Sunday, April 16, 2006

RDB Revisited

Disclaimer: My knowledge of the Indian Freedom struggle is mostly limited to Collins and Lapierre's "Freedom and Midnight" and Rajkumar Santoshi's "The Legend of Bhagat Singh". The views below are based on my interpretation of the movement based on these two sources.

Watched RDB again last weekend. The movie is still brilliant, but I am a bit confused this time around. I thought a bit more about the ending in the movie.

Flashback to pre-Independence days, to the hanging of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. They died for the country, and possibly inspired a few youth not to take the path of non-violence as Gandhi preached, but defend themselves from the atrocities of the British by getting back at them.
What happened after that? The revolutionary movement did not gain enough momentum and ultimately non-violence and Gandhi were the poster boys as India got Independence...independence from foreigners that is.

Cut back to this age. Rakeysh equates our political system to the British Raj and the (Defence) Minister to General Dyer,the difference being we elected this Minister while we did not have a say in Dyer's appointment. DJ and gang become Chandrasekhar Azad, Bhagat & Co and give up their lives. The youth become fired up, say "this is a sad day for democracy" blah blah. This is where the confusion arises.

If it did not work so many years back, what makes the director think this will work today? If everything happened just like it HAD happened, shudnt this too just fizzle out like a flash in the pan?

Of course, the following points also need to be considered:
(1) We are fighting a different enemy, an enemy we have chosen ourselves. This is not just something imposed on us. This is something we have imposed upon ourselves. Our new enemies are our own people.
(2) There is no Gandhiji today. Neither does there seem to be any other similar large-scale fight against corruption et al.
(3) The youth seen then and the youth seen today are very different in the way they think and go about doing things.
(4) Media has made major strides. You can reach out to junta in so many ways today and make yourself heard
(5) People are more educated. And people in power have lots of it. Suppression of revolts in this age is possibly much more easier than it was then.

I personally feel a more pessimistic and bold ending would have been better critically, though possibly not commercially. If Rakeysh draws parallels with Bhagat & Co initially, it should have carried to the very end. A different climax he could have explored was the people in power covering it up just as "yet another terrorist attack" or "foreign forces at work".
Of course one argument is that these dudes convey the reason for the murder of the Minister on radio, directly to the people. BUt then that also draws parallels to the Bhagat Singh story. They had also given themselves up for the same reason - to reach out to he masses - which dint really happen as much as they had desired.

I would have preferred the other ending...

5 scribbles:

Blogger Sudheer Narayan says...

good post!

7:00 PM  
Blogger Nirav says...

Hmmm... I had read in one of the reviews of this movie that "There could have been a 1000 ways in which the director could have chosen to end the movie... he possibly went ahead with the finish he felt was closest to his heart"

So, what matters is, whether at the end of the day the movie entertained you or not and if it made you think or not.

Even though i never went into an analysis of the movie, even prima-facie, i was not very happy with the flow in the second half... but it remains an awesome movie

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous says...

good post i shd say...even i too thot on similar lines... is the director trying to say that this method or approach can win this time arnd..

overall, it was a good movie...

2:44 PM  
Blogger Aravind says...

Hey DD,
Bhagat Singh wanted his voice to reach out to ppl. And, thus, he bombed the parliament and thus got arrested. He went to court and spoke - which were flashed in the media...

In RDB, DJ and gang wanted the world to know what was happening... They wanted to create an awareness - similar to what bhagat singh did...
I think that is the parallel ROM was thinking of!

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Carsten Agger says...

Well, in a way Bhagat sing et al's sacrifice didn't just disappear or fizzle out:

According to Santoshi's movie (and to some observers), Singh's declarations during his court case pressured Gandhi and Congress to take a much harder stance towards the British, and his death gave a great example for others - such as Udham Singh - to follow.

I also think the ending is the best possible from a humanistic point of view: It lets them actually achieve something, so the film really ends up saying:

Don't just sit there! Do something - it works!

Another thing is that it's a very daring movie: It cannot really be construed as to advocate murder of politicians (Ajay in RDB talks about joining the system to fight it from the inside), but it nevertheless defends political violence, which many governments would consider to equal terrorism. If I made this film here, in Denmark, it might possibly be banned.
(However, when I import it from India it's just about them Indians, so it's OK, I suppose).

2:11 AM  

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