March links: Remembering Suzette Jordan, the India’s Daughter fracas, Jerry Seinfeld and more

Why Suzette Jordan’s voice mattered:

Suzette Jordan leaves an enormous absence, but hopefully, it’s one that we will fill with the necessary conversations about how to survive as a woman in a society that’s being struck by a backlash against women who are wriggling out from under patriarchy’s thumb. Our statistics for violence against women may not seem as bad as those of countries like America, but the levels of misinformation and victim-blaming in India are depressingly high. We need to talk about rape and harassment responsibly and sensitively, so that understanding is furthered instead of stigma.

In the cacophony surrounding violence against Indian women, we need more voices like Suzette’s. Voices that are clear, loud and unashamed. Voices that will start conversations, not fights. As long as we don’t let ourselves be gagged by fear, in our ordinariness lies our strength. Suzette Jordan taught us that.

Rest in peace.

March also saw a massive controversy erupt over India’s Daughter, a painfully mediocre documentary on the December 16 gang rape. Why the government wanted to ban it, is a mystery since the decision to do so made India look far more idiotic than the documentary itself.

Continuing the trend of politicians making Onion-worthy comments, Sadhvi Prachi urged India to boycott the Khans. I wrote this:

I’m disappointed that while lashing out at Bollywood, Sadhvi Prachi didn’t point out that there is a film out in theatres now that stars a Khurrana instead of a Khan, and is just the film that should warm all our hearts, regardless of our political leanings. Dum Laga ke Haisha could become the Hindutva brigade’s favourite film, the one to screen at annual general gatherings and at indoctrination camps.

Starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pendekar (note: good Hindu names), the film is set in the Hindu, holy city Haridwar. It has no violence, if you ignore minor details like a husband and wife slapping each other and a young man threatening to set himself on fire. Because hey, if it doesn’t have stunts and fake blood, it’s not real violence, ok? Liberals, make a kachori of emotional violence and stuff your faces with it.

The film’s hero is a young man who is deeply committed to his shakha, a gathering of men in shorts (and khaki sweaters) who meet in the morning and do PE together. If that doesn’t bring a single tear to the eyes of everyone with an RSS background, I don’t know what will. And the cherry on the cake: there’s a sub-plot in Dum Laga ke Haishaabout the hero’s aunt that is bound to make Sadhvi Prachi and gang choke up with emotion. The aunt was married as a child to a gentleman who sent her back to her family without any explanation. While she lives with her brother, hoping against hope that her husband will want her back, her husband goes on tirth-yatra (tours of pilgrimage spots). Surely this angle in Dum Laga ke Haisha will give Jashodaben Modi the warm fuzzies?

Read the whole piece hereDum Laga ke Haisha was absolutely adorable, though I had a few niggling issues with it. That, though, is just me being nitpicky. It was a charming little film and it did well at the box office. Yay!

Jerry Seinfeld was supposed to have a show in India, but it got cancelled at the last minute. Before it got cancelled, however, I got a chance to interview him. So that was pretty interesting.

Most of the films from March were pretty meh: FocusCinderella, Hunterrr

The ones that I did find myself liking (unexpectedly) were NH10 and The Second Best Exotic Marigold HotelThey don’t get much more dissimilar than that.

There weren’t too many releases in March since the cricket World Cup had everyone’s attention. I haven’t actually watched a single cricket match in years, but such was the cricket fever that even I ended up writing a piece on an India-Australia match. Only this one was held in Mumbai, in a film called Awwal Number.

February links: Bad films, good films, Oscar grump, literary feuds and more.

I’d like to hold this wretched heat responsible for the fact that I completely forgot to put up links of published articles for the past couple of months. The way the temperature’s been rising, the only logical explanation for Mumbai’s weather is here in this Instagram post. But let us rewind to when the temperatures were less harsh and when less of my brain had molten into slush. Here are the links from February.

Reviews of Shamitabh, Badlapur, Qissa and a running commentary of watching Roy‘s first-day-first-show. February was Oscar season, so here’s what we saw in the theatres from the list of nominees: Mr. Turner, Wild Tales, The Grand Budapest Hotel, American SniperThe Imitation Game, Wild, Whiplash, Boyhood. The big winner, ultimately, was Birdman and I wrote about the predictability of Oscar wins. In case it wasn’t obvious, I preferred Boyhood.

There was an odd programme on the History of Sex on television, which I wrote about here.

I know it’s fashionable to feel outraged these days — and considering all that’s happening around us, it seems we’re all en vogue, regardless of our political and cultural orientation — but MSG was the next level of shamelessness. Here’s a sample of my rant about MSG.

I’d like to imagine that in a culture that values aesthetics and creativity, the critical establishment would ignore MSGentirely. Singh has every right to make it, just as his fans and admirers have every right to see it. However, when we as critics consider MSG worthy of a review, we’re giving cinema a bad name. And it’s unfair because MSG is not a film. It’s propaganda.

But caged as we are today by the need to follow trends and the conviction that growth is judged quantitatively and not qualitatively, MSG is a film. With each review that we write, we’re validating Singh, with his non-existent cinematic skills and dubious intents, as a film director. When we say that his film is laugh-out-loud funny, we’re unwittingly putting him in a category that includes real comedic talent and ranges from the silly slapstick of Padosan, the black comedy of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, the mischief of Chupke Chupke, the goofy stupidity of Andaz Apna Apna and the crackle of Hera Pheri. No wonder Singh grins at us leerily through his unkempt beard. Now there are more people who know him as a director and actor than as one accused of rape, murder and possession of illegal arms. Everyone who laughed at MSG, the joke’s on you.

You can read the whole thing here.

Speaking of outrage, Bhalchandra Nemade and Salman Rushdie had an online spat of sorts. I couldn’t help but say a prayer of thanks that writers are, in fact, lunatics and wrote this piece looking back at literary feuds.

My personal favourite literary feud, however, is from 2008, between Derek Walcott and Naipaul. Naipaul had observed that only Walcott’s early work showed talent so Walcott responded by writing a poem for and about Naipaul, titled “The Mongoose”. You can hear Walcott recite it here.  It includes lines like, “The old mongoose, still making money as a burnt out comic”

What’s worth noting in all these examples is that the authors fought (sometimes viciously), but these incidents didn’t take on proportions that intimidated either party. If anything, the provocative statements encouraged debate and discussion. There were no silences because of these feuds; only conversations that were louder and more passionate.

Read about other, more scandalous author squabbles here.

Fifty Shades of Grey didn’t get a release in India, so I took a walk down memory lane and realised Bollywood romances are kinkier than you’d think.

Freedom of Expression, Indian style

Even if you live under a rock, you’ve heard of AIB Knockout, a roast of Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, hosted by Karan Johar and conceived by the comedy collective All India Bakchod. The live event was held in December last year and at the end of January, AIB released a set of three videos that gave everyone a glimpse of what went down that night. As you might be able to tell from this piece I wrote, the aesthetics of a roast aren’t exactly my cup of tea. 

However, that doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and file a police complaint against them. Because only an idiotic ego maniac would do something like that and because AIB showed excellent form by taking all criticism cheerfully on the chin and not pouting or sulking in response. Some, like censor board member Ashoke Pandit, responded to the tasteless jokes in AIB Knockout with remarks that were equally (if not more) tasteless. But hey, it’s a free country. If Pandit wants to let us all know just how crass he is — and not in a closed-door performance as those in AIB Knockout were, but on a public platform where he’s just being honest and himself — that’s his call.  

Unfortunately, the matter snowballed rapidly. Two organisations — one Hindu and another Christian — filed complaints because they found AIB Knockout offensive. Given below is the piece I wrote in response to the idea that AIB needs to be gagged because they’re offensive. As of now, Maharashtra’s ministry of cultural affairs is believed to be investigating the matter while the police are supposed to figure out whether the complaints are valid and worth pursuing. Meanwhile, we learnt that the censor board wanted to beep out “Bombay” from a song. The former editor of Urdu newspaper Avadhnama was victimised viciously for printing a Charlie Hebdo cartoon and then, a newspaper vendor was arrested in Mumbai for selling Avadhnama. The only joke here is being made at the expense of freedom of expression in India. 

This piece was first published on

Spare a thought for Akhilesh Tiwari of Brahman Ekta Seva Sanstha. The YouTube videos of mata ki chowkis organised by his organisation last year have had 21, six and eight views respectively. And then there’s AIB Knockout, with a million views in about 12 hours. It’s got to hurt. Yesterday, Tiwari emerged out of obscurity when he filed a written complaint against Karan Johar, Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh for their performance in AIB Knockout. (It seems Tiwari missed the detail that the show was scripted and Johar, Kapoor and Singh were not the scriptwriters.) “The show, which can be seen on YouTube and other websites, was extremely abusive and it is not only ruining the clean image of the Indian culture & women but is also misleading today’s youth,” complained Tiwari.

Let’s face it. The nation’s image is no laughing matter and arguably, Tiwari is doing his bit for the nation much like the Bengali gent in PVR Mumbai’s social service ad, who collects discarded Indian flags and sounds like he was dropped on his head as a baby. Coming back to our national image, last month it was reported that the number of foreign tourists coming to India grew by only four percent. Why? Because women tourists don’t feel it’s safe to travel in India after the growing incidents of rape and molestation against locals as well as foreigners. It appears approximately 30 percent of total foreign tourists are women, and this significant percentage seems to be skipping India entirely.

Now what if the few foreign women who are planning to visit India end up watching AIB Knockout? Some may want to see if they can catch an AIB show during their holiday, but surely the truly good women will feel outraged by the sexist humour and cancel their tickets? And yes, of course it would be far more constructive to actually raise awareness about women’s issues and help improve the law and order situation so that everyone feels and actually is more secure, but that’s hard work and takes time. Outrage is so much easier and it’s good for the soul — with one written complaint, you feel like you’re doing something, for women, the nation, our millenia-old culture, the universe. And then you can go back to organising the next mata ki chowki.

Considering the fact that Tiwari is acting in national interest, I think the rest of us should take the torch from him and continue his campaign against those who say offensive rubbish. For instance, there’s Baba Ramdev, India’s bearded motormouth, best known for possessing a stomach that can roil like a waterbed and making millions out of people’s ignorance. According to Ramdev, homosexuality is a disease for which he has a yoga-flavoured fix and AIDS is curable. All it takes is some deep breathing and “herbal medicine” manufactured and sold by properties owned by Ramdev. This is not a joke. It’s a serious claim made by a man who was nominated for the third highest civilian award in India. One of the pills being sold at Ramdev’s outlets is a fertility pill named Putrajeevak Beej, which translates to “the seed that creates a son”. For reasons best known to Ramdev, the pill isn’t called Santanjeevak Beej (santan meaning child) or Putrijeevak Beej (putri meaning daughter).

Perhaps it’s the beard and squinty-eyed stare that lends gravitas to his utterances, but that Baba Ramdev, with his distasteful and unscientific claims, numerous criminal cases and hateful opinions, is considered worthy of the Padma Bhushan is infinitely more damaging to India’s image than any comedic routine.

As far as saying outrageous things in public, AIB have a long way to go before they can even hope to give competition to our politicians. Remember the former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar? His response to a drought-hit farmer going on hunger strike and demanding water was, “He has been fasting for the last 55 days. If there is no water in the dam, how can we release it? Should we urinate into it? If there is no water to drink, even urination is not possible.” That, incidentally, was Pawar cracking a joke. Suddenly, AIB Knockout, abuse-flecked as it may be, seems almost comfortingly good-natured, doesn’t it? While on the subject of farmers in Maharashtra, the current state government has cleared field trials for genetically modified crops. If you want a joke about helping Indian farmers, this move is it. GM seeds are expensive, destroy the soil and effectively shackle the farmer to the big corporation, but that’s ok. The national image is intact, so presumably we’re not supposed to care.

If you’re really looking for statements made in public that damage the clean image of India, there’s much, much more. Here’s a sample. In a bid to make people feel protected, TMC’s Tapas Pal said at a rally that the party’s “boys” will go and rape women at his command. Speaking of which, who can forget Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh Yadavdismissing rape as a “boys will be boys” mistake? Or Pravin Togadia of the VHP, who recommended forcibly evicting Muslims and taking over their property. “Go with stones, tyres and tomatoes to his office,” urged Togadia. “There is nothing wrong in it. Killers of Rajiv Gandhi have not been hanged … there is nothing to fear and the case will go on.”

As far as Brahman Ekta Seva Sanstha vs Karan Johar, Arjun Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and AIB is concerned, the good news is that the state government of Maharashtra appears be aware that there are more pressing matters on its agenda than English stand up comedy. In an interview to Mumbai Mirror, the cultural affairs minister Vinod Tawde made it quite clear that he doesn’t really care what was said in the roast as long as the event had all the necessary permissions. However, this probe into whether AIB Knockout had its paperwork in order is separate from the inquiry that the police is required to undertake since Tiwari has lodged a formal complaint with them.

Still, if the likes of Amit Shah can get away with an apology after being accused of hate speech and Niranjana Jyoti can become a minister after calling non-Hindus “haramzaadon” (bastards), the targets of Tiwari’s outrage should be fine. To quote Togadia, “there is nothing to fear and the case will go on.”

Of Mann ki Baat and respecting women

I wrote this after listening to the joint radio broadcast by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama.

What’s ironic about Modi saying Obama’s life is inspirational is not just that it really is so, but that most of the BJP would probably gawp in horror at the idea of a single mother like Obama’s and a wife as independent as Michelle.
Consequently the Indian prime minister, deferring perhaps to BJP’s ingrained chauvinism, ignored those aspects and instead turned the spotlight on the comfortable and conventional: Obama being a proud father. In the process, Modi lost sight of the fact that valuing daughters begins long before a child is conceived. It begins with considering women to be more than childbearing vessels. If you don’t respect women, you will not value a daughter — it’s as simple as that. And therein lies the crucial contradiction that lies at the heart of the well-meaning meaning campaigns against female infanticide and promoting women’s health and education.

You can read the whole article here. Unsurprisingly, not to many right-wingers liked it, which meant a lot of abuse, threats and bile. But one of the last comments did catch my eye when I was copy-pasting from Firstpost to put it here.

“She [i.e. yours truly] is just misusing a public platform to write bullshit feminist concepts from her own imagination. She is continuing her work of irritating people with her absurd ideas. And she thinks she is bringing a revolution here. What a crap article man.”

I almost want to pat this commenter and give them a lollipop. A tart-flavoured one, that is.

Remembering RK Laxman

This was first published on

The year 1957 was both important and unremarkable for India. Jawaharlal Nehru was the prime minister of the country. The States Reorganisation Act had been passed the year before and India was now organised along linguistic lines. The now-dismantled Planning Commission’s second Five Year Plan for the young nation was in motion. In 1957, the second Lok Sabha was elected, five years after the first. An interesting bit of trivia about the general elections of 1957: although Nehru’s Congress won easily, a significant 19.3 percent of the votes went to independent candidates. Fittingly, in the same year that the little guys got the vote and the littler voters had their say, RK Laxman’s Common Man was born.

By the time he created the Common Man, who shares a startling though superficial resemblance to BJP’s LK Advani, Laxman was a well-known cartoonist. He’d been working with The Times of India for 10 years, his cartoons had been appearing on the front page of the newspaper and he had created the iconic mascot Gattu for Asian Paints in 1954. Common Man, however, would be Laxman’s lasting legacy — a character that was neither brave nor cowardly, but a witness who dealt with the absurdity and hypocrisy of Indian politics with silent wit rather than despair. When Laxman was asked if he found politics amusing, he replied that there was no option but to scavenge amusement from it.
“Frankly, our politics is so sad that if I had not been a cartoonist, I would have committed suicide,” he’d said.

Born in 1921 in Mysore, Laxman belonged to an era that saw a number of brilliant names emerge from this princely state. Its rulers may have been autocratic, but they patronised the arts, culture and education.
“In its pomp, which ran roughly from 1910 to 1945, the state of Mysore was a very interesting place indeed,” wrote historian Ramachandra Guha in an article. “In those years, if you were young, talented, and ambitious, and if you had the luck to be born in the State, you might go a very long way in this world.”

Laxman grew up as the youngest of four brothers and two sisters. One of his elder brothers was the beloved novelist RK Narayan. Photographer TS Satyan, poet and folklorist AK Ramanujan, veena player Doreswami Iyengar — these were some of the people growing up with Laxman in Mysore. At home, his mother was a brilliant chess player and the teller of fantastic stories that Laxman loved hearing. His father bought foreign magazines in which little Laxman first noticed clever cartoons.

Though he had no formal training in either draughtsmanship or cartooning, Laxman’s only interest was in drawing and his natural gift was evident from his early days. There’s a famous story of how as a boy he drew a peepul leaf that astonished his class teacher with its sophistication. As a student in Mysore’s Maharaja College, Laxman illustrated his brother’s novels and did little drawings for local papers. After college, he spent a few months in Chennai working on an animated film, and went to Delhi, hoping for a job with The Hindustan Times but they found him too young and inexperienced.

The not-yet-21 Laxman had dreams of becoming an artist and so after his encounter with The Hindustan Times, he came to Mumbai and applied to JJ School of Arts, but was rejected. As Laxman himself observed later, it had felt like a blow then but in hindsight, it was a blessing in disguise.
“If I had been accepted and had graduated clutching a diploma in art perhaps I would not have become the cartoonist that I had become,” Laxman would say later, mixing barb and humour perfectly in his words as he did in his cartoons. “I would most likely have been languishing in some corner of an advertising agency, drawing visuals for mosquito repellants or pretty faces for ladies cosmetics, or chubby babies to promote vitamin foods, perhaps bearing the name ‘Crunchy, munchy, Vita biscuits’.”

Instead, Laxman joined first Free Press Journal as a cartoonist in 1946 (and famously, sat next to Bal Thackeray). A fallout with the bosses saw him leaving the paper after a few months and entering The Times of India building in 1947, where he would become something of a fixture for more than five decades. Methodical and disciplined, Laxman stuck to a strict routine for most of his working life. Rajdeep Sardesai remembers walking in to the office as a young journalist in his twenties and seeing Laxman, then in his seventies, at his desk. By this time, Laxman was a legend and well-established as India’s most beloved cartoonist, but that didn’t keep him from doing sticking to his schedule and doing his homework.

Although he is best known for having created the Common Man, the ironic truth is that much of Laxman’s sharp insight and unwavering confidence to lay bare the truth came from the cartoonist being anything but ordinary. Financially, Laxman may have seen his share of difficulties — his father passed away when Laxman was a boy and this pushed the family into dire straits. His elder brothers made sure Laxman’s schooling wasn’t interrupted — but he came from a background of privilege, culturally speaking. His mother may not have known English, but she played badminton.

Laxman had studied at the Maharaja College, and could comfortably hold his own with people like philosopher Bertrand Russell and poet TS Eliot. There aren’t too many people who can say they told a world leader as formidable as Margaret Thatcher, “You should have been a cartoonist rather than a prime minister.” (She was trying to give him cartooning tips.)
When Indira Gandhi was offended by his cartoons, in the Emergency era, Laxman could actually make an appointment to meet Gandhi and tell her, point blank, that as a cartoonist, he needed the freedom to insult and ridicule. Unsurprisingly, Gandhi didn’t agree but Laxman’s solution was to move temporarily to the Mauritius — not an option for most common men. He returned to India when elections were declared.

Like his novelist brother, Laxman didn’t use his privilege to cut himself off from uncomfortable truths. His sense of identity was firmly rooted in being Indian and standing shoulder to shoulder with the common Indian even if he didn’t really belong to that demographic. Laxman spent hours every day poring through news reports. People wrote him letters, telling him of their troubles as though he could, with his cartoonist’s pen, fix everything.

“I received letters complaining about postal delays, telephones, the sloppiness of municipal authorities, inflated electric bills, bribes in school admissions,” Laxman recounted once. “One such letter pleaded, ‘Please halt the 47 Down train at XXX for a few minutes to save me the bother of waiting four hours for the next one to go home from the office’.”

Of course, Laxman couldn’t fix anything and he was piercingly aware of this, but still he drew and he watched, peering at what was happening from behind the Common Man’s glasses and unthreatening demeanour. Laxman cleverly took aspects of politicians’ physical appearances and exaggerated them in a way that reflected the reality of their decisions and attitudes. So Indira Gandhi had a violently hooked nose that made her look distinctly predatory. With her son, Rajiv, Laxman said that it was more difficult because he was so handsome. “Of course, I got plenty of inspiration for my cartoons from his actions,” Laxman said.

In the frames of his cartoon, liars could be exposed and the powerful had nowhere to run. Laxman sliced politicians’ doublespeak to shreds repeatedly, but at the same time, his cartoons maintained that fine, polite tone that made it impossible for anyone to point fingers at him for rudeness. He also knew that his work, popular as it may be, wasn’t going to lead to a social revolution.

“I have been working away at these cartoons for over a quarter of a century now, and I do not think that I can show a single instance of changing the mind of a politician from taking a mad course,” he had written once. “If I had lashed at granite with a feather with the single-minded zeal as I have bestowed on my work, by now I would, perhaps, have been able to show some faint feather marks on the rock . . . but not a trace of a dent have my cartoons caused in any sphere of human activity, whether social, economic or political.”

This didn’t stop Laxman from drawing his cartoons, but it is no coincidence that his Common Man has never spoken a word.

Seeing the crises that India, politics and freedom of expression have faced in the past decades, Laxman’s observation is painfully true. However, at the same time, if there was ever a time when we needed the sharpness of Laxman’s vision and the unwavering and unbiased honesty of his Common Man, it is perhaps today. Fortunately or unfortunately, far too many of RK Laxman’s old cartoons feel hilariously and painfully pertinent even today. In an age of paid news, hate speech and propaganda, we need that scruffy-haired, neatly dressed gent to be a national conscience more than ever.

Links: Oscar hopefuls, Paddington, Dolly ki Doli and more

Click for my reviews of

Tevar (ghastly. No seriously, it’s ghastly)

Big Eyes (terribly disappointing, particularly since you’d Tim Burton would be in his element in this biopic. Sadly, no.)

The Imitation Game (who knew Alan Turing had a whole lotta Sherlock in him?)

(which should have been called Aiaiyo. Deeply homophobic and generally meh.)

American Sniper (so many problems, but so very watchable.)

Paddington (warning: you will find yourself eating marmalade after watching this film.)

Dolly ki Doli (just not fun enough)

Baby (which should have been called Indian Sniper.)

Khamoshiyan (worse than Creature 3D.)

Links: Ram ke Naam, Kareena Kapoor as the face of love jihad, Sonakshi vs Sonam

It’s interesting to compare Sonakshi Sinha to another star kid with a pretty face, Sonam Kapoor. Had Kapoor chosen roles that required her to only bat her eyelashes and not display any acting skills, her films might actually have been easier to sit through because they wouldn’t be as disappointing or frustrating. However, unlike Sinha, Kapoor has consistently chosen to play smart, independent-minded characters who have a role to play in the plot. (It’s another matter that Kapoor has also massacred these parts because she is a singularly bad actor.)

Kapoor could have settled for being celluloid eye candy, but she’s resisted that mould even though she doesn’t appear to have the talent to back her choices. Unlike Sinha, she’s pushing herself and even if it was a home production, the fact is Kapoor was the lead in Khoobsurat. Sinha might seem to be the more marketable heroine, but the choices she’s made have crippled her professionally. She’s someone who can be replaced by another pretty face, rather than an actress who can be the star of a film.

Curiously, this appears to be what precisely Sinha wants for herself professionally.

Read the entire piece here.

Meanwhile, one actress appears to have caught the Hindutva brigade’s fancy. Kareena Kapoor has been nominated the ambassador of love jihad by Durga Vahini’s magazine, Himalaya Dhwani. 

Speaking of the Hindutva brigade, Anand Patwardhan’s Ram ke Naam is a must-see.

If it is indeed true that those who consider themselves custodians of Hinduism are the ones standing against Ram ke Naam, then we need to dig a double grave because irony just died along with common sense. Anyone who is a devout Hindu should work actively to make sure this film is seen because it distinguishes those who believe in Hinduism from those who swear by Hindutva.

It’s a distinction that bears repeating as Patwardhan shows how callously political parties either turn a blind eye to riots and other acts perverting our fundamental rights or actively encourage them.

The ones who will find Ram ke Naam thoroughly uncomfortable viewing are political parties like VHP and BJP, along with their supporters. The fact that LK Advani went on record to say his 1990 rath yatra would not be cause communal riots is placed alongside the numbers of people killed in violent incidents that followed Advani’s trail. VHP would probably be embarrassed by Patwardhan revealing its old financial scandals. Patwardhan doesn’t pull his punches and armed with research and testimonies, the filmmaker points fingers at godmen and politicians who have exploited religion for power and personal gain.

From footage of riot victims to political rallies to the voices of the common people who bear the brunt of these vicious strategies, it’s all in Ram ke Naam.

Read the rest of my piece here. And watch the film: