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MIRZAPUR 2 - It is 2020 and we still have many unaware and misinformed writers-directors, living with their own absurd assumptions about Hindi Crime Novels and their authors. (An overview by Bobby Sing)

25 Oct, 2020 | Articles on Cinema / Articles on Music, Poetry and Life

Six years back in 2014, I had a worth sharing experience travelling in Delhi-Metro while reading a Hindi crime fiction novel MAUT KA KHEL by the veteran author Surender Mohan Pathak. A few young friends calmly giggled looking at me and the novel. And then I had a brief interaction with them asking them a simple question that, 
“Whether they would have giggled in the same manner, had it been a novel in English titled THE GAME OF DEATH penned by a foreign author?”

The complete article on the experience can be read at the following link with the title:
The sick display of hypocrisy when a ‘Hindi Detective Novel’ is considered to be something cheap as compared to an ‘English Crime Thriller Novel’ with exactly similar title.
In the same year 2014, a lesser known Hindi film got released titled CHAARFUTIYA CHHOKARE based on the subject of crime in children and child-trafficking featuring Soha Ali Khan, Seema Biswas, Zakir Hussain and more. Written and directed by Manish Harishankar, it was an average film made on a realistic and socially relevant subject that had a particular sequence which clearly pointed towards the misconception about Hindi crime novels in the minds of its creators, almost similar to my experience in the Delhi Metro.
In this specific sequence, Soha Ali Khan visits a village school and as she waits in the headmaster's office, she catches glimpses of few Hindi Crime fiction novels written by Ved Prakash Sharma, kept on a shelf. Noticing them she makes faces and negatively reacts as having seen something of low grade and poor taste.

Now, the only justification to Soha’s reaction in this forced insertion can be that the novels were not supposed to be there in a school office. But the actual motive seems to be quite different, projecting them as something provocative and widely read in a crime prone region of rural India, the film revolves around.

Anyway, in both the cases the makers present them as something cheap and objectionable following their own misconceptions, whereas they could have never projected the same showcasing English crime novels placed on the same shelf.

Ironically, the typical attitude gets visible in a much more brutal and unacceptable manner (crossing the limits) in the recently released web-series MIRZAPUR 2, in which the writer-director go even one step further displaying their confused mindset, missing the proper knowledge about the Hindi crime fiction novels and their reputed authors.

How they cross the limits, portraying their own faulty and unaware vision in MIRZAPUR 2?

In this highly publicized web-series released at AMAZON PRIME, there is a particular sequence in which the old elder of the house is shown reading Surender Mohan Pathak’s novel DHABBA while lying on his bed as his daughter-in-law enters the room.

The character played by Kulbhushan Kharbanda is of a sexually obsessed old man with all negative shades in the series, who even doesn’t spare women of his own house including the maids. Now in order to support the characterization, the writer and director show him reading a Hindi crime fiction novel, presenting it as a cheap sensual book having erotica kind of content matter.

In the Hindi audio narration of the episode, they say that the old man is reading a Kamuk novel (an erotic novel), whereas it is a crime mystery novel in reality - the author SMP (Surender Mohan Pathak) is widely famous for. To be fair, that still can be ignored as an unintentional mistake by the makers.

But the writer-director don’t stop at that and cross the limit of decency and legality by adding some weird lines in the form of VOICE OVER, which are not even there in the book shown in the scene.
In other words, they show the novel DHABBA by Surender Mohan Pathak in the sequence and add a voice over saying the lines as being read by the old man. But those particular lines sensually pointing towards ‘Incest’ are not there anywhere in the entire novel at all.

So the writer/director make up some cheap lines on their own and present it as a part of the novel, clearly misguiding, wrongly suggesting or rather fooling the unaware and young audience who will obviously assume the novel to be an erotica one. Whereas in reality, it is actually about a murder and a friendship racket case run through a dubious low grade magazine, solved by an investigative journalist, wherein the reference of the objectionable content of the magazine is dealt very responsibly.

Now the question arises that how could they do that?
And can the same also be daringly done while showing any book of say PREMCHAND or SIDNEY SHELDON?

To make it clear, can they show a character holding a book of Premchand and the voice over saying something sensual as being read from the book?

NO they cannot, as if you are showing a book in the scene, then the character has to read some text from the same book itself and not anything made up by the writers on their own in the name of creative liberty.

Having said that, no doubt all Hindi crime fiction novels are not of the same caliber and many do have some sensual insertions penned by their respective authors. But same is the case with all English Crime Fiction novels too as that is considered to be a part of this particular genre. Moreover, one cannot degrade all the novels, authors and the genre in this manner just because of his own faulty personal assumption.

However, the more important point being raised here is that can a writer-director misrepresent any book and its author in this manner with his own build-up lines just like that?

No they cannot. Because that is misrepresentation of content putting in a false or fake perspective in the minds of the viewers.

It is exactly like someone shoots a video of a famous celebrity reading a book and then adds a voice over saying some highly objectionable lines being read by him, in complete contrast of the celebrity’s public image, creating a huge chaos in the media.

Also it’s the same case as someone makes a video of a celebrity with DEEPFAKE technology in which the celebrity’s face/image gets replaced with movements of another person through the means of artificial intelligence and it seems it is all being said and done by that celebrity himself. (Do study about this if you are not aware of this technology as it is really scary and has been used to spread fake porns, rumours and hoaxes in the recent times). 

Coming back to MIRZAPUR 2, after watching that particular misleading sequence, one is forced to think that were the writer-director really unaware and ignorant while writing/filming the scene or they deliberately did that to tarnish the image of Surender Mohan Pathak - a reputed, veteran author with more than 300 books to his credit, active since 1960s (which makes more than half a century of writing – a kind of unbelievable record with no parallel example at this moment). 

The answer is not known, till any clarification comes from the makers themselves. But the fact remains, that even in the present digital age of 2020, there are many in every age group and stream (including the creative stream), who haven’t even read one Hindi crime fiction novel till date and are just living with their own false assumptions, considering it to be some cheap kind of downgraded literature. In fact for many of them JAMES HADLEY CHASE is all cool crime based literature but not Hindi crime fiction novels to be straight.

But then, as a fan of Hindi crime-mystery novels and Surender Mohan Pathak, I can only convey my good wishes to them all, along with requesting to at least read before forming an opinion and ‘Get Well Soon’.
Bobby Sing 
25th October 2020

UPDATE on 29th October 2020
Thankfully and gracefully, the makers duly apologized and promised to make the changes within 3 weeks or earlier.
So, though this episode was really disappointing and unexpected, all is well that ends well

Tags : Mirzapur 2 and Surender Mohan Pathak, Misconceptions about Hindi Crime Fictions Novels, James Hadley Chase, SMP Dhabba, SMP Novels, Hindi Crime Novels are not Cheap literature, Hindi pulp fiction.
25 Oct 2020 / Comments ( 14 )

Well written Bobby Sir

Completely Agreed

Bobby Sing

Thanks for the appreciation and agreement to the thoughts expressed Sagar.
Please do keep visiting and writing in.

Vikas Kumar

The makers probably chose the novel "Dhabba" for its title. Surendra Mohan Pathak is HUGE! The makers (or whoever responsible) are probably unaware or ignorant. It's also plain lazy. If you must quote from the book, you must quote FROM THE BOOK. If the book you're showing on screen does not have the material you want to say, just come up with a fictional title and author. Then they can put whatever voiceover they want to!

Bobby Sing

Thats exactly the point Vikas.
If you are showing a book so prominently then the text spoken has to be from the book itself.
Thanks for supporting the effort once again.
Keep Visiting and Writing in.

Kul bhushan chauhan

Absolutely right.

Bobby Sing

Thanks for the valuable support Kul Bhushan Ji.
Keep Visiting and Writing in.

Hitesh Rohilla

Very well written. Congratulations....

Bobby Sing

Thanks for the support Hitesh.
Keep Visiting and Writing in.

Shakil Warsi

The makers of the movie have committed a crime indeed. Surinder Mohan Pathak ji and his family must sue them. Your indenth analysis and references are  commendable ....please keep it up

Bobby Sing

Thanks a lot Shakil ji for your valuable support.
Thankfully and gracefully, the makers have duly apologised and promised to make the changes in the time period of 3 weeks or earlier.
So All is Well that Ends Well


The legend called SMP has translated dozens of Chase novels in Hindi and if you read his autobiography (released 2 parts so far), the milieu he grew up in and the context behind his novels can be understood very well. 

His "Vimal" series is a prime (sic) example of how a novel series needs to be written. Preface to his books is a beauty and a treasure trove in itself. More over, he acknowledges the glaring mistakes he made in his previous books (as pointed by his loyal readers) in all his subsequent books. Not one Indian author has the slightest gumption to even dream of being so "reader centric". 

Not sure if "Dhabba" in Mirzapur was a mistake or a clear oversight, including the trashy "subtitling", Indian web series writers have a long way to go to reach SMP's level of story telling and characterisation. 

He is 80, has trouble hearing but with the same spirit that he had when he wrote his first. He also imparts knowledge about many "luxury" products (watch/ whiskey/ yachts and what not) in his novels. To undermine SMP and his contribution to Indian pulp with such alarming audacity should lead to the writers-makers asking for an apology from the veteran. 

Thank you Mr. Singh for writing this! 

Bobby Sing

It was not only my work but my duty too as a fan too reading SMP Sir since many decades Viplove.
Thanks a lot for writing in with all the details about Sir that must inspire many young readers to begin exploring his works at the earliest.
Thankfully and gracefully, the makers have duly apologised and promised to make the changes in the time period of 3 weeks or earlier.
So All is Well that Ends Well


The makers have apologised for their mistake now. https://www.bollywoodhungama.com/news/bollywood/mirzapur-2-producers-issue-apology-insulted-hindi-writer/

Bobby Sing

Thankfully and gracefully, the makers have duly apologised and promised to make the changes in the time period of 3 weeks or earlier.
They sent the letter to SMP Sir last evening which was posted at their official Twitter handle first. 
All the portals have reported taking it from there.

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