Sunday, October 26, 2014

Haider: A Two-face-ed Coin

Hello Reader,

Hello.. Hello.. Hello..

I watched the movie Haider and as I walked out of the theatre, I thought, "Oh! what a piece of art". I totally loved the strong, competent acting, beautiful cinematography and the music. The portrayal of Shakespeare's Hamlet, which I ardently awaited after Vishal Bharadwaj's previous two adaptations of Shakespeare's works: Othello (Omkara) and Macbeth (Maqbool), which were both beautifully crafted and I enjoyed them both as a lover of art. 

And then came Haider, which I equally loved. It stayed on my mind for a day or two and I accepted it as a good heartfelt story which I would like to have in my movie collection someday. But, a few articles and tweets, with #boycotthaider hash-tags, had me take a look-back and rekindled my interest in the subject which the movie dealt with. Yes, it was not just a Shakespearean adaptation, it was written on the backdrop of a very intense Kashmir issue. Had it been just a drama, may be shot in the Kashmir valley with a few romantic duet songs around the maple trees and snowfall and Shikara, things would have been cooler. But no, it captured the cold heartedness of humans, I would neither say the Indian Army, nor the separatists.

I recently read a post by an ex-Indian Army-man, who has expertly commented on the movie and has quoted all the little references and scenes where the movie depicts the Anti-Indian analogy. Being an army man he has seen the reality, been a part of it and he has penned down his version of the story, has shown the other side of the movie Haider. His post really moved me and only a war hero could point out those details, only a true Indian could. It also made me rethink about my own positive review for the movie. In this post, he has specified the scenes and the oblique approach of the co-writer of the movie Basharat Peer towards the separatists, who is known for his articles on Kashmir conflict. I have shared a link to the article below. 

After reading this article, I also thought how many people would have actually noticed those references, those depictions? For many, it would have been just another movie, which they would forget the very next day, once their own first-world-problems strikes them in their everyday routine. How many of them would have known that the ruins, where Shahid danced like a demon, in the 'Bismil' song, was once a Hindu Temple? Even if Basharat Peer was trying to convey the message loud and clear through those depictions, how many would have understood what he was trying to yell, in his silent voice? We have a majority of ignorant audience who would not understand until and unless a story is fed to them with the complete background of who is who. I did overhear people say "What a boring movie!" as the credits rolled and a couple youngsters recently discussing "Haider mein heroine kaun hai? Wahi aashiqui 2 waali?" . They definitely did not care a penny about the art or the depictions. Majority demands unsubtle entertainment. Only people to hate the movie would be a few Army men, who literally give up everything for their motherland, a few pseudo-nationalists and Bollywood freaks who just love the part where Sunny Deol kills all Pakistanis with a bazooka. 

But then, I thought that even if the movie did show the cruelty of Indian Army on the separatists, is it not something they have done?
Before you accuse me of anything, let me put it in this way: We have seen movies on Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad, where they go against the British, we accepted that, we have seen movies like Border and LOC Kargil which gave us a glimpse of the war our brave soldiers fought and won, we accepted that too.  Then why can't we accept this? The Indian Army (AFSPA) punished them because they were involved in illegal acts. It is a just story told from the other side. A personal story. Story of a young boy, Haider, who lost his father, in a war which was far away from his usual life. He became a part of it because the majority of people were a part of it. I think the movie doesn't blame anybody. 

If there are a hundred people and you separate them into two teams and give each team a coloured flag, representing their own teams and incept in their minds that anyone found with the opponent colour flag should be killed, they will kill. They will go on killing. And in future, they would not even ask for a reason. Only killing, is what they will remember. They will not bother to know the history, at least not all of them. Under any skin, under any flag, under any colour, human remains a human. 

And I think, the movie ended on a positive message that "Intekam se sirf Intekam paida hota hai", that is all the audience should take home with them. And moreover, as Indians, we all know how much efforts are put up by our Army, every day, round the year so that peace is maintained all over the country and in the catastrophic situations which unfortunately occur. And a three hour movie, be it any strong, written with whatever intention, can never change our minds, our love and respect for Indian Army. 

To agree or not to agree - totally your choice. 


Link to the Article:
A Soldier Reviews 'Haider' movie

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Diwali: Over the years

Happy Diwali Reader,

Here I am, sitting in a small cubicle, staring at a screen which if I don’t, will also make no big difference to the world. So, for a tiny break, I pause to write this as I peep outside of the distant window at this time in the dusk, I already see the sky lightening up by the flowery crackers. The sky outside is different today. It is unusual unlike the ambience inside this room, which looks exactly the same every day.

This sky reminds me of the good times, of my halcyon days when the only major issue of this day was whether the crackers would long last till the night. It was also the time when all my family members, scattered all around the country, gathered to celebrate this in all good spirits. With all the shopping, gifts, sweets, new cloths, lights, lamps and colors, of the Rangoli and the good old family jokes, Diwali was complete. Really, I  mean, if Sooraj Barjatya witnessed those Diwalis with us, the togetherness of the family would have definitely made him write a sequel to Hum Saath Saath Hain.

 The preparation of this day always began well in advance. Of course, there are so many things to buy after all. The most important of them, lights: Chinese running lights, to decorate the whole house with, candles, clay lamplights and Crackers. Yes, crackers which came in colorful boxes with pictures of Bollywood actors or Superheroes. I miss those big Bazaars, the stalls which were put up every year. They did offer great discounts too.

For all day long, under the bright sun, we used to keep the crackers on the terrace to dry up. No trace of dampness was allowed to hurdle our fun on the Diwali night.

In all our bright new cloths, we would first perform the traditional Lakshmi Pooja. After which, the ladies placed the lamplights in every corner of the house. And, then the fireworks used to begin.  The biggest cracker was always preserved for the grand finale. The last cracker to burn would be the most unique of all, which lasts for the longest.

The Diwali hangover used to continue even after our schools reopened, when I met my friends after the vacation and discuss and boast how many and which all crackers each one of us burnt. Someone would say, “Oh! I burnt a chain of 1000” and someone else would say,”That’s all! Dude, I burnt a 5000”.

What I miss the most these days is the get-togethers, and receiving mails or greeting cards, full of good wishes.  

And this year, I will wish that people actually celebrate Diwali in their true spirits and may “Happy Diwali” don’t end up to be a mere facebook or whatsapp message.

Have a safe and an awesome Diwali.

- Ashish


#PepsiCo #GharwaliDiwali

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