Hazaroon Kranti

Posted by sepoy on January 31, 2006 · 2 mins read

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.


raven | January 31, 2006

I saw it at Kara and it was AMAZING! Mishra was there to answer questions afterwards. Also featured at Kara: Mein nay Gandhi ko nahi mara. Highly recommended.

Cressida | January 31, 2006

Hurrah, another watcher of this movie. I confess the memory is a bit hazy as I saw it nearly a year ago, sometime in the spring when I was in Delhi. I admit, I was, well, left a little flat. It was a movie which promised so much; from high gloss posters (-- a kind of super-gloss in black and red that perhaps should have warned me!) to covering all kinds of fascinating ground. As a European it was fascinating to watch the 70s as seen from DU to the Emergency - usually so utterly blanked out in mainstream media. It was visually rich - and full of in-jokes - us Delhiites (temporary and permanent) kept nudging each other at references to people and places; I've not been able to think of Sanjay Gandhi the same since. But... ...the English dialogue was frankly clunky (my ear isn't sharp enough for the Hindi), it flagged/grated at times. It seemed a bit like an in-joke to have the judges son as the Naxal, the Ghandian's property dealer son was far more real. And amidst all of this film where were the people all these struggles were supposed to be about? Rural Biharis just appeared massified; vicious caste violence and oppressed peasant to be saved by radical minded middle classes. It seemed much like the Marxist manifesto type that Sudhir Mishra talks about in a Hindu interview: http://www.hindu.com/mag/2005/05/08/stories/2005050800220500.htm A conversation followed about whether this was the problem with activism in general. Maybe it was that that left me flat. Or…maybe I need to watch it again

sepoy | January 31, 2006

Cressida: I haven't read much [or heard about] this film, so thanks for the link. As for where the oppressed peasants and the subalterns were...that, to me, was the biggest in-joke.

eteraz | January 31, 2006

weren't you supposed to be working on becoming a masket super-hero? the presence of a post caught me off-guard. glad to have it though. thanks for the comment on my blog the other day. razzaq 86, iqbal 139 - 595/5.

prachi | February 01, 2006

it is true; we are never too far from our real and potential syllabi! Now am really bummed out that I couldn't see it at the NYC desi film fest a while ago. off to see if Netflix has it... we could also have a more general discussion at the sourcebook as well, no, about how we might usefully integrate films into surveys? And no post about the series win?

Sohail | February 05, 2006

Another good movie on Naxalites is "Hazar chaurasi ki maan" (mother of 1084) by Givind Nihalani. It also reminded me of my teen infatuation of communism.