Sunday, June 22, 2008

Khuda Kay Liye-In the name of God

I typed this while I was enroute from Delhi to Ajmer (Rajasthan, India) on board the Shatabdi Express Train on 20th june 2008. I had just finished watching a Pakistani film “Khuda Kay Liye” about which I had heard a lot. So here is my view on this movie:- the film is a story of the ongoing battle between the zealot Islamists who preach killing in the name of “Allah” and the moderate peace loving followers of the faith “Islam”. It depicts quite beautifully how some “Maulanas” mislead the youth towards an interpretation of Islam that is wicked and untrue. So an urban bred young man is converted into a man who commits sin, like marrying a girl against her wishes, having forcible sex with her to procreate, etc all to prevent her from marrying a white Christian whom she truly loved. The man’s Guru, the “Maulavi” terms these deeds as a service to the almighty ie “Khuda kay Liye”. The story is also about another liberal Muslim protagonist who faces the music in the USA after the September 11 episode in NY. He is punished with torture only because he is Muslim and is thus labeled as a partner of the Jehadis. Eventually he ends up in a mental asylum. While the movie clears the air by showing the true interpretation of Quran and the more liberal ethos of the faith in the end, it still made me ponder, as to whether it was a really a liberal movie.

The subtle message throughout the film was one in which Muslims and followers of Islamic faith arrogate to themselves a power to speak for the Muslims of the whole world. For instance, one Pakistani character in the film proudly claims that the Taj Mahal in India was made by a Muslim and that “we had ruled India for 1000 years”. This is an atrocious attempt to take away from every Indian the pride that Taj was built by an Indian, as Indian as any other. It doesn’t matter if he was a Muslim or he belonged to a lineage from outside India. The truth is his forefathers adopted India and India adopted them. Also it takes away the pride of all Indian Muslims for whom India is their motherland. The movie was also pretty microscopic and almost derogatory towards other faiths, something I did not appreciate because of the highly secular climate in which I grew up. My teachers, parents and friends all believed in the respect of all Faiths and in the uniqueness of their preaching. The film blissfully failed to bring this view across. Nevertheless, the film is a bold effort to take on the zealots who kill and maim in the name of God. The fact that it is a Pakistani film augurs well for the future. Perhaps I was expecting more from the film and am critical of some of the aspects, but after all it is just a film. It is perhaps made to appeal to an audience that would not accept too secular and liberal a view such as that of unity of all faiths and religions. As the film itself teaches at one point, it is important to take one step at a time and not rush towards the final step. “Khuda kay liye” is one such bold first step to greater awareness about the more liberal and more rational view of Islam.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sarkar Raj

Well today I went and watched the latest bollywood flick "Sarkar Raj" starring the Bacchan clan. I had watched the first film in the series "Sarkar" and was eager to see what the Director Ram Gopal Varma brings to the table with this sequel. Oh!! i was not disappointed at all and the company i had during the film also played a role..afterall its always fun watching a movie with a young beautiful girl by your side. But yes coming back to the film...it was about the manner in which "Sarkar" played by the one and only Big B and his son Shekar played by Junior B run their empire. The family of Robinhoods want to promote anything that benefit the common people of Maharashtra and have an entire army to get that done. The film is about the son Shekhar promoting a Power plant project in Maharashtra and how the entire process gets interwoven into ugly politics. In the end the junior B loses his life but Ram Gopal Varma ends with a suspense that surely indicates a follow up to "Sarkar Raj" is in the pipeline. The film has a stamp of Ram Gopal Varma all through with shades of Black and White dominating the screenplay. Further, the man has brilliantly used close ups which bring out Bachhan's brilliance very near to the audience. The story is quite pacy yet the good thing is that there are no songs to break the flow. One can not mistake the similarity between the physical profile of the Big B with the real life personna of Bala Saheb Thakrey though perhaps that is where the similarity ends. Well the movie is surely worth a watch though doesnt leave any great impression as one is leaving the theatre...but yes it does hold you in your seat till you remain in the Dark.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ah! I have learnt to choose life

Life..wow what an enigma it is. Sometimes it seems a dream worth living and at other times its a drugery worth killing. But why is it such a puzzle? Can it be a never ending dream? Well... from Buddha to the most insignificant ones these questions do confront all in a way or another. While Buddhas may choose to spend lives to understand life most of us just jolt us to throw these questions in a dustbin of our pre-conscious mind so that they dont irritate our comfortable, ignorant existence. After all when you dont seem to have answers..the questions have to be just irrelevant,of minimal significance. But is it so that life is too complicated a concept to unravel?Is it difficult to have a life that we love? It was during an interesting conversation with a friend yesterday that I visited these rather impertinent questions. My friend, a proud lady of enormous maturity, shared with me a personal grief that sprung from her experiences that occured sometime in her past life. She was disturbed as she remembered those experiences and had well reasoned logic to explain her state of mind. After all, someone had hurt her badly and she had every right as a human being to feel bad..even though the events happenned in the past. So we began talking..and all i asked her was to listen to me and stop the chatter i her mind. Being a generous lady she gave me that space and we began conversing in a methodology of full faith and acceptance of each others views. What came out of the conversation is a goldmine for leading a life full of joy and love. Yes life can be enjoyed as a never ending dream provided we human give up our urge to plan, to strategise and to indulge in complex thoughts. Here is what came out of the intellectual masturbation..life has to be lived in the moment of "Now"...and in this moment of "Now" we can keep things very simple. Life should be considered simply as a moment by moment phenomena..as actually all we know is this moment of "Now" which is real and past or future is just a myth not real. It is in this moment that we have to choose a "Being" of behaviour and attitude. We can choose to be happy or choose be sad, we can choose to live in present or choose to sulk in the past, we can choose to take responsibility for our feelings or choose to blame others for our sadness. So all we have to do is to make a choice in every moment and the good thing is while we may choose to suffer and be sad in one moment..we have an opportunity the very next moment to choose happiness and joy. So keep playing the game of choosing..whatever life you want..moment after moment.