Raag Desh-The Raga of India’s Heroes


Raag Desh- A Movie Review

Director- Tigmanshu Dhulia

Writer -Pramod Singh , Tigmanshu Dhulia

Players – Kunal Kapoor, Amit Sadh, Mohit Marwah, Kenny Basumatary, Kenny Desai

Let me tell you something about myself , I am from the metropolis of Calcutta-home of one of the most charismatic hero in World History , Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.I have supported the concept of non-violence against the intruders. It was and it is always by war. You name the book , I have been through it . You name the documentaries  and other creative works on Netaji and INA , I have gone through all of them. Thus  there is no fooling over here  ,Tigmanshu Dhulia ‘s Raag Desh comes up with brilliant research work about INA and Netaji.

The story of Raag Desh is so detailed that you tend to stand up and salute to the research team of the film . Few years ago Shyam Benegal made an endearing biographical film Bose-The Forgotten Hero which ended with the staged Taihaku flight accident of Subhas Bose(read the reports of Mukherjee Commission) and the trial of INA officers. Raag Desh picks up the story-line from the famous Red Fort trial (1945)of the three star studded men of Azad Hind Fauj.

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Dhulia has been successful in extracting  some of the career defining performances from majority of the actors. The three leading men Kunal Kapoor, Amit Sadh, Mohit Marwah doesn’t leave any room for complain. I wonder why Kunal Kapoor and Amit Sadh have been missing from action , dear Bollywood please use them properly . Mohit Marwah’s voice and body language is hard hitting on the 70mm. Kenny Basumatary, as the supreme leader of INA and the bravest leader of all time(yes yes Subhas Bose ) manages to leave a mark on the  audience. Kanwaljit Singh is as good as ever in his empathetic role in the film.However it is Kenny Desai as Bhulabhai Desai who steals the laurel of acting department. Loved it the way you articulated your character on the screen.Look out for the journalist in the film(yeah the bad mouth Delhi ka launda in Pink)..you will love him.

As usual no spoilers about the film’s story-line . But there is a weak point in the narration, Dhulia employs excessive to and fro jumps between past and present scenarios in the film and it is tiring at times.

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The film falls flat on some of the shoddy fight sequence but manages to compensate it on the court-room scenes in the film. Music is average over here , but the background score is rather very compelling . INA’s theme song Kadam Kadam Baraye Ja is a treat to the audience.

Raag Desh is not the usual loud screeching Bollywood patriotic films. It has been carefully crafted by Tigmanshu and his team. It is satirical  and it is free from any kind of jingoism. It is a tragic story of a failed army who dreamt big and worked hard to gain freedom. Subhas Bose appears in flashes but his ideals of  hitting the enemy hard reverberates across all the members of INA in Raag Desh. Ironically many Indians also fought against INA soldiers across the North-Eastern front of India , Raag-Desh portrays the dilemma of the INA soldiers shooting their own countrymen(British Indian Army ). It is one of the most heart-wrenching moment of the movie. The film will remind you of court room dramas like Shaurya, A Few Good Men and Twelve Angry Men. But Raag Desh is original and brilliant in its own accord.

When Bollywood is caught up with making ghisa- pita love stories and southern rip off , Raag Desh is a bold move and almost a an epic execution. Watch the movie to know the real heroes of Indian freedom movement. Watch it for real information and real life characters of our nation . Don’t miss this one. Lastly this is not Dunkirk(much behind it) but this one will go down in history. Tigmanshu Dhulia, take a bow. There is only emotion that is love for the nation…it surpasses religion, Raag Desh proved it and didn’t pester forced nationalism and secularism. IMDB gave it 9.1/10 by the way… 😛

 

Pros

Excellent Research Work

Top notch acting by the cast

Strong screen-play

Brilliant Direction by Tigmanshu Dhulia

Satirical and Intelligent tone

Cons

Editing is weak.

Too much jumping jack between past and present.

Rating- 4.5/5

Verdict – Jai Hind ….

 

 

Disclaimer – Images from the internet.

 

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U for Untouchable


Ok by now,all of you know about my lazy nature.I am quiet lazy while picking up any book,but when I do….i read them wholeheartedly.I believe in good books and they should be small in number.I am a voracious reader,but few have left any mark on my cognitive texture.I will be speaking about one such book today.

People say don’t judge a book by its cover, but I say there is an effect at least by its cover page.While visiting a reputed book shop in Bengluru near Majestic Bus Terminus,I came across a Penguin book with an image of dark skinned Indian teen dressed in traditional Indian apparel.That sort of cover picture was unusual..not at all attractive.Well the book talks about a single day in a life of a sweeper boy..(quiet unusual for a novel narrative).

The cover picture..which caught my attention.

The cover picture..which caught my attention.

Yes I am speaking about UNTOUCHABLE by Mulk Raj Anand.Written during pre independenceera..the novel is so hardhitting that you wonder whether it is a fiction or a real life documentary.WellAnand is himself a social crusader and his work is a treatise against social evil.The protagonist is Bakha , a sweeper boy cleaning human dirt.Anand focusses on a single day of his dark life,whole lives in the pre independence era, as a Bhangi (one who clean toilets). Bakha is not weak, where he is strong and able-bodied. He is all enthusiastic and has his own set of dreams. His dreams vary from to dress like a ‘Tommie’ (Englishmen) in ‘fashun’ to play Hockey.He is deprived of social rights,he is deprived of basic human rights. The novel also deals with an incident where his sister Sohini, is molested by a Purohit..a priest. Bakha protest strongly. He is young but he is so matured.But even lower class Dalit like him should not protest,because they were mere dirt.

They were subhumans.. The ‘dirty’ nature of their work pulls down‘bhangi’s to the last of the table of casts. They were not permitted even to take water from a well and had to wait for hours for the mercy of the upper caste. The food will be given to them by throwing and if they touch anybody by accident they will be punished. Even if they are ready to pay, nobody will teach them. The upper class however doesn’t find this untouchability when they molest their teen girls. It is a typical day in the life of the Bhangi, mixed with hunger, hope, small pleasures, insults and set backs. Add to all the problems, they have no right to protest or express their emotions!! Anand is so real ,that I could literally see Bakha’s plight in front of me. The Cover picture is surely of some one like Bakha,so much of pain,so much of physical and mental labour,yet the determined JAWS makes you feel,he is a real HERO.His statement shows so much of anger and the wiilingness to rebel.

“They think we are mere dirt, because

We clean their dirt.”…..(Bakha)

The novel describes some similar incidents,the relationship between Bakha and his father has been well painted.His relationship with Muslim,with Barrack people,gives the novel a different dimension.

The time belonged to Gandhiji,he is a non fictional character in this novel,who appears in the end. He addresses a crowd about ‘Harijans’. Bakha seemed to be attracted towards Gandhi’s speech.

Not only that Anand touches upon the theme of religious conversions in a subtle manner.Anand showcased the evils of Caste system in Hinduism.He have dealt brilliantly with the postcolonial concepts like ‘Other’, ‘Subaltern’ , Exploitation, Resistance, Mimicry.

Mulk Raj Anand considers that the caste system can only prevail with the job one carries and the easy way to remove it is to upgrade the work environment and bring dignity to each work. We have no right to downgrade any work.

The novel simply shook our conscience. The author criticizes the social injustice with his powerful words. He rips apart the hypocrisy of the powerful. Meaninglessness of worship and its uselessness when it is not practiced is stressed. The book is also a small reminder of ignorance of strength by the lower caste and the need for moral rejuvenation. Above all, ‘any social revolution should be practical’ is another message the book manages to convey.

There is another strong message I felt from the novel. Most of the problems of India were self created. The British could rule India only because the masses were not seriously disturbed by their presence. In the novel, the protagonist is not fearful of the British. This view only reiterates the conclusion that political freedom alone will not solve human misery.

The novel is an example of social weapon against social evil,this is one of the classics in Indian English Literature.The theme of Untouchabilty is age long,and still prevailing. I strongly recommend this book,a simple narrative but a brilliant depiction of the Subaltern Hindu community.