‘Simmba’ Trivialises the Law and Even Ranveer Can’t Make That Cool
The film’s glorification of fake encounters crosses a line and proudly so.
Just as I began applauding Rohit Shetty’s latest entertainer Simmba for delivering a ‘mind-ijj-blowing’ message to men (and their fragile egos) about respecting us damsels, came the film’s facepalm worthy twist.
Beware! Major spoilers ahead.
The Shetty universe is black and white, because frankly, grey needs patience. And who are we kidding? The popcorn isn’t going to sell itself outside a dull court saga. To put it simply, it takes a big pump of testosterone, a few flying goons and a thumping “POLICE POLICE POLICE” soundtrack to drive home the message that rapists don’t deserve reform, or even a trial for that matter. No case, no court, seedha encounter. Toxic masculinity served with toxic Singham-ness.
But wait, this sounds a bit too real, no? Maybe the director got his inspiration from the recent fake encounters in Manipur, where even after the Supreme Court ordered 81 FIRs, the CBI registered only 5 against the CRPF and state police (that too after much delay).
Or maybe, he read about the Aligarh encounter where cops invited journalists to catch them in action, no less than Shetty’s blockbuster surely. Not to forget, the murky encounter deaths of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Kausar Bi, which according to a special CBI court were collateral damage in a bigger political game, could have triggered the brainwave.
Fake encounter statistics in Uttar Pradesh alone are alarming enough. According to a PTI report, almost 50 criminals have been killed in allegedly fake shootouts in the last year, since Yogi Adityanath stepped in as the CM.
No, I'm not trying to intellectualise the Rohit Shetty universe. But in his message masala maar ke, I think he loses sight of exactly why we're not a police state (thankfully!).
But what Shetty’s message boils down to is the liberty that Simmba rests gloriously in the hands of a corrupt officer, all backed by a no-brainer plot (and a fairly clear-cut rape charge). But reality begs to differ.
Simmba made me wonder - I’m a woman, shouldn’t I salute Rohit Shetty’s rage alongside Simmba’s girlfriend and his adopted mother and sisters? Shouldn’t I endorse his staged encounter as a quick solution to the growing menace? Maybe. But I don’t. Let me explain why.
Though I blew whistles when Ranveer Singh gave it to the baddies for justifying their crime with “usne mera male ego hurt kiya”, but belittling the legal framework for a false sense of pride is far fetched to say the least.
Shetty somewhat redeems himself by giving the lady judge some screen time to lecture mothers about raising their sons right. I wish his formula served more of what to do right, than wrong.
Ranveer throws rape statistics at the judge along with a sentimental what-if-she-was-your-daughter. But dear Mr Lion King, unlike you, a rape survivor doesn’t have to be my friend, sister, mother or daughter for me to be enraged and scared at the same time.
And let us for just a second, revisit your motivation behind choosing this line of work - easy money. But see how Mr Shetty justifies that with the I-am-an-orphan backstory?
I rallied for Nirbhaya along with millions of men and women. I also stand in favour of having a death sentence for rape, but after an impartial trial.
The film’s glorification of fake encounters crosses a line and proudly so. Sitting in the audience, what Simmba (and eventually Singham) are saying to me is that if I don’t act upon my rage, I’m either a coward or responsible in every way for the deeply faulty system that allows rapists to get away with murder. Actually, that’s what made me squirm.
The sure-shot blockbuster ends on the note that we need more officers like Simmba and Singham, who believe in the tit-for-tat kind of justice. But it seems Shetty saw this criticism coming from the likes of me. He tries his best to validate his trigger happy climax by showing a bunch of women urge Simmba to avenge his sister’s death, even if it means making a complete mockery of the law.
Simmba plays into the instant-ness of our environment, blatantly saying that the law is a mere technicality, to be done away with by corrupt turned righteous police officers, however vague that concept might be. Why bother finding evidence to prove the crime in court when all that matters is what Simmba believes? Easier to just commit a lesser crime and still come out hero, no? That definitely made me squirm.
The story ends on the note that we need more officers like Simmba and Singham, who believe in the tit-for-tat kind of justice. That for sure is the wrong message to give, no matter how much popcorn it sells.
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