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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

pk Review

By now it is a common belief that Amir Khan is different from his colleagues at Bollywood and he is often admired for that difference. But we were yet to see one more inspiring movie after 3 Idiots. 

Even though Peepli Live was an amazing satire at Indian audio-visual media and Dhobighat was a cool, artistic movie, Khan's image as the exceptional artist and champion of social causes had badly suffered after the release of beleaguered Talaash. 

His appearance at the commercially successful  Dhoom 3 did nothing to help him recover that image.

Then comes pk. With Rajkumar Hirani as the director and Amir on board as the main actor, the movie was bound to be special.

My expectations were, though, modest as I entered the hall to watch pk because the surest way to contain your disappointment after watching a movie is to lower your expectation bar beforehand.

The movie turned out to be simply brilliant. Better than I could have ever imagined, in fact. There are some reasons for that.

First and foremost, it tackles the issues of religious bigotry and its loathsome manifestations head on. There could be no better time to release a movie like that when a population of 1.25 billion is being incessantly brainwashed by the xenophobic hysteria of the so called 'protectors of faith.'

Indeed when such a large population falls victim of the machinations of these zealots, it is very difficult to preserve the virtues of tolerance and social harmony.

Fighting these zealots is, nonetheless, a hard thing especially when the state apparatus is willing to promote or at least condone them. Today they burn a book here, tomorrow they force-convert poor people from some other religion there, the other day they incite a violent communal strife somewhere else.

Indeed their perpetual existence is possible with endless creation and slaying of enemies. In case of India, the search of the scapegoats for their horrid exercise is easy: a non-Hindu or a Pakistani.

It would be an insane thing to go out and confront the mobs rampaging across India in the name of faith physically.

That is where the art comes up: to fill the void in the society created by the mala fide forces whose brute force is unassailable. Hirani has so thoroughly mocked and exposed the tactics of these fanatics in the movie that they were prompt to call a boycott of the movie.

A call to boycott is, in fact, a boon for a movie for it draws people who would otherwise leave it alone often come and watch the movie after the call. Likely, these filmmakers have taken a calculated risk in provoking them that much. But going beyond that would have been dangerous. They would have easily called a ban on the movie instantly threatening the life and property across the country.

The safeguard against the call to ban? That too comes artistically. The protagonist of the movie believes in god, the god that created everyone and everything, not the one created by the ordinary beings on earth who claim 'patent' to various gods.

Here is what this rabblerouser has to say about the movie

The mockery of the fanatics (who are aptly described by thinker Ashis Nandy as the people who 'use religion secularly' for their vested interests) reaches the climax when, faced with the prospect of being humiliated by an 'alien' who appears to dismiss his way of showing respect and reverence to the god, the Sadhuji boasts that he knows how to 'preserve his god'; but is left speechless when reminded of the enormity of the universe in which the earth is like a drop in the ocean.

A miniature creature belonging to a certain community and residing at a corner of one of thousands of cities in a tiny planet claiming to protect god, something that created the entire universe?

It is understandable why the brokers of the 'god industry' are fumbling to come with any coherent response to the movie. The movie hits them where it hurts the most, yet leaves very little space to be attacked in response.

I find it difficult to contain my joy now reading as I write this that the brokers of god and religion have now gone to court again against the movie team blaming them of defaming the god.

One important notice before closing: if you think, after reading all this, that the movie is a boring and scholarly affair like reading a jargon-laden column in the newspaper, you are mistaken. It is full of all the emotions ranging from fun and joy to loss and despair. Makes you laugh all the times with brief moments prodding serious soul-searching in between.

If only I could provoke them so superbly with so much fun, satire and creativity; and above all, leaving the vile merchants of hatred and bigotry hopelessly naked and fumbling to hide their ugly deeds, with a thousand articles!

An example of how the god-brokers are responding to pk. 

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जीवन, खुशी अहंकार

जीवनमा अफ्ठ्यारा घुम्तीहरुमा हिंडिरहँदा मैले कुनै क्षणमा पलायनलाई एउटा विकल्पको रुपमा कल्पना गरेको थिएँ, त्यसलाई यथार्थमा बदल्ने आँट गरिनँ, त्यो बेग्लै कुरा हो त्यसबेला लाग्थ्योः मेरा समग्र दुखहरुको कारण मेरो वरपरको वातावरण हो, यसबाट साहसपूर्वक बाहिरिएँ भने नयाँ दुख आउलान् तर तत्क्षणका दुरुह दुखहरु गायब भएर जानेछन् कति गलत थिएँ !

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