Communal Arts

Posted by sepoy on June 13, 2004 · 1 min read

I haven't actually watched a Bollywood movie in many moons. While in Pakistan, I discovered the brilliance of Ram Gopal Varma and want to see whatever he does next. However, an ad for Dev, caught my eye and I clicked on it. The story, I gather, revolves around two old police commissioners and politicians sparking Hindu-Muslim riots and, uh, a love story(?).
Bollywood has churned some material on the issues facing Indian Muslims. Some has been over-the-top (that Sunny Deol thing, Gadar or Border or something) and some really interesting (Bombay) I really liked Bombay and am curious what Dev brings to the genre (and it's looking like a genre now). I used it, along with Hey Ram, in a class and the students were quite taken by the movies - loads of good discussion.

so, any readers from homistan who have seen this movie, tell me if it's any good.


drapeto | June 13, 2004

i think it's worth seeing... it starts with a muslim dick being shot off by the big b, and tracks his transformation into a sensitively speechifying cop. of course you have to wonder how someone lived to be a graybearded cop and never was confronted with police complicity in riots against muslims. and of course nobody to the left of the sensitive cop is allowed a word edgewise. the biggest laugh in the theater came when the bad cop remarked than many muslim terrorists are educated and even have phd.s. the love story is well done, with a heart-warming boy-standing-by-his-woman scene. go see it if only to hear "MCP" and "pseudosecularist" said in a movie. but i'm surprised to hear you liked bombay, it did not exactly get the communalism combat seal of approval. - reader in newyorkistan

drapeto | June 14, 2004 interesting, more critical review. on the face card, a dis of the lesboflick du jour.

sepoy | June 14, 2004

Thanks for that. The "lesboflick du jour" is indeed heating up controversy.

Sohail | August 09, 2004

Perhaps the best movie Bollywood has produced on the issue is "Garam Hawa (hot air)"; it's an old one dating to the 60's perhaps and starring Balraj Sahni, one of the finest, though less known actors of Bollywood. Pity I dont remember the director's name and since the movie must've done bad commercially, it's very difficult to find a copy (not be missed if a copy comes your way). The topic is social problems confronting muslims as minority in India. Watching the movie, one finds that it's an intellectual speaking. A movie on similar issue (Sikh's struggle in India) is "Maachis (matchstick)" by Gulzar, one of my favourite directors.

Sohail Ahmed | August 13, 2004

I very nearly forgot a movie on similar theme - in fact just the right stuff for u, sepoy - by the legendary Satyajit Ray. It is "shatranj kai khilari (chess palyers)", the first Indian movie by the master, it is based on Prem Chand's short story with the same title. It is set during the war of independence and the story is about two Nawabs who are more intereted in chess than their domestic or national duties. superb performnace by shabana azmi and sanjeev kumar. I saw it when I was in my early teens and consequently could not appreciate the mastery. Wont miss it if I can grab a copy now.

yaoi | September 25, 2004

Just reading up on some of this lately, was interesting.