If I was Ipsita Roy Chakravarti – resident Wiccan Priestess of Calcutta – even I’d be mighty upset after watching Ek Thi Daayan. And if I was her, I’d have called up PC Sorcar and asked him to join hands with me against this travesty against witches and wizards. Actually Sorcar might have had mixed feelings about the portrayal of magicians, or “bafflers” as they are called in this magnum opus directed by Kannan Iyer.
So here’s what must have made Roy Chakraverti take offence with the way daayans are portrayed in the film and why PC Sorcar might have mixed feelings about the film. According to Ek Thi Daayan, all witches have long, lustrous hair. Tied in a plait, which has a life of its own and is able to wriggle around in a manner reminiscent of the anaconda in the stellar film by the same name.
Why this might have upset Roy Chakraverti is that if there’s one thing she isn’t known for, it’s her Rapunzel-esque hair. Bad enough having to convince people you’re a good Wiccan without Bollywood working against you like this. Now every idiot who meets Roy Chakraverti will discount her claims based on the fact that she doesn’t have a frisky plait.
Moving past the plait, Chakraverti’s next bone of contention is an even more serious one. According to a news report, she said, “There’s a line in the film where the actor Emraan Hashmi says it is based on ancient texts. He also says that a witch may be good looking, but her feet are turned inwards and she is evil and that there is a witch in every high-rise. Men, both in the rural and urban areas, are going to react to this. It is going to have a negative effect.” The being evil is the least of the slights she should be upset at, because the worst thing the witches do in the film is make one measly human sacrifice every 4 years. You’ve got to give them that much. What with living with swinging plaits and the fear of turning into ashes if someone hacks off their hair.
While each daayan is shown to have excellent taste in clothes, what is reason for revolt is that no one should stand for being shown as having feet turned inwards. As for the comment about every high-rise being home to at least one witch, I must agree with the film here. I have a buffoon and quite a few witches to deal with in my housing complex. So this might well be true.
But if I was Chakraverti, what I would have taken umbrage to would be none of the above. I would have taken umbrage to the fact that a dolt like Emraan Hashmi would be shown as the object of any daayan’s affection. And that a dimwit, the same Hashmi, who goes by the name of Bobo the Baffler would be my undoing. The shame of it all. Also, how can it be complimentary to be shown as someone who can be done in by someone simply hacking off my pigtail or plait? Not nice. Not nice at all.
And that is the crux of the matter - Bobo the Baffler, lovechild of PC Sorcar and Houdini, who right after hallucinating about Diana the Daayan, starts making out with his girlfriend. Because there’s nothing like a little tonsil tennis to help you deal with your fears. Bobo the Baffler, when not kissing his lady love, performs David Copperfield-esque shows at the Kingdom Of Dreams. This has enabled him to buy an apartment that would make Mukesh Ambani proud. He is a shining example of the fact that you may be a psychological wreck, but if you put your mind to it you can get both the witch and the apartment.
The daayan magnet isn’t the brightest bulb in the shop. For example, since he believes that a daayan killed his sister and his father in his old apartment, he does what all similarly traumatised souls would do. He sits in the darkness and often spends hours in the abandoned apartment in which his family was murdered. Maybe he thinks it will build character. Which it does – a very absurd one. Also in between doing magic tricks,he dances and marries another daayan and spends even more time in said murderous apartment. This is the same genius who is the sole destroyer of the daayans by lopping off their plaits and turning them into piles of dust. Pisaach ho to aisa. Singing, dancing, kissing, agonising and baffling — how’s that for Jack of all trades?
This is what Ms Chakraverti should have put her foot down about — not about being shown as being part of a cult of evil, sexed-up, inward-footed daayans. But that she and her ilk could be done in by someone as charmless and psychologically troubled as Bobo. Not a flattering picture this, for any daayan concerned.