An average Indian's obsession with movies and especially "bollywood" is unparalleled....bordering on ridiculous, and sometimes ,even unhealthy. A cleverly made movie, borrowing from themes which have so-called "patriotic" relevance, can fan nation-wide fervor.....and of course , sets the cash register ringing....sending the producer, directors, actors related to the movie into raptures about ..how relevant the movie is in "today's world"....and how it has changed their own personal beliefs..and how the movie has mobilised the nation's youth to re-think their values!!!
The latest and a very glaring example of this is the big block-buster film, "lage raho munnabhai"! Not to take away from the film-maker, I would have to agree, a very charming and enjoyable film indeed...with a novel theme, great script,good direction and above-average acting skills shown by the 3 main leads of the film......but not path-breaking, for sure, and definitely not a vehicle to revive gandhism..oh sorry, i use the obsolete term, let me correct myself, "gandhigiri"...(so what if it reminds you of dadagiri!). Let me say the the outset that this is not a critique of the movie... (it is a charming, heart-warming, enjoyable movie)....but my take at the blatant sensationalism of the Gandhian beliefs....just to be "with IT".
Media , of course, the first to grab any such thing which is sure to capture public imagination, has been quick to sensationalise the whole concept....going gung-ho about how this movie has brought Gandhi and his beliefs closer to the common man.
2nd of october was less a celebration of the greatness of the man who brought the british empire to its knees, and more of that revolting term "Gandhigiri", with soundbytes from the protagonist who went into details of how his family brought him up on Gandhian values (only he forgot to mention, how along the way, he fell into drugs, peddling weapons , friendship with the "bhai-fraternity"and now awaits being charge-sheeted for 1993 blasts). That's "sanju baba" in his new gandhian avtaar, also citing working for this movie being reason for going off booze and non-veg during navratra.....well, the cynic in me suspects all this is coz finally he is appealing to the divine to rescue him as he awaits the verdict of the blast case.
If you believe the movie, you would be led to feel that Gandhi was a mere saint who preached simple truths like "don't fight with your adversaries" and "always tell the truth, that alone will save you"...which are more of mere platitudes now. I would like to point out that these were not the only tools which helped Gandhi win independence for us (with lots of contribution from other leader)...above all, he was a very shrewd politician...who saw the moment and cleverly captured it...bringing a novel way to fight the powerful British for whom our sporadic spurts of violence were no match. He pioneered "non-cooperation movement" and used it to cleverly manipulate the brits to give in to his demands.
However, the movie borrows from some of his simpler beliefs and offers simplistic, at times ridiculous solutions to various social problems...and we have the public not only nodding their head vigorously in approval to all this, but also supposedly following this path suggested here. Can we get more naive than this? The only instance where the movie really applies gandhian principle to get positive result is when the actors do a "dharna" in front of the loan shark and mobilize public opinion to achieve their goals. That did strike a reality chord.
Media, of course , has done away completely with any kind of social responsibility here and glorified the movie (not its creative content), but how this has made Gandhi accessible to common man and more importantly, the youth of today. I will have to agree here that yes, the movie has succeeded in making Gandhi a topic of conversation, with re-newed vigor.....but I suspect more as a "fad" than anything with lasting moral effect. Bhagat singh had his short moment of fame in limelight and again the same hulla-bullah about revival of youth's awareness etc, post RDB.....only to be replaced now by ..ahem..."Gadhigiri"....which would last till again a clever film-maker picks up another sensational theme with "universal" appeal to awaken our youth...ummm, maybe "mother Teresa"...and all our home-grown beauty-queens (with their secret bond with mother Teresa) will be queuing up for auditions. Then again, I have this nagging doubt, what does all this say about the modern youth.....only a "tapori" movie with "gun-toting dadas" can drive home Gandhian values? Whatever happenend to our history books and lessons learnt about the freedom struggle...welll, maybe who needs that in today's fast-food culture ,if you get packaged "gandhi" in a 3-hour entertainment , complete with romance and some song-and-dance also.
We also must consider relevance of Gandhian values in today's world.. a dangerous violent world which is filled with terrorists like bin-laden...shall we turn the other cheek to them or naively believe that they also must be sitting with tears in their eyes after watching "lage raho.." considering giving up arms??? No, Gandhism must be re-evaluated and adapted in the changing world to really see the results.
- Gurgaon, Haryana, India
- Dont claim to be a great writer but love to pen down those random thoughts in my head,share what I feel,however irreverant or unconventional they may be.Here's my take on things which matter to me,delight me,comfort me and give wings to my fancy, be it fashion,living,music,movies,books,family or Love! Peace to all...and restlessness to those who dare to think differently!A science graduate, a fashion-post-graduate,a wife, a mom but above all a lover of all things beautiful and sensitive. Romance, wine and music..I can live solely on these.