Monday, September 01, 2008

Of Mumbai Meri Jaan, Bihar Floods, and others

Watched मुम्बई मेरी जान this weekend....thanks to AM who tagged me along. Well whatever the reviews said, this was a movie worth watching if you are a part of Mumbai. For those who haven't watched the movie yet this is what the synopsis is, "On July 11, 2006 the local train service, known as Mumbai's lifeline, was struck by a series of bomb blasts. Bombay Meri Jaan explores the impact of this devastating incident on the lives of the people of Mumbai. From a brilliant broadcast journalist to a patriotic corporate man; from a retiring policeman at the twilight of his life to a rookie cop at the dawn of his career; from an angry and xenophobic unemployed young man to a coffee-vendor struggling to survive and belong: Mumbai Meri Jaan follows the lives of people from all strata of Mumbai's bustling society as they tackle the aftermath of a fatal incident that brings out the best and sometimes the worst in them." (courtesy UTV site)

The movie laced out well and the acting was good. Madhavan was brilliant, so was Irfaan Khan. Paresh Rawal portrayed the retiring cop so well that today morning when I saw a constable with grey hair at the naka I really wondered if he was the inspiration behind the role. On the other hand
Vijay Maurya got too much into the skin of the character......or was he not given enough lines?? A new cop, who chooses to ask his senior what his achievement was, questions the system that exists does not pull the trigger on himself without enough reason. Also, Kay Kay Menon I felt overdid his part of being a Hindu Fanatic....and Soha Ali was not genuine enough.....

Maybe because you connect with the places and the people you connect with the movie. I doubt how much a person from lucknow or chandigarh would connect with this movie.
The personal drama did not look to personal for anyone other than Soha and Madhavan. And the usual Hindu-Muslim bashing and then bhai-bhai preaching. It is a tribute to a city, a tribute to the people, but it could have been handled better. Maybe it was not possible to compress this in cinematic time, but a tragedy that 7/11 was, deserves something more than this.

At the same time, one is forced to ask some serious questions. We talk about the Spirit of Mumbai but is it something more than spirit? I think it is desperation that forces people into the Spirit of Mumbai thinggi. Truthfully, who would want to travel in overcrowded trains? Except for the fact that the only other option is at least 2-3 times the train journey time. The most chilling scene in the movie, when Madhavan's friend from the US tells that maybe the next generation will become used to terrorism. To me that is a stark reminder about what life is going to be all about. Survival. And like MM says in her post, that how much longer can we create gated communities and pretend that we are safer just because we chose not to look at the world around us? Isn't it time that we decided that it is important for us to be responsible for our own security. That we cannot keep blaming the police and the government for everything? This brings me to another recent event, the calamity in Bihar. One recent TV report, said that policemen where saving all they could and moving to higher ground and another showed an interview with a villager that prasasan kuch nahi kar rahi.

I know it is the easiest thing to find a scapegoat, but then do we realise, that we are the prasasan, the administrators? The IAS officer is just a representation of the society we live in. He is no superman to save the people. He wants his cut like everyone else. Everyone in this country is out to get his pound of flesh. And by everyone, I mean everyone. We are all cheats and thieves in private and saints outside. Sarkaar kuch nahi karti is our favourite statement. But, the same statement makers will bribe a govt official who pulls you up for breaking a law, will cross the road at anyplace, will spit and dirty the city, you see for us, as long as it doesn't affect us, we are fine. We will rave and rant at the unfairness of it all and then go back to being the way they are.

Where are all these related? Bomb blasts, terrorist attacks and bihar flood.....they are all the product of our apathy.....apathy born out of not trying to be a country.....we are not Indians.....we are hindus, muslims, brahmins, dalits, maharastrian, bihari, everything but not Indians......when we start bribing the cops to let us go for small offences a precedence is created that says that the more money you pay the bigger offence you can get away with......when you pay to get your work done without standing in a que, you start a trend which says it is easy to ignore the rights of people who have been waiting before you......and that is the tragedy from which all the bigger tragedies flow......question is can we say "Never Again" or will it just be another movie being made on another tragedy?

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