin is peeled off raw in a gruesome burn. We do not understand the virtue of academic learning. It is taught to us with kicks and slaps; though most of us seem to miss out on the lesson when we are left red faced with a public thrashing. Every single step of the way, we make mistakes and we learn through violence. And I don’t care what the studies say; there is no better way to do it in this country.
Granted that I am not very violent, but even I have felt the rush of blood so characteristic of a mad brawl or the madness that boils within your veins when you are seething in rage. Violence is innate and primitive. However, the truth is that though we have learned through violence, we have been conditioned to behave timidly in face of it. We have been told to keep our heads down and walk away. The “Maa ki Mamta” we so fondly remember has made us civilized and better human beings. While its benefits can never be overstated, it has turned us into timid animals, which is not so healthy in this not so civilized world. One half of this world lives in conditions of extreme violence, while the other half lives in denial.
Perhaps a case can be made for us to wake up to endorse the possibility of a world where violence is tolerated (in some forms) or at least understood better than it is now. I am saying it to those of us who call ourselves civilized yet were not far behind in declaring death (even anal rape) for the culprits of Delhi gang rape and similar other cases. We are the same, victim and culprit alike. The only difference is the exact measure of violence and rage one is capable of. This was and still is a man’s world!
“We are a generation of men raised by women. I am wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.” Tyler Durden (Chuck Palahniuk’s ‘Fight Club’)