I admittedly watched Laapataa Ladies later than I should have, but it was all the nice things I was told it is. What stood out to me the most, however, was its beautiful predictability. Even with a suspenseful premise, the movie makes no tall claims of thrill and shock and yet, it works. Because it is comforting, and just as crucially, not boastful. I have always loved this humility in cinema.

Credit: Hindustan Times

Set in rural India, it is the story of two brides who get mixed up because it is impossible to tell them apart in their clothing. One reaches the wrong house, to the wrong family, with the wrong husband; and the other gets stranded on a random railway station. Navigating through unfamiliar situations and familiar stigmas, both find their way to where they belong.

The film’s title, along with the first 15 minutes of several brides shown in foot-long veils, are enough to know where the story is going; but you gladly sit through it. Perhaps because in the end, movies are not very different from life and the reward is not always in finding out what happens to people, but in seeing them live their journeys.

Credits: Quint

Laapataa Ladies relies on this intrinsic niceness of the viewers, and the trust placed on us by the writers of the film is touching. Especially in the age of violent thrillers that infantalise the audience by introducing twists that are firstly, juvenile and secondly, can be called from a mile. So basically, counterproductive.

There is only so many times you can sympathise with the anti-hero who was wronged a decade ago in the movie’s timeline and decided to give meaning to his life. After giving meaning to his triceps.

And there is only so much you can entertain the haters-turn-lovers trope, where the hero, who is fighting for the country and the heroine, who is fighting for screen-time, fall in love over brunches and gun-fights.

It would be hard to comprehend the barrage of such movies, if it were not for the billions they have collectively made at the box office. Sadly, it makes sense. You get what you ask for. It is disappointing that not enough of us ask for simpler stories where even if there are no big victories for good people, there are enough small mercies to make their struggles worthwhile in the end. Do they become unimportant because it is almost certain everything will work out eventually? I can’t imagine that to be true.

Credits: The Indian Express

These stories are a reflection of the lives of common people, who rely on hope. A huge part of our lives is bearable precisely because an inner voice tells us that everything will work out. And it’s always nice to see that turned into a beautiful story. Plus, intended predictability can be a wonderful thing anyway.

I enjoy the predictability of calls made at the same time every day, I enjoy the predictability of those conversations. I enjoy knowing that my coffee will taste the same for the rest of my life because I have cracked the balance between the milk and the sugar. All of these things work as reassurances and changing a single one of them would impact me more deeply than I would be able to explain. Simply because I need to know that there are some things I can keep coming back to. It’s the same with movies.

Credits: Jagran English

So, by all means, have your heroes jump into fire from trains running on the top of mountains. Let them dance in the desert. I am not opposed to these ideas because clearly they work for an audience, even if I am not it. But, let us also make space for uncomplicated films we can revisit because we know something good awaits us in the end. It’s a lot like making coffee with the right amount of milk and sugar.