Jalsa , Mumbai Dec 3/4 , 2010 Fri/Sat 1 : 41 AM
Three issues have occupied my mind today, all of them important, and worthy - the digital universe, the media vs media war on BarkhaGate and the review my daughter Shweta wrote to me personally on the film 'Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se'.
The digital world was fascinating and complicated and expansive. It demonstrated great potential and in a sense gave me a frightening feel of where we were headed as far as communication was concerned. Equally frightening was the debate and discussions that have filled our Tv screens and the print media on BarkhaGate. And finally the comment of the film of Abhishek, 'Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se' , by his sister Shweta.
As a parent and as most other parents, we shall always be protective and concerned about our progeny. Yes we are protective towards them and partial ; what else would one expect parents to be. My status as Abhishek's father shall and will always remain as that of a father and a friend as I have on many an occasion stated. If I shall have the liberty to express my opinion and thought on him in a personal capacity, through a medium which is in the public domain, many have and will continue to look upon it, as a deliberate support in promoting my own kin. As a parent I am proud and honest enough to admit that what you suspect is indeed correct. Yes I have done it and shall continue to do it ! It is my personal individual right to do so ! This is a personal platform, one that was initiated by me and one that has been nurtured for the past 958 DAYS with the kindest and most loving support of my EF, my extended family. My opinion and remark is single. As a patronizer of the medium you have the right to agree or disagree with what I express. Many have done so in the past. In a democratic free world it is welcomed and should be so. To disuade me from this act, is not welcome. If there is heavy disagreement, disinterest and fault on this, a debate or discussion or a revertal is something that such formats should be encouraged to do. But … to pass judgement on the act, to be accusatory on it, to lay blame on it, is not welcome either.
I saw the film KHJJS a few days before the premier last night and saw it again. I did not comment on it nor did I give any thought or opinion on it because of the determined effort by sections of the media, that have spent endless amounts of energy, to find ways and means to crucify and bury whatever I may have to say in support of the subject. This act too could be looked upon as supportive and being partial to my kin, for, I have in a sense, protected him from being ostracized as a result of my involvement in the process. Fair enough ! But … I have not been able to restrain myself from putting across to you what my daughter Shweta had to say on the film and I most humbly present it here for you. May I also unabashedly confess here to you, that I am in agreement with her impressions ….
I went to watch Khelen Hum Je Jaan Se this evening, as an anxious sister.
It was a small screen, and the hall wasn't full. My anxiety doubles.
Then the movie begins.
I would say I spent a good half hour of the movie a vested party. Wishing and
hoping people were liking what they saw hence unable to form my own opinion
of what I was watching in earnest.
Somewhere, I cannot say when, I was transported. To an easier, simpler life. To Chittagong.
KHJJS is a small obscure story, lost in the annals of history to the far more flamboyant
martyrdom's this country has witnessed. But it has a big heart.
It does not manipulate and lull you with fancy cinematography. The character's are matter of fact
almost to the point of being one dimensional. No cutesy asides of childhood. You are never exposed
to their personal lives, barring brief episodes of the boys taking money for the cause from their parents.
Even our hero Surjya Sen does not have obscene amounts of reel wasted on close up's or flatteringly lit shots. There
is nothing poetic about him. In fact at one point he almost is unlikeable. How does a man sacrifice children and women to
a cause and continue hiding and plotting and saving himself. I wanted to see him do the brave thing, walk out and surrender so
the lives of the young conspirators would be saved. Nothing of the sort happens. Surjya lives the cause 'Kranti". He lives to
fight another day and that is why he in essence lives. He is hard this Masterda, even the adoring gazes from the beauteous
Kalpana do not deter him. Relegated to the background for a large portion of the movie, it is not a quintessential hero's role. I am
proud of Abhishek for taking it on.
The director is a man who has an important story to tell and he does not waste time in getting down to it.
The dialogues literal, no romantic speeches on 'desh bhakti'. In short for an audience that is pampered with plush locations,
nuanced dialogues and breathtaking cinematography this film comes across as rather stark.
I am a weeper, it takes very little to make me cry. I sat through the entire movie
dry eyed, barring the climax. But I watched, I understood and most importantly I thought.
I do hope people go to watch this movie. Not because my brother acts in it. I hope they go and watch this movie
because it deserves to be seen, this story deserves to be heard and those brave young boys deserve to be saluted.
When the movie ended, I was in no state to speak. Overwhelmed and drained from crying I got into my car and drove away.
Many movies have made me proud to be an Indian. This one, made me embarrassed of calling myself a citizen of this country.
The lives we enjoy today were fought hard for. KHJJS taught me that. My children enjoy this freedom because someone
else sacrificed their childhood to ensure it. Tomorrow I will take my son for his football match and he will stake his right over the field
he plays on knowing he cannot be thrown of it on the whim of a foreigner, unless he gets a red card that is. He can do this because other boys
his age died to ensure it. My daughter turns 13 in two days and she would not have known a day of struggle, and I pride myself
as a parent that she doesn't need to, that her needs are met. This luxury is hers because many mothers lost their sons to the struggle for independence, with equal amount of pride. How many of us have forgotten and forgotten so easily. How callously we have moved on and let our nation fall into such disrepair and disrepute it angers me, it embarrasses me, it shames me.
If a movie makes you think, makes you question then to me it is movie well worth watching.
I walked into KHJJS an anxious sister, I walked out an Indian.
Allow this movie to convert you the way it did me.
I read reviews of the film by two other movie critics, Rajeev Masand and Anupama Chopra and have sent them what Shweta had to say. I also sent her comment to Subhash K Jha, whose review seemed to catch the essence of what Shweta felt. I did this not because I want to oppose what a designated critic has to say. I did this because of my belief that a film critics point of view is a singular independent one, and one which because of the importance and weight of the medium it patronizes, tends most effectively, to leave a strong and almost conclusive impression on the minds of the reader. For a 500 million audience base - taking a liberal approximate figure - to form opinion from one single source, is to me a somewhat incongruous situation. And I would therefore like to also have the liberty of putting across other opinions too, because today, my access to social networking is as valuable and impressionable as the medium of a print or electronic medium. And no where has this been more strongly demonstrated than in the recent BarkhaGate controversy and debate. And no where has this been more strongly commented upon than in this article by a prominent journalist from the DNA paper in their editorial column -
This to me is fair and free journalism ! This to me is confirmation that the much decorated and illusive fraternity of the media is also accountable. That it cannot pretend any more to be 'holier than thou'. That the opinion of the mass audience, the common man and woman, has now got the freedom and access to not just express themselves, but to be able to change the monopoly opinion of a few 'opinion makers' of the community they inhabit. That the response that you give to my social networking platform can and will become the response that an entire nation can and will accept. That something that yours truly was expressing through years and years of belief, has finally come true. That this acceptance came through to me from a senior journalist of the Film Industry. That the impression of me being a media hater has been finally laid to rest. That this was not my comment, but one that came from the journalist herself. That all of you my EF my FmXt have proved beyond all doubt that the power of impression and opinion lies not just with 4879 journalists of the country, but in your very capable hands. And that finally this comes as an endorsement of that famous tag line '… because the truth involves us all', ironically, the creative property in all its promotional publicity, of the prominent newspaper of the nation - The Indian Express !!
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury - I rest my case !!