I have just finished doing what I have never done before: Watched a movie twice in two consecutive days. That too in Priya, buying tickets above the normal Rs. 45 affair. Before this, I had never watched a movie twice in a theatre, let alone on consecutive days. The movie, as you might have had guessed by now, is Rang De Basanti, and both the times, it has felt like a tight slap on the face.I am not an avid movie goer, and cant really comment about the technical quality of the movie, but from my point of view, it hit me like nothing else has ever before. RDB has taught me a few things, and I feel exactly like many of my peers had told me it would: You are left speechless. And I was left with a feeling of complete guilt as well. Guilt because it felt that at the ripe old age of 23, I have not achieved nothing, while people like those brave krantikaris had laid down their lives by this time. It actually reminded me of something I had read in the book on World History in my childhood, Julius Ceaser was crying out aloud, at the age of 33, outside a Roman temple. When someone asked him why, he replied, "By this age, Alexander had conquered the world, and I, I have won nothing." Bad comparison, alright, but thats exactly how I feel right now, wanting to cry out aloud.
RDB is a funny movie. It has some of the best subtle comic dialogues. It is also, by far, the darkest movies I have ever seen (And this includes all Hollywood films I have seen). There seems to be no hope, after watching the end. Corruption is here to stay, as are the perennial problems of casteism and communalism. And it exists everywhere, sadly. How many of us newly office goers are not trying to avoid paying the actual tax by coming up with bills we havent actually paid for? And how many of us are willing to pay the entire fine to the government, rather than putting one tenth of the amount into the traffic policeman for a traffic light violation? Not many, I would guess. How can we change society when we ourselves are dishonest in the first place? The first step then, is to change ourselves, and later attempt the change in society, which itself throws up many challenges.
RDB seems like two movies merge into one, and while I watched the first half, it seemed that nothing could overshadow the first half performance. But by the end of the movie, the period before the intermission had slipped into oblivion, and all you could remember was the deep patriotic message that the movie was trying to convey. And maybe it was not exactly a patriotic message. It was a message of the triumph of the Human Spirit, and what can it achieve. The movie was actually about how can people change the society. However, these people succeed, because they had nothing else to live for. Can a normal human being produce such a service? I doubt it. For there are other things as important, if not more important, than freedom. To roughly quote Vikram Seth in From Heaven Lake, his travellouge through China, (Please note that the year was 1982, when China's human rights record was in tatters, but its economy had become strong. India, then was still following the long lost dream of a classless society, which left the economy weak) "I was asked in a paper in Stanford, if I had a choice between India and China, as a place of birth in my next birth, what will I choose? I wrote that if I was living in the conditions that I am today, I would definitely prefer India. But if I were among the poorer 35% households of India, those who live everyday at barely Rs. 10 I would prefer China, because even though freedom, and liberty, while being great virtues, are not enough to buy you bread and butter." Can people having a decent lifestyle actually fight for a better cause? I dont think so.
I liked RDB, because it taught me the following things about life, or it helped me deduce the following (when I thought I knew all):
1) Any person has it in him to be a superhero: All it takes are the right circumstances, and making the toughest (which is also the easiest) decision. When life becomes futile, the easiest thing to do is to end it. However, like DJ says, all that is different is the end.
2) When love happens, it is best to leave it to the almighty. If anything has to happen it will. Try your best, but wait. God sees the truth but waits.
3) Life starts only after college. You define life till you start working. After that life starts defining you.
4) You only realise the impact of things after they happen somewhere close to you, or when someone close to you is effected.
5) Determination, with the right amount of hard work and planning, can lead to anything.
6) Corruption is a big issue in India (This was surprisingly not my view earlier), and
7) The common youth of India is not very sure about India's past, or even the present. How many of us, for example, know of 379 as the official figure for the Jallianwallah Bagh tragedy?
I want to say out a lot more, but I guess I shall stop for now. Its almost 4 at night, and I have to be at office by 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.