Monday, September 25, 2006

RDB for oscars - Participation is more important than winning..

That seems to be the mantra behind selecting Rang De Basanti as India's official entry to the oscars. Of course, we know that it won't win the nomination for best foreign language film. But we are going there to participate, winning does not matter and its the spirit of participation that needs to be kept alive. RDB might be a very good movie, with superlative performances, has a deep connect with the young generation, but as I see it sending RDB as India's official entry for the oscars is not going to increment the number of India's oscar nominations. RDB is not lagaan.

Iam not going to launch into a long diatribe about synonimising mainstream bollywood cinema as the whole of Indian cinema, and how the wonderful regional language movies, despite being a hundred times better, are never allowed to represent our country. Somebody else is going to do that for me. That movies like krish with an extra r, and kabhi alvida na kehna were even considered, tells us not of the lack of good films, but the paucity of intelligence among the selectors.

Kasaravalli's Nayi Neralu or Jhanu Barua's Maine Gandhi ko nahi maara or Rahul Dholakia's Parzania (if they have made a hindi version), are some of the movies that would have had a strong chance of competing with the best of the world. Unfortunately, the rest of the world have normal sensible people choosing the movies to represent their countries.


At 10:59 pm, Blogger Abhishek Goyal said...

Surprised to see you write about the movies ;-)

At 6:38 am, Blogger n said...

And isn't it ironical that Water could never be shot in India and is finally being nominated for the Oscars as a Canadian production.
(I don't know about the actual merits of the film, I haven't seen it)

At 6:54 am, Blogger Anoop Saha said...

Yeah, kabhi kabhi. Too much politics is bad for health.

water is a very good movie. I had some problems with the cast though, particularly Lisa Ray and John Abraham. However the wonderful direction manages to gloss over the weaknesses of the movie. Our dearest Deepa Mehta must be excused for trying to pass off Sri Lankan landscape (with greenery and coconut trees and all) as Banaras.

At 4:03 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...


(I was working in a publication's webiste division and did this article but it never saw the daylight)

Do we really care about PATRIOTISM? This was the question raised when Rakeysh Mehra’s RANG DE BASANTI released on 24th January 2006. Critics and audience went overboard to praise the film without realizing how nicely Mehra has played with the emotions of patriotism. What is surprising is that the Censor Board and Ministry of Defence cleared the movie without the respective cuts, where in Mehra has glorified the mockery of India’s National Anthem. After the grand success of the film, the question to Mehra’s RANG DE BASANTI is that none of the Indian has really cared about the mockery of National Anthem and has enjoyed the movie for its fun element. Mehra surely has failed to incite the need of PATRIOTISM among us Indians!

The scene from the film where in Alice Patten (for her documentary film) and Soha Ali Khan is taking audition for picking up the respective historical martyrs, who laid their lives for the freedom of India. A young boy raps the first line of National Anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana...’ along with ‘Vande Maataram…’ not once but twice in the film. Sadly enough, the Censor Board and the Ministry of Defence (the three Chiefs of Army / Navy & Air Force represented the ministry) has not only over looked the mockery but also has not demanded the cut of the particular scene. Have we Indians become so callous towards our own National Anthem?

We got in touch with Rakeysh Mehra, who was a bit agitated but nevertheless did answer our queries saying, “The film has hit you that means. That is what my film is all about. The idea was to make the young generation realize what patriotism is all about.” When we ask as to how he could glorify the mockery of National Anthem, he counter questions a bit agitated, “Ask the Censor Board why they didn’t cut the scenes? I am not a moral police but a filmmaker. The boy literally did rap the mix of the songs while we were auditioning. That is not something I wrote in my screenplay.” When our Delhi office got in touch with Censor Board Chairman Ms. Sharmila Tagore, she not only refused to comment but also sidestepped the issue of National Anthem and instead asked us to get in touch with Censor Board officer Mr. Vinayak Azad (because her daughter Soha Ali Khan was in the scene).

Mr. Vinayak Azad seems to be a too busy person when contacted over phone. However, he asked us, “Is it really the National Anthem that the boy has sung? VANDE MAATARAM is the slogan that was used during our freedom struggle. I had seen the movie long back and I would need to see it again to give you my whole comment on this aspect.” While he buys time, his mobile phone goes off when we try to contact after the stipulated time he gave us. What was surprising while talking to Mr. Azad was that he doesn’t seem to know that our National Anthem starts with ‘Jana Gana Mana…’ because each time we tried to get his reaction (in the first attempt) he keeps asking us, “Are you sure it is our National Anthem?” When we remind him that ‘Jana Gana Mana…’ is our National Anthem’s first line, he keeps talking about ‘VANDE MAATARAM as the slogan Indians used during pre-Independence India.” It was indeed heartening to know that Indians who hold important position in public offices of repute act in such fashion and can act without prejudice when it concerns our own National Anthem.

We tried to get in touch with Soha Ali Khan but she refused to talk over phone instead SMS us saying, “I am shooting in Lonavala till 14th March.” Repeated calls to her was not picked up or answered, knowing well that it is a grave offence if one disrespect National Anthem. The spokesperson of Defence in Mumbai Capt. Abhay Lambhate was of great help but even he couldn’t give us the right to information about the topic. Instead he asked to get in touch with Delhi spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence. We emailed our queries along with certain questions regarding the issue but there has been no reply from the Director PR (MoD) Mr. YSR Murthy.

Various office bearers have dealt the issue, even though grave, in the most irresponsible manner. What should be the remedy when our National Anthem is made the butt of the joke to entertain audience? One assumption, just like in the film a British girl (Alice Patten – Sue in the film) comes all the way from London to generate awareness about patriotism to the bunch of directionless Indian guys, we surely need someone, who would be able to answer the prime question – Do we pride ourselves as Indians when it concerns our NATIONAL ANTHEM?

At 9:27 am, Blogger n said...

its a wonder it ever got made, who's complaining about the alndscape :)
I must see the film.
Another docufilm I want to get hold of... United 93.

At 1:06 am, Blogger Anoop Saha said...

Water is a very good movie. I haven't seen united 93.
Another excellent movie, that is having troubles in getting released in India is Parzania by Rahul Dholakia. It is a story of a parsi couple who are stuck in Gujarat during the riots in 2002. Check it out, if you get a chance.

At 8:52 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The exact answer


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