September 26, 2006

Lagey Raho's Loss Is India's Loss

September 26, 2006 Posted by Vijay 5 comments
I was quite surprised that a movie like Rang De Basanti (RDB) was chosen for the Indian entry into the Oscars for best foreign language film. Even the selected list of entries into the list of probables was a little bit surprising, the list which included Madhur Bhandarkar's Corporate and Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (KANK). Surprised because, being a multi million dollar Film Industry, India still struggles to get a decent entry into the Oscars. More than 800 films per year are being made by the Indian Film Industry and to know that there have only been 3 nominations in all these years is quite appalling. And, when Paheli was chosen as the Oscar nomination last year,everyone was flabbergasted.

Though this time around, there seems to be a consensus about RDB being chosen, I felt rather shocked, that a Lagey Raho couldn't make the cut. Jury members who selected the entrant RDB, say that since RDB has Aamir, who has had prior experience promoting Lagaan at the Oscars in 2002, can pull off the Oscar this time with RDB. One cannot but wonder, isn't Munnabhai M.B.B.S the first ever Indian movie to be remade in Hollywood ? With such a wonderful reputation that the Munnabhai series has begun with, Lage Raho would have had an even better chance I feel.

There are a lot of factors I feel, which go against RDB itself. It was in troubled waters initially when the defense establishment, wanting to have a free to watch movie, got to know that the film revolved around an Air Force pilot being killed in an MIG crash. The movie eventually got the clearance. But, when the youth are being led into believing that if a minister feigns ignorance for the bad MIG deals, and so can be can be assassinated by the youth whose friend was the pilot of the MIG, it is quite a dangerous precedent. With such an influential youthful population that India has, this can have disastrous repercussions. The positive aspects of the movie, is that it stands for the good, and wants the system to be in place, and rightfully so, without any corruption.

In stark contrast, the inspiring Lagey Raho talks about the principles of Gandhi, and how a street goon gets inspired by Gandhian principles and spreads the message of Gandhigiri, as it has come to be known as. As is evident, the movie is all about how Satyagraha and non-violence can be such a weapon in dealing with issues even in the terror stricken 21st century. For starters, in the current world scenario with the scourge of terrorism all around, a movie like this can be more inspiring than what an RDB promotes in terms of the youth taking the law in their own hands.

Secondly, India's father of the nation Gandhi, is a respected figure in every corner of the world. In such a case, Lagey Raho, can attract more attention, and will gain more acceptance for the sheer simplicity with which Rajkumar Hirani has etched Munnabhai preaching and practising Gandhigiri in today's society. This could have evooked much more curiosity and far more acceptance. And to come to the funnier side of RDB and Lagey Raho, RDB tickes the funny bone, but without any message attached to it. But with lagey Raho, the humour is so interwoven with the Gandhian message, that the movie is far more appealing and with a message. When humour lends a message to the masses through such an influential medium as films, it becomes really inspiring.

I still believe Lagey Raho would have been a far better bet than RDB atleast. And if music is the criterion which drove the jury into selecting RDB, then they can be partially justified, since the music of RDB is quite infectiously melodious, and not so much that of Lagey Raho. However, it does not detract from the fact that Lagey Raho as a movie, and that too with a different message, is far more acceptable than RDB. It is sad, but true that once again the Indian entry into the Oscars has been a really disappointing choice. Lagey Raho deserved better.


Anonymous said...

V/J in a country like India, we need both the philosophies. That of MK Gandhi and that of Bhagat Singh. It all depends on the situation, which one to be followed.


Anonymous said...

vj...somebody's already put in a comment there n i cant but help agree with him. But for an indian movie to win an oscar...we still have a long way to go. I dont think either of the movies qualifies for one...

Anonymous said...

..quite admire your optimism.. imagining that any of these movies, RDB, lage raho(hope u werent jokin),even Lagaan could win an Oscar..

Heee heee hahaaaa...
Good Lord, Jesus, Son of Mary!...
heee haaa hoooo heeee....

suggest u watch some of the Oscar winners and the foreign film category it'll cure u of this wishful thinking :)

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Venkat Viswanathan said...

Sinoi - To win Oscar, u dont need a really ground-breaking movie. I'm damn sure RDB doesn't stand anywhere. But Lage Raho did have a fair amount of chance. I agree that the movies that have won Oscars in the Foreign Film category are a class apart. But I stongly feel that Lage Raho comes very close to that. And your problem is that... as they say.. Ghar Ki Murgi Daal Barabar!