Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
At the outset, I have to confess that I didn’t watch a lot of Ram Gopal Varma’s “Rakht Charitra”. Most of the scenes have so much blood and gore and what can only be described as disgusting methods of killing a human being that you are forced to avert your eyes.
The film, based on the true story of Andhra politician Paritala Ravi, is less of a portrait of his time and life, and more of a gory chronicle of the bloody revenge saga he and his rivals are engaged in.
Vivek Oberoi plays Prakash Ravi, the son of a local politician who is killed by his one-time mentor. Determined to take revenge when his elder brother is also killed, he transforms from college student to fugitive, hiding in the jungles and surfacing only to eliminate his father’s killers.
The film traces his journey from a murderer to political leader, a minister in the cabinet with a swanky house of his own, a far cry from his makeshift shelter in the jungles.
Now that we are nearing the end of election season in India, everywhere I go, conversations revolve around the big democratic circus.
“The free media serve as a mirror in which the public can see itself sans mascara and styling gel. From us you learn the state of your nation, and especially its management by the people you elected to give your children a better future. Sometimes the image you see in that mirror is not a pleasant one. But while you may grumble in the privacy of your armchair, the journalists who hold the mirror up to you do so publicly and at great risk to themselves.”
When I was watching Anurag Kashyap’s “Gulaal”, my mind wandered to this passage I had read some days ago, from the last editorial of Lasantha Wickramatunga, the editor of the Sri Lankan newspaper ‘The Sunday Leader’, who was killed by unknown persons.