The Common Man Speaks

2Dec/180

5 reasons why the villain of 2.0 is the hero we need (Spoilers Alert!)

2.0 Akshay Kumar

During the digital poster launch of S Shankar’s 2.0, Rajinikanth had said that Akshay Kumar’s character in the film is way interesting than his. “I am telling you the truth. The hero of 2.0 is not Rajinikanth. Akshay Kumar is the hero. If I would have been given a choice, I would have selected that (Akshay’s) character,” he had said.

“It’s a brilliant character; brilliant role. I am telling you, the whole country will applaud Akshay after the release of this picture,” added Rajinikanth.

Spoilers ahead

At that time I felt that Rajini is just being large-hearted and generous. But after watching the film, I completely agree with him. Rajini has a double role in the film and he lives up to the expectations of his fans. But I can’t stop being in awe of the character Pakshi Rajan that Akshay played.

There have been reports that the character of Pakshi Rajan is inspired from the real birdman of India Salim Ali. Read more about him here.

2.0 Akshay Kumar

Pakshi Rajan is the villain of 2.0. However, he is no lesser than a hero. In fact, he is the hero we need today. Here are five reasons why:

(Note: These are his qualities while he was alive.)

Peace loving: You will hardly see a character as peace loving as Pakshi Rajan. The sight of a bird in pain would melt his heart like a mother. Healing it becomes his biggest motto. This, obviously, means that he is strictly against any form of violence.

Selfless: Pakshi Rajan spent his life for the welfare of birds. He became an ornithologist and professor to spread their knowledge and importance. He also went onto take the pain of writing books about different kind of birds.

Nature before everything: How many of us even think of the problems caused by mobile towers and mobile phone radiations on birds? Pakshi Rajan not only thought of that but refused to use mobile phone just because it harms the nature, including birds.

Pakshi Rajan

Fearless fighter: The character played by Akshay showed the guts of protesting against mobile companies and the government, even if it meant protesting alone. People would consider him mad but he would never give up. In fact, Pakshi Rajan even went to the extent of admonishing the Telecom Minister literally on his face inside his office.

Age-defying: Pakshi Rajan carried out the aforementioned tasks even after being in his 70s or so. Age was just a number for him.

Now, why would I consider him a villain here? Of course, he became evil after his death and went onto kill innocents, including officers from the Indian Army. However, neither these acts nor his menacing post-death VFX avatar are enough to wipe out the memories of his noble character while he was alive.

By: Keyur Seta

22Sep/180

Manto released in the week when freedom of expression succumbed to a new low

Nandita Das’ Manto, which is a biopic on the literary genius Saadat Hasan Manto, is based in the late 1940s and early 1950s. But after watching the Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Rasika Dugal starrer, it doesn’t come across as a period film.

No, this is not a criticism towards the production design or any creative side about the film. The situation of the protagonist wherein he is made to look like a criminal for merely showing the mirror to the society reminds us of the current times. This is unfortunate as it reflects how little has changed in these 70 years after Independence.

This is not the only aspect about the film that portrays today’s era in the imaginary parallel screen inside your mind. There is a moment when the editor of a newspaper advises Manto on writing something halka-phulka (light-hearted) this time around because truth hurts.

In one scene, Manto tries making an audience understand how past invaders are blamed every time we question the authorities about the current pressing issues. This appears right out of the silly comments made by quite a few ‘leaders’ who blame the Mughals, British or Pandit Nehru for the current mess they have created.

Manto elaborates his point by passionately telling the people, “Sab peechhe dekh rahe hain, lekin aaj ke kaatil lahu aur lohe se tareekh likhte ja rahe hain.”

But the audience doesn’t take him seriously. They symbolize those who have become puppets in the hands of loud-mouthed ‘news’ anchors who can create enemies of the nation at their will in order to hide the dark acts of some people.

Manto poster

Apart from the content, the time of the release of Manto turned out to be the most ironical one could imagine. The film arrived just in the week when suppression of freedom of expression succumbed to a new low.

Earlier this week, Salman Khan changed the name of his upcoming production from Loveratri to Loveyatri after a lawyer and fringe organizations objected to it for allegedly hurting ‘religious’ sentiments.

Soon after, the producers of Manmarziyaan made three cuts in the film because some Sikh organizations objected to it. As per the director of the film Anurag Kashyap, he was not even informed about it.

Abhishek Bachchan, who plays one of the leads in Manmarziyaan, justified the cuts yesterday at an event and went onto say that he has no problems with it (read more about it HERE).

What has come as a rude surprise is that the producers of both films readily agreed to the demands without trying to defend their rights as artists, leave alone showing any fight. More importantly, there were hardly any serious protests; nowhere near to what happened with Udta Punjab (2016) and Padmaavat (2018).

If the big names of the industry are ready to succumb even in front of minor protests, spare a thought for a low budget independent filmmaker who can be victimized even for an actor’s hairstyle. To say that they have set a dangerous precedent is a mild way of putting it.

They have ensured that Manto shall,  unfortunately, remain relevant even 70 years from now.

By: Keyur Seta

2Sep/180

10 Years of A Wednesday: A film that gave an identity to me and this blog

When I went to see Neeraj Pandey’s directorial debut A Wednesday in 2008 in Dadar’s Chitra Theatre, I was expecting to see a thriller about a terrorist’s plot of carrying out multiple blasts in Mumbai being foiled by a bunch of good guys. I expected it to be a regular formula thriller, but it turned out to be the experience of a lifetime personally.

The film, which starred Naseeruddin Shah, Anupam Kher, Jimmy Shergill, Aamir Bashir and Chetan Pandit starrer, completes 10 years on September 5, 2018.

During the interval point, I was convinced that I am in for some thrill. I was crazy for action or dramatic thrillers back then and used to watch every film in that genre including Acid Factory [2009] and Woodstock Villa [2008] (don’t judge me).

But when Shah’s character revealed his true intentions and identity as the 'Stupid Common Man,' I was not only thrilled but also pleasantly shocked and blown away. His long monologue with hard-hitting and moving dialogues mesmerized me like anything (I still watch that scene regularly).

There must be very few occasions when I must have rooted this much for any fictional character to survive. I heaved a sigh of relief when Kher’s character lets him go. There is no denying that apart from the brilliance of the film, the subject struck an emotional chord for the Indian or Mumbaikar in me.

A Wednesday poster

I also respect A Wednesday for subtly rubbishing religious and other such identities by not revealing the name of Shah’s character. “Insaan naam ke saath mazhab jod leta hai,” is what is said.

As a person, I have always been comfortable living a simple life and enjoying the simplest of joys without caring or needing any sort of luxuries. There has also been this desire to bring a change in the society, which I hardly ever express. But I didn’t know how to describe myself for following such an ideology. Well, A Wednesday helped me out with that. The Common Man it was!

Also read: Bhavesh Joshi Superhero: A film that forced me to go down memory lane.

Of course, it was the great R K Laxman that brought out the concept through his iconic cartoons. I was introduced to it much before I saw A Wednesday. But somehow it took this movie for me to latch onto the title. Maybe the power of the audio-visual medium turned out to be higher than cartoons.

Less than a year later, when I started this blog, its name came extremely easy to me.

But apart from giving me and my blog an identity, A Wednesday also made me realize the power of an ordinary man (read: humans). Normally one would expect a good looking, strong ‘hero’ with muscles to carry out the task of killing terrorists. But here was a man in his old age managing that even after his plan going haywire in between.

Not that I have been able to realize any such power till now. Maybe someday I might.

By: Keyur Seta

19Aug/180

How to donate for Kerala flood victims? City wise details and helpline numbers

Kerala floods

As we all know, the floods in Kerala have been too serious and devastating. The loss is amounted to thousands of crores. Needless to say, the victims need help and they need it now. Here is a compilation of city wise centres where you can donate items along with various helpline numbers and other modes of donation.

Collection centres:

Mumbai:

Kerala donation centres Mumbai

Delhi:

Hari Nagar
Near Swargashram Mandir
Contact number: 8587875939

Mahavir Enclave
C-81, MCD School Road
Mahavir Enclave Part
Contact number: 87503822423

Mayur Vihar
76 F, Pocket A-1, Phase 3
Contact number: 9911053603

Jamia Irshad
Contact number: 9656696980

Ayannagar Church Jomon
Contact number: 9633985280

Ashram
Sunil Malayali Store
Contact number: 9958129458

AIIMS
Dayal: 8556010208
Fahad: 8750603526
Midhun: 8556010209

Dilshad Garden
P/35 A, 5 Pocket P, Near Shani Mandir
Jinomon Joseph: 9495306683

Dilshad Garden
Varughese: 9990034332

Mahavir Enclave
Augustine: 8587035792

Noida:

Sector 20
E-53, 1st Floor,
Renjith: 8010475625 and 9319761425

Dehradun:

Anandhu Chandrasekhar: 9526625771

Cochin:

Regional Sports Centre, Kadavanthra
Contact Number: 9809700000, 9895320567, 9544811555)

Kerala floods

Photo: Kashmirnewsobserver.com

Trivandrum:

Weavers Village in Rosscote Lane, opposite Trivandrum Club; Sri Mulam Club, Vazhuthacaud; and B-hub, Mar Iavnios Vidyanagar, Nalanchira

Hyderabad:

SMR Vinay City, Bolarum Road, Miyapur
Contact Number: 900035188, 9703503573, 8886555226, 9840921173

The English and Foreign Languages University, near Sitaphalmandi Overbridge
Contact Number:8086869573, 9746286425, 91775096030

Banjara Hilla, Flat No 6-3-594/10A, Anand Nagar
Contact number: 7842216157, 8790408101, 8606821009

Tata Institute of Social Sciences, NIRD Road, Rajendranagar
Contact Number: 73820922647, 7995926635, 9633134831, 8547930466

Bengaluru: 

Sankara Eye Hospital Kundalahali Gate, Varthur Main Road
Contact Number: 9739011685)

Avohi, Venus Building, Kalyana Mandapa Road, Jakkasandra Ext, Koramangala
Contact Number: 9731980066

Confederation of Indian Industry, CII, 12 Main, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar
Contact Number: 7001663618, 9740233244

Tanzeb, 4017, First Cross Road, Stage 2, Domlur
Contact Number: 9916900719)

Keli Cultural Association, Pruksa Silvana, Nimbekaipura Road, Budigere Cross, Old Madras Road
Contact Number: 9945481192

Midway City Owners Association, Concorde Midway City, Basapura Road, Hosa Road Junction
Contact Number: 9964741820, 8041234875

Ganga Vertica, Neeladri main Road, Electronic City
Contact Number: 8867846625

Chennai:

Lotus Exotic Journeys, 33/17, Thomas Nagar, Little Mount, Saidapet, Chennai - 15.
Contact Number: 9789053919

 

Helpline numbers as per location in Kerala:

Kasargod: 9446601700
Kannur: 91-944-668-2300
Kozhikode: 91-944-653-8900
Wayanad: 91-807-840-9770
Malappuram: 91-938-346-3212
Malappuram: 91-938-346-4212
Thrissur: 91-944-707-4424
Thrissur: 91-487-236-3424
Palakkad: 91-830-180-3282
Ernakulam: 91-790-220-0400
Ernakulam: 91-790-220-0300
Alappuzha: 91-477-223-8630
Alappuzha: 91-949-500-3630
Alappuzha: 91-949-500-3640
Idukki: 91-906-156-6111
Idukki: 91-938-346-3036
Kottayam: 91-944-656-2236
Kottayam: 91-944-656-2236
Pathanamthitta: 91-807-880-8915
Kollam: 91-944-767-7800
Thiruvananthapuram: 91-949-771-1281

 

A man called Nandkishore Varma is in touch with army person who has been running a rescue operation. You can What’s App him on +919526157437 with the following details:

-Co-ordniates of the location (very important)
-Address
-Contact person with mobile number
-Number of people
-Exact nature of requirement (rescue in the case of immediate danger - otherwise food and -water will be dropped)
-How many people (to decide upon the size of the rescue vehicle)
-Whether any immediate danger (old people, infirm people, sick people, babies)

 

Donate through Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Funds:

Account details:

Name of the donee: Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Funds

Account Number: 67319948232

Bank: State Bank of India

Branch: City Branch, Thiruvananthapuram

IFSC: SBIN0070028

PAN: AAAGD0584M

Account type: Savings

SWIFT Code: SBININBBT08

10Jun/180

Kaala: Rajinikanth makes his dislike for Hindutva politics loud and clear

Rajinikanth

Superstar Rajinikanth announced his entry into politics on 31 December 2017 but has so far kept mum about which side he belongs to. There is no name for his party yet, so similarly there is no party flag or colour either. But through his latest release Kaala, he has made his dislike for Right Wing and Hindutva politics loud and clear, which proves that his party’s colour is surely not Saffron. So much so that it is not mere a subtext.

SPOILERS ALERT

The Pa Ranjith directorial makes no qualms throughout the film about its severe dislike for the Saffron brigade and portraying them as villains. So, we have Nana Patekar as Hari Prasad who is the head honcho of a Saffron-clad party, thereby hinting towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He wants to build towers in Dharavi and doesn’t care a damn about its residents.

He is so self-obsessed that he makes sure his face appears everywhere and anywhere in Mumbai. He keeps making references from epics like Ramayana. He promotes initiatives like ‘Pure Mumbai’ and ‘Digital Dharavi.’ Now, you don’t need to be even close to a political expert to know whom they are indicating at.

Rajinikanth

Rajinikanth in Kaala

The builders who are hell bent in redeveloping Dharavi for their own good are called Manu Realty. Another clear criticism of the most hated ancient text, Manusmriti. A shop in Dharavi is seen selling beef, which is something the Right Wing considers blasphemous.

‘Epic’ comparison

Kaala even goes to the extent of reversing the Ramayana, called the Hindu epic. Patekar is shown as Ram, who has nicknamed Rajinikanth as Raavan. Evil elements committing atrocities against the downtrodden is, over here, Ram teaching a lesson to Raavan. Rajini’s men coming up one after the other in a fight scene are described as different heads of Raavan. And, of course, Dharavi is a symbol for Lanka.

But that’s not all as far as Hindu Gods are concerned. The evil doer is called Hari and his subordinate Vishnu. Ideally, it should be the other way round since Krishna was Vishnu’s avatar. But Kaala is a reverse journey, so that’s purely intentional. It’s Kalyug, so the avatar is more powerful than the creator and Ram is not noble.

Dalit angle

Rajini’s character is shown to be as a messiah of Dalits (I hate labeling anyone on the basis of their caste but it’s needed here for understanding). Gautam Buddha’s temple and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s picture are shown around him quite a few times and his locality is called Bhim Nagar.

Nana Patekar in Kaala

Nana Patekar in Kaala

In fact, during a confrontational scene with Hari Prasad, Kaala declares, ‘I am ready to fight even ‘your’ God.’ This line subtly indicates the renouncement of Hinduism and embracing of Buddism by Dalits.

There is an article where Rajini’s die-hard fans are urging people to take Kaala as just another fictional film. But it surely won’t make any sense if Rajinikanth wholeheartedly bashes Saffron politics in a movie and supports the same in real life. As we all know, onscreen image of superstars is taken so seriously in India.

Maybe Kaala is more like a push for Rajini’s political career and his own way of revealing his political side.

P.S: Earlier in the year, Kamaal Hassan had said that it is unlikely that he would align with Rajinikanth if his political colour is Saffron. So are we in for something big?

By: Keyur Seta

22Jan/180

We have forgotten how this group did worse than Karni Sena just 5 months ago

As we are all aware how the Rajput Karni Sena is violently dictating terms while putting forth their demand to ban Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padamaavat. The protests began in Rajasthan last year but have now spread to various parts of the countries. In fact, there have been continuous reports of violence over the last few days.

Needless to say, they are being allowed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led governments in some states and center to dictate terms. There has been no strict action taken despite the goons creating havoc uncontrollably.

If violence wasn’t enough, threats are being given by Karni Sena women to commit jauhar (self-immolation). The group is led by men and the violence is also created by them but they wish to be safe. How heroic!

However, although the spineless attitude of the governments is sickening, it is certainly not surprising. This is simply because they had made their intentions clear as far as appeasing fringe groups is concerned just five months ago. Strangely, I have not heard anyone recalling this disturbing incident despite its massive similarity with the ongoing Karni Sena crisis.

Karni Sena Padmavati

Picture: Hindustan Times

Self-styled Godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, known for his roles in and as MSG, was convicted of raping two girls in August last year by the Punjab and Haryana Court. Following this, his huge number of followers went on a violent rampage by randomly destroying public and state properties by either vandalizing or setting them ablaze.

What made it even worse was that 30 people were reported dead in the entire chaos by the supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda chief. See the entire timeline of events HERE.

Manohar Lal Khattar, the Chief Minister of Haryana (the same person who has given some shockingly chauvinistic statements and has taken the recent rapes lightly and labeled some as ‘fake’) came under severe fire for allowing thousands of Dera supporters to gather outside the court premises despite knowing their gruesomely violent nature.

You don’t even need to be half intelligent to predict how his mad supporters would react once their hero is pronounced guilty of such heinous crimes. Not just that, Ram Rahim was allowed an entourage of 200 cars while going to the court! The state acted only after severe damage to lives and property took place. The Dera chief is close to the BJP and his supporters are a big vote bank for them.

In fact, the party spokespersons were not even ready to speak against Ram Rahim on news chat shows that night despite him being convicted of rape (the charges against him are far worse, including mass castration). These are the same people who are ready to bash the opposition even for a tweet.

Similarly, right now they are not ready to condemn Karni Sena’s goons, leave alone take action. After all, Rajputs form a large vote bank in the northern and central areas of India.

So, those who are aware of the five-month old history shouldn’t be surprised to see it being repeated.

By: Keyur Seta

14Jan/180

Spielberg’s ‘The Post’ is a loud reminder of the state of media in India currently

Spoilers alert!

The basic message in Steven Spielberg’s The Post comes right at the end when a character says, “The free press is to serve the governed, not the governors.” The sentence provides an overwhelming effect for it summaries the excellent efforts of the film to showcase the true meaning of a free press.

But being an Indian citizen who has been following the media scenario in India over the last decade or so, it also reminded me about the rapid deterioration of the freedom of the press in the country.

The Post is based on a newspaper’s brave efforts in the early 1970s in obtaining and publishing classified documents that reveal how the US had been lying to its people with respect to the Vietnam War. The team of journalists is taken to the court by the government but, astonishingly, the media wins the case. In other words, they are allowed to point out their government's grave offence against the people.

Taking nothing away from the film and the fearlessness shown by the journalists of that era, I feel the challenges faced by the Indian media today are many notches higher (I am talking about true, genuine journalists).

The PostCan you even imagine news of such a humongous nature being reported by a mainstream newspaper or a news channel today? Well, leave alone that, one can’t even print a report about the possibility of corruption by a citizen who happens to be the son of the party head of the ruling party. On the contrary, the publication gets sued for defamation (by the way, the complainant hasn’t been able to prove the charges).

Just recently, an FIR was filed against the reporter of a well-known publication for carrying out an investigative report showing severe security lapse in the entire Aadhaar scheme.

But if you think this is bad, wait for the next. Few years back, a film journalist lost his job for reporting true box office collections of a well-known movie. He spoiled the party of the makers who were circulating fake collections through various mediums.

So, at a time when even film related news gets you sacked, what are the possibilities of our media being allowed to carry out something as earth-shattering as shown in The Post?

Unofficially government-run media:

Government crackdown on the media isn’t the only major hurdle that today. Over the last few years, the concept of unofficially owned news channels has cropped up. Those having watched such channels even for a few days would realize that their main motto is to show the government in good light even when they have been messing things up up left, right and center.

Their loud-mouthed anchors disguising as saviors of the nation would scream out lies till they start appearing like the truth. If a report of such magnitude gets published, these anchors would label the team of reporters as criminals. Anurag Kashyap’s recently released Mukkabaaz has a line which translates to, “Truth isn’t something you know. It’s something people believe to be true.” In fact, anyone having a contrary view is shouted down and labeled anti-national, naxalite, leftist; depending on their mood.

Being an era of internet and social media, the role of government run trolls also cannot be ignored. Its paid troll army would be up in arms and instantly manufacture fictitious links of their reporters with some criminal, terrorist or the opposition parties (opposition = criminals, by the way.) And if a reporter would have been a female, it gets worse.

The Post is a loud reminder of the sorry state of affairs with respect to the freedom of the press currently in India.

By: Keyur Seta

26Mar/170

Baahubali 2 has achieved the unthinkable even before its release. Here’s what…

S S Rajamouli’s Baahubali: The Conclusion, also known as Baahubali 2, is around a month away from its release. It would be an understatement to say that there is high excitement for the film. There has hardly, if not never, been such high degree of eagerness for a film all over India.

The Prabhas and Rana Daggubati starrer will be releasing in a whopping 6500 screens in the country. This is the highest for a film in India. Hence, the film is predicted to amass the highest box office collections ever (at least till the time Robot 2.0 releases).

In fact, the eagerness is such that, God forbid, even if the film doesn’t turn out to be that impressive, it won’t be wrong to make a prediction that its business will still be big.

Baahubali 2 posterHowever, even if this doesn’t happen, Baahubali 2 still will be achieving the unthinkable. In fact, it has already begun.

Let’s face it. The only thing that has united Indians all these decades has been cricket, whether you like it or not. But this is the first time that such a feat has been achieved by a film, at least in my lifetime. I have never seen a film bonding the whole of India like Bahaubali has. The fact that it is releasing in such huge number of screens is a proof of that.

So much so, that most of us either seem to have forgotten or are not bothered that its original language is Telugu and Tamil. (‘south Indian’ for many). Normally, one would expect a Hindi film to achieve such feat. But nobody is complaining.

Another proof of its extreme excitement is the number of views to its Hindi trailer. In just 11 days, it has garnered more than 3 crore 65 lakh views (only the Hindi trailer). On the other hand, Badrinath Ki Dulhania, a hardcore Hindi film with big stars like Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan, has managed 2 crore 81 lakh views in almost two months. Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees has been viewed just over 5 crore times in a long period of almost four months.

This speaks about the film’s pan India interest. On a lighter note, people from all over India are eager to find out why Katappa killed Baahubali. The social media is full of funny memes or posts asking this question. Seriously, how many of us ever expected a non-Hindi film to create such a scenario?

What it has indirectly shown is the power of regional cinema. The same happened last year with the Marathi movie Sairat. The film also found takers outside Maharashtra, something never achieved before by a Marathi film. This is also a wake-up call for those who shy away from watching a regional film saying it won’t interest them. If a film is high in appeal, it will cross state boundaries in India.

Like Baahubali 2 has. It’s neither a Telugu/ Tamil nor a south Indian film.

It’s an Indian film… Jai Mahishmati!

By: Keyur Seta

Hindi trailer of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion:

25Feb/172

Why we shouldn’t blame Nihalani alone for Lipstick Under My Burkha sexist attack

While we were busy analyzing the results of various municipal elections in Maharashtra, the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) imposed their downright sexist thoughts on the audience.

The board refused certificate to Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha. In other words, they feel the audience should NOT watch this film. The reasons stated by them have sexism written all over them.

In a letter given to the producers, the board justifies their act saying, “The story is lady oriented, their fantasy above life. There are contanious (sic) sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of the society hence film refused under guidelines 1(a), 2(viii), 2 (ix), 2(x), 2 (xi), 2 (xii) and 3 (I).”

Now, let’s break down their so-called justification. They have given away their sick thoughts in the first five words itself by stating that it’s a ‘lady oriented’ film. When you feel offended by female-oriented films, it speaks volumes about your sexist and pro-MCP mindset. You look at it as a threat to your deep-rooted patriarchal thoughts.

Lipstick Under My Burkha and NihalaniThe second justification ‘their fantasy above life,’ means a female can’t be shown having fantasy. These people have had no problems all these years when a male, or ‘hero’ as they call it, fantasizes about a girl in various ways.

The other reasons – There are contanious (sic) sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of the society – don’t hold ground because the job of the CBFC is not that of a Moral Science teacher.

To make matters worse, Nihalani has justified their actions by sugarcoating it with ‘Indian culture’. He said to the media, “The aim is also to protect our culture and tradition. Our motto is right film should go to the public.”

He should remember that it’s a film CERTIFICATION board. So, their job is only to certify films according to age groups and not pass judgments on which films are ‘right films.’ This was also said by the Bombay High Court during the Udta Punjab fiasco last year. Nihalani and CBFC surely couldn’t have forgotten it so soon. After all, who can forget such huge national embarrassments?

And for your information, the issue is not just limited to a film. It is about how a group of individuals are forcing the people to walk onto their patriarchal path. It is also an attack on freedom of expression in one of world's largest democracies.

However, during every such fiascos by the CBFC, we just don’t tend to look beyond. We criticize Nihalani and other CBFC members but that’s about it. We clearly forget who appointed them and why they are still not removed.

It is the Central Government that had revamped the CBFC committee in 2015. It happened after Leela Samson, the previous chief, and her team resigned due to issues while certifying MSG: The Messenger. The members are handpicked supporters of government ideologies.

Therefore, it is the Central Government that is to be blamed for every attack on freedom of expression by the CBFC. The list of dictatorial blunders by the CBFC is long. So, despite this if they are still not removed, it only means that the government supports them and is propagating its dangerously regressive mindset through the CBFC.

If the government doesn’t support such ideologies, what is stopping them from removing Nihalani and others from the CBFC?

Are they so helpless and powerless?

Conclusion: The film industry needs to unite in huge numbers and protest for the removal of the current CBFC committee team. It has to happen or else we would be discussing the rubbish decisions by these dictators after every few weeks.

By: Keyur Seta

25Jan/170

How Dangal showed that patriotism can be felt, not preached

Nitesh Tiwari’s Aamir Khan-starrer, Dangal has shattered box-office records by becoming the biggest Bollywood blockbuster ever. The film has earned over Rs 370 crore so far. Collections in this range speak about a film’s wide acceptance. More so because the earnings have been constant. Its peak business wasn’t limited to the first few days or first week.

But the film, based on the life of Mahavir Singh Phogat, has also achieved something else subtly.

In today’s times, patriotism and nationalism are transformed to hyper-patriotism and ultra-nationalism. It is a ploy used by self-proclaimed patriots who are always ready to attack anyone not agreeing with their pro-government views in the name of Desh Bhakti.

Dangal stillThis is also seen the most if you disagree with their views of opposing everything that is Pakistani. Be it actors, cricketers, artists and who not. These are the same people who completely turn a blind eye to the non-stop trade between India and Pakistan, even after the Uri attacks. Some of them might even be staying in houses made from cement that comes from across the border. However, this is a different story.

Coming back to the main topic, in the midst of such hyper-national atmosphere, Dangal has shown the actual meaning of patriotism, which should be felt and not preached. This is in the climax when the National Anthem is played. It was an excellent technique to make Phogat realize that Geeta has won the Gold medal.

Tiwari got the audience rooting for Geeta Phogat in her quest to win Gold for India in such a way that most of us were forced to stand during the National Anthem. Some of us who have been opposing the playing of our anthem before films also stood up. Why? Because we badly wanted her and India to win the Gold and make Mahavir’s dream come true. So, the climax brought a sense of pride towards our nation.

But all this was achieved without a single dialogue highlighting the importance of patriotism. Without any sloganeering. In fact, there were no instructions on the screen either asking people to stand. Hence, it’s proven that patriotism is a feeling, not a slogan.

In all this, Aamir has also truly destroyed the morale of hate mongers, who were spreading messages to boycott Dangal. But he did that without saying a word against them and by just making his work do the talking.

They urged everyone to boycott his films. People made it the biggest hit ever.

They labeled him ‘anti-national.’ His film showed the true meaning of nationalism.

Hope for peace lives on...

- By Keyur Seta