Thursday, February 09, 2006

A generation awakens to sleep again

Dialogue of the year by Aamir in RDB " Ek pair past mein aur ek pair future mein hai , isliye present mein moot rahe hai". Shayad hum present ko loot rahe hai aur isliye woh lut rahi hai. As numerologically correct Rakeysh Mehra and UTV gross Rs.35 cr for a well made movie in the first week, a generation has apparently awakened to the power of Bollywood if not something else. When I was in my teens, Sunny Deol was the only hope for India. His style was simple, shout so loudly at the opponents , stun them and hit them really hard. But such a style is fast disappearing like the hair on Sunny paajis head. When I was a kid, it was Amitabh bashing up 15-20 people in his anger against the establishment that gave me that security that India was fine. But today Hrithik Roshan himself needs extra-terrestrial help from Jaadoo . And Abhishek Bacchan cant shave. Jo apni muh ki gandgi saaf nahi kar saktha woh desh ki naali kya saaf karega.
All this is worrisome. As I battle traffic jams in Tulsi Pipe road and the Western Pothole Express for 3 hours everyday just to claim the company's petrol allowance, I have forgotten the past like the bhoot of a Tulsi Ramsay movie. Incidents like a group of people who did not allow me to get down at Andheri since I boarded a Virar Fast, the ration shop owner who did not sell wheat even though he had stocks, the Maha aarthis that saw Mumbai burn and closer now, the days Mumbai submerged and has emerged in 6 months without solving any of the old problems, come to my mind and go. Certain incidents like Manjunath's sacrifice to battle the petrol mafia still remain etched but I cannot help wondering if anything is going to change in UP and Bihar. I cant help feeling that this generation's cinematic metaphor is Shahrukh a la Gordon Gekko of Wall Street. He made the NRI so cool that tons of us can write any damn code to work in the USA. Money and a great standard of living is all we yearn for.
Maybe the protagonists of the movie thoda jyada hi character mein ghus gaye and imagined themselves to be the new Krantikaaris. But when the movie juxtaposes the sepia tinted fervour of Bhagat Singh and Azad with the drunken revelry of Siddhu and DJ , I somehow feel todays problems are trivial in comparison. And more importantly unlike 1920s there is no unifying force. Today if lack of proper roads is a crib for 10 mn Indians , then pains of relocation due to the building of highways affects another 20 mn destitutes. For every one suicide like Kuldip Randhawa who apparently got bored of her life (mein kya mar gaya tha kudiye), there are 20 farmers committing suicides due to crop failures. I just hope urban dudes do not start committing suicides for not having a girlfriend , that would be hitting rock bottom. Today what is a problem for you is a livelihood or luxury for atleast 2 others.
So radical solutions like killing a defence minister for MIG crashes and proclaiming it aloud on media appear neat when seen within the context of the movie but feel utopian when you step out of the movie hall. In that sense the movie is perfectly true to its screenplay and the characterization of its protagonists. This coupled with brilliant execution and excellent performances from the entire cast ( Om Puri in the role of a Muslim father reminded me of Tamas, a Govind Nihalani telemasterpiece) make RDB a treat to watch. Pepper that with witty one-liners ( Prasoon Joshi) and a pulsating music score( AR Rehman showing why he is still leagues ahead of Reshammiya) and you have a blockbuster. I just felt that the juxtaposition of history and present towards the end was almost caricaturish , but was a great metaphor in the first half. It reminded me of school, when I used to love reading the Indian Independence Struggle especially the Bhagat Singh and Netaji part, but even the healthiest of respect could not prevent me from drawing beards , moustaches, bandanas to the freedom fighters and have a feeling of fun and guilt at the same time. Thats exactly how I feel after watching Rang de Basanti.


At 10:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My views are not so much on the movie, then on the message that i took away from it.

The one big thing that struck me while watching it was that, we, the youth of india, do so very little for our country. Well, most of us, do very little. There is a lot of intellectualising around what problems the country/ the city/ government etc face, but i rarely see any of us come forth and do something about it. Most of the intellectualising or cribbing happens with friends/ like minded individuals over drinking sessions on the weekend, after a long hard week of working...or over a chai break during the work day. And once the break/ weekend is over, so is the thought.

If you go to see, we (atleast the people who have access to the internet and hence are able to read this comment) are supposedly the more priviledged individuals of indian society. We are supposed to be ones who are not that easily crushed by the system. We are in a really good position to make a difference, but how many of us actually go out and do it.

And by making a difference, i do nto mean killing someone as has been shown in the movie. But, i think that was a loud noise to make the message heard. Making a difference could be in the form of lodging a PIL, or complaining against govt apathy or just contributing some time and/ or money to an NGO which is doing all these.

Because, as one of the lines in the movie goes, no country is perfect. We have to work, bit by bit, to bring it closer to perfection. And, if we people do not do it, not make a start...then how do we expect anyone else to do it for us.

One step in this direction would be to atleast start looking for small things in which we can contribute. It can just be about not buying movie tickets in black, not paying bribe to the traffic cop, contributing some money to an NGO, giving food to a street child....the list goes on.

But, even before all this, we have to believe that our small contribution will make a difference. And we have to start spreading the word.

We may not be able to solve the problems of Bihar but these other small things will go a long way.

And which is what Bhagat Singh, Rajguru etc also did. They knew that by giving up their lives the British will not go away. But, it will start a movement...and the rest, as we history.

At 10:52 PM, Blogger shikha said...

Interestingly well written article.

RDB,as a movie is great!No further comments or doubts about that...

However,i seriously think that if most of us,just do what we are actually supposed to do,India will automatically's just that we most often than not, we mind someone else's business rather than ours!

2.We need to execute certain thoughts.We, as Indians, just's important to walk the talk.

3.The lowest in Maslow's theory,are the basic needs.To Expect people in this grid to rise and think of reforms is foolish.It's the people who are higher up in the pyramid, can think of helping others, or of bringing about the necessary change.

And of course, not all of us have it in us to actually make possible the change.

The sad part about the country is the proportion of people who actually have the capablity and the people who are in need, is disproportionate!!

Btw, i work for hsbc.


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