Thursday, September 28, 2006

Indian Cinema at an All Time Low

Bad choices had been made before. But this time it is much worse. Yup Rang De Basanti has been nominated as an Indian entry to Oscars. Not that it carries much meaning. Previously such other eminently forgettable movies such as Paheli and Jeans have got such nominations. Ok Jeans was just a B-Grade entertainer. Maybe not even that. And Paheli was just incomprehensible for an unsophisticated person like me.
But nomination of RDB presents a bigger malaise. First of all, as was the argument against Black, RDB doesn’t represent Indian culture. As Greatbong has written in his post “I have never tottered drunk on the edge of wells” and behaved like those college kids. But even leaving that point aside does it in any way represent ethos of Indian people or particularly Indian college students? No I guess, otherwise Arjun Singh won’t have been alive.
Yes the youth today is desperately disappointed with the politicians. But they are fighting it in the right way. Medical students from AIIMS, Engg students from IITs have regularly been on road holding demonstrations against the policies of the HR minister. And despite being repeatedly provoked by Lathi-charges and tear gas, they are not taking law in their hands. Yes there are odd-miscreants on various political communities on orkut and other forums who between serious policy discussion write a small message “Lets do a Rang De Basanti on all politicians of the country”. But they are just that, the odd miscreants. They don’t represent the majority of the population. And I don’t want the world to get a Rang De Basanti impression of Indian society, with nothing better to do, drunken college hooligans out to murder a democratically elected minister. Precisely because he is democratically elected and can be removed in next elections, as Murli Manohar Joshi has been and Arjun Singh surely would be. And no matter what the majority of people in India still believe in the democracy.
Another important matter is the image of the freedom fighters portrayed in the movie. As Vivek has pointed out, there is much more to the personality of Bhagat Singh than him just being a murderer and revenge taker. These freedom-fighters were giant of an intellectual with a well-formed vision of modern India. These can’t at all be compared to the revenge-seeking hooligans of RDB as the movie seems to do. And again I don’t want the West to have such an image of freedom fighters of my country.
While being harsh on the demonstrating students on one side and sending RDB as India’s nomination on other side, I still fail to comprehend what the Indian government is trying to demonstrate. This choice is certainly an insult to youth of India and specifically to the medical students of AIIMS

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another perspective is that the heroes in RDB realized their mistake at the end - that violence is not the way to solve the problems of India. So, that makes the movie actually right on target. And the democratically elected minister was also corrupt. If you don't include that in your sentence, it makes him come across as doodh-ka-dhula.
BTW, most BW movies have the villain (many times, politicians) killed by the hero at the end - RDB is not the first movie to show that. How come no one protested about violence in other movies? :)

11:10 PM  
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3:04 AM  

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