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Monday, October 09, 2006

India beginning to Awake to itself

In the slogans of politicians we might have seen the country shining and the general feeling of well being. But then the voters didn’t share the sight, lo and behold out went India’s shine of the window.

But then, maybe it was not just an apparition, a sleight of hand, empty feel good of the khaddar illusionists.

Maybe something was indeed changing. Slowly but surely, a silent revolution has been overtaking the country. Its glimpsed on an every day, when the average salesman tries so hard to push his wares down your throat. The local grocer starts delivering groceries at the doorstep on a mere phone call. The same kirana guy who was the hoarder-villain in the old bollywood movies has became the friendly guy to the housewives. That ennui and the inertia that had so intricately woven cobwebs around the socialist India is gone today.

But that is just the tip of the main change that I see now. We Indians are a movie crazy nation. We revere our movies and they in turn, reflect our own mindset in a 3 Hr pot boiler.

Hence while in the days of Socialism we had movies like Garibon ka devta and stuff, which reflected the prevalant line of thought with the masses, today the paradigm continues ut throws a different facet.

Movies like Munnabhai 1 and 2, RDB, Black, Lagaan etc. sound the bugle of not only a changed mindset.

Here, it must be noted that movie making today is a huge investment and a lot of thought goes in in the mind of the movie maker as to whether his wares are going to be acceptable to the audience. Not only a filmmaker has to contend with himself and do something he has never done before but also have to keeping mind the receptivity of his idea and have faith in the audience’ maturity and readiness to accept something new and different. The latter is an important pre-requisite for a commercial cinema maker to consider before diving into a project.

With time and maturity, not only the Indian audience is being perceived as having much better tastes but the commercial success of such off-beat themes also endorses the former idea that the man of today is no longer so frustrated that he just abhors such positivism. It is interesting to note that the attempt of filmmakers to re-live and rediscover our own history, making positive cinema isn’t being met with the cynicism /incomprehension or at the best, blind eulogizing that such themes used to receive from earlier audience.

Compare this with the scene only a few years back, when oldies used to remember the Raj days with nostalgia, the young had little ammunition to convince them that Swaraj was better than the Gora Raj. After all , when an underpaid, inflation-trodden middle class father with an unemployed, frustrated young son scowls and sneers at “Mera Bharat Mahan” sloganeering, one can hardly fault him. How can you make a person like that take pride in his country and those who lived and died for it? To his simple yet searing reason of “ what has come out of the sacrifice ? kya farak pada??” we hardly had any answer.

Today it seems that India has got the answer to that. The successes of such positive themes apart from indicating strong cinema skills, somewhere also, may be in a small way also reflect the young and vibrant growth story that is India. The common man of today may not, see the progress as of yet, but somewhere that scowl has been wiped out, replaced by hope. Someday, if all goes well, his son will have a job which will not be a merciful dole-out of the govt, a drain on the exchequer and a pollution on the society, but a self respecting job which will not only give him a chance to grow, but also “earn” his living.

The absence of the cynism is, in my eyes is a great achievement so much so that it may be considered a clarion call that maybe, finally, the numerous unsung heroes of the freedom struggle may smile and say, we didn’t die in vain after all.

May this dream come true and may this swagger of confidence a la Munna bhai continue with the new darling of the world.

Amen.