ALTBalaji Gandi Baat Review
08 May

ALTBalaji Gandi Baat Review: Oh, the agony! Ekta Kapoor’s oeuvre of K-titled sanskari dopamine will, in retrospect, feel like waxed realism when you are done with this. What am I talking about? Here is a little precursor: A husband rides home on his motorbike and finds a man harassing his wife on the verandah of his house. In contrast to the sinusoidal fluctuation of anger and hostility, he calmly unzips his pants and sternly pees on the floor, his face a matter of resolute masculinity throughout. You can tell a lot about a man, by the way he pees, I guess. “Jaanwar jo hai naa moot k apna ilaaka btate hain. Toh hum tumhey btaa rahe hain k ye humara ilaaka hai”, the husband says to the intruder whose sense of ennui has visibly lifted at that point. This, three minutes and two sex scenes in, into an episode the ALT Balaji series Gandii Baat: Urban stories from Rural India.

A poster of Gandi Baat. Twitter@ALTBalaji

The first episode titled Threesome, situated perhaps in a Haryanavi village, has at its centre a woman and two men, one of them named Doodhnaath endearingly called Doodhiya. Doodhiya, as per the episode summary a ‘master of his own free will’, is upended by Namvar who pees him into the ignominy of retreat. But Doodhiya is not one to relent in his pursuit of his neighbour’s wife Gunja a woman who despite the rustic, rural setting has a kickass, grunge washtub to herself. Doodhiya, meanwhile, has a girlfriend of his own to boot and a snazzy job as a salesman of braziers. As for Namvar, competent though he may be with his pee-evasive tactics, is accounted for in a dysfunctional capacity from the waist down, if you know what I mean. One man’s mango becomes another man’s apple or something like that as Namvar comes to fall for Doodhiya, and his falling of his wife simultaneously and they end up in a heap, quite literally.

Gandii Baat abounds with naughty, odd and hair-raising sounds and voices. It feels like and audiotape of professionally faked sex sounds played over the reading of a Biology textbook. It uses verbal abuse, all of it sexist obviously, to claustrophobic effect amounting almost to a vomit spill of the mind. The series’ second episode titled Tharki Buddha zooms in on BDSM to the degree that vice turns into  blood thirst of sorts, and orgasms become the new the oil, land, food, money or whatever you care to fight for. The last episode titled Preeto Rani is unreservedly underlined by the slogan ‘Preeto deti nahi, leti hai’ and is implied as literal, without intended mala fide.

 ALTBalaji Gandi Baat Review

Besides the bed-crunching acoustics, the sinuously ordained mammaries and abs that pop in and out of the series, the protuberance of a sex-inflated social order is charming, inasmuch as a bee sting on the forehead is. Such are the stakes of an orgasm that father and son turn on each other, inexplicably for a share of the same pie. A woman indelicately sidesteps her aged, copiously browbeaten husband to roll over and under men like cheese through the graters at Pizza Hut. All that would have been acceptable had the socio-economic setting not acted as a catalyst to the cringe. Wherein lies the series’ problem, its sickening tonality in what is a gross manipulation of the rural hinterlands.

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Extending the abrasive sexuality of Anurag  Kashyap’s films as an arc to lift your writing by is one thing, but to distance yourself from its moments reckoning is another. It then becomes Savitababhi meets Penthouse in a Gangs of Wasseypur world. For some reason, Piyush Mishra features as a narrator in this as well. Gandii Baat may have just invented a category for porn, a rural setting for the excesses of urbanity; whips and schoolgirl costumes next to cattle and its feed, the hoarseness of the local dialect alongside the smoothened, gradual fall of the camera’s lens along a woman’s curves. While the countryside, the village, the gaon is sexualised its purgatorial claim on those who might experience guilt is nullified by doing things the way they are done in cities, all so you can be in control. A little role-play, some inoffensive chicanery and a hint of malevolence in everyone’s eyes, all shown through the horrific, objectifying lens of the urban cameramen. This is crass re-colonisation of the mind.

Talking about sex or contextualising it for entertainment cannot be denied. The porn industry all over the world, except for a few exceptions, does an okay job with it. But to porn-ify a demographic, and inject it with vice, without universalising it is dangerous, almost criminal. I laughed throughout the series but never escaped its hideousness, its offensive manipulation of the status quo, both in terms of gender and class.

It is tonally disastrous, with no idea of what it wants to be – soft-porn or just a crude anthology of hard life stories. Shockingly, in its quest to amplify vice, it foregoes entirely the idea of love. According to Gandii Baat, two people, or three, or four, come together only for orgasms. That would be true of a porn film, unless ALTBalaji were always aiming for that. From showing ass-cracks to dildos, the series pushes the envelope, but only on sensitivity and nonsense. It is crude, surreally misplaced, mis-thought, reviling and plain stupid. It makes the early years of Ekta Kapoor look like realist fairytales instead of the atrocity of memory they have become over the years. But something tells me people will watch, though I hope they do, like me, out of curiosity to know how bad can a thing be. Source