First impressions: A powerful issue extremely well handled. Kudos to Aamir Khan.
This is something that I had been looking forward to for a long time, a celebrity lending his voice, powerfully, to an issue of national importance. Reams and reams of print have been devoted to the issue, but I doubt if any of those tons of paper have had half as much impact as Aamir Khan on prime time television. If the show only serves to make those in the wrong squirm in their seats, then +1 for that.
PS: Might be short sighted I know, but one of the only states that did not turn up as afflicted by the malaise of female infanticide (according to the statistics put up on the show), was Kerala. Cheers to good toddy I say.
Edit: I have also been pointed to the effect that the traditional Nair model of matriarchal societies has had on the sex ratio in Kerala. Coupled with the literacy levels initiated by leftist parties, this probably tilted the balance in the girl child’s favour. Read this
I just finished reading the truly “magisterial” work by Guha – India After Gandhi, and in the epilogue he talks about why India still survives as a nation in spite of obituaries being written by the world at large every 10 years or so. There are a few brilliant lines towards the end of the epilogue, and I feel compelled to reproduce them here.
“The writer whose lines open this book, the nineteenth century poet Ghalib, thought that God was indeed on the side of India. All around him were conflict and privation, but doomsday had not yet come. “Why does not the last trumpet sound” asked Ghalib of a sage in the holy city of Benares. “Who holds the reins of the Final Catastrophe?” This was the answer he got:
The hoary old man of lucent ken
Pointed towards Kashi and gently smiled.
‘The Architect’, he said, ‘is fond of this edifice
Because of which there is colour in life; He
Would not like it to perish and fall’.
Came off a chat with a friend of mine, in the background of the UP elections and the story about the Samajwadi Party workers turning rowdy almost within an hour of their party winning a huge election victory.
Friend: Load kyon le raha hai, SP hai, hona hi tha.
Me: Kuch nahi ho sakta hai be desh ka.
Phir bhi sab kuch ho sakta hai.
India is such a contradiction.
I havent reviewed a movie for a long time, probably because I haven’t watched that many lately. But I happened to chance on Road to Sangam. It is based on an incredibly simple premise, duty before everything, and yet pushes the boundaries of a done-to-death national unity theme. It offers us the perspective of Hasmatullah, portrayed wonderfully well by Paresh Rawal, a mechanic who is pushed against the wall and forced to choose between his duty, and what people say is his duty to his religion. If I say more, I’ll probably spoil the plot (even more than I have done now.) Suffice to say that the dialogues, the way Paresh Rawal goes about building his character and some very good story flow, make this an interesting watch.
And what the movie has done is make me fall in love with the idea of India. All over again.
Yes, this IS inspired by the two books by Indian authors that have captivated audiences worldwide, and won one author the man booker, and the other considerable royalties. Coincidentally, these are the two most recent books I have read.
The overwhelming feeling both of these books left me with was one of inadequacy. Both the authors do an admittedly wonderful job of tearing the veneer of India Shining to pieces, and go boldly into the underbelly of The Other India. Adiga and Swarup take us on a journey through what lies beneath. They tell us that in India, the persons with money still have the power, that democracy is still a faraway dream for some of our fellow countrymen, that corruption is still something that the average Indian has to contend with.
Many questions are raised, chief among them being whether I know the real India. I can safely say that I don’t.
Am I going to do something about it?
I don’t know.
60 years after independence, we have at least achieved some of what we aspired to. But there is still a long way to go.
I dream of an India in the new millenium.