WTF ASIA 207: Brij Mohan Amar Rahe (2018)

 

At some point, this was considered the WORST Indian movie that Netflix ever made. Perhaps it still is. And…okay, yeah…

Yoodlee Films becomes the only one to have original films on two video  streaming platforms.

Available in AustraliaCanadaFrancethe Netherlandsthe United Kingdomthe United States, and perhaps a few other countries. Approximately 100 minutes.

 

 

 

Inspired By True Events, eh? This should be fun.

 

This is Brij Mohan Gupta currently telling his wife on the phone that he is not buying more perfume for her. He also claims to be busy with a customer at work while he is actually urinating on the side of a building. Close enough, right?

In voice-over, Brij provides his view on life. It is unpredictable: some days he fucks with everyone while on other days life fucks him over. But life is great if you have…luck and fuck…uh…yeah.

Speaking of fuck, Brij is at his lingerie store doing some sort of roleplay thing with his girlfriend, Simmi. She is pretending to be Russian and then…uh…they have sex while she moans out references to Russian things.

After some post-sex banter, Brij receives a call. Simmi answers it…oops: it is from his wife, Sweetty.

Brij goes home and Sweetty complains that she had been trying to call him for three house. And who was that girl? A customer? Uh huh. Also, Sweetty had put a blanket over Brij’s grandfather, who seems unable to talk or move much. Now Brij is also upset.

So, why did Sweetty want Brij to come home? So that he could take a selfie of her. Erm…that would a regular photograph. She removes her robe to reveal…erm…that she is was wearing clothes underneath, but Brij is freaked out enough to put the blanket back over his grandfather. I didn’t mention before about Brij expressing delight that Simmi would get naked for sex while Sweetty would just lift up her sari, so Brij’s hypocrisy here has multiple levels.

Anyways, Brij demands that Sweetty have respect for grandfather’s age. Sweetty counters that she deserves some respect after having looked after both Brij and his grandfather for eight years. Anyways, she wants to send a photo to the Weightover weight-loss program. And they are offering a 20% on the best before and after photo. Of course, Brij is to pay for this. Brij has nothing but contempt for this, but I guess that Sweetty coerces into taking pictures with the implication that she will just get a neighbor to do it.

Some time later, Brij runs over to his car to prevent it from getting towed. Apparently, he is behind in payments to the bank, and has been avoiding their notices. But, he manages to bribe the truck driver to hold off the towing for another day. Lucky him.

Brij goes to a “friend” named Suri to ask for money. Suri refuses to simply give him money, but offers to offload some gowns that he claims are in demand due to a famous movie star wearing the design. Sure, Brij runs a lingerie shop, but Suri argues that this is a chance to do something better, and that the ladies will line up to buy. He could buy 125 for 20,000 each, sell them for 40,000, and then he will be 2.5 million in profit. Of course, Brij will need to pony up 2.5 million first, which he does not have. So, Suri refers Brij to a man named Raghu.

Brij goes to meet Raghu in his office. After ending a call with someone whose finger he had apparently cut off, Raghu tells Brij that his 2.5 million loan has been pre-approved. He gets another call and…uh…leaves. Nothing to discuss, just five stacks of cash for Brij to take. Oh, wait. One thing to discuss. Brij needs to pay an installment on the fifth of every month. How much? Who knows? Brij goes back to Suri’s to buy the gowns…and get a free phone that Suri offered with the deal.  

After dreaming of…erm…well, anyways, Brij wakes up to Sweetty telling him that her photograph came in first with Weightower, so they will charge only 20,000 for the weight loss and 60,000 for dimples. Hmmm…Brij argues that he does not have that money. What? That is two gowns-worth of money. Sweety counters that she is not asking for the money, just warning him that she will withdraw it from his savings account tomorrow. Brij reminds her that that account is for emergencies, but Sweetty snaps. Emergencies like the gold cap on his tooth? Gold rings? Smartphones? A wheelchair? Those gowns? She says that she should have accepted the marriage proposal from a man named Malhotra, who is running a successful business.

And with that, Brij fucking strangles Sweetty Egads…oh, he is just imagining it. Erm…yeah, that’s okay then. It would certainly be bad if he were to…uh…kill someone. Anyways…

Two women come into the shop and are unimpressed by Brij’s sales pitch. They are looking for another type of gown that was worn by a different movie star and is on billboards all over the place. Contemptuous of Brij’s ignorance regarding what they want, they leave for another store.

Dang…the first day is not going so well…wait…it has been a WEEK? And he has sold NONE? And his assistant tells him that three other women that had asked for that other gown since morning. After looking around the city for a bit and visiting another shop, he returns to his store and has his assistant put all of the gowns in the car. They are going back to Suri’s.

Brij spends the drive saying that Suri used Brij’s gentle nature to dump garbage upon him, but now Suri will face the wrath of Gupta. But when he gets to Suri’s? Nope. All begging and pleading. Suri repeats his policy of no refunds, while barely looking at Brij. Suri says that he should pray to the Goddess and she will help him sell everything. Then Brij accuses Suri of screwing him over and now Suri looks at him. Brij starts going on a rant, but when he insults the Goddess, Suri sacks him in the face and then has him and his assistant kicked out. Suri threatens to break Brij’s bones the next time that he sees him.

Brij returns home to find that Sweetty had sold…a bunch of their stuff for 32,000. He gets upset, but she claims that most of that came from her dowry. Also, they still seem to have a television.

And where is grandpa? In the cupboard…which…was sold. Brij tracks down the buyer and the truck. Sure enough, there is grandpa in the cupboard in the back of the truck. He brings grandpa home and confronts Sweetty about it…and Sweetty somehow makes this whole ordeal Brij’s fault.

Brij is back in the shop when Raghu calls him. Brij ignores the call and…oh, here is Raghu, with a couple of goons. Raghu reminds him of the policy. If he does not pay the installment on time, then he will have to return the entire amount the next time. So, Brij now has until next Monday to pay back the entire 2.5 million.

A couple of women come in, looking for lingerie. An amused Raghu decides to act as Brij’s gentle and helpful employee. When the customers leave, Raghu expresses amazement at Brij’s ability to…uh…size them up so quickly. He is so impressed that he allows Brij an additional day to come up with the repayment.

Brij and Simmi are having sex in his car. Or trying to…I guess that he has trouble getting…into it. Well, this is the fourth attempt and Simmi is getting frustrated. She gets out of the car, which is too hot anyways. Brij apologizes for his…subpar performance. He tries to explain his problems with Suri and Raghu, but Simmi is less than interested.

Brij gets Simmi’s attention when he says that, instead of having to meet secretly so often, they should just run away to wherever she wants to go. She thinks of Bangkok. Brij professes his love for her. Simmi…kisses his cheek.

Brij goes to the Weightover center where Sweetty is making arrangements. He not so gracefully gives the employee the check. But then he looks around the place and everything seems to be faked, including the promotional video on the TV.

Instead of throwing a tantrum, he starts to think about coming up with a false identity…settling on the name Amar Sethi. But, if he is to become Amar Sethi, then his old identity must die. I am not sure why, but he is using religious rationalization for this whole scheme and his spirit cannot live in two bodies. Whatever. He even tries to find a corpse that he could use as a fake Brij, but it does not work. He even briefly considers using his beloved grandfather.

It is Monday when Raghu ambushes Brij and demands the money. Brij claims that he has made arrangements and that Raghu will have it tomorrow. Raghu does not believe him and…uh…does this.

Angry at himself for wasting so much time on this fake identity scheme rather than coming up with the money, Brij sells the shop. It is not nearly the 2.5 million that he needs, but it will have to do.

Brij goes to see Raghu, who is happy that he has come. Brij starts to explain the less-than-ideal situation, but Raghu interrupts him and tells him to come in. It is only when Raghu takes Brij’s bag to put the cash in his safe that he realizes that something is wrong. Yep. It is only 700,000.

Brij promises to pay the rest, but Raghu screams at him and assaults him, quite a lot. Somehow, in his rage, Raghu does not realize that he has positioned himself on the spiral stairway leading down and Brij accidentally knocks him down the stairs while trying to protect himself.  

Brij limps to Raghu, who seems to be unconscious. Unable to wake him up, Brij calls for help, but no one is around. Not even Raghu’s goons. Brij once again tries to wake up Raghu, but then stops. Is…is Raghu dead?

The gears in Brij’s brain go into overdrive. And Brij starts to formulate what could possibly be the worst idea ever.

 

 

 

 

So…yeah…what true events was this based on?

This movie was not well-received…at all. One reviewer called it the worst Indian movie made for Netflix. And…okay…sure. Yeah.

I am not sure whether Brij is meant to be seen as the everyman oppressed by society, but I highly doubt it. The movie starts with him urinating against a building and lying to his wife about being at work. And then when he is actually at work, it is so he can cheat on his wife. Dude is a scumbag.

To be fair to Brij, though, everyone seems to be varying levels of bad. The world of this movie is of suckers and parasites. Brij is a sucker who struggles to move his way up to parasite. Instead, Brij becomes a societal scapegoat for everything wrong with India. Sure, one could imagine a less scummy person being crushed under such an unjust system and this would be a very different story…but even if Brij does not deserve what happens to him, he is still a scumbag unworthy of sympathy. And he is not half as clever as he thinks he is. May the world fuck him.

The worldview espoused by this film is, indeed, rather misanthropic. And, of course, with stories like this, that misanthropy bleeds into misogyny. The main female characters seem to be different levels of the same, just leaning into different aspects. And, for all of Simmi’s faults, it is never quite explained what drew her to Brij in the first place, especially since he was already married. I am sure that the writers did not particularly care, but that question has gone unanswered with other more well-received stories as well, so I will not dwell on it further.

Also unanswered, though, is what Brij’s relationship with Suri really had been like before this. Had Suri always been a snake-oil seller and Brij simply did not know? Or why was Raghu’s retaliation against Brij so clumsy? No goons, no guns, no going after fingers, just smacks and kicks until he somehow positions himself in front of the stairs. Then there is another part of the movie in a hotel that takes up a chunk of the story. It may hinge on Brij’s religious beliefs, but does not really get explained otherwise. And that in itself is a plot point. Whatever. People can be foolish, I guess.

Does the movie rise above its unsavory material? Perhaps in some creative or stylistic or thematic manner? Absolutely not. It shamelessly wallows in that muck. Yet, the things that are wrong with India extend far beyond him. Without spoiling what happens, I did take some sadistic glee at how the story…uh…turned. There is some attempt at a morality tale, but even that is given with a sneering smirk, practically daring the viewer to take the moral seriously. It plays like a cruel joke. A satirical joke? Parody? Farce? I don’t know. Probably none of those. One could ask how much of Brij’s suffering is due to society or to his own personal failings. Or…one could ask who cares? Just strap in for the ride.

Do I recommend this? Well, no. It is, indeed, garbage. But I personally enjoyed it, laughing at its ridiculousness and gasping at its audacity. The critics were right. This movie is terrible. And I love it.

 

 

WTF ASIA 208: Bijuli Machine (Nepal: 2016, approx. 103 minutes)

Wikipedia

Available in the United Kingdomthe United States, and perhaps a few other countries. It is also on Youtube…maybe.

 

WTF ASIA 209: Uzumasa Limelight (Japan: 2014, approx. 104 minutes)

No Wikipedia Page

Available in Canada, the United Kingdomthe United States, and perhaps a few other countries. It is also on Youtube…maybe.