Following a singer’s tendency to steal, this short story fails to deliver the overall message.
This recap of Netflix’s Ray season 1, episode 3, “Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa,” contains spoilers.
Out of all the short stories in this series, this is probably the weakest one.
At the start of this short story, Musafir Ali, a singer (played by Manoj Bajpayee), is approached by two women before heading on a train. On the train, Musafir claims to recognize a man in his carriage. However, the man says he is mistaken, but then he knows that Musafir is a famous singer that his wife loves. Musafir claims that a famous Pakistani bowler gave him a ring and shows him, and then he eyes up the man’s possessions — he has kleptomaniac tendencies. He is eager to understand the man’s special tea he’s poured for himself.
On the train, in a flashback, the same singer is on another carriage. He gets out a poetry book, and he shares a carriage with a sports journalist. The singer says he knows very little about wrestlers. The journalist (Mr. Baig) used to be a wrestler himself. Suddenly, the singer is eyeing up a clock watch on a necklace owned by Mr. Baig. The journalist claims the clock doesn’t just tell the time; it changes it and brings good fortune. While Mr. Baig leaves the carriage, the singer finds the clock watch in the man’s suitcase and steals it. He manages to get off the train with it without Mr. Baig noticing. But as he walks, he suddenly collapses.
He meets a doctor who asks him if he stole the watch and wonders if this is his first stealing incident. The lead character explains his tendencies to steal started from a young age, and once he started, he couldn’t stop. He admits he feels shame. The doctor explains to him that he has kleptomania and tells him to replace it with the disease of music and sing to audiences.
The past catches up
And so, that’s what he does — he becomes a singer. We see flashbacks of him singing, but then he wakes up, and the man he was on the train with at the start of the chapter wakes him up and asks for the time. The man claims he used to have a priceless watch, and 10 years ago, someone stole it from in on a train carriage — it’s clear this is Mr. Baig, the former wrestler and journalist. From losing the watch, he lost his job, and none of his articles would get accepted — his good fortune was gone. Musafir raises how the person who stole from him could have had a stealing disease, but the man questions if the thief has a conscience and that they deserve a beating.
Musafir offers himself for a beating. The next day, Musafir shows Mr. Baig the watch and apologizes for stealing it 10 years ago. He feels guilty for stealing his good fortune from him and explains the disease he had when he was young, but he finally got rid of it. Musafir says he will accept as many beatings from him as possible before putting the watch in Mr. Baig’s hand. Musafir leaves and hopes he will be forgiven.
Atoning for his sins
Mr. Baig chases after Musafir, gives him the watch, and asks him to turn up at a specific address. Musafir goes to a shop to try and sell the watch, but the store owner says they don’t buy stolen goods and says people hand things over — he talks about the stealing disease. The owner shows many items handed in by famous clients. And then the ring that Musafir showed to Mr. Baig at the start of the chapter is also in the shop — Mr. Baig handed it in himself. Mr. Baig narrates that Musafir should have the chance to atone for his sins. The short story ends with Musafir singing to a crowd, and Mr. Baig and his wife are in the audience.
Let’s reflect on Ray season 1, episode 3, “Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa.”
This felt like a weak chapter compared to the rest of the series, but the story seems to deal a lot with the singer’s guilt. In the end, his most prominent victim showed mercy and allowed him to atone for his sins. The reason why are unclear, but it appears Mr. Baig has a great understanding of kleptomania than he let on. The fact he had a wife that loved the singer probably helped as well.