I have been hearing positive response from those who have seen Action Hero Biju, finally I watched it this weekend. I must say that I quite enjoyed it, but somehow I was left wondering why some aspects of the film were not discussed by the reviewers or people who have seen it.
For starters, there is a scene which involves an auto rickshaw driver who is a paramour of a housewife. The scene starts with Biju (Nivin Pauly) asking about the affair, and the camera zooms in to the lady in question and we see a middle aged fat lady with dark complexion. Biju shows contempt and mocks him for falling in love with her, it is as if Biju does not believe middle age woman should not fall in love with people or do not have any emotions.
In another scene, when a lady who has eloped with her lover comes to the police station, Biju asks her why she is leaving her husband when he does not beat her or drinks or is fulfilling his duty as a husband. For Biju things like a woman can fall out of love in a marriage or you can walk out of the marriage despite your partner being good does not fit in to his worldwide view. The thought that a woman should stay in a relationship if her husband is providing for her reeks of chauvinist attitude.
What is it with filmmakers who think all gays are always horny and hitting on men, as if consent is not an issue in world of homosexuals. There is a cringe worthy scene in the film which does not serve any purpose to the story or if the idea was to show Biju was homophobic then the director succeeds.
Biju somehow believes rapes and incest occur due to use of marijuana, a substance which has been legalised and is gaining more acceptance across the world is a villain here. Surprisingly, it is not illegal even in some parts of India and was not illegal till 80’s elsewhere in India too. He goes on to say that the Delhi rape happened due to weed, and that the minor was the most brutal among the convicts. First of all the accused were under the influence of alcohol and the minor being the most brutal was a media adopted lie fed by the police which was exposed in courts as police did not give any shred of evidence that supported that he was the most brutal.
There is an interesting scene, where a human rights worker comes to the police station and complains about the excess of his torture in police station. Biju gives a bizarre logic for his extra –constitutional method, that if someone teases a girl when people come to station they expect the offender to be trashed. Sorry that is vengeance and not justice, the duty of the police is to ensure that convict is booked and present the case to the court, so it can give justice. The duty of dispensing justice lies with court and not police, Biju forgets the fact that is why we have independent judiciary.
In another scene, when a crime occurs, the police without even investigating claims that it might be done by migrants (Assamese or Bengalis). World over it is easy to blame poor migrants for the crimes, we have seen how poor migrants are pawns of the system in the brilliant Visaaranai.
The film also supports the use of corporal punishment by teachers and justifies it by saying teachers do to it out of love for their students, as if teachers do not have any other option.
Action Hero Biju at the end of the day is not a bad film, it is a good film despite the prejudice it shows towards women, teens and homosexuals. It is just baffling that nobody discussed this issue when the film was released and also I have no problem with flawed characters. It would have been great if Biju was a flawed character, but then here it clearly takes sides with Biju and that is why the film fails and ends up a film as pro police violence, xenophobic, homophobic as well as stereotyping whole lot of people right from women looking for love to students who smoke hookahs.