Brahman Naman & The Trouble With Tharak

Pop Culture

Brahman Naman & The Trouble With Tharak

Illustration: Namaah/ Arré

I

n a scene from Q’s Brahman Naman, the protagonist Naman and his two friends are sitting on a pavement in Bangalore, watching a woman and her little sister pass by. The setting is the early 1980s, a time when the city could still pass off as a small town. The sequence is shot in slow motion – the three men transfixed as their eyes hover, like a drunk fly, from the woman’s legs to her thighs, to her derrière, reducing her to various anatomical parts, both seen and imagined. In other words, a classic case of “objectification”, and what men would invariably term “checking the girl out”. As for me, shifting from checking a woman out during my teens, to calling it objectification when I am almost pushing middle age, is where I think I grew up.

I was raised in Nagpur during the late decades of the 1990s. Our collective reality comprised of a sleepy residential area, lined by trees, the avenues favoured by old men for evening walks in the colony. The town’s slowness was punctured only by the constant complaints of aunties about their useless sons and morally ambiguous daughters during weekend kitty parties, while our dads instilled in us the qualities of being born a Brahmin, the twice-born caste. Away from the gaze of our parents, my friends and I did what most teenagers do. We frequented seedy bars, bought cigarettes, and lusted after the body of Jennifer Lopez, whose “Waiting For Tonight” was pushing our testosterone to maddening levels.

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