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.