“… we respect the right of any human being to practise his or her religion, offending anybody on the grounds of their religious beliefs is unthinkable to us.” So, we decided to make cartoons of Muhammad? I fail to connect the dots. Also, this iconophobia needs to chill.
The title leaves a tad to be desired but Sudhir Mishra’s Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi really impressed me [no, it is not an underworld movie. wtf is up with the marketing on this one?]. It is sad that I cannot watch any Indian movie without thinking, ‘how would I teach it?’ but, at least, this will go brilliantly into any modern South Asia survey.
The movie is a devastating critique of a particular kind of idealism that emerged in the late 60s/early 70s against the backdrop of the Naxalite rebellions. It portrays, in equal measures, the idealism/cyncism of both the Congress and the Comrades. It is a movie made of little moments – elucidating class, caste, gender and above all, language – without a sermon – and snippets of dialogues. The period capture is immaculate – the posters, the songs on the radio, the books on shelves. If you know a bit about the history/people involved [here], you will recognize the details. No worries, if you don’t [Vikram’s wedding procession was my favorite]. The use of the voice-over/letter technique that, at first jarring, leads to a devastating scene in the movie set in a Bihar police station. Incidentally, it occurs to me that the Ghalib ghazal which features prominently in the movie [and gives it the title] also has a letter-writing motif, no? Anyways.
After the curry made from history and masala in Mangal Pandey, I am happy to see a movie that pays attention not just to the period but to the lives. In all, a highly recommended movie and one that I will be incorporating [to compliment Guha-ji’s Elementary Aspects, ahem] into the curriculum. Here is a review that is a tad over emotive but worth reading.