February 17, 2006


Filed under: movie reviews,opinions — Kaveeta Oberoi Kaul @ 1:13 pm
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The flip side of irresponsible dramatisations, as featured in Rang de Basanti. What could have been a fine specimen of Indian cinema, with its youthful vivaciousness, is denigrating to misguiding gullible youth(70% in villages according to the latest ORG_NIELSEN survey) to perhaps connote patriotism as taking up the mantle of self proclaimed do gooders with violence as their tool.

If the film has ‘uplifted spirits’ as many have claimed, then by the same logic it can influence in a diametrically opposite direction by simplifying solutions for the more vulnerable and impressionable minds and encourage violence. Films do matter and especially those which have India as its protagonist and consciously aimed at youth as their target audience. They are to be viewed seriously. At the risk of reiteration, let me clarify that the MAJORITY of our youth is rural, where films and stars are worshipped. Films there are a source of education, socio-economic and cultural change. And this is RDB, a widely advertised and hugely awaited film. One is not referring to a mallika sherawat film, (which btw too can carve opinions).

I guess it will take a while before the final results show.

The above scan appeared in Mumbai Mirror today 17th Feb06.

The following piece is a comment I had written on Desicritics. the relevance to the topic has necessitated its inclusion.

“It contains the message of Intolerance. It contains the message of WHAT to tolerate and WHAT NOT to tolerate”.( the comment from another dc)

My comment

True. But the danger here is posing a problem without providing a solution.To be awakened from a slumber of indifference is one thing, but to be awakened and almost hypnotised in the darkness of a theatre, where your senses are under complete control of the maker, and preached ‘what you cannot tolerate, do away with”. Something like ‘you hate begging, so kill beggars’.

We should not ignore the fact that we are dealing with impressionable, gullible, vulnerable minds. A film maker has to adopt therefore self-censorship at every level of scripting. God knows that the most undesirable turn of events we as Indians deserve is to see our thinking youth go astray.

While I can understand the success of the film and the earnestness of the maker, however I feel strongly that he has taken the easier way out by subscribing to the ‘clap-trap’ formula. I have seen the movie with college students. I have been witness to the igniting of passions all through. It frightened me. If it was an awakening for the love of ones country or patriotism the hue would have differed. Sorry to say, but this was the same reaction I had experienced when I saw films like ‘Satya’.

If you are not part of the soluttion you are part of the problem.To have a whole nation like putty in your hands and then to advise violence, is irresponsible, to say the least. Do not forget that the star in question is Aamir, who enjoys the unique privilege of getting box office counters clicking by mere presence in a film.

You are right when you aver that we should not tolerate a wrong. This however has has to begin at a grass root level, on an everyday basis. This cannot be taught by a film. These are values which have to be inculcated from the environment of homes and schools. That way it would be long lasting, safer and deeper in its base that way. Igniting of passions is a slippery slope. Instead there has to be a steady metamorphosis in temperament of our youth, adoption of moral policing on a personal level, value enforcement as a personal choice.

These sporadic bursts of heightened activism may eventually do more harm than good. Apart from the havoc it may create in the minds of the impressionable kids, what is a certainty is that a couple of dozen films on various shades of RDB will now go into production. It is most likely that what they will be inspired by majorly is ‘the resorting to violence’. Can you gage the trickle effect and the drastic consequences? What was merely the later half of RDB will transform into full fledged ‘hate, vengeance, retribution, saga of patriotic revengeful cinema,all in the name of intolerance.

Ranking: ***

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