Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rang De Basanti for the Oscars!

Now, they have gone and done the unimaginable. Rang De Basanti, the film about which I had ranted in this piece is going to the Oscars as India's entry.

Says Aamir Khan in an interview to The Times of India, "Lage Raho Munnabhai" is as inspirational as "Rang De Basanti." This year two films have made a huge impact on the audience. Both have been positive and got the country thinking in a positive direction."

I disagree. I think both films have sent the wrong messages, the first that the Father of the Nation (I confess, I am in awe of the steadfastness with which he stood for the values he had faith in!) needs a goon and a petty criminal to show his importance in this age, and the second that the solution to corruption is mindless violence, in fact, hijacking of a government-owned radio station. If these films have got "the country thinking in a positive direction" as Khan states, he couldn't be more wrong.

I have heard of military juntas taking over radio stations to announce that a coup has taken place, but it is unimaginable for a band of young people to be shown taking over a radio station in a movie, however much aggrieved they are. And this, jury members, is the movie that will represent India in the competitive limelight of international cinematic art. I am shocked and amazed. Can there be a greater denigration of the values that, sadly, only a minority of Indians still strive to uphold?

Now why is the the country raving about two films about which I ranted in this blog? If one don't see hypocrisy here one must be blind.

Is "inspirational" the word, Aamir Khan? They say Indian cinema is about "mauj, masti (fun, disport)", nothing else. They say the audience goes to the theatre to see some forbidden tits and tush (yes, they show an unimaginable amout in these films), and some violence, not to be elated by high-brow lecturing. I thought these are formulaic movies made for the market, for purely financial gains, not to win awards.

A better entry would have been a film like "Iqbal," a regional film, or, even "Corporate." Yes, I liked the latter film very much. It has an understated cinematic elegance, fine acting and a convincing story line that "Rang De" sorely lacks. By its wrong choice the jury seems to have forfeited a chance to show that there is possibility of a more meaningful cinema emerging from India, at least the hope of it.
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