Sunday, January 30, 2011
Now we can all agree that there is a lot that the Indian film industry can do in terms of improving its content, quality, world image .. a lot of things. Coming as we do from a country with such richness and diversity we cannot deny that there are millions of stories tumulting within our borders and our consciousness. I have put down a list of 10 movies that are essentially Indian tales that need to be told not only because they are deeply rooted in our culture but because they are in many ways a criminal under-use of our right to freedom of expression. History textbooks are nothing but propoganda machine. I for did not know that the Kashmir as we were shown in textbooks and maps only existed in 1947. Everyone goes about the Godhra riots and massacres and how the BJP is a communal force, but what about the 1984 riots and how the congress leaders were carrying out systematic lynching of Sikhs in the capital. No one accuses the Congress of being communalist , do they? (I am a congress voter btw). There is a genuine need to inform and educate. There is so much we do not know.And why is there no biopics or historical fiction being produced in India. Enough with alternate takes on the Mahabharata and Ramayana. The Indian Independence movement should fill the niche of WWII films in India. Lets not look at the past only, why not have fictional representation of India in the future (which is not called Love Story 5050). I was really exited about Shekhar Kapur's Paani set in a India with dire water shortage and how that had changed the political landscape, but that got stalled. Ok , so if I was a director or a Writer, the following 10 movies are what I would I make, or at least I would very much like someone to make films like these:
A biopic of Sanjay Gandhi. How different would India be had he survived past the 80s. His positioning as Indira's Heir. The conspiracy theories behind his death. His infamous "nasbandhi" vans. Maneka Gandhi and her fallout with Indira. You know who is perfect to play the role? Faroukh Sheikh. If they had made this in 1985
This should be a three parter or at least 2 films just because of the volume of tales to be told. How people from different parts of India banded together to put Zafar back on the throne and revive the Mughal empire. For a while the dream seemed possible, and then it was so sadly squashed by the Company whose soldiers were all Indians too. Let's show the whole truth and not be squeemish on details. Like how Mangal pandey is not quite the hero he is shown to be, how there some mutineers who raped English women, the massacres of the mutineers that followed and how Zafar was exiled to rangoon, but not before being presented with the heads of his children on a platter.
The true heir of Gandhi.The man credited for keeping India together. The man who according to Ramachandra Guha , was the leader that a diverse loosely cohesive nascent state needed to survive, without whom we would have disbanded into independant states and monarchies. There was a Hollywood movie being made about his love affair with Edwina Mountbatten but which is now on the backburner, partly I hear due to objections by the Indian Government. The NAM, shimla pact and of course his daughter.
4) Bharat 2100 AD
A future where ,the fall of the western civilization has led to the sanskritization of India. A blade runner like dystopic future, where technology coexists with vedic texts and dhotis. And it rains all the time. And we follow a cop (kotwal/subedar/senapati?) as he tries to hunt down a serial killer who has delusions tat he is Arjuna from the Mahabharata and has visions of Krishna asking him to kill in the name of dharma. Formulaic?? But you have to admit you have never seen this landscape and setting on screen.
5) The Four deaths of the Mahatma aka Who killed the Mahatama
Tushar Gandhi wrote a book on the several assassination attempts on the Mahatma. one of them was by Godse himself. Gandhiji had a talk with him when after the failed attempt he was caught but could not take away the hatred in his heart. He eventually succeeded. The place where it happened is actually walking distance from my place in Delhi.
Maybe just make a miniseries on the entire Gandhi clan and be done with it, but this iconic dynasty is undeniably the true first family of India and filled with interesting characters. Indira Gandhi's rule will forever be remembered for the dark period our country went through. The players who engineered the fall of democracy and the people who fought back, the extrajudical killings and the people who disappeared. These are tales that need to told.
Before Kashmir, there was Khalistan. The first truly violent Secessionist movement of India. The golden temple attack, Indira's assassination and the 1984 riots. Sad times for the country.
8) Lal Salaam
The story of a youth who runs away and joins a Maoist group and the rise and fall of the group through his eyes. There are no good guys. Only people with agendas.
9) Nagaland Noir
A movie set completely in the North East. A 40ish private eye sleepwalks through his life in a small town near Kohima until the death of a girl throws him into the middle of the timber mafia and the ULFA. Is that Noir enough for you? I would totally see this movie. Why do we forget that these states are a part of us. The day when we incorporate them into our popular culture is that day we have arrived as a united and inclusive nation.
The incident that brought shame to our nation, our democracy and our so called secularity. How the government stood around while "activists" defiled a place of worship.
Did you know:
1) Jinnah , the creator of an entire nation has no direct Pakistani descendents. His direct descendents are all Indians. How? because his only daughter married an Indian industrialist from the Wadia family, owner's of Bombay Dyeing. Preity Zinta's ex Ness Wadia is Jinnah's great grandson.
2) Edwina Mountbatten wished to be buried at sea and Nehru sent two indian naval ships to accompany her body
3) Lord Mountbatten was assassinated by the IRA.
4) So so sad : http://www.ahrchk.net/pub/pdf/mof.pdf