By Rohan Seth:
“All said and done, the young male, anywhere in the world, is a rather ugly and pointless evolutionary experiment. I’m honestly very relieved to find myself out of it and in the midst of middle age and steady decrepitude.” – Naman
Gyaan from “Brahman Naman” resonates so deeply with me, and might even with the yuppies from millennial-hood. Here’s an unapologetic honest portrayal of boys and irreverence; of them floundering their way through the ‘already foundered cause’ of the sex-project in college. Naman, Ramu and Ajay are ace quizzers, or ‘quiz-fucks’ as Siddharth Mallya (Ronnie), puts it.
It’s a lonely world out there, and, while some might succeed in finding light in the ‘young male’ experiment, the quizzing boys look for answers elsewhere – in a true sworn relationship with knowledge, boys regurgitating barefaced banter and alcohol in ‘industrial quantities’ with ‘precision’.
Sobriety is anointed as the most dangerous drug which self-evidently needs to be avoided at all costs. A quick trip to the dhaba for ‘alcoholic libations’, the way to the whiskey bar or quick dollops of gin in a train, are remedy enough to blur out an abysmally pointless phenomenon called reality.
So what’s so ugly and pointless about the proverbial young ‘sexual’ male in the film or in everyday life? Having to constantly, may I add pointlessly, navigate the societal haze of morality, decency and class, in an unequal patriarchal milieu, trying to get a female to have sexual intercourse with you – and in the end, making a mess of it all – masking your insecurities and fears and maybe, even a lack of ‘practical’ knowledge by demonstrating actions symptomatic of a straitjacketed misogynistic asshole. Maybe we’ve all been there or maybe not, but “Brahman Naman” just turns out to be so much more than just a film about a quizzing subculture.
I’m so glad that there is a depiction of a yesteryear India which chilled, and found expression through blissfully irreverent and evolved raillery on caste, gender, identity and everything else. It’s no “American Pie”, like how most reviews claim it to be.
Here’s wishing the curse of the “Brahman Naman” to all the prudish reviews that dismiss the movie as ‘perverted’. Here’s also wishing a curse to Hindi cinema for shaping my ideas (at least till a certain point in my life) on ‘India in the 1970s/80s’. And a big thank you to Netflix and the internet for being so wonderful in these devastating times of ‘Censorrhea’! I’m going to go find the way to the whiskey bar and I hope you do too (watch the film).