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Wireless Utopia

The journey towards a free wireless world.

Basanti Bashing

Monday, February 20, 2006

Due to a lack of spoiler warning I ended up reading the whole storyline of the currently most talked about movie in this part of the world. But not to be left out, I watched it. And watched it for the second time yesterday after a two week gap. The second time it was a better experience although the theater had a bad projection system and an even worse sound system. All because of the level of crowd involvement which nowadays is a passe in multiplexes. After all when you are watching a movie with patriotism as its theme, you would want some screaming and shouting.

Back to the movie, its good no doubt. Its has an original storyline and an imaginative approach of drawing parallels between the revolultionary figures in history and the lives of some present day youths. It thrusts the long forgotten issue of MiG crashes right back at your face and forces you to think about it. It raises a bigger question on the use of voilence as a vehicle for acheiving justice and reignites the controversy of the contribution of these revolutionaries in the Indian Freedom Struggle. And the story has some bollywood'ish far fetched moments to complete the effect.

But the heated debate is about the message of the Rang De Basanti and a lot has been said about the way it preaches the use of voilence to the youth. As Charandas says,

"Unholster your pistols then, O youth of India, and if you've been wronged in any way, think of who it is you want to eliminate."

IMHO this is not the message that the movie wants to present. Case in point; consider the caller at the end of the movie who asks the same question. The answer that Karan gave was exactly what Ajay Rathore has said about India in the first half, when they sat about debating it sitting at Mitron Da Dhaba. There are things which are wrong in this country and its our obligation to correct them. Join politics, join the IAS, clean it up. Participate. And participate our heroes do. They attempt to change the system, however flawed their methods may have been. Credit does go to them.

The voilence and the killing portrayed in the movie was a part of the storyline. If the hisotrical characters showed in the moive had been Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and Goakhle, then a more logical juxtaposition would have been a satyagraha. But the historical figures depicted were revolutionaries whose ideologies were diametrically opposite to that of Gandhi. And for todays youth, those ideals are more inspiring. The blame for that lies in the socio-economic culture and the current state of the world more than anything. The ideology of the director should not be questioned for that.

In this fast moving information age, people hardly care about what history means to them. It does not affect day to day life or even the future. The youth could not care less about it. Rang De Basanti repackages it for the youth and gives them the MTV'ed version of it. It involves them at least at the entertainment level. That to me is a big plus of the movie. Bashing it up for causes that it does not further is pointless.

If a movie can move you so much to sit and debate about it with your friends for hours, then it must have some substance to it. I am thankful for it. And for the kind kistch bollywood churns out, RDB is a welcome fresh breath of air.

Update 1: Sujai's take on it.
posted by Rajiv, 2:53 AM


The movie did not preach the use of violence, the protagonists regret killing the defense minister. And they also agree about them being wrong by doing so... I guess you have missed the last few moment/dialogues in the movie
Said Anonymous Santosh, 4:19 AM  

Its a good movie- it made a bunch of people sit around 12 o clock in the night and discuss for more than an hour. That's a good start.

Well, Santosh... thats exactly what Rajiv is saying... "Thr is a lot being said abt the moview preaching voilence".... but "In My Honest Opinion (IMHO) this is not the message the movie wants to present.."
Said Anonymous Mridula, 5:38 AM  

Thanks for the comments guys. Appreciate it.
Said Anonymous Rajiv, 6:50 AM  

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