Saturday, June 26, 2004

lakshya, and other off-target meanderings.....

for those who read the last blog...

http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=89114

bharat bahadur, suddenly infamous in the news... is nepali....


but to move on...

i've had a long thirty six hour stint at office... sleeping on the couch,waking up at three in the morning, and getting to work again, till nine at night - hence no blog...

on the evening before the mad two days started, i watched 'lakshya', farhan akhtar's much waited second movie, and quite liked it. it hit home...
they almost got it right...

i liked the barely hinted at atmosphere of delhi university, with protest marches and pizza hit all part of the deal... (along with sartorially elegant saree clad professors with a past replete with police lock-ups!)

i liked the way the songs between hrithik's and preity's characters were shot.. both the happy one in delhi and the 'sad' one in ladakh... in a vilalge deserted by its people, being strafed by an unseen enemy,as the trucks rumble past...

i liked how hrithik's fight isn't about the nation at the end... it's bloody personal... for an indian war movie, that's bloody something else... (an indian war movie with the most convincingly shot battle scenes i have seen in a long time... in which people die stupid pointless deaths without shouting stupid pointless slogans... and don't necessarily take the enemy down with them...


i liked parmeet sethi's devilish (but not inhuman and not a caricature) pakistani major... sitting atop peak 5179 and beating back retreats with an assured ease...till he gets caught out by the surprise attack...

and i especially liked how the movie begins.... when hrithik sees the line of control for the first time.... and relasies what it means to be a 'hindustani'...as he startes across a vast, desolate beautiful stretch of no man's land at a bunker staring back at him... it's the recognition of the most fundamnetal of facts.... that our borders, arbitrary shitty geometry that they are, define our nationhood....

my own realisation of being 'hindustani' came after i crossed the border.... so there's an interesting variation there, on the borders as identity theme which gets played out at wagah all the time...


i relaise this post isn't making sense... i have nothing to say and am going right ahead and saying it....

but there is something in the air now that wasn't here two years ago... like those last lines from zen and the art of motorcycle maintainence...

Trials never end, of course. Unhappiness and misfortune are bound to occur as long as people live, but there is a feeling now, that was not here before, and is not just on the surface of things, but penetrates all the way through: We've won it. It's going to get better now. You can sort of tell these things.


so we can make a movie which looks at kargil,which for five years has defined our fucking nationalism... which recreates settings with detaield research, and takes pride not in the fact that we can beat paki butt... (like gadar did, under the very thin disguise of historicity)... but in the fact that we are a secular decent country who bury the enemy with full military honour....

and seriously, what i like best is that there is a life for our hero after he's climbed his own personal mountain... (peak 5719)... and when last show, he walks out in civilian dress...

we were coming back, my 'boss' and i from a meeting with the director general, csir, when the boss said he really liked te atmosphere in the hall, with people clapping and cheering for lakhsya...

the context was that amar (boss)believed that india was really shining now - that now, we've got it right - what with a muslim scientist president, and a sikh economist primeminister leading our country (compare to george dubya bush...) ... what with out booming infotech industry and our urban prosperity being mirrored by a huge amount of rural innovation and the proliferation of technologies that are really going to be beneficail for the poor....

(links in next post....)

now the directr general of the centre for scientific and industrial research dr. raghunath anant mashelkar, is a man who is truly with it... he meets jefferey sacks for lunch and delivers lectures at the big-shot firang universities... and yet was completely unswayed by the hype of 'india shining' and big business booming... he said that what india ticks isn't the tip of the iceberg that everybody concentrates on, but the fact that the tip is on top of a whole unreported iceberg of innovators and activists who are really tranforming this country into something else... where illiterare women learn how to fix solar lanterns....

and all the research i've been doing in the past month or so has convinced me of juston e thingds... as it has convinced amar - we've won it. it's going to get better now, you can sort of tell these things...

i guess my next couple of posts are going to be full of how people who the bjp can't take credit for in their wildest dreams havegradually helped in making india... all of india,... truly, truly, shining...

but now, let me just finish with what iced the cake for me...

another movie, two weeks ago... a fairly shoddily made movie in a half emptynight show hall... govind nihalani's dev in paras...

a movie which recreates the gujarat riot story in bombaY....

where when taking kareena kappor/zaheera sheikh's lead, one after the other the brutalised women of the chawl raise theitr hands in evidence against the politicain who led the riots... and the whole hall sponanously started clapping....

and i started crying... because... i didn't expect it to happen....

becuase it said so many things, that spontaneous clapping, that mr vajpayye and company wouldn't have neccesarrily wnated to hear....

becuase i can't imagine the same film and the same scene getting the same reaction in the same hall two years ago....

i cried becuase my country, as represented by those spontaneous clappers in the hall, seemed to be healing itself of the madness that the previous regime had impised on us, the insidious madness of soft hate....

trials never end..... but things are going to get better now... you can sort of tell these things...






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