'The Music Teacher' Review: A labyrinth of hang fire

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

Rimli Bhattacharya

Waiting, “way-ting.” We wait for love to come, we wait for the special one to be ours, and we wait to be famous for the world to know our existence. If we get lucky very easily then there is no fun in it. Instead how about waiting again? How about fuelling up our adrenaline? We wait anxiously. But then again somewhere the waiting ends.We get what we want. May be we get the power to sing a thousand songs in a single hour. We make others envious flaunting our love for each other. All waiting you see; waiting does this all. Waiting mak eus contemplate about the things which we had simply taken for granted. But also know waiting is like addiction just like a junkie addicted to Meth. Once we get what we need we start getting withdrawal symptoms. We aspire for more. That’s the power of addiction and waiting.

What if your waiting report card shows grade D? I mean the result is devastating, right? Can you cope with it? Won’t you at least try to start afresh? Never mind. Let’s focus on the present story. Let’s see what it teaches.

Launched in Netflix on 19 April 2019 was the film “The Music Teacher.” Directed by Sarthak Dasgupta this film was considered a success. Audience rating were 4.6 stars out of 5 but the meticulous rating was only 3.5 /5 and music was 2.5/5. And I agree to this critic rating.

Without much ado let me get inside the movie. The movie opens with a despondent Beni Madhav Singh aka Beni da, played by Manav Kaul alighting from a bus. We get to know later that he had been to Mumbai to try his luck in the Bollywood music industry. But the sudden death of his father compels him to return to his hometown Shimla. As a signature style he buys a cigarette and when he is about to take his first puff he hears a female voice asking him to stop –“Beni da.” And then the heavenly gesture of throwing away the cancer stick.

As raunchy as it can be, the movie is supposed to be about the romance between an aged teacher with his much younger student. Ah! I remember reading those Mills and Boon series and falling in love with the characters mentioned in it. Those were the stories written for entertainment and likewise this movie, let me not forget that. Love, Attraction and Lust. All three together making it a deadly combo. I get a whiff of those hopeless romances with no kismet at all in this movie.

Dasgupta in his movie had kept everyone waiting. Waiting is an achingly private act. We hope for hope for hope and in this chain reaction we land up in a hopelessly hopeful situation. If the chain reaction evokes a new chemistry let us all be happy with it. Andif not we can read and see the catastrophe as written below.

A lonely, beautiful and alluring housewife Geeta, played by Divya Dutt hopes for her husband to return; knowing fully well that Amit her husband had married someone else without even giving her a divorce. Our marriage system calls for ending one relationship and then go for the second. Dasgupta, how could you forget that? And Geeta we know you are voluptuous. Go to the green room and fix your sari properly. You pined for sex and you would have got it from anywhere. Your dialogues with Beni in the film says so. You can seduce. An ailing father suffering from Tuberculosis hopes for his son Amit to return. Apparently his daughter in law, Geeta takes care of him. A music teacher, Beni da hopes to return to the arms of his beau whose approach he had turned down eight years ago. Beni Madhav the central character in this film always wanted to be a famous singer. The movie highlights his aspirations which he hopes to complete through his student Jyotsna played by Amrita Bagchi whom he lovingly calls Jonai. A widow played by Neena Gupta hopes her son Beni to settle much like her daughter Urmi who gets married in the end of the movie. But Beni had other plans.

Let’s roll the reel eight years back. Beni da then is a matured and charming man with a good voice. But then the makeup artist had failed to cover his crow’s feet and wrinkles. I too am ignoring them. Males’ age early. He is a music teacher who carries his tuitions with a mere payment of thousand rupees. He comes to tutor a bubbly and beautiful Jyotsna with the latter falling hopelessly in love with her teacher on the pretext of learning. They both go out on Beni’s bike, she hugs her Beni da whenever she feels happy, and then the duo goes out in the rain and sing the new rendition “Rim Jhim Gire Sawan”. Dasgupta you owe an apology to Kishore Kumar for such a pathetic presentation. You shouldn’t have done that. You spoiled the song. Well, Jonai gets an invitation to sing in Shimla’s biggest auditorium. Initially reluctant she gives in to Benida’s persuasion and performs and bags the first prize. A grumpy (I really don’t know why) Jonai takes the trophy to her Beni da who promises to give up smoking as a gift for her performance. And then we see them hugging each other like school children having a gala time after winning a medal post a running competition. Couple of days later she gets an offer to move to Mumbai as a playback singer. She begs Beni da to stop her and marry her instead. But the desperate Beni Madhav sees an opportunity for him too to be a playback singer through Jyotsna. Beni in denial mode had already fallen for his Jonai, a regret which he had to carry throughout his life. And life, who has seen it and this is a movie. Can I hear from a distance “Waiting?”

Let’s come back to the present. Ah! Eight years and not a single message from Jonai. And then Shimla goes on a festive gear. The news of Jyotsna coming to perform in Shimla is all that is happening now. The movie portrayed Beni in such a vulnerable state that even a roadside clerk knew about their affair. Beni gets questioned everywhere which leaves Beni distraught and embarrassed.

Meanwhile the single woman, the one abandoned by her husband, Geeta enters into a relationship with no strings attached with Beni. Caught by the father in law when both were undressing, leaves them off guard but that doesn’t change the Physical Chemistry they share. The more the flesh, the greater the hunger. But I commiserate with Geeta. She has no one in this whole wide world except for a distant aunt living in Solan. In Mills and Boon series too there would be no cheating but straight the bed, Beni and Geeta follow the same course but Beni cheats her and expresses his love for his Jonai and not Geeta. Guess Beni shared a complex relationship with all the women in his life including his mother. For a split second I felt Beni to be an unfaithful lover and am happy Jyotsna didn’t choose this man.

Up to this the movie moved at a snail’s pace. But now the movie geared up and zooms at a break neck speed. Beni gets a suitable boy for his sister Urmi and gets her married. Geeta’s father in law passes away and she performs the last rites. Jyotsna lands and Geeta quits Shimla though not exactly in this sequence. The wedding happens and Jyotna gifts an ornament to Urmi, courtesy Beni who had sent an invitation letter of his sister’s wedding. I had to think if I had missed something. How did Beni get Jyotsna’s Mumbai address? May be he had posted at Shimla’s address. But Jyotsna’s parents loathed Beni. Then? This is another flaw Mr Dasgupta. Why hurry so much?

With Jyotsna in town can we now get a happy ending? I can smell some hope. No more waiting. Dasgupta you almost gave me a headache. The two lovers meet. There is a brief discussion with Beni pleading to be Jyotsna’s secretary. I cried to see them part ways. I actually cried for the duo while tossing those green chillies on my frying pan.

So we get everything in this movie. Endless hopes. Doomed fate. Pathetic music. And worst renditions of Kishore Kumar’s songs. A onetime watch with not much to absorb, people please learn a lesson on self-respect unlike Beni. If you are single, please do not start hunting. If love has to come your way, it will. Why baring oneself? Neena Gupta in her curt role did a sensible job with people writing all over the net that she had been under used in the movie. One question again to you Mr Director, how Beni manages to stay in such a palatial house with such meager income. Ancestral property, may be. You have too many loopholes in your story, Mr Dasgupta. But the youth had liked it fetching your movie a rating of 4.6/5. 

Beni gets two new tuitions at Solan. Some coincidence or is it me smelling rat? With nowhere to go Geeta must be with her aunt in Solan. She had said it earlier, no? Let’s hope for a new beginning now. Hopelessly hoping or a hopeful hope? Dasgupta we are waiting for a sequel, not really.

About Author 

Rimli Bhattacharya is a first class gold medalist in Mechanical Engineering with a MBA in supply chain management. She has contributed to two anthologies, A Book of light and Muffled Moans and has written two solo books, The crosshairs of life and That day it rained and other stories. Her other works have appeared in twenty nine literary magazines & E – Zines. She is also an Indian Classical dancer. Views expressed are personal.

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