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Films/TV Serials on Dalit/untouchables Issue

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dalit homicides as Celebration in Tamil cinema

The current psychological war against dalits in Indian cultural realm is fought by the brahmanical hegemony and ideology with inventions of newer psychological tools especially in cinema. It is evident in the texts of acclaimed tamil films which are celebrated as the depiction of village and real life outlets. These so called new generation tamil industrial cinema also revolves round the dichotomy of life/killing, elites/dalits, happiness/tears etc., and avoids the different complex political aspects of these two sided presentations. Killing of dalit identities and dalit bodies  in the films like Veyil, Kadhal, Pruthiveeran, Subramaniapuram, Vennila KabadiKuzhu etc., are cunningly avoided in the intellectual discourses and are celebrated as refreshements in tamil film culture in the realm of presentation and text. These films are read as the depiction of reality of village and dalit life which were neglected by the Indian cinema seems to be paradoxical. In the close analysis, these are nothing but the rebirth of feudal attacks against dalits prevailed in the past and is converted to a psychological style through the texts of these films. Brahmanical ideologies and economical powers attack the mindset of dalits and suppressed with new tools of killing of dalit bodies and characters and sympathizing through these films. The homicides or madness of dalit identities in the aforesaid films are on the one hand an indication of threat by the brahmanical hegemony to the subalterns that “you are being killed again” in the texts of cinematic expressions for this medium is largely influenced to the subaltern societies especially in Tamilnadu. Brahmanism assumes that it will make the downtrodden to think once again for a political fight to reach their standards of knowledge, money, living and power. Besides dalits cannot evolve with an alter texts in the main stream industries of Indian cinema with a positive political texts for they have lack of economical resources for film productions even though they are moving in a correct direction politically in the intellectual discourses which frightened the brahmanical ideologies in India in the present scenario . The irony is that these films are highly welcomed in the Kerala/Tamilnadu society as a versus element against the feudalized Malayalam/Tamil films and the complex political/psychological/sociological/economic characters of killings is really ignored and are sympathized at dalits being killed again and again.

Films like Veyil (directed by Vasantha Balan) and Kadhal (directed by Balaji Shakthivel) are produced by Sankar, the director who is considered as the most eminent commercial directors of Indian film industry. From his first film Gentleman onwards he streamed the pictures of brahmanical ideology on the screen. In his films like Gentleman, Indian, Muthalvan, Annyan and Sivaji, he used the brahmanical lines of ideologies like amassing wealth, killing, one man rule, and one man liberation which are fanatic and fascist which followed the route of Hindu feudalism in the Indian spectrum. He gained the name as a good “producer” by presenting the films like Veyil and Kadhal as down to earth movies. Shankar grabbed a clean image in the dialogues/discourse of mainstream intellectual and cultural industry by the production of these films. But in the close examination of the film Kadhal, provides with the underlined but clear textual message that if a dalit strive for an inter caste marriage, the result may be madness and the feudal energy prevails has that sort of power and back ground to attack them brutally and make them mad and to roam around. The subaltern mechanic role played by Bharat has one of the most pathetic “ending” since the evolution of Indian film for he happened to be a dalit and hailed from a slum. Unlike all other feudal heroes of Indian cinema he is depicted as a coward and is always in doubt about his lady lover and her relatives. In Veyil, Murukesan played by Pasupathy has a series of failures and “killings” in his life. He fails as a family man, lover, and human being in the movie. In the saga of Murukesan his inter caste love affair with an elite girl brutally ends in the suicide of her. The psychological posturing of this incident is nothing but inter caste affairs by elites especially to uneconomical dalits must be killed. Murukesan in Veyil and the mechanic boy in Kadhal, both being as dalits have the same mode of transformation of failures, violence against them, madness and killings.

The inter caste relationship in Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu (directed by Susindhran) and Paruthiveeran (directed by Amir Sulthan) are also being killed by the creators of both of these films. In Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu the dalit hero Marimuthu who was on the road to his ultimate victory in Kabadi competition and love affair is being killed. It was pictured as Marimuthu is being killed in an accident at the end of a Kabadi match. The character has inter caste love relationship and the girl doesn’t even know what happened to Marimuthu. Eventhough he was heroic his character is molded as inferior in all aspects except his confidence in Kabadi tournament. In Paruthiveeran there is the same text of dalit narration of characters. The protagonist is a hero in a village named Paruthi. The end of this character is brutal, pathetic and tragic. A dalit woman who is considered as a rogue is brutally killed as untold in Indian film history covering her in a sack and butchering her body. Pruthi veeran’s father who had an inter caste marriage is killed in an accident. Paruthiveeran’s lover Muthazhaku, who is from an elite caste family, is gang raped and killed by some lorry drivers. Paruthiveeran suicides after she is being killed. In Veyil and Paruthiveeran, the women who loved two Dalit identities are being killed.

In Subramaniapuram (directed by Sasikumar) killing of dalits has new brutal presentations. The homicides in the film were shock to the South Indian audience. In Subramaniapuram the elite caste girl who is the lover of the protagonist, Jai, becomes the tool for his homicide by her relatives. This theme was entirely different and shocking to the receivers of the film. She cannot do anything while her hero is stabbed to death in front of her. The Dalit character and the friend of Jai, Kanja Karuppu is the cheating element. Knife is piercing in the dalit body of Jai again and again. The inter caste marriage in this film also is blocked by these killings. And the dalits are pictured as the most violent and those who do the biggest violence are also dalits, ie. the receivers and donors are subalterns. This dichotomy denies further of different complexities of socialites like how dalits become violent, and who makes dalit as violent and who are the behind the curtain players. 

One of the significant psychological characters that paved the success for these films are the sympathies gained from the audience to these characters. These characters remained in the mind of audiences as dark memories. They lived in the mind of people. But it is not empathy or confrontation with those characters. Or it is not the political analysis of the social formation of these characters. It is due to mere sympathy towards them. But on the other hand the brahmanical mass psyche of Kerala/Tamil societies enjoyed these killings underneath. Killings of dalits, their disability and madness are secretly enjoyed and celebrated in the Indian mass/mad psychology. And it is a trick of Brahmanical hegemony to highlight these films as a refreshment of Indian film texts. These are nothing but the celebration of homicides of dalits and subalterns.

  1. BlogworldApril 24, 2010

    Except Illayaraja's family (his bro Gangai Amaran) and their kids leading the Music Industry, there is a couple of third level or lower level actors who play in smaller roles like Chandrasekar are from dalit community. As far as dalits as hero, there is only one that I know of Parthban, who seems to be very successful in his movies, because he pretty much does direction, action, production and every other aspect of movies.

    Our dalit girls the most beautiful among all the Indian woman, but you see there is not a single dalit female actor in the entire movie industry, I am pretty sure this is same with respect to all other states, there are hardly any in hindi movie, the multi crore movie business.

    Even to act as Dr.Ambedkar they put some hindu or muslim actors, Buddha was portrayed by terrible caste hindu actors,

    Rajinikanth, Kamalahasan and Karunanidhi are all casteist BSs, but the Dalits adore them and even build temples for them, infact, Rajinikanth's majority fans are dalits, I am pretty sure if a stat is done, it will reveal my prediction.

    In the light of this background I just gave here, just imagine how terrible our own people in wasting their time, money and energy on casteistic film industry and actors.

    Dalits must totaly ignore all the industries, must start creating their own, even business, they should start putting up their own business, it does not matter if it is smaller levels, it does not matter they will fail, but they must proceed to trash the movie industry.

    Even the single great Dalit contributor Illayaraja is of no use to Dalits, except we can just say for name sake, he is an ardent Gandhi follower, what a waste. I never heard him talking or writing or making music about Ambedkar or Buddha, but he makes musics about some hindu personalities and ancient hindu saints. The tragedy of dalits betrayer does not stop with the politicians but it transcend just about every field?.

    Just read the following Tamil Movie review, the writer made an excellent analysis that every single one here must read and pass on the message that we must clean up the Movie industry shit too!
  2. BlogworldApril 24, 2010
    Dalits & Indian Movies:
    First and foremost, Dalits must learn to understand how detrimental and dangerous ideas, incidents and often dalit people depicted in Indian Movies, both hindi, tamil and other language movies.

    As in every other field such as science, medicine, sports, or arts, Dalits are left out and kept outside the mainstream movies, but also kept out of smaller mediums like painting, illustrative media and sculpting etc, so imagine how Dalits will ever reach into the great Architecture or other such fields?.

    In this regard, it is horrendously painful why Dalits never got into any of these fields, but dalits are the one who go and waste their hard earned money in movie theaters and in music shows etc?. The amount of money made in film industry alone is an amount unimaginable, billions and billions of US dollar equivalent, means several thousand crores per year.

    I am pretty sure, like the dalits constitute abotu 30% of the population of India, the cinema and other business run by casteist people make enormous gain from selling to dalits, if roughly put about 40% of the movie/film industry money or even more is coming from Dalits, Dalits are obnoxiously addicted to movies and they will go hunger but will not keep themselves out of Movies, Tamil movie goers can be an extreme example in this analysis.

    If this is the case, how tragic it is to see, there is no Dalit actor, director or producer that the world can talk about, let alone distributors or theater owners?. In Tamil Nadu for example, which is the example taken by the following link so I stick to discuss the known statistics, most of the directors are either Brahmins or the most backward barbaric Thevars/Gounders?. If this is not enough, let me tell you that 80% of those actors and ladies are brahmins, they chest beat all around the world saying they are the purerest of the pure came out of gods mouth, it is astounding to notice that they are the one who strip naked in movies, vulgar and arrogant. Even in the prostitution, the brahmins run the poor woman who go there to do this terrible livelihood, which majority of these poor comes from dalits and other most backward groups?.
    Continued......Part II
  3. BlogworldApril 24, 2010
    Excellent analysis and quite revealing about the Casteism and it's pervasiveness in Tamil Movies, the same kind of movies are made in hindi and all other languages. Tamil Movie industry is the epitome of Casteism in India that people can hardly even notice it. Half of the film industry is run by brahmins and the rest by most brutal casteists of all Thevars/Goundars and others?.

    Good work Budhane, I enjoyed reading this painful reality.
  4. AnonymousApril 27, 2010
    Your outlook disgusts me to a great extent. Me being a Dalit, I can never accept this nonsense you're mentioning. Everything is centered on oppression. Illayaraja (his family) and Parthiban are no jokers in the cine field. These guys are talented and hence made it big. We will keep on projecting oppression and look for freebies. I sincerely hope just this nonsense of an article is not taken seriously by many.
  5. xyz+April 28, 2010
    dear rupesh, thanks for sharing your blog. what you are saying is true. there is a lot of celebration of these in kerala. and the argument is that these are such stark and brilliant representations of social reality. i havent seen veyil and subramanyapuram. but i watched kathal many times. i like the film because of the actors and the songs. but i totally agree with the point that dalit homicide is its highlight and it is utterly horrible how bharath ends up. however when i watched the film something else also was very disturbing to me. in the cinema world it is always the people who kill and murder who are the bad guys, the monsters, the villians. the killed and maimed is the victim. think of who the killers in this films are. it is people belonging to a non upper caste, probably obc caste. i feel that in this film they are portrayed as ruthless, blood thirsty, violent and murderous. and i felt there was some problem in thus shifting the burden of caste and its violence to this non upper caste community and representing them as this ruthless. i did not see the girls family as belonging to upper caste - their customs, practices everything talks of a non brahminical and much below the social status group - i think just as dalit homicide is happening again and again - this homicide is shown as being conducted by "barbaric" lower castes too. through this i think there is a shift of the entire caste discourse into the rural setting and also the demonization of the elites (mostly non upper caste) who rule the rural areas. especially think of the girl in kadhal, she is being educated in a convent and is really different from all her family members who are extremely "backward" and not at all sophisticated and also think of the way these members look - none of them have the typical looks of the usual fathers, mothers and relatives of upper caste heroines - i am not sure whether i am right.. maybe you like to comment , jenny
  6. UpliftthemMay 7, 2010

     I have no idea as to how your face look as you only have anonymous??.

It should be disgusting to you & after all you are a disgusting individual, who betray a quarter of India who are suffering from the hindu pathology of caste system.

If you grow up and gain education, gain knowledge then it is your responsibility to help uplift the needy, poor and Oppressed people in India. And, I see that you do not take responsibility of telling the world about the existence of problems in the society like how this blogger Buddha never sleeps is telling the true story and awakening people in India, you are a betrayer and a human of highest denial of reality.

Who cares if Parthiban or Illayaraja is talented or genius, or earned a livelihood in movie field by their skills, it is of damn no use if they did not help heal their fellow humans in suffering, why?. Because they are not doing a family business or a personal business, they are doing a business of art that is public, they are in a social media, without people using their creativity or products be it a movie, or a music CD/DVD or any damn thing, will be simply useless and waste. It is people, the dalits all over TN, and in India who flock to buy their product, promote their fellow citizen, yes of course all other Indians do buy and promote too!, but these artists have responsibility to give back, and help the suffering mass, suffering mass from the hindu pathology, you traitor. Like these artists are traitors who abandoned their society, you are a waste to this society, as Dr.Ambedkar said, an educated man if not useful to the society, he or she is worst than a beast?. No, tell me with your anonymous face if you have guts, tell me what you have got?.

French Hit 'Untouchables' Tops German Charts

Untouchables (Intouchables) film still - H

COLOGNE, Germany - French culture clash comedy Untouchables, which has earned some $150 million in France, has pushed past David Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows to top the German box office charts.
Director Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakasch's story of an unlikely friendship between a black ex-con and a wheelchair-bound white aristocrat has topped the French charts since its release last November.  Distributor figures suggest Untouchables has sold around 500,000 tickets since its Jan. 5 bow in Germany, for a total box office of close to $5 million. German distributor Senator nearly tripled the number of prints - from 159 to 412 - for Untouchablesafter the film bowed in third place last weekend. The extra push paid off, and the film soared past its Hollywood competition.
If Untouchables can keep up the pace, it could overtake Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis (2008) and Amelie(2001) as the most successful French release in the territory. Amelie, with 3.2 million admissions and and a total box office take of around $22 million, represents the high-water mark for French films in Germany.
Politics of Cinema:

Fans and Dalit Audiences
Dr. P. Kesava Kumar

The central theme of my paper is to understand what cinema means to Dalit audiences and how they negotiate their social identities in the context of cinema /star. I assume that watching cinema is a social activity located in its specific social, historical and political context. Broadly; the paper addresses three main points. Firstly, the entry of the Dalits into Public Space such as cinema hall and especially to the Balcony. The cinema hall is a site of Struggle between Dalits and the upper caste. Secondly, the responses of fan about cinema and its star, in terms of their specific caste/class identities. The complex process of the caste identity of the fans-both upper-castes and Dalits is negotiated in terms of their control over specific public places such as centers in a town, barber shop; 100 days celebrations, leadership in fans associations, and the visibility of a particular fans association/particular individual/social group into cinema hall and outside cinema hall. Thirdly, Dalit audience reception to the representation of them in cinema. This response is often contradictory , and very complex. Some Dalits are resent the way they portrayed in cinema, some others accept some roles as role models. I tried to analyze these responses.

Film as the text acquires meaning because of its viewers. The point is, film consumption seen as a site of cultural struggles in which variety of forms of power are exercised with different sorts of effects. This cultural struggle is, on going process over meaning and pleasure, which is central to construction of everyday life. The embeddedness of audience activity takes place a complex network of ongoing cultural practices and relationship.

Dalit audiences are not a unitary category. Within it there are men and women, urban and rural, old and young, rich and poor, and also differ with region. Because of these differences, there might be multiple meanings and multiple negotiations of film images. But at the same time all of them are victimized by the caste. It implies Dalit audiences how different they might be, heterogeneous seemingly free, but are related to the operations of forms of social power. Thus, watching film is also social and even collective practice rather individual. And the circulation and the reception of cinema situated in particular historical, social and political contexts of the audiences.

I am not discussing film and audiences as two separate categories. Film is located within society and audiences do exist prior to the institution of cinema or outside of it Audience may go on changing with time along with cinema. However, cinema acts as a mediating structure between hegemonic groups and subaltern groups. The conflict among ruling block and the subaltern groups trough various internal equations used to manifest in cinema. Cinema is one of the important cultural form is used to act as space to meet various social subjects of the society.

Political struggles and Cinema 

The themes of films go on changing with the changing social circumstances. The early films of fifties (Mythology, fantasy, and folklore), reflect the general wish of Nehruvian reform of feudal structures. Later green revolution produces huge agrarian surpluses and wage labour, and this surplus turned into the capital for cinema. Around the same time, feudalism received serious blows from Naxalite movement (late sixties and seventies). The corresponding cultural form is depicting the crisis in feudalism through NTR films, followed by void of feudal patriarch. This was filled by Telugu nationalism. Later in eighties, rich peasant who also invested in cinema try to depict a situation of hero as an agent of condemning feudalism and assigning legitimacy to state. This can be seen as the popular expression of anti-feudal struggles. Green revolution in its dialectic, also had the seeds of assertion of dalits, which happen through wage labour, and state led developmental programmes. This culminates in massacre in Karamecbedu by upper castes over Dalits. An equally significant event disturbing the foundation of modern secular state is Mandal agitation. These incidents are symbols of increasing expression of dalits in public spaces from which they are hitherto excluded. In representing the turmoil, it has been increasingly difficult for dominant ideology to reproduce itself. The hero, usually representing the subaltern, has traveling through various routes, and in the climax used to resolve the crisis. Traveling through disturbed zones of social turmoil lower castes hero confronts upper caste female which had generated lot of anxiety among the middle class upper caste audiences. It has increasingly become difficult for film industry to produce a film acceptable to all audiences, which is posed as a crisis of mass film. This has met with several responses, one is increasing the importance of story line, and second one is the reshaping of star image.
Post nineties witnessed economic liberalization and the rise of Hindu fundamentalism. As a response to economic liberalization, reviving of local culture/ traditions has been shown as resolution of the problem, which can be seen in the films of S. V. Krisna Reddy and Krishna Vamsi in different form. At the same time, state in AP emerged as an agent of 'change', 'progress' and 'modernization’. There also emerged consumerist middle class audience totally devoid of any social concerns, as a propagators of the ideology of the state in the liberalization era, it can be seen m the films of Mani Ratnam and Ramgopal Varma. Surprisingly, there has also been large number of box office hit movies like Erra Synyam, Ose Ramulamma, a gap which is mass film, is left filled with it.

The composition of national modern is being continually challenged by the assertion of political identities based on caste and community. And the growth of cinema as a cultural phenomenon was coeval with series of political struggles by new constituency such as tribals, landless peasants, Dalits and women- altered the dominant political discourses in significant way.
Audience response: A case study of Coastal Andhra 
town, Tenali
This study basically depends on my interviews of Dalit audiences of Tenali, a coastal Andhra town and its surrounding villages namely Nelapadu an Amrutalur.

Tenali is a very important town of having 2 lakh population of Guntur district of coastal Andhra. Tenali has been an important center of education and cultural activities. Andhra Praja Natyamandali, the cultural organisation of the communist movement was strong in Tenali and surrounding villages. Most of the first generation Telugu film actors, producers, writers, musicians, came from Tenali town. Tenali town was known for its tradition of several theatre groups.

In recent times, Tenali in Particular and Guntur district in general became center of Dalit movement The emergence of a small section of very articulate educational middle class challenged the social oppression by the upper castes especially the Kammas. The Tsundur massacre(1991), of datits led to a long battle with the upper castes. Tsundar is a village very close to Tenali Town.. In brief, one can argue that the Guntnr district-especially places like Tenali and nearby villages have educated and politically conscious dalits. There is always a situation of tension between the upper caste kamma and dalits in Tenali and other villages. Politically active and conscious dalits have serious contradictions with the land owning dominant upper castes- kammas,

I interviewed old people, youth, students, woman, and Fans Association members of the town and its surrounding villages. In order to get the feed back for better understanding of the audiences I interviewed theatre/film personalities such as Andhra Praja Natya Mandali activitsts, civil liberties persons, student leaders, Dalit activist*, Recording dancers, theatre owners and even police.

Dalit audience's responses are very varied. We have diverse accounts- younger generations and older generation, rural urban audiences, fan association members and other dalit men and women on film stars and their preferences of themes/stars.

Dalits entry into Balcony

Cinema hall, being public place feciliate a meeting of all sections of the society. In the cinema halls of villages, entry / non-entry into chair class is a serious issue for dalits. The fellow from Dalit community who wishes to sit in the balcony has to face problems from upper-castes. It is no way comfortable and creates a psychologically tease situation.

G. Ravichandra of age 34 years agricultural coolie, of Amartahur village near Tenali says: " I never went to chair class (balcony). I always go to bench class. We are workers in their fields. Though I can afford money to go to that class, voluntarily I dropped that idea to sit with them. The upper caste fellow Junks that the fellow who works in my field everyday is sitting beside me. If it is in town nobody bothers".

I have already mentioned Tsundur massacre, in which eight Dalits were killed. This massacre was a result of an incident took place in a cinema hall. Ravi, a college going Dalit student and son of a teacher went to a cinema hall. Ho sat in the Balcony. The upper caste Reddy Youth reacted violently and further in the course of time the massacre took place. The upper caste alleges that Ravi kept his leg on the chair of upper '

  caste boy. it seems to be a spontaneous attack but it is not Already, in the village, there was a charged atmosphere between Dalits and upper caste people. Three months before the incident, dalits were socially boycotted by the upper-cast© people and were not allowed to work in their fields. On various small issues, these are ten cases filed in the police station on both sides. The conflicts among dalits and upper caste people reached a flash point in the cinema hall. In recent years, not only in Tsundur, bat conflicts took place in many villages. Reasons may be different, but the already existing conflicts and contradictions in the villages simultaneously reflecting in the cinema halls. There are incidents in Amrutalur between Kapu-Muslims vs Dalits and in Bbattiprolu between Dalits vs Kapus. These took place on the pretext of touching or pushing at ticket counter or spitting the pan on other unnoticed.
Entry into a cinema hall is theoretically/democratically available to every body but in practice it is not Entry into balcony does not depend on the capacity to buy a ticket to that class.

Fans Associations and Dalits

 In day to day struggles, cinema increasingly playing an important role from eighties onwards. Various social and political issues fought around cinema - in cinema halls and outside. At the individual level one's emotions and aspirations are negotiated by identifying with the cinema stars. When the individual becomes a fan /member of fans association, we have a small collectivity which uses their star as a symbol to negotiate their identity with the cinema
NT RamaRao's entry into the politics (1982) brings lot of changes in the composition of audiences of cinema- in terms of political affiliations with stars. In coastal Andhra, NTR's entry into politics helpful to Kamrnas for establishing their supremacy. In that situation, Dalits who bad already conflicts with kammas started' disowning NTR in politics. After the Karamchedu massacre (1985) in which upper caste kammas killed 5 Dalits, Dalits kept themselves away from NTR and his TOP.

As the recording dancer, Mohan Rao, Dalit aged 50 years, of Tenali who gave number of programmes in coastal area says:

"I danced as NTR as long as NTR continued to act in films. When NTR entered elections, Christians(Read Dalits) did not like NTR' songs. After Karamchedu & Nirukonda they are telling me directly not to play NTR. After that I played Krishna for sometime."

Dalits and students struggles

Before Karamchedu massacre, the violent conflicts between Kamma and non -kamma can be seen in the college campus. In Tenali VSR&NVR college, which has the strength of 6,500 (1980) is always in a tense situation .Winning the Students Union Elections, is prestigious not only to the students different communities, politicians and the area as a whole. Against the Kamma domination in the college, an anti kamma bloc was framed in 1978 in which Dalits (particularly Itanagar , a Dalit locality of town) were the key players. This bloc consisted of Dalits, Kapus, Reddy, Brahmins and some B.C.*. In 11198-0-81 Dalits Student Devasahayam of Itanagar elected as President from non-kamma bloc with huge majority. IN the same year, Kamma Students with the help of outsiders stabs a Dalit student named Kennedy under the pretext that he harassed upper caste women students. This was followed the retaliation from Dalits. They beat the kamma Students wherever they found either in college or in Town. This issue further triggered the conflict between Kamma and Dalit students in remaining colleges of the district-Pedanandipadu college, PBN college, Ponnur, JKC College, Guntur etc. The consequent years in the V.SJL College Kammas beat up other students belonging to Reddy and Kapu castes for supporting Dalits.

Community identity and Fans associations

In this context, NTR's son Balakrishna entered the cine-field and his fans association was formed immediately in Tenali. This mainly consists of Kammas with some fans of NTR's extended support to his son. We may find Dalits are in Krishna fans initially due to this affiliation with congress. Even some were continuing today. And later many of them started liking Chiranjeevi as non-kamma hero. Chiranjeevi being a Kapu, almost all the Kapus owned him. Chiranjeevi became a rallying point of not only Kapus but other non Kamma and Congress sympathizers.
Among the audiences, the members in fans association are visible by their activity. Many of them cause from the lower classes of different castes and are more vocal. As S.V. Srrinivas who worked on Fans and Stars' argues: “Fan are talking public based on the ability of members of FA's to talk back to the star, to media, to film industry and different social-strata Fans became a public by talking among themselves with others. Fans provide the institutional space to do so.”
Fan associations shall be read in the light of the crisis in national-modern resulting from pressure exerted by the political society. Theatre based activity of fans associations assume tremendous political significance, because it involves challenging established modes of reinforcing of social hierarchies in public spaces. The take over of the theatre as well as public spaces by fans need to be read at an attempt by non -elite to make these spaces more inhabitable by establishing their physical presence and visibility.
Fans are always competing with members of other associations in every aspect There has always been a battle among the fan groups to establish their supremacy over the other. In a sense, these are struggles/assertions of social groups one over the other.
For instance bi the film Vaarasudu, Krishna acted as a father of Nagarjuna. In one of the scenes Nagarjuna pulls the color of Krishna. Immediately the fans of Nagarjuna take it as a sign of supremacy over the fens of Krishna. For that Krishna fens reacted and beat up the fans of Nagarjuna and even succeeded in removing that scene from the film. As the fen of Krishna, Amrit Raj, electrical worker , aged 27 years of Itanagar of Dalit locality of the Town felt "When he ( Nagarjuna ) caught his shirt, Nagarjuna fans were in a dominant position, no ! So they had to beat them up. He (Nagarjuna) came only recently no, so these groups went and bashed those. It happened on a large scale. Krishna fans are sick of him because of his acceptance to that scene: What is this we are so sincere and this guy had to go and agree to such a role. This scene was cut because of the protest by the fans"
In the VSR college around the year 1986, the conflict among the students groups took place in other form, Le. of the student's identification with Film Heroes. One's Social and political identifications reflected in the preferences of star and the differences led to conflicts. Students who are fans of Balakrishna are used to tear up the notebook covers having the picture of Chiranjeevi and Krishna. The fans of Chiranjeevi and Krishna use d to do the same with the fans of Balakrishna
Gondi Bhaskar , fan of Balakrishna , President of Yuvaratna International, 27 years, kamma, and also active worker of Tetugu Desam who proudly says without any hesitation:"So far we have beaten up everybody- the followers of Krishna, Akkintm Nageswar Rao, and confronted with Chiranjeevi we have upperhand in every thing. Either it is because of our influence or other reasons. No body tries to fight with us even by mistake. Even we are advanced, others will not. Others never invite confrontation with us.
Mangamma gari Manavadu, a film of Bala Krishna was shifted to some other theatre to have Krishna's Kanchu Kagada when the banners of KanchuKagada are being put, in the theatre premise, Krishna fens made an insulting comment against Balakrishna fans. ' This fellow is a hero and those are his fans'. Those Balakrishna fans, we are passing by beat up Krishna fans. In the town, main confrontation is in between Chiranjeevi fans and Balakrishna fans. There is other hero a fan like Nagarjuna and Venkatesh- they are not in a competition for stardom. These stars nave no particular social group's support
The major confrontation of Balakreishna fans with Chinanjeevi fans took place at the time of Chiranjeevi's Attakuyamudu Ammayikimogudu-- Muddula Mamayya of Balakrishna. The conflict took place on streets under the pretext that fans of Chiranjeevi were circulated pamphlets and put banners. They indirectly wrote comments about Balakrishna and in insulting language -one bastard is there. For that Balakrishna fans also responded by using the artistic dolls- they also put banners by writing against Chiranjeevi-' one crook is surrounded by ten.’ This leads to conflicts and both are confronted on the streets.
Chiranjeevi had multi associations and there are conflicts within Chiranjeevi fan's associations on various issues— this was a significant feature in 1990. BY the time 1990s non-kamma bloc became weakened and their internal contradictions were exposed Dalits were on one side, the kammas were on other side. Carte groups like Kapu and B.C's and Reddys are oscillating between them. At the time V.M. Ranga's assassination incident, kapus took initiative against Kammas and damaged the shops of Kammas and burnt the college belongs to them, ft took place with the moral support of Dalits, And there are occasions; the Dalits had conflicts with kapus and Yadavas (BC.'s) in the town. After the Tsundur massacre, against Dalits all upper caste people formed as a group, named, 'Sarvajanabhyudaya samithi' includes all upper castes-kamma, kapu„ Reddy, Brahmans and some B.C. caste groups and campaign that dalits were harassing women.
In the same year, 200 kamma youth from the town and surrounding villages, without having any context, unexpectedly came to VSR college, and beat up whom ever seem to be black in colour. Having the impression of Black being the Dalit.
Among non-kammas yadavas were also emerging with their economic rise and they also tried to maintain/ assert (heir identity in public. This background helps in understanding the fans of Chiranjeevi.
There are five major Chiranjeevi fans associations in Tenali. Among them Chiranjeevi swachanda seva samstha mainly lead by the kapus of Ramalingeswarapct, Tenali. Town wide Chiranjeevi fans association lead by a Muslim youth with the support of yadavas (BC) . There were some conflicts between these two fan association s of Chiranjeevi over issues such as one's banner is covered by others banner, the blocking of the name of the one Association, sharing of tickets issued to fans on the release of a new film, and so on, what is important here is struggle between various social groups for prominence, public visibility and also to acquire tickets and to sell them in Black market in some cases. The controversies at the time of release of Alluda Majaka and Hitler, arc two examples to cite. The conflicts between the fan groups are continuing.
Most of the dalits are fens of Chiranjeevi. As Dalits were not given prominent positions, the Dalit youth of Mutyamsetty palem, Dalit locality in Tenali, formed a separate association. This is one way of asserting their right to lead an association and also to have an identity of their own. In another controversy, Dalits of Mutyalamsettypalem and Kapus of Ramalingeswarapeta, entered into a fight on the occasion of 100th day celebrations show at Baavagaru Baagunnara", at Veda Deluxe, on the occasion of 100th day celebrations, there was a exclusive show for chiranjeevi fans at Veda Deluxe. When the fans were watching the film a dalit boy happened to hit a kapu with hand(in a drunken state) during a group dance of the fans. This small incident led to serious fight between the Dalits and Kapus. It resulted in breaking the chairs, beating up each other, the existing social tensions and the struggle for dominance at the Veda deluxe center is at the root of the conflict between fan groups.
Caste is an important factor in several conflicts among the fan associations. Fans agree that caste has become an issue among the Chiranjeevi fans. A staunch Chiranjeevi fan, Y. Anil Kumar, a Brahmin aged 30, spent Rs. 12000 to put up a cut out of Chiranjeevi on the occasion of the release of Hitler. He is slowly withdrawing from fan activity. He says, "Caste feeling is there (in fans associations). We don't like it. And also felt, kammas, have lot of caste feeling here at Tenali.”
The result of the search for onefs own carte hero in that the dalits started looking up for their own hero in the cinema field. One can see the mood of dalit fans in the comment made by Amrita Raju, who is a staunch fan of Krishna He says, “Recently a Prabhu Deva came here in the field. tSoirie (Dalits) said, "Arey! Until now we never had some one who belonged to us. Now Prabbudeva came .Let us focus on him, let us all contribute. 1 also would have contriibute like our fellow Dalits. But when they told me it is at fan level, I said, I am sorry". “They (read Dalits) said , that guy is Nayudu. They say, this guy is karama it seems. Why some obscure guy? Now our Prahhudeva came - A Christian. Let us form a fan club". "I said, No, every one has his own feelings. For me, it is Krishna, Krishna, Krishna"
The result of this kind of a debate is the formation of a Prabhudeva’s Fans Association by the Dalits of all the localities of Tenali. The Dalits used blue banners, which are symbolic of Bhahujana Samaj Party. Prabhudeva is seen as a Dalit because he is a Christian. Most of Christians in coastal Andhra happened to be Dalits. The fans believe those Prabhudeva dances faster than Chiranjeevi.
Barber's community who happened to be OBC’s, one , a marginalised community in the town. They are fans of Kamal Hasan. Most of the discussions about stars among various Social groups in the saloons. As a barber, he can not enter into a discussion and support a particular star. So they have Kamal Hassan as their star who is seen as non-controversial". One of the reasons for their liking Kamal Hassan could be the fact that Kamal Hassan played the rote of Barber in Aakali Rajyam.

Representation of dalits in cinema

Cinema has seen by its audiences as the institution has the modernistic feature of Secular-democratic. We can not find explicit statements about caste and religion. The discourse about the dalits takes place in the guise of class. Identification of character’s caste is left to one's guesswork. But in recent days, with the rise of dalit movement, Mandal Agitation- it is inevitable situation to film Industry to speak about issues related to caste in their own way.

The representation of Dalits in films and their response is interesting to examine. Ravi Kumar, a dalit (Madiga) working in a courier Service, (at (iuntakal) is a Ian of Chiranjeevi. He says that he has seen Pasivadi Pranasn 42 Utncs. In response to a question he says

"The story of Swayam Krishi is good But I Ad not like the role played hy chirajeevi as a cobbler". Another dalit (Madiga) Ananta Rao. , a Dalit student of B.Ed says ' Chiranjeevi has become a model for them(Dalits)'

Swayam Krishi was a film made by K. Viswanadh. K. Viswanadh tries to reform Dalits by Brahminising them. The theme of swayam krishi, is that one can become a bigman by doing hard work as a cobbler.

I conclude my presentation with the comment made by Yelamanchi Venkateswarlu, a barber of Tenali aged 24 years. He says," whenever the scenes relating to our occupations are shown (in the films tike Mondi Mogadu- Penki Pellam, Hittlcr, Aavokkati Adakku); we feel insulted and ashamed at that moment We have to become so self-conscious and look around the audience. The barbers are shown as comedians and jokers played by minor actors. That moment is really painful. What right does the cine person have to ridicule our occupation?

Amrit Raj a Dalit boy responded, ‘since we (Malas and Madiga) are fighting against each other, we became cheap in the eyes of cine people. If we don’t, then there is scope for cine people to make film on them’.


In debutant director Gurvinder Singh’s national award winning film Anhey Ghorhey Da Daan(Alms for a Blind Horse) the faces of the protagonists tell the story. The roughness, wrinkles, deep lines and blankness allude to the years of unspoken repression and torment. It’s a stark, fragile existence, be it the relentless drive through the dehumanized city as a rickshaw puller or seeing the demolition of your own home in the feudal village. While capturing a day in the lives of the downtrodden, the camera also reveals their minds--the alternating humiliation, discontent, dissent, anger and resignation. The restless calm on the surface harbours a simmering violence within. Here the oppressed are too helpless to bring about a change and the only explanation for their condition is: “God overlooked us a little”.
Based on Punjabi novelist and Jnanpeeth award winner professor Gurdial Singh's novel,Anhey… focuses on the subordination of the Dalits with immense dignity and depth and is a landmark in Dalit cinema in the way it steers away from conventional story-telling and overt propaganda. In fact, the power lies in not spelling things out. “I haven’t verbalized the caste issue. There’s a sensation, a restlessness, a movement, but I don’t clearly define anything,” says Gurvinder. It was while doing ethnographic research work in Punjab that he met and lived with the Dalit villagers, the balladeers from subaltern classes like the Mirasis and Valmikis and they have all become a part of the film to make it real and persuasive.

Hindi films may have boasted of a reformist Achhuut Kanya (1936), the love story of a Harijan girl and Brahmin boy, very early on in its life but there have been few Dalit stories and characters down the 100 years of cinema. Bimal Roy’s Sujata (1959) tugged at our heart strings with its portrayal of a the pain and dilemmas of an untouchable girl growing up in a Brahmin family, the untouchable Kachra spun the ball to our fascination in Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan and last year’s slapdash Aarakshan had an utterly unconvincing Saif Ali Khan as the Dalit fobbing off caste biases despite being educated and empowered.

However, the more credible and sustained explorations of caste issues have been in off mainstream, parallel films like Shyam Benegal’s Ankur (1974), Nishant (1975) and Samar(1999), Satyajit Ray’s TV film Sadgati (1981), Prakash Jha’s Damul (1985), Gautam Ghosh’sPaar (1984), Arun Kaul’s Diksha (1991), Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen (1994) and Gulzar’sHu Tu Tu (1999). The crowning effort has been Jabbar Patel’s 2000 biopic Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar with Mammootty playing the lead. And in the world of documentaries Anand Patwardhan’s Jai Bheem Comrade and Ajay Bhardwaj’s Kitte Mil Ve Mahi are seminal discourses on the issue.
In the South the situation has been relatively better though the caste issue has also often come intertwined with larger themes of poverty and rural feudalism. According to film historian Theodore Baskaran the silent films and early talkies were committed to espousing Gandhian principle of anti-untouchability. In the 30s and 40s at least three Tamil films, all titledNandanar, were made on the Dalit saint. Tyagbhoomi (1939) had a revolutionary shot of a Gandhian priest opening the doors of a temple to a Dalit to offer him refuge from storm.Harijana Singham (1938) was another pathbreaking film on the issue. “In the post Independence years films began to avoid frontal confrontation with caste issues. Gandhian ideals were not saleable, entertainment became important,” says Baskaran. However, Cheran’s Bharathi Kannamma (1997) did portray a love story between a lower caste worker with his zamindar’s sister. And references to Dalits and Ambedkar can also be seen in films as recent as Naadodigal (2009). In the art house cinema circuit Malayalam filmmaker K. Ravindran’s Telugu film Harijan and B.V. Karanth’s Kannada film Chomana Dudi (1975) have been mileposts.
According to cultural commentator Sadanand Menon the predominant presence of Dalit culture in Tamil cinema has been through the heavy use of the “gaana pattu”. “The musical form has entered the popular consciousness but without the lower caste associations. It’s roots have been severed. It’s a cultural robbery, doesn’t acknowledge the source and the conditions of deprivation within which the music has emerged but exploits it for commercial purposes,” says Menon.

Forget the cinematic themes the presence of Dalits in the film industry itself has been thinner than any film’s plotline. Whatever talent exists is in the backend operations, not in front of the camera and only recently have we had a Dalit hero in Ram Vilas Paswan’s son Chirag who made an unsuccessful debut in Miley Naa Miley Hum.

Why such an insignificant presence? Most are not embracing filmdom because not all of them have awareness about the industry and its intricacies. Those who have money and education opt for more conventional careers. “They would opt for IAS instead,” says writer-director Birendra Paswan, himself a Dalit.

A lot of them inhabit the film industry inconspicuously often hiding behind a pseudonym. “Actors who use Gautam as a surname are from backward class,” says Paswan. Even in the South where the upward mobility has been more pronounced in the field of art and culture the Dalits in the film industry are not as vocal as their literary counterparts. “You and I wouldn’t know that the person working with us is a Dalit,” says filmmaker Sashi Kumar. “There are many Dalits in the industry but they don’t want to stand up and identify themselves,” says Baskaran. One case in point has been iconic composer Illayaraja. “There is an intrinsic fear that people would come to know,” Paswan. Like in other fields a few Yadavs have made strides in Bollywood but here again an actor like Raj Kumar Yadav, seen in LSDRagini MMS andWasseypur... has now dropped Yadav from his name.
Also, to people living in deprivation and penury, Bollywood glamour is intimidating. “Someone who hasn’t even been on a bicycle does get overwhelmed by the BMWs and Pajeros,” says Paswan. But he thinks film industry is still much better than any other sphere of work. “Discrimination is in every field. In Bollywood they value success and creativity and are not as discriminating,” he says. No wonder he is gearing up to launch a new Dalit hero in his next filmSawaal. His name is Sanjeev. Without the Paswan.

Rise of the Dalit hero


WINDS OF CHANGE: Films such as 'Aarakshan' (left) and 'Eklavya' have actors Saif Ali Khan and Sanjay Dutt essaying strong Dalit characters
Once the submissive underdog, he is now educated, assertive and ready to take on the system. The emerging Dalit hero is a sign of how Bollywood has evolved
It's an explosive encounter: An antireservation college vice-principal confronts a young Dalit lecturer on the issue of caste-based reservation. With a bunch of students within his earshot, he taunts the latter, "Hamare bachche din raat ragad ragad ke padhte rahein, aur admission ka mauka aaye to khairat loot lijiye aap log. Dar lagta hain na mehnat karne se? (Our kids slog at studies day and night. But when it comes to admission, you walk away with the freebies. You are afraid of facing the competition, right?). " 
The fiery young Dalit (Saif Ali Khan) retorts. "Achcha! Hamein mehnat ka path padha rahe hain aap. Aapke khet jote humne, aapke faslein kaati humne, apke maweshi charaaye humne, aapke joote siye, bail haanke, naav chalaye, aapki gharon ki gandi naaliyon ki safai ki. Yahaan tak ki aapki tatti bhi sar par dhoyee humne. Hume mehnat sikhayenge aap! (You are lecturing us about hard work. We tilled your land, reaped your crop, grazed your cattle, stitched your shoes, rowed your boat, we have cleaned your dirty drains, we have even carried your shit on our head. And you lecture us on hard work). "

In mainstream Bollywood history, it would be hard to find a more assertive, erudite and historically-aware Dalit than the protagonist in Prakash Jha's Aarakshan. For a film industry that often pretends that the caste system does not exist, the portayal is indeed radical.

For centuries Dalits were oppressed in India. In Bollywood, they were primarily projected as victims. But in recent years, there's been a gradual change in their portrayal in Hindi films. The Dalit protagonists now are more assertive, confident and aware. Deepak Kumar, the Aarakshan protagonist, breaks new ground in several ways. The son of an ex-housemaid, he teaches applied mathematics in a college and goes to Cornell University for his doctoral thesis. He also romances the uppercaste daughter of his mentor principal Prabhakar Anand (played by Amitabh Bachchan). And when he finds that Anand has been wronged, he pulls no punches.

Deepak is everything a traditional Bollywood hero is;only a little more. He is educated, articulate, aspirational yet an idealist - he is a Dalit of the New Millennium. He represents a new template of Dalit protagonists, a distinct departure from the traditional representation in Hindi films.

"Aarakshan's Dalit hero indicates a change in Bollywood perceptions. After the onset of liberalisation in 1990, India began changing faster than ever before. Hindi cinema too can't resist desegregation for long, " says Dalit columnist Chandrabhan Prasad.

Dalit protagonists in two well-known mainstream Hindi films exemplify this change. In Bollywood, where heroes are often conveniently named either Ravi Malhotra or Vijay Chauhan, Gulzar's Chachi 420 (1998) provided an interesting twist to the surname. The film's regular hero is Jaishankar Paswan (Kamal Haasan). He is a music composer by profession and in love with the daughter of a conservative Brahmin businessman Durgaprasad Bharadwaj (Amrish Puri).

When the latter comes to know that his daughter wants to marry a Dalit, he points out the caste difference between the two. "Bharadwaj aur Paswan - thoda besura sa nahin lagta hai (Together don't they sound out of tune), " he says something to that effect.

But the movie, a rollicking desi adaptation of Mrs Doubtfire, steers clear of addressing caste anywhere else.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Eklavya (2007) also had a radically new Dalit: a bold police officer Pannalal Chauhar (Sanjay Dutt) who not only asserts his Dalit identity but also bristles against the castebased feudal oppression that still pervades parts of Rajasthan. 

Admittedly, though, the change needs to be deeper. The truth is that even as India is poised to celebrate 100 years of cinema in 2013, the Hindi film industry has failed to produce a single Dalit star.

Says D Shyam Babu, former fellow, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, "The trick of the system is that no Dalit actor came up to that mark to be accepted or rejected. "

Now well-known politician Ram Vilas Paswan's son Chirag Paswan is likely to make his B-town debut opposite Kangana Ranaut. The completion of the film titled, One and Only, however, has been delayed.

There's a sliver of hope though. Birendra Paswan, a dialogue writer in Hindi and Bhojpuri films, says more and more Dalit boys from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are joining the film industry. "Some of them want to be actors, others technicians. That's a welcome change. But a lot more needs to be done to make them feel more comfortable. Even today 90 per cent of them want to hide their identity, " says Paswan.

Angadi Theru: Soft killing weapon of celluloid
By Rupesh Kumar

Angadi theru’ is the latest offering of Brahmanical experiments in the cultural landscape of Tamil or Indian cinema. Under the pretext of presenting ‘real’ life experiences of Dalits, a casteist capsule bomb is deployed, it is intended to satisfy the Brahmanical mind set of the film maker and aesthetes of upper caste audience on the one hand, and on the other it cultivates images of dalit identities that are deeply disturbing.
In Angadi theru, the plot revolves around sales persons of a textile business, living in a Chennai street. The film posits to discuss the grave issues of these people who are mostly Dalits.
Towards this, the film renders scenes of their dirty mess, toilets, diseases, madness, begging, death etc., Vasantha Balan, the director, claimed (in a television interview), Angadi theru as the story of “border lined” people.
The Dalit lead character Jyothilingam, hailed from a village and works as a sales man in a textile shop in Chennai, he is in love with Kani, a sales girl in the same shop. Marimuthu, his friend is in a relationship with Sophie and the camera moves through many such lives in Angadi theru. One Dalit in the film is characterized as a toilet cleaner, is nothing but the ‘appointment’ of the director according to Hindu Varnashrama, however, when he becomes economically independent, is shown as a comical character (The scene when the toilet cleaner exits from a train wearing a red T shirt).
Several forms of violence against the Dalit body and psyche are experimented in this film. Jyothilingam, is subjected to physical attacks from the supervisor of the textile shop, the Brahmin owner, as well as his co -worker. He is shown as being capable of reacting physically against the supervisor and the Dalit co-workers, but can’t even touch the Brahmin business owner. According to the brahmanical grammar and equations, the in-between physical fights are only by Dalits and OBCs. But at a time when one blow has to be given to a Dalit, the Brahmin owner appears and thrashes Jyothilingam and asks his subordinates to throw out that “dog’ from the job. This was when Jyothilingam reacts against the oppression in that textile shop.
Vasanatha Balan’s previous experiments with violence on the Dalits were successfully carried out in his film ‘Veyil’. In which the Dalit’s love, psyche and life are shattered and killed in different ways, and it went on to receive wide acclamation from the Indian and international audience and media as an intelligent presentation.
Death, madness and fate play a key role in defining Dalit lives and tragedies in Angadi theru; the sales girl who commits suicide is eccentric or mad before she ‘fell’ to death. The boy who loved her becomes mad and perishes. When Jyothilingam and Kani are entirely freed from the textile business, the film director attacks their life with ‘fate’ in the form of an accident. Kani loses both her legs and has to live a life of a cripple after that (nowadays it appears like a hobby on the part of casteist film makers to present Dalit characters as physically handicapped).
This overdose of tragedies in Dalit lives presents Dalits as born only to live a life of sorrow and tragedy without the capability of subjective thinking and fighting against the system. This is actually so far from the truth, Dalits take more positive decisions than just commit suicides, and they are not mentally fragile to go mad at short notices as depicted by this filmmaker.
Regarding women, it is humorous that the filmmaker presents the morale of chastity, dragging the film back to a century; the woman in the street who married a dwarf is shown to be so proud to have a kid born exactly like the father with crippled legs and claims her chastity is now unquestionable! Are the women in India living only to preserve their chastity? The moral texts of patriarchal Hindu philosophy are trashed upon the viewers and it is just pathetic. Vasantha Balan has to present this to an audience before Lumiere brothers. The film takes the sister of Kani, ‘when she becomes a woman’ (?) to a brahmanical temple structure for the coming of age ceremony. A woman in the temple tells that women during the menstrual period are not untouchable in that temple, but at the next shot, a Brahmin priest’s close up is shown. The camera can’t cheat, and the visuals slipped from the director’s brain.
A small child calls Marimuthu, a pig, in one scene (strangely that the kid looked just about a year old); here the fat black body is treated as stupid and animal-like as usual. For strange reasons, Sophie, the Dalit girl who loves Marimuthu, has been cunningly omitted/ignored towards the end of the movie. The romantic relationship between Marimuthu and Sophie has been given a comical end, for, Marimuthu cannot write a poem to Sophie! Marimuthu’s inability to write a poem is because he is uneducated, one wonders then, if education makes everyone a poet, then all upper castes that have availed it, must indeed be poets!
The romance, support and friendship of Marimuthu and Sophie who are colleagues as well as in love are thus trivialized and killed in this film.
Reinforcing endless stereotypes the film tries to lay claim as a presentation of Dalits ‘real’ life. But real life is different from this reel, people from various oppressed back grounds in the caste society, including places such as Angadi theru are presently raising so many subjective political questions and debates, all of which the film Angadi theru cunningly avoids or ignores. Therefore the suppression of personal and political emancipation of Dalits becomes the primary ‘responsibility’ of this film.
No attempt is made to screen the political struggles, thinking and reactions from these border-lined people/Dalits against the brahmanical and casteist power structures. Dalits are capable of offering new political alternatives based on their lived experience, and are capable of emancipating themselves to higher strata in society through various struggles, than to be just passive recipients of sympathy, love, or fate, as rendered in Angadi theru. Besides their subjective experiences, they derive energy from Dr Ambedkar and so many other political struggles in different parts of India, against caste system. Director Vasantha Balan with his camera interferes in this crucial point in history and creates a notion that the Dalit identities and societies are capable only for reception of dull sentiments. And they can only react verbally as done by the lead character.
There is not even a single political question posed by the film’s creators, implicitly stating that they are not capable of ever questioning; the brahmanical hegemony of a corrupt business empire run by the owner, of the various illicit connections with other power structures like police and politicians. The film is simply frightened to raise such questions. And in the tears of love towards ‘tragic Dalits’, the raging fires of real political questions are being extinguished in the theatres.
Thus on closer examination, this ‘real life’ film positions the brahmanical theories of psychological hegemony by attacking Dalit identities and psyche with tools like violence, sympathy and fate. Previously, Indian film culture used these tools more evidently against dalits, minorities and women, but after being strongly criticized by Dalit intellectuals through reviews and in their political readings and discussions it has paved way for a rethink and inventing of new ‘equipments’ and ‘strategies’ to kill Dalits through tools of popular art and culture, besides their atrocities in mainstream society.
The homicides of Dalits physically and psychologically were previously experimented in Tamil films like Paruthiveeran, Subramaniapuram, Vennila Kabadikuzhu, Veyil, Kadhal etc., and they received wide acclamation from brahmanical reviews. ‘Angadi theru’, is the latest in this panorama, shrewder in its psychological planning of Dalit evacuation, which tends to be imperceptible but can be extracted on a closer reading.
‘Angadi theru’ is more dangerous than established brahmanical films of directors like Maniratnam who made ‘Raavan’, and Shankar who created ‘Annyan’, ‘Indian’ and ‘Gentleman’. The film literally pats on the shoulders, hugs Dalits, and pretends to be highly sympathetic towards the tragic experiences of the Dalits. This is most deceitful and is aimed at belittling the agency of Dalits as resisting voices against the casteist Indian society. The anti caste political debates are presently cautious of such presentation of sympathy/failures/tragedies/fate on dalits.
Streaming from the brahmanical social psyche new trends in cinema showers sympathy on dalit identities, it masks itself as a middle/common/alternate/secular cinema and behaves as a positive change in the mainstream cultural industry. The Indian film aesthetics will not be free from such a grammar of filmmaking and it is extremely pathetic of them to market tears of Dalit lives in public spheres.
In nineteen eighties and nineties, there were a stream of so-called common man’s/middle class movie culture in Malayalam which were deep rooted in nairised or brahmanical aesthetic sense of Kerala. These films especially by directors like Sathyan Anthikad, Sreenivasan and Lohithadas were widely acclaimed as common man’s movies, but paved their way for more highly explosive casteist films and the result was a complete destruction of Malayalam films, they being entirely brahmanical in content when it reached the new millennium. In the present scenario, Angadi theru in Tamil movies is doing a similar job, preparing to breed more explosive casteist movies in future and is thus most dangerous, along with the many brahmanical formulations like Anyan and Dasavatharam.


Rupesh Kumar
“Melvilasam as a cinematic text very much  and clearly exclude all the political issues raised by dalits and untouchables in the Indian history and political contexts of caste discrimination and make an
attempt  to patronizes such anti caste debates and the critics read this text as if it is depicting the ‘reality of caste’. In Indian cinema or society, ‘reality of caste’ has almost been  never  depicted and revealed and that  it is the need of the time especially in cinema to initiate a dialogue against brahmanic hegemony and patronizing attitudes. But interestingly, the film itself becomes a casteist and brahmanical covert  tool to suppress, erase and divert  the caste discussions and portray the Dalits as simply a victim, submissive and at the receiver’s end”
The celebration of “Melvilasam”, the Malayalam movie as a reaction against caste in the critical realm of Kerala scenario is nothing but a stressed effort to divert the political discussion of caste against its Brahmanical hegemony in Hinduism and  its micro works in the textualities of cinema. Melvilasam as a cinematic text very much  and clearly omit all the political reactions discussions raised from Dalits and untouchables in the Indian history and political contexts of caste discrimination and take a great stress to patronizes such anti caste debates and the critics read this text as it is depicting the‘reality of caste’. In Indian cinema or society, ‘reality of caste’ has almost been  depicted and revealed and the it is the need of the time especially in cinema to raise up with discussions against Brahmanic hegemony and patronizing. But interestingly, the film itself becomes a casteist Brahmanic invisible tool to suppress, erase and divert  the caste discussions and portray the Dalits as simply a prey, submissive and at the receiver’s end. It is evident that in the current Indian scenario, a lot of different contextual discussions has been evoked from different Dalits spheres like academics, social media, political and social interactions by the Dalit intellectuals and other lives and they read the Dalit political history co related to their lives and reactions. And these Dalit reactionary societies read DR. Ambedkar, Phule, Kanshiram, Mayavati, Periyar and Ayyankali and lot of other leaders and intellectuals as their political guiding points from different contextualities and discuss and criticize themselves for their further movement. And these different Dalit  political societies clearly criticize and read Gandhi as an agent of caste in the Indian history and society  and analyzed and debated him as he is a Brahmanic agent of caste and supported its power structure. In the cinematic text, “Melvilasom”, the casteist Gandhi has been quoted by  Vikas Rao ,the character played by Suresh Gopi in the court martial scene to talks something against caste. This is a real underplay by this movie to hijack all other political social and debates and reactions against caste by the different complex dalit lives. The omission of international political identities and assertions against caste system like Dr. Ambedkar in this cinema is itself is a failure or the fear of this cinema to address the caste atrocities in Indian society. How can you address caste atrocities in India without quoting Dr. Ambedkar? How can you find a solution for caste by quoting Gandhi and his “harijan” terminologies? And this is the way a ‘serious’ film is down in to the pit of vulgarity in poltical discussion. This is not a first time happenings in Indian cinema, but another episode of exclusion of dalit political ideologies in caste discussions in film texts. One best other example was “Gandhi” directed by Richard Attenboroh in which Dr. Ambedkar was not even shown in single scene. Just highlight “Gandhi” as something like a cult figure, the film never mentioned Ambedkar’s name. And the movie Dr. Ambedkar directed by Jabbar Patel was yet to release in Indian society. In Melvilasam, Vikas Roy, clearly states that, “Gandhi called these people as Harijans, meaning Gods’ offspring” is a funny political statement. It has been discussed in the dalit and other political scenarios,  Harijans, the real meaning is like, the sons and daughters of Devadasis. And by this single dialogue Vikas Rao in this movie, in a society where savarnas minimized ‘caste as myth”,  they try to block the ambedkarite politics of caste and will be vain in the movement of time.
The Indian political dalit life is related with different complex streams like their internal and external experiences of physical fights, their political struggles, discussions against caste, colonies, geography,  bodies,  violence, caste atrocities they faced etc. They all characterize their extravagant dramatized life with emotions and cannot be restricted into a room of a court martial scene controlled by savarna casteist society and they never can express their true self in such a scene.  Their violent life can only be read through the political analysis of Indian colonization, geography, work culture, climate food style etc., etc.,. And their reactions cannot be minimized to a submissive and prey role like Ramachandran played by Parthiban in Melvialasam which is attributed to this character by a savarna mind set. The character Ramachandran has boxed into a strict frame of sympathy, mild reaction and tears and it is read by the Savarna mindset that Dalits do have only such emotions.  Ramachandran, who killed two superior casteist officers, is not a simple individual reaction, but it is a wholesome political reaction of this Dalit self. He has received a lot of castiest dirty comments and behaviors throughout his military life and his killings are a reaction against the caste system. But the space of the film has been minimized into the scene of a court martial, the expression for the dalit and untouchable individual Ramachandran also minimized to tears, sometimes expressionless and sometimes ‘explaining’ the story. If we look very close, regarding its shots, almost all the other Savarna characters got their prominence by close up shots on the first entry in thecinema. But only Ramachandran gets a long shot and his establishment in cinema itself is minimized and he gets an establishing close up shots after four or five shots. And  almost all his entries in the court scenes are shot in top angle shots which is a power play to minimize the prominence of the character Ramachandran. All the other savarna characters gets powerful close up shots of arrogance, kingship, ruler and all, the close up shots of Ramachandran is based on sympathy tears etc., And the person with a deep understanding and experience of caste behaving in a pathetic way in a court atmosphere where the whole scene is controlled by the savarnas is itself is technique of the casteist ideology of film making to make shut the mouth of dalits. And it is significant that the in the trial session of the case, where there is a break has been given by the presiding officer, the film doesn’t show any significant shot of Ramachandran for his reactions where in a free space dalits can be more reactive and this is a down play by the cinema itself.
And Vikas roy’s remark on manhood and cowardice to Ramachandran makes this character himself as patriarchal, patronizing and funny. He stereotypes and makes a reading like, a male and soldier should not cry.The anti caste discussions in India is lined against all these discourses and are based upon discussions including dalit feminism and addressing their different struggles with body and mind and their livings and it give space. And they address different other discussions of transgender third sexuality, homosexuality and all other alters. And Vikas Roy by his comment“males should not cry” is his lack of power to address such different upraising of sexualities in India. And his reading and comment like “you should not be a cowardice” to Ramachandran itself is castiest and it comes out of his patronizing psych. And how come a man like Ramachandran, through his own way who understood the caste discrimination through his life and struggles and mental and physical fights can be a cowardice? And living a dalit life and understanding and addressing caste atrocities itself is  dangerous and daring activity. And it is evident in this film that even after he expressed about the caste violence he received, he gets a sentence of death. Vikas Roy, who supports his naxalite brother as he has fought with arm for the poor. The history of Indian naxalism like as same as the Indian communism never gave a space for the poltical power of dalits.  The space for the political power of dalits in Indian naxalism is a always a question raised by them. And Vikas Roy, himself is adjusting with the national bodies of Indian state which is ruled and powered by savarna officials and where there is no space for dalits as “my father was a judge and I got this job through police verification”.
The actor Parthipan has a significant place in the history of Tamil cinema. His first directorial and a main character flick Puthiya Pathai (1989-tamil), which told the story of a dalit/colony and with dalit body language.  Even though the movie was adjusting with the castiest politics like killing an inter caste marriage and making into a tragedy and showing the stereotyped stuff of colonies. But Parthipan being a dalit with his body language and performance of style and action has made significant change in the grammar of heroism and performance was a different movement though it failed. And later he was really accredited to the brahmanic style of tamil cinema. And Melvilasom can be treated as the pathetic end of performanace of a dalit body with reactions through body, action and reaction. Melvilasam is the worst text limiting and controlling the reactions of dalit body and expressions and that has been clearly succeeded by using the dalit body of Parthipan. And on the opposite side, Suresh Gopi who portrayed a lot of savarna male roles is again portrayed as a  protector and hero is preserving the same sticky savarana character of Indian movies.
It is interesting to see that Indian court scenes a military officer like B.D. Kapoor even though being violent in the space of a court has been promoted in his rank.  And through Ramachandran’s experience it is revealed that Kapoor was a casteist and there are rules and articles for caste discriminations in this society. And no rules or articles has been implemented by the movie against B.D.Kapoor.. And through all these caste discriminations the presiding officer cannot read any article or formalities to do something against caste discrimination and he sentence Ramachandran should be  hanged to death. The film is ‘acting’ to reveal there is caste in Indian military, but in a casteist way.
Melvilasom is a sign board and part of so called new movement happening in Tamil and Malayalam cinema. The celeberated new movements in Tamil and Malayalam cinema, like Subrambaniapuram, Kadhal, Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu, Maina, Veyil, Chappa Kurishu, Traffic, EE adutha Kalath, Beautiful, etc., dalits, women ,muslims and other alters were killed through its textualities, techincalities, through its sentiments or other techniques. Melvilasom is just one among them which kills dalits and other subaltern strata of the society.

Other films -
Achhut Kanya | 1936 | 

The Bombay Talkies superhit showed an upper caste boy (Ashok Kumar) in love with a Harijan girl (Devika Rani) 

Acchut | 1940 | 

The Motilal starrer was promoted as part of Mahatma Gandhi's anti-untouchability campaign 

Punarmilan | 1964 | 

A Balraj Sahni movie that dealt with casteism. Story centred around a doctor raised by an upper-caste family but actually a Harijan 

Cha Cha Cha | 1964 | 

Actor-director Chandra Shekhar played a Harijan who becomes a fine Western music dancer. Both entertaining and reformist 

Ghulami | 1985 | 

J P Dutta's movie is a stirring indictment of the caste system 

Eklavya | 2007 | 

Sanjay Dutt is an audacious Dalit officer Pannalal Chauhar 

film hHighlights Dalit trafficking

1 July will see the Leicester Square premiere of Michael Lawson’s film, ‘India’s Forgotten Women’.

This 45 minute film documents the lives of India’s Dalit women, highlighting the harsh realities of life as the lowest of the low within modern day India. The detailed exposition raises the issue of caste, its link with poverty and the resultant impact on Dalit women. Filmed in towns and villages in and around Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Mumbai, presenter Anjali Guptara exposes the world of temple prostitution, bonded labour, rape, human trafficking, domestic violence and dowry crime that plagues the 250 million-strong Dalit community.
Lawson’s film gives voice to the stories of Dalit women and shares the insights and intelligence of experts working with these women every day. Through its narrative, the film paints a sad picture of the hopeless future that most Dalit girls and women face as a result of caste and gender discrimination.
DFN UK is pleased that Lawson’s film draws attention to the reality of human trafficking in India. Whilst only touching on a few of the many different ways that Dalit girls and women are trafficked, ‘India’s Forgotten Women’, communicates a loud, visible message that India carries a very real problem which until now has remained relatively unknown by the rest of the world.
DFN UK’s goal is to help bring an end to the trafficking of Dalit people by: firstly, raising awareness about the problem of Dalit trafficking through its UK focused education and advocacy programme and; secondly, implementing an India based strategy which includes a legal intervention framework and on the ground anti-trafficking activities implemented by India-based partners. DFN UK hopes that Lawson’s film will be a catalyst for raising awareness in the UK and urges those who see it to get involved in this very pressing cause.
‘India’s Forgotten Women’ will premiere at the Vue, Leicester Square at 6.30pm on 1 July 2010. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session chaired by Sky News' Dharshini David and includes Michael Lawson and Lady Kishwar Desai as panellists. 
Copies of the film are also available on DVD - order online for £10.
For more information about the film or the UK film-making human rights charity, Pipe Village Trust, who produced this film, visit

Scheduled Caste lead characters in Hindi-Urdu cinema

Devika Rani in Achhut Kanya (1936)

Gohar in Achhut (1940)

Nutan in Sujata (1959), listening to Jalte hain jiske liye

Leela Chitnis, Balraj Sahni in Punar Milan (1964). This literary film had a highly regarded, poetic song, Paas baitho tabiyat behel jãyégi,which was filmed on supporting actor Jagdeep.

Puran (Chandrashekhar) praying for his beloved’s [played by Helen] recovery, in Cha Cha Cha (1964)

Puran (Chandrashekhar) and Mary Chambers (Bela Bose?), in Cha Cha Cha(1964)

Shabana Azmi in Ankur (1974)

Amitabh Bachchan in Ganga Ki Saugandh (1978)

Amitabh Bachchan in Ganga Ki Saugandh (1978)

Padmini Kolhapure, Sriram Lagoo in Souten

Dharmendra in Ghulami (1985)

Madhuri Dixit in Prem Granth

Madhuri Dixit in Prem Granth

L-R: A random character, Eklavya (Amitabh Bachchan), who is a poor member of the Rajput order, and Chohar (Sanjay Dutt), the scheduled caste DySP. Note the altered body languages.Eklavya The Royal Guard (2007)

Rakta Charitra (2007)

Viveik Oberoi in Rakta Charitra (2007)

Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone in Aarakshan (2011)

Babli Hooda (Shriswara), Radheyshyam ‘Rangeela’ (Arshad Warsi), Baby (Aditi Rao Hydari) and Gulshan Ram ‘Guddu’ (Amit Sadh) in Guddu Rangeela (2015)
Please send the names of films missing from this list as messages to the Facebook community, All information used will be gratefully acknowledged in your name. 

The sources of this article include

Avijit Ghosh | August 20, 2011 The Times of India Rise of the Dalit hero

Jyotsna Siddharth, Cut to Caste, January 10, 2013, Feminists India

Shrabani Mukherjee, Meri News

How the debate began

In its 16 December 2010 issue, The Guardian carried an article that read, ‘There was a buzz in 2007, when a dalit (the caste formerly known as "untouchables") was Bollywood's first-ever lead character in Eklavya: The Royal Guard…’
The Guardian is not just a newspaper. It is the conscience-keeper of the UK and wherever else its highly educated, often Oxbridge, liberal and left of centre readers might live. Indpaedia’s volunteers swore by it during their own Oxbridge days. On issues like race it has always followed the path of justice and has consistently stood by the under-privileged.
However, journalists who write for The Guardian, as well as its editors, are human. They are unlikely to publish a story unless they feel that it represents a new trend. Nirpal Dhaliwal’s article ‘How Bollywood is starting to deal with India's caste system’ (emphasis added) might not have been accepted by The Guardian if its editors had known that Filmistan (a term that is India’s own substitute for the slavish word ‘Bollywood’) had started to deal with India's caste system within five years of the first Indian talkie, i.e. as early as in 1936.
What Nirpal Dhaliwal and The Guardian are either ignorant of (or do not wish to acknowledge) is that by 1936 the overwhelming majority of well-meaning, educated caste Hindus were disgusted with untouchability, and some with the caste-system itself.Avijit Ghosh reminds us of the by-then popular ‘Mahatma Gandhi's anti-untouchability campaign.’
The intensity of anti-untouchability feelings among most caste Hindus is reflected not only in the huge commercial success of most films with SC leading characters but, more importantly, in the fundamental changes that have taken place within Indian society and governance, leading to what Nirpal Dhaliwal calls ‘the most comprehensive affirmative action programme in the world.’

And, for the record,

i) Achhut Kanya (1936) was a mainstream, big-budget, A-list production with a stellar star cast and made by Bombay Talkies, arguably the most successful production house of its time.
ii) Achhut Kanya was a huge commercial success and featured one of the first hit songs to emerge from a Hindi-Urdu film, Main ban ki chidiya ban ké.
iii) It had Filmistan’s first-ever dalit lead character. It was she who sang this hit song. (Actress Devika Rani sang her own songs.)
iv) In Eklavya, the Scheduled Caste hero was one of five lead characters, and certainly not the main one. (The film’s main hero was the servant, who was not from an elite family either.) Contrariwise, in Achhut Kanya the dalit lead character was the focus of the story;
v) Several films with dalit lead characters followed, many of them being not mere A list films but mega-budget, A+ films that were major commercial hits.
As will be seen, hardly any film with an SC lead character has done badly at the box office.
Avijit Ghosh writes, ‘In Bollywood, [dalits] were primarily projected as victims. But in recent years, there's been a gradual change in their portrayal in Hindi films. The Dalit protagonists now are more assertive, confident and aware… Once the submissive underdog, he is now educated, assertive and ready to take on the system.’

Actually, both types of SC characters were emerging simultaneously: victims in =SUM(right) cinema and assertive in big-budget cinema. By 1978 Filmistan had already had an SC hero who was assertive and ready to take on the system—with a gun. The superhit, big-budget Ganga ki Saugandh was the no.4 hit among Hindi-Urdu films: 1978.
The word ‘dalit’

Many highly educated Scheduled Caste readers object to the word dalit. (Scörpian Mannoz wrote on the Facebook forum Babasaheb Ambedkar), and many agreed with him, “who do u want to praise…reminding us we r dalit...stop usin the word dalit... no one deserv 2 b called dalit.”)

Therefore, except when quoting or citing someone else, Indpaedia employs the neutral expression Scheduled Caste. Indpaedia uses the abbreviation SC in all its sub-headings, in headings that are too long, and when using the term for the second or subsequent times in the same discussion.

Below is a listing of SC leading characters in Hindi-Urdu cinema (Filmistan for short).
Films with SC lead characters

Achhut Kanya (1936 ): This film broke new ground by depicting an upper caste man (Ashok Kumar) falling in love with an SC girl (Devika Rani). The very notion of such a love affair was revolutionary for its time, and remains a minority trend even in the 21st century.
The 1940s

Acchut (1940): Prints of this film do not seem to be available any more. Directed by Chandulal Shah for Ranjit Studios it was an A list film, though neither its budget nor its earnings were in the same league as Achhut Kanya. Its leading man (Motilal) was from the art, rather than commercial, stream.

The Motilal- Gohar starrer was promoted as part of Mahatma Gandhi's anti-untouchability campaign. The film consciously echoed the Mahatma’s message to eradicate untouchability. The film ends with the characters overcoming the caste barrier, which was extremely unconventional for that period: though one film had already attempted the theme with even greater success. (From Avijit Ghosh, Mahal Movies)

Panghat (1943) had SC characters in secondary but positive and sympathetic roles, as it tackled the next social evil of the day, which persists in the odd village in the 21st century: giving scheduled caste citizens access to the village well.
Panghat (lit: the banks of the water) is about Jamunaprasad Chaturvedi and his equally philanthropic wife Shantidevi, who are orthodox Brahmin zamindars (landlords), but who have built a community well from which anyone can draw water. The villagers love them. But when their son Jamunaprasad inherits the well from them, he restricts access to the well.
This, too, was an A list film, though it had a middling budget. Songs from Panghat are available on YouTube. (Dir: Mahesh Chandra, K.J. Parmar)

Mother India (1957) was the most successful of the Hindi-Urdu hit films of the 1950s and one of the biggest budget films of the decade. It did not specify the caste of its heroes but Mother India’s heroes were not from one of the three ‘upper’ castes, though they seemed to be ‘touchable.’ They were clearly not Brahmins, Rajputs or Banias. Indeed, they were in conflict with oppressive Brahmins and Banias (and with the bania’s gunman, Jwala Singh).
Though its heroes were not scheduled castes, it is important to mention Mother India because it was the first of three films that culminated in Ganga ki Saugandh.

Sujata belonged to the serious, art stream but had a major star cast and a musical set up associated with big budget films. The film’s Brahmin makers made fun of caste, especially untouchability, through the pleasant love story of a scheduled caste heroine and a caste-Hindu hero.
Sujata went on to make the 7th highest money among Hindi-Urdu films: 1959. Given its middling budget, in terms of return on investment the film would have ranked higher still.
A note about films’ box office ranks.
Sujata was no. 7 at the box office in 1959, but out of how many films? We know for certain that at least 90 Hindi-Urdu films were released in 1959. The actual number would have been somewhat higher.
The general rule since the late 1950s was that around two new Hindi-Urdu films would be released in most weeks, and one in the remaining weeks.
Even if only 90 Hindi-Urdu films were released in 1959, the weekly average was 1.73 films to be precise.
The total increased to 114 Hindi-Urdu films being released in the year 1980, 180 in 2005, and 234 in 2009.

Gunga Jumna (1961) was the second of three films that resulted in Ganga ki Saugandh.. Its heroine was identified as a ‘Gujariya.’ (The Gujjars have been accepted as a scheduled tribe in some states and the Badgujars as a scheduled caste at the national level. Gujjars in some other states are asking to be included in the scheduled tribe list.) The hero’s caste, we were told, was ‘higher’ than the heroine’s’ but (as in Mother India) he was shown in violent, armed conflict with the three ‘upper’ castes, with Kayasths being made fun of.
Gunga Jumna was a mega-budget Technicolor film and the most successful of Hindi-Urdu films: 1961.

Punarmilan (1964) : By now the subject of scheduled castes had also been taken up by art films. (Panghat was within the commercial gamut, though on the serious side.) The complete Punarmilan can be seen on YouTube. The film is about Dr. Mohan, who is seen as a Brahmin. Shobhna Bakshi and he decide to get married. During the marriage ceremony someone asks about Mohan's caste. Mohan says that he is an ‘untouchable.’ The marriage is called off.
Avijit Ghosh explains that the story centred around a doctor raised by an upper-caste family but actually a Harijan.’

Cha Cha Cha (1964) was a B film that did well for its budget because it was an entertainer that revolved about Western music and Western dance. The film’s leading character (played by its director Chandra Shekhar) was a scheduled caste who acquired fame through Western dancing. Cha Cha Cha can be seen in parts on YouTube.

Izzat (1968) was a big budget film and had two leading men, both played by Dharmendra. The two had the same Thakur (Rajput) father. The film’s real hero had a scheduled tribe mother and was bitterly anti-Thakur. He got to marry the film’s main, upper-caste heroine. The film’s other leading lady (played by the very young Dr. J. Jayalalithaa) was a tribal, whom the flippant, purely-Thakur hero married.
Izzat was the no.14 hit among Hindi-Urdu films: 1968, which meant that it was a moderate success, moreso considering that it was a serious film and not a mega-budget, globe-trotting spry thriller like that year’s no. 1 film, Aankhen.

Ankur (1974): ‘Laxmi, the low caste domestic help works [for] the local zamindar... The landlord’s son …asks Laxmi [Shabana Azmi] to prepare morning tea for him. Laxmi is aghast and … reminds him that that she is from a low caste to which he [replies] that he does not believe in caste and that she should prepare tea for him.’ (From Jyotsna Siddharth)
Ankur was one of many art films about injustices meted out to the scheduled castes.

Ganga ki Saugandh was a big-budget film because of its cast (Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, Amjad Khan) and was a mega-hit, being the fourth biggest grosser of 1978, beaten only by three of Bachchan’s own all-time hits (Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Trishul, Don).
The theme was the same as in Mother India and Gunga Jumna, i.e. violent conflict with the three ‘upper’ castes. However, now the hero was specifically shown as a scheduled caste. In the case of the heroine even her sub-caste (Chamar) was specified.

Hum Paanch (lit: ‘we five’) (1980) created excitement in pro-SC circles when word went around that this was another commercial film (after Ganga ki Saugandh) in which there was an SC hero, played by Mithun Chakraborty. However, his character’s caste is not clear. The ‘we five’ of the film’s title are five heroes who fight the oppression of the Thakur. A dialogue from the film informs us that united against the bad Thakur are “a slave [daas], two ‘untouchables’ [achhoot], a merchant [baniya] and a [good] Thakur.”
So, while Mithun’s character was a slave but probably not an SC, two of the film’s five heroes (both played by relatively minor actors) were definitely scheduled caste.
Hum Paanch was the no. 13 hit among Hindi-Urdu films: 1981. It was based on a story written by a Kannada Brahmin.

Souten (1983), a big-budget film set in the elite neighbourhoods and beaches of Mauritius, was, on the face of it, an unlikely candidate to have an SC leading character. And yet it had two major and positive SC characters (and one minor and self-destructive one).
The film had two heroines, Rukmani (Tina Munim), who was from a business family (and, likely, from a business caste, implied by the surname Prannath) but was a liability as a wife because she was ultra-modern. Radha (Padmini Kolhapure) was an SC and also the ideal Hindu woman and wife, being chaste, calm and patient.
(Sujata, too, had a similar idealisation of its SC heroine vis a vis her caste Hindu counterpart. ‘In the film, the character Sujata throughout draws a comparison between [her caste Hindu foster father’s] biological daughter Rama who is a college going ‘modern’ girl, who likes to read poetry and play sports. Sujata, on the other hand, manages the house and takes care of needs of her [foster] “parents”.’ Jyotsna Siddharth
The real heroine’s father was a scrupulously honest accountant whom the film’s hero, Shyam, trusted totally. Radha was the daughter of the incorruptible Gopal.
Souten was no. 6 among Hindi-Urdu films: 1983. It was directed by Saawan Kumar Tak and written by Vijay Kaul.

Paar (1984): Critic Tathagata Chatterji writes, 'Goutam Ghosh's award winning film shows the young Dalit couple, (played by Naseeruddin Shah and Shabhana Azmi), escaping to Cakcutta.' The film won multiple awards,invluding Best Actor for Shah,

Ghulami (1985) reverted to the Mother India, Gunga Jumna, Ganga ki Saugandh theme of setting the upper castes (especially the Rajputs) right and settling scores with them through violence. The film’s hero, Ranjeet Singh Chaudhary (Dharmendra), belonged to a ‘low caste,’ though his precise sub-caste was not mentioned.
This was a film made on an epic canvas, with lavish sets, exotic locations and a big star cast (three leading men and as many heroines). This stellar line-up was headed by the film’s ‘low caste’ hero. The Mithun character was serving in the Jat Regiment, and the implication was that he belonged to the elite, ruling Jat community. As early as in 1985, a full 25 years beore The Guardian article, this reversal of the hierarchy had already taken place in a film made by the Brahmin J P Dutta. The ‘low caste’ hero ranked above the Jat hero no.2
Did ‘low caste’ mean scheduled caste in the context of Ghulami? Absolutely. The film made it clear that Ranjeet belonged to a caste that had to be kept segregated.
Despite being a relentlessly tense and even a literary film (its most famous song began in highly literary Farsi [Persian]), Ghulami was the tenth biggest grosser among Hindi-Urdu films: 1985.

Tera Naam Mera Naam (1987/ pr., dir: RameshTalwar) was a breezy entertainer, like films from the commercial stream are. And yet it dealt with the serious subject of ‘reservations’ (affirmative action) with no upper caste bias. It had two heroes, the Brahmin Agnihotri and the scheduled caste Parmar. Agnihotri, the Brahmin boy, was shown arguing in favour of Caste-based reservations: India. Both were from middle class families and were unemployed.
Ravi Parmar, a handsome youth, belonged to a scheduled caste. He was happy go lucky vs. the serious Agnihotri. Parmar watched lots of TV and flirted around. However, there was no prejudice in this, because in the exams he did marginally better than the Brahmin Agnihotri.
Which of the two was the main hero? Well, both had equally big and equally good roles. However, it was the scheduled caste Parmar who got the main heroine, Ms. Sharma.
The actors of this middle-budget commercial film were totally unknown. Therefore, the film, too, remained unknown.

Prem Granth (1996) was a big-budget film from the RK banner that, till the release of this film, had been India’s no.1 commercial banner. Prem Granth got a lukewarm reception at the box office, being the no.17 grosser among Hindi-Urdu films: 1996.
In Prem Granth ‘a socially ostracized [Madhuri Dixit character] was not able to confront her love’ [1]

Chachi 420 (1997) was produced and directed by Kamal Haasan, a Tamil Brahmin, two of whose later films took a strong pro-Muslim stand. At his peak he was the no. 2 star of Tamil films. In this film, a comedy, he acted as the music composer Jaishankar Paswan, a scheduled caste, in love with the daughter of Durgaprasad Bharadwaj, a conservative Brahmin businessman.
Chachi 420 ranked no. 13 at the box office among Hindi-Urdu films: 1997, despite being a middle-budget film with a non-Hindi mainstream hero.
After all these films with leading SC characters, and strong characters at that, let us finally come to what The Guardian would have the world believe was the film with Bollywood's first-ever SC lead character, and with the release of which Bollywood had, at long last, started to deal with India's caste system.

Samar (1999/ dir. Shyam Benegal, writer Ashok Mishra) was among the many art films that dealt with caste and had SC leading characters, male as well as female. To the extent that this multi-character film could be said to have had a hero, it was a scheduled caste film actor, Kishore (played by a very young Ashish Vidyarthi). The film’s story, which was about caste oppression, revolved around Nathu (played by Raghuvir Yadav).

Chupke Se (2003) was a pleasant chick-lit romance by Shona Urvashi, and was not about caste. The heroine Megha Timgire’s name was not an obviously SC name. However, some Timgires are SC. Her father was a middle-rung income tax officer. There was a picture of Baba Saheb Dr. BR Ambedkar in the heroine’s house. But then he is a national hero, across castes and communities. However, the picture coupled with the heroine’s name suggested that Megha Timgire was supposed to be SC. (In ‘Guddu Rangeela,’ see below, Baba Saheb’s picture was used as a code to convey the heroes’ caste.)

Eklavya- The Royal Guard (2007) saw Sanjay Dutt play Pannalal Chohar, an ‘audacious’ Dalit police officer, who was not only proud of himself but also unapologetic about his origin [2]. He ‘not only asserts his Dalit identity but also bristles against the castebased feudal oppression that still pervades parts of Rajasthan.’ (Avijit Ghosh)
This was a big-budget film about Rajasthani royalty, with lavish sets and a big starcast. It had five leading men and three leading ladies. The cast was headed by a character who was a servant but belonged to an indeterminate ‘touchable’ caste. The SC hero ranked no.2 in the internal hierarchy of the film’s plot, ranking above three princes in terms of the length and importance (‘pivotality’) of his role.
However, it earned the 19th (or 24th highest profits) among Hindi-Urdu films: 2007. The film’s non-success had nothing to do with its SC hero no. 2, because, as pointed out, the focus was not on the SC hero but on the concept of, um, artificial insemination, which the audiences could not digest.

Rakta Charitra 1 (2010) was the biopic of Paritala Ravindra, and Maddela Cheruvu Suri. It was successful at the Telugu box office but only no. 29 among more than 160Hindi-Urdu films: 2010

Rakta Charitra 2 (2010) did even worse at the Hindi-Urdu box office.
However, between them the two parts gathered a number of awards and nominations.

Aarakashan (2011): Though made by a filmmaker from the art stream, this film had a major commercial actor playing a bright young SC college lecturer who taught applied mathematics and then went to Cornell University for his Ph.D. A caste-Hindu girl had a crush on him. While he wooed her with poetry, she in turn asked him to come straight to the point, stop being senti[mental] and ‘show some action.’
Avijit Ghosh writes: ‘In mainstream Bollywood history, it would be hard to find a more assertive, erudite and historically-aware Dalit than the protagonist in Prakash Jha's Aarakshan… The portayal is indeed radical…Deepak is everything a traditional Bollywood hero is; only a little more. He is educated, articulate, aspirational yet an idealist - he is a Dalit of the New Millennium. He represents a new template of Dalit protagonists, a distinct departure from the traditional representation in Hindi films.’
Aarakashan (‘affirmative action’) was sought to be banned, sight unseen, by pro- affirmative action groups, which assumed that because the film had been made by a Brahmin, Prakash Jha, it would oppose affirmative action. The film was banned, again sight unseen, in some states for that reason. By the time the film’s strong pro-SC and pro- affirmative action stand was realised and the bans were lifted pirated DVDs of the film had done the damage.
Aarakashan was no. 28 at the box office among Hindi-Urdu films: 2011.

Court (2015: Marathi, English, Hindi) is about an Ambedkarite SC activist: he sings songs about social reform (against the backdrop of Babasaheb's portrait) and helps publish books on the same theme. He is framed in an extremely flimsy case. This arthouse film was declared the Best Film of the Year by the Government of India.

Guddu Rangeela (2015) has not one but two, eponymous SC heroes. And yet the words Dalit, Harijan, scheduled caste or ‘low’ caste are not used anywhere in the film. Codes are used instead. i) We see the picture of Baba Saheb Dr. BR Ambedkar in the heroes’ house, and i-a) the pictures of Kum. Mayawati and Mr. Kanshi Ram in that of their relative. ii) The heroes are from a community of singers, hence we could safely assume that they belong to the mirasi caste. iii) Rangeela told us that his marriage to Babli Hooda was an inter-caste marriage. Thus at least he was not Jat. iv) The casteist villain Billu Pehelwan (caste not specified, but he was the upholder of the caste system) said that ‘we don’t drink water in the houses of these people.’ This left the audience in no doubt about their being SCs.
Guddu Rangeela is a middle-budget, ‘multiplex film.’
Earlier Ghulami had mentioned that the hero was from a low caste without using an SC-specific expression. However, other clues, like children from the hero’s community being segregated, made the caste clear. Only Mother India and Gunga Jumna offered no clues other than a conflict with the three upper castes. Because of this ambiguity, Indpaedia has not boldfaced the titles of these two films.

Manjhi: the mountain man (2015) is about the heroic struggle of a man determined to cut a path through a tall hill, to connect his village with the world beyond the hill. The Manjhis are an Ati Dalit clan (i.e. even more backward and deprived than other SCs.) The caste element is mentioned in the beginning, after which the film concentrates on the selfless character of this untiring and principled man.

Sairat (Marathi/ 2016): Dir Nagraj Manjule The SC hero falls in love with a Patil girl.The film has broken all Marathi records. With a 3,000 per cent return on investment Sairat might hold the all India record for the highest return on investment in the history of Indian cinema, and by a very wide margin.


Marathi film 'Fandry' is a love story set against the shadow of caste discrimination.

The Marathi film 'Fandry' (Pig) was released in theaters across Maharashtra on Friday, on the back of its Grand Jury Prize at the recently-concluded Mumbai International Film Festival. 'Fandry' depicts a love affair under the shadow of discrimination based on caste.

Not all films that tackle caste issues have had the dream run that Fandry has enjoyed.

Here are a few movies about caste that have courted controversy with their subject matter but won acclaim for the insightful way in which they handled the subject.

Jait re Jait (' Win, win', Marathi, 1977)

This Jabbar Patel film starred Smita Patil and Mohan Agashe in a story that was set in the Thakar community, a scheduled tribe in Maharashtra. Mohan Agashe plays a drummer who meets a headstrong woman from his community, who has left her husband because she thinks he is useless. The film is about their struggle to remain together despite the tribulations faced by the community.

Sujata (Hindi, 1959)

Bimal Roy directed this film about the love between a Brahmin youth and an untouchable. It was nominated for the Golden Palm at the 60th Cannes Film Festival. In this melodrama, the heroine, Sujata, is an untouchable who is raised by a Brahmin family. The Brahmin youth's father is fond of her, but his wife and mother never accept her fully, until a critical moment when Sujata saves the wife's life.

Ankur ('Seedling', Hindi, 1974)

This was Shyam Benegal's first feature film, featuring the debuts of Shabana Azmi and Anant Nag. The story revolves around the love affair between the son of the village landlord (Nag), and the wife of a deaf-mute Dalit potter (Azmi). A highly layered film, Ankur's protagonist affects a pro-Dalit stance to get closer to Shabana Azmi's character, his maidservant. Their relationship sparks rumours that are all-too-true, leading to a climax that exposes upper-caste hypocrisy.

Ore Oru Gramathile ('In a little village', Tamil, 1987)

This film, by director K Jyothi Pandian, is easily the most controversial in the list. It is about a penniless upper-caste woman who pretends to be from a scheduled caste to get an education. She goes on to become an excellent civil servant, but is eventually exposed, leading to a courtroom scene in which she defends her case and appeals for reservations based on economic backwardness rather than caste.

Dalit groups, such as BR Ambedkar's People's Movement and the Republican Party of India launched protests, threatening to damage cinemas in which the film was screened. The Tamil Nadu stopped the film's release, and eventually, it took a Supreme Court directive to ensure the film's release. It later won a national award -- The Silver Lotus (for best film on social issues).

The Untouchables (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the 1987 film. 
The Untouchables
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBrian De Palma
Produced byArt Linson
Screenplay byDavid Mamet
Based onThe Untouchables
by Eliot Ness and Oscar Fraley
  • Kevin Costner
  • Charles Martin Smith
  • Andy García
  • Robert De Niro
  • Sean Connery
Music byEnnio Morricone
CinematographyStephen H. Burum
Edited byGerald B. Greenberg
Bill Pankow
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • June 2, 1987(New York City premiere)
  • June 3, 1987 (United States)
Running time
119 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$25 million
Box office$106.2 million
The Untouchables is a 1987 American gangster film directed by Brian De Palma, produced by Art Linson, written by David Mamet, and based on the book The Untouchables (1957). The film stars Kevin Costner, Charles Martin Smith, Andy Garcia, Robert De Niro, and Sean Connery. Ness forms the Untouchables team to bring Al Capone to justice during Prohibition. The Grammy Award-winning score was composed by Ennio Morricone and features some period-correct music by Duke Ellington.
The Untouchables premiered on June 2, 1987 in New York City, and went into general release on June 3, 1987 in the United States. The film grossed $106.2 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics. It was nominated for four Academy Awards; Connery won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
A prequel, The Untouchables: Capone Rising, starring Gerard Butler, was in development before being shelved.
During Prohibition in 1930, Al Capone has nearly the whole city of Chicago under his control and supplies illegal liquor. Bureau of Prohibition agent Eliot Ness is assigned to stop Capone, but his first attempt at a liquor raid fails due to corrupt policemen tipping Capone off. He has a chance meeting with Irish-American veteran officer Jimmy Malone, who is fed up with the rampant corruption and offers to help Ness, suggesting that they find a man from the police academy who has not come under Capone's influence. They recruit Italian-American trainee George Stone (aka-Giuseppe Petri) for his superior marksmanship and intelligence. Joined by accountant Oscar Wallace, assigned to Ness from Washington, D.C., they conduct a successful raid on a Capone liquor cache and start to gain positive publicity, with the press dubbing them "The Untouchables." Capone later kills the henchman in charge of the cache as a warning to his other men.
Wallace discovers that Capone has not filed an income tax return for some years and suggests that the team try to build a tax evasion case against him, since he is well-insulated from his other crimes. An alderman offers Ness a bribe to drop his investigation, but Ness angrily refuses it and throws him out of the office. When Capone gunman Frank Nitti threatens Ness' family, Ness has his wife and daughter moved to a safe house. His team flies to the Canada–United States border to intercept an incoming liquor shipment, aided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, killing several gangsters and capturing George, a Capone bookkeeper. Malone then shoots a gangster through the mouth (not revealing the man is already dead) to scare George into agreeing to testify against Capone.
Wallace prepares to escort George from the Chicago police station to a safe house, but they are shot and killed by Nitti, who has infiltrated the station. Ness confronts Capone and his men over the deaths, but Malone intervenes to save him from being killed and urges him to persuade the district attorney not to dismiss the charges against Capone. Realizing that police chief Mike Dorsett sold out Wallace and George, Malone forces him to reveal the whereabouts of Walter Payne, Capone's chief bookkeeper. That night, a knife-wielding thug sneaks into Malone's apartment; Malone chases him out with a shotgun, but falls victim to Nitti's Tommy gun ambush. Ness and Stone arrive at the apartment; before dying, Malone tells them which train Payne will take out of town.
At Union Station, Ness and Stone find Payne guarded by several gangsters. A gunfight breaks out on the lobby steps, resulting in all the gangsters being killed and Payne being taken alive. As Payne testifies at Capone's trial, explaining the untaxed cash flows throughout the syndicate, Ness notices that Capone seems unusually relaxed and also spots Nitti carrying a gun under his jacket. Ness has the bailiff remove Nitti and searches him outside the courtroom; a matchbook in Nitti's pocket contains Malone's address, leading Ness to realize that he killed Malone. Nitti shoots the bailiff and flees to the courthouse roof. Ness has the opportunity to kill Nitti at one point but chooses not to, but when Nitti mocks the way Malone died, Ness pushes him off the roof to his death.
Stone gives Ness a list, taken from Nitti's jacket, that shows bribes paid to the jurors. When the judge refuses to consider it as evidence of jury tampering, Ness bluffs him into thinking that his name is in Payne's ledger of payoffs. The judge subsequently orders that the jury be switched with one in another courtroom, prompting Capone's lawyer to enter a guilty plea on his behalf. Capone is later sentenced to 11 years in prison. Ness closes up his office and gives Malone's St. Jude medallion and callbox key to Stone as a farewell gift. As Ness leaves the police station, a reporter mentions a rumor that Prohibition may soon be repealed and asks what Ness will do if that happens. Ness replies, "I think I'll have a drink."

Untouchable Themes

You Are What You Wear

Habiliments, known in contemporary vernacular as clothing, play a pivotal role in Untouchable. For starters, Anand uses characters' clothing to signify everything from religion to caste level. During the beginning of Bakha’s day, clothing is used to differentiate the many men that come to use the latrines. The Hindus are naked except for their loincloths. Muslims are distinct from Hindus because they wear long white cotton tunics and baggy trousers (Anand 32). Furthermore, when the crowds gather to hear the Mahatma speak, they are separated into their various castes and religions. The “Hindu lallas,” or high-caste Hindu ladies, are “smartly dressed in silks” while members of the outcaste colony are dressed in rags (Anand 264).
Clothing as a signifier of religion and caste level is only one aspect of the “you are what you wear” theme. Through the eyes of Bakha, clothing becomes a metaphor for superiority and enlightenment. He marvels at the “clear-cut styles of European dress” and considers those that wear them “sahibs,” or superior people. He thinks that if he were to wear these habiliments, he would cast off his untouchable status and become a sahib too (Anand 20). To this end, he begs Tommies for their extra clothing no matter how loosely they fit him. Though seemingly superficial, Bakha’s musings about clothing reflecting the inner person have a strand of truth. His own getup, though ill fitting, supposedly “removes him above his odorous world” in the eyes of the onlooker as he cleans the latrines (Anand 30). The onlookers are perplexed that someone dressed as Bakha is from the untouchable caste. Here is a clear example of the theme “you are what you wear.”

Rejection of Indian Roots

The rejection of Indian habits and social customs is a central idea of Untouchable. Bakha is the best personification of this theme in the novel. We are first introduced to his distaste for certain Indian habits when he watches the Hindu men performing their morning ablutions. Anand writes that after working in the British barracks Bakha had become ashamed of the “Indian way” of washing up (Anand 34). Other Indian habits that Bakha shows contempt for are how some Hindu men and women relieve themselves in the open on the streets (Anand 36), the Indian tendency to wear “florid ornaments” (Anand 107), and even the Indian way of drinking tea (Anand 62). The disapproval Bakha feels for these various habits stem from British feelings about them. For example, when the British see Hindus relieving themselves on the ground in public, they say kala admi zamin par hagne wala(black man, you who relieve yourself on the ground) (Anand 35). These words are a condemnation and something to be embarrassed about, in Bakha’s opinion. His rejection of Indian ways of life is directly correlated to his embracement of British ways of life. If the British sahibs dislike something, they must be right, and he must emulate them in all things.
The rejection of Indian roots is closely intertwined with Britain’s colonization of India and extends far past Bakha to Indian society as a whole. Bakha is not the only Indian fascinated by English culture. The presence of the Salvation Army in Bulashah is a testament to this. It shows that there are some Indians interested in Christianity, the religion of the colonizer. Further, at the end of the novel it is suggested that accepting the European “machine” (i.e., moving away from an agricultural economy to an industrial one) might be the path to salvation for untouchables. Rejecting the Indian way of clearing waste and embracing the European way of flushing it away without human contact could mean an end to the demands that sweepers satisfy, which would allow them to seek out other types of work that wouldn’t make them untouchable.
However, things aren’t always so straightforward. An example of this is the British-Indian penal code the poet Iqbal speaks of near the end of the novel. This code recognizes the rights of every Indian before the court, which on the de jure level makes everyone equal. And yet, the Hindu caste system simply adjusted and made profession the determinant of caste level. Because families typically have the same profession across generations, this did not alter much. After walking a day in Bakha’s shoes it is clear that the caste system persists despite British attempts to eradicate it. While certain ways of Indian life have been rejected in the face of supposed British superiority, others are upheld. Here the push and pull between Indian and British sociocultural mores can be seen.

Class Struggle

At its core Untouchable is a tale about class struggle. The paralyzing and polarizing differences between the various caste levels shape Bakha’s day and fuel the narrative. Class and caste play a role in every interaction Bakha has over the course of his day. When his hero Singh speaks with him in the morning, it is with a “grin [that] symbolized six thousand years of racial and class superiority.” When Singh promises to give Bakha a hockey stick, he calls forth a “trait of servility” embedded in Bakha that he inherited from his forefathers. Bakha is “queerly humble” and passively content like a “bottom dog” (Anand 31). This is clear example of how caste levels and what they symbolize about your station in life can be internalized and then manifested in your personality and demeanor.
Inter-caste inequality is not only about personal interactions. It is fueled by a set of rules that limits the lives and rights of outcastes, particularly the untouchables. For example, the outcastes are not allowed to draw their own water from the public well because this would make the water polluted in the eyes of the upper-caste Hindus. They must prevail upon the charity of higher-caste people drawing water to share some with them. Particular to the untouchables is the law of their untouchability. They must take care not to touch those of other castes, and to shout a warning about their presence wherever they go.
Though the struggle between the caste levels takes precedent in the story, intra-caste conflict also exists. Gulabo, Ram Charan’s mother, is a great illustration of this. Though she is an outcaste like Bakha and his family, because she and her family are washer people, they occupy a higher place within their shared outcaste status than the sweepers. Gulabo uses her higher station to terrorize Bakha and Sohini. Thus the stratification of the castes isn’t only an “inter” issue but also an “intra” one.


Charity occupies an interesting place in the world of Untouchable. The outcastes are dependent on the charity of higher castes for fresh water (Anand 50), food (Anand 130), clothing (Anand 20), etc. Oftentimes the begging of the outcastes is met with derision and anger by the higher castes. This uncharitable reaction is shortsighted when considering that outcastes must beg for water since the caste system deems them unworthy of drawing their own. The higher castes are unable to see the poverty of the outcaste is their own doing, not that of the outcaste.
On the other hand, in order to maintain their current status and/or rise in the caste hierarchy in the next life, Hindus must perform acts of charity. The Brahmins and the Kshatriyas, the two upper castes in Hindu society, claim they earned their positions because of all the good deeds they did in previous lives. So in a way the higher castes are dependent on charity as well.

Cyclical Oppression

The suffering of the outcastes is cyclical, generational, and perpetual. This is the idea that is at the center of Untouchable, the idea that Anand seeks to highlight and criticizeThe Hindu caste system and the stigmas it casts upon the outcastes ensure that they stay poor and destitute while the other castes maintain their higher standings and better lifestyles. The inability of the outcastes to draw their own water from the community well or even gather together the funds to build their own well ensures they will always be dependent on charitable Hindus for water (Anand 43). Shopkeepers and food vendors charge outcastes higher prices, “as if to compensate themselves for the pollution they [court] by dealing with outcastes” (Anand 87). This is nonsensical, making poor people that lack money pay more than rich people with money, and yet is somehow justified in the eyes of the higher castes. Furthermore, because teachers refuse to teach untouchables for fear of pollution, most of them cannot read and so must pay to have texts read to them or letters written (Anand 74). The answer would be teachers that are untouchable, but who would first teach them? Here we see the cyclical nature of the outcaste’s plight.
The life of the outcaste is cyclical not only because it is perpetuated by corrupt interpersonal dealings, but also because it is generational. The oppression and terrible life standards the outcastes face persist across generations. Bakha began working in the latrines as a sweeper at the age of 6, same as his father, his grandfather, great-grandfather, etc. (Anand 75). His status and life as a sweeper was inherited and passed down by his forefathers. Unless untouchability is abandoned, the Hindu caste system eradicated, and the unequal treatment of outcastes stopped, Bakha’s children will pick up the cross their father bears.

The Untouchable’s Responsibility/Burden

Deeply intertwined with the themes of class struggle and cyclical oppression is the idea of the untouchable’s responsibility or the untouchable’s burden. Aside from their job as sweeper, the untouchables are also tasked with ensuring they don’t touch higher-caste people and higher-caste people don’t touch them. Bakha first mentions this responsibility after he bumps into a caste man. Surrounded by a mob of angry Hindus, Bakha realizes that “he was surrounded by a barrier, not a physical barrier… but a moral one. He knew that contact with him, if he pushed through, would defile a great many more of [the] men” (Anand 92). Instead of the burden being on the men to make sure they don’t touch Bakha, he is the one that must take care. Bakha reinforces this idea when he apologizes to the man he bumps into and says, “I have erred now. I forgot to call. I beg your forgiveness” (Anand 94). The call Bakha refers to is “Posh keep away, posh, sweeper coming, posh posh…” (Anand 98). Untouchables must shout this as they walk to notify others of their approach. Not only must they clean up the refuse of others, they must also protect the cleanliness of others.
The untouchable’s burden is another means of keeping the untouchable suppressed. This is best illustrated by Sohini’s brush with Pundit Kali Nath in the temple. Here we have a Hindu high-caste man that willingly touched Sohini in an amorous manner. When she rejected him, Nath cried “polluted, polluted” and accused Sohini of defiling him (Anand 120). Because she is an untouchable, Sohini has no means of defending herself. She cannot argue that Nath touched her of his own volition, because such a defense would make no sense to Hindus that observe the caste system. Making bodily contact negligence on the part of the untouchable and not the caste person allows sexual assaults like Sohini’s to be permissible. This is another example of the class struggles between untouchables and caste people, and another way untouchables are reduced to a subhuman status.


Religion is the thread that connects all of the themes in Untouchable. Anand uses clothing to separate the Hindus from the Muslims from the Christians. The rejection of Indian roots is in part made manifest by the conversion of Indians from Hinduism to Christianity. The class struggles between the different caste levels and the cyclical oppression the outcastes experience is rooted in the hierarchy Hinduism created, as is the need for the higher castes to be charitable. Furthermore, Bakha sees his responsibility of alerting the world to his presence as a moral obligation.
There are a few ways that religion acts as an explicit mediator between the characters of Untouchable as well. Of course Hinduism influences interactions such as Gulabo’s with Sohini and Bakha’s with the caste man he touches. There are other examples however. Colonel Hutchinson’s interest in Bakha is fueled by his belief that Bakha wishes to convert to Christianity. Also, though alienated from his father Lahka, Bakha feels a connection to him when thinking about how his father, his mother, and their forefathers all worshipped Rama, god of the Hindus (Anand 244). While religion is a source of the many issues the novel grapples with, it is also the force that brings our characters into contact with one another.

Untouchable: the true story that inspired a box office hit

How did a quadriplegic French aristocrat and his Arabic ex-con carer become unlikely friends, then a box-office sensation? Meet the real life stars of ‘Untouchable’.

Philippe Di Pozzo Borgo and Abdul
Philippe Di Pozzo Borgo and Abdul Photo: Stefan Nimmesgern
The second thing you notice about Philippe Pozzo di Borgo is his smile – it is engaging and generous. The first is his wheelchair. The 61-year-old French aristocrat and former director of the Pommery champagne house, has been in one since a paragliding accident left him a quadriplegic in 1993.
His has a wing mirror, a computer control panel that can do everything from open windows to operate his phone, and it is, he says, the fastest in the world, capable of 9mph. Abdel Sellou, his “guardian devil” of 10 years, arranged for it to be souped up so that they could race in it, with him on the back.
This is one of many amusing episodes that feature in Untouchable, a film about their unlikely friendship. Another concerns a favourite game of theirs: Abdel would speed through Paris in Philippe’s Rolls-Royce, until the police caught them. Abdel would convince the police that the reason they were speeding was that Philippe was having a seizure. Philippe would play along. The police would then escort them to the nearest hospital.
Their friendship was unlikely because Philippe, who is the second son of a French duke, was born into a life of great wealth and privilege. Abdel was a career criminal from Algeria who had immigrated to France and had only applied for the job of Philippe’s carer so that he could keep claiming his income support. He was, according to Philippe, a short man with a square face who was “intolerable, vain and arrogant”. But, as Philippe explains to me as we sit in his beautiful modernist villa in Essaouira, Morocco – “at the end of the world” – he spotted something in Abdel that others could not see. His sweet craziness. “He didn’t feel sorry for me – he was irreverent, cheeky and had an outrageous sense of humour. I suddenly found I was enjoying life again, feeling like I didn’t know what was coming next.
“Nothing stopped this guy. I knew he wouldn’t flinch and could take the initiative.” He had interviewed about 90 people and knew as soon as he met Abdel that: “This is the guy I need. I don’t give a damn that he is out of jail. I needed him. And he became a friend afterwards.” As well as sharing a sense of humour, they were both on the margins of society – a disabled man and a criminal. That, he thinks, explains why they came to depend on each other, enrich each other’s lives and bridge the race and class divide.
Philippe, who speaks fluent English, is profound on the subject of pity.
“He treated me like I neededed to be treated in the tough times ahead, partly because of my condition but also because my wife was dying of cancer [she died three years after his accident]. I needed to be back on track. Pity is the last thing you need. Pity is hopeless. Pity is what someone gives you because he is afraid to take care of you. I didn’t need that. But compassion I don’t need also. It comes from Latin and means ‘suffering with’. I don’t want you to be suffering with me. I need consolation, which in Latin means keeping me as a whole person, respecting me as I am.”
The film, which is about to be released in Britain, has been breaking box-office records in France and Germany, and one of the reasons seems to be that it gives the audience permission to laugh with, not at, disabled people, and see their lives as they have never seen them before. “This film says it is OK to laugh sometimes. Life in a wheelchair can be funny as well as sad. I think many people find disability frightening, but we want people to relax around us, because we feel much better if you take it easy. And this guy Abdel has such humour. Never nasty, just funny. I like laughing.”
They’re quite a double act. When Philippe calls Abdel for me, translating the French via speakerphone, we find he is not in Algeria, as we expected him to be, but in Marseille, “up to no good, I should imagine”. Their affection for one another is immediately apparent. Something else I notice is that Abdel has a very infectious laugh. I ask him what his childhood was like, growing up as one of nine. “It was hell, but I loved it. I was the devil.” In what way? “I had no code for what was right and wrong. I did what I wanted, when I wanted.” How would his life have been different if he hadn’t met Philippe? “I would probably be dead, or in prison.” What was he in jail for before? “I was doing black-market work but I was so good at my work, to thank me, they let me have a rest.” In the film they changed the Algerian Abdel to a black immigrant from Senegal, mainly because they wanted to cast the French comic actor Omar Sy.
What does Abdel think of the man who plays him in the film? “I’m a small ugly guy, he’s a beautiful athlete. They found the opposite of me.” Abdel was, to put it mildly, a womaniser, another theme explored in the film. But he has now settled down and is married with three children in Algeria, where he runs a poultry farm. Is he surprised by this turn of events? “Back then I would not even have asked those questions about settling down. I was just interested in women as the equivalent of fast food. I’m now settled, squeezed into my new life, but I am still a man and I tell it loudly, which people don’t usually. I still like women.” In the film he is depicted as hot tempered; does he still solve arguments with his fists? “I have given up this because I have gained weight and don’t want to become someone else’s punch bag.” The phone call ends with them both getting the giggles because Abdel has said something so rude and sexist Philippe refuses to translate it. If my limited French serves, it was something about it being a pity that I was a man, unlike the gorgeous German journalist Bild sent to interview them.
Abdel was pictured with her laughing as she perched on his knee. Philippe, meanwhile, had his hand placed on her thigh, by Abdel.
After lunch, Philippe shows me his garden: terraces of eucalyptus, cypresses, pampas grass and white roses. It is an idyllic place and he likes to sit out here reading French philosophy and poetry, one of his greatest pleasures in life. “I left Paris to come here because of the sea breeze. It is not too hot and there aren’t many clouds.” The film is based on his bestselling memoir A Second Wind, which he dictated into a voice-activated tape recorder at night when he couldn’t sleep because of pain. “But that was when I was a widower. Now I am working on a new book about politics and I can’t do that in the night because I have a wife.” Her name is Khadija and she is a Muslim from Morocco. They have three daughters, two biological to her, another, well, it’s complicated because Arabs don’t recognise the term adopted. He is Christian and, when he had this house built not many years ago, he made sure it included a small chapel.
I ask what he makes of the movie. “The directors came to see me here three years ago and very kindly they asked me to read the script and I was able to help them make it more realistic, though they did include some scenes – such as Abdel pouring boiling water on my legs to see if I felt it – that didn’t happen in real life.” One of the funniest scenes shows Abdel trimming Philippe’s beard and leaving him with a Hitler moustache, just before he goes on a date. That didn’t happen either, but, again, it was the sort of thing he would do.
Another funny scene shows him being tricked into smoking a joint. “That was true. He said it would help me. In fact it doesn’t help. It takes away the pain and puts me to sleep for two hours but I wake up feeling tired. First time I tried it I was 48.”
Was it strange seeing himself portrayed by an actor on the big screen? “François Cluzet was good casting, but I’m so laid-back after 20 years in my wheelchair that nothing surprises me, nothing bothers me. When François came here, he watched me constantly for three days. I didn’t feel comfortable about that.” And he might be having a visit from another actor soon – Colin Firth – for an English remake of the film by the team that made Bridesmaids, Hollywood’s biggest comedy hit of last year. “That would be great if he is cast. I love his acting. The King’s Speech was fantastic.”
In A Second Wind Philippe writes eloquently about the joys of paragliding; how he used to listen to Bellini on his Walkman and smoke cigarettes. He did it a lot before his accident, hundreds of flights, and not long ago he tried it again, strapped to another flier. What was he thinking?
He laughs. “It’s the beauty, it is also the technicalities. It is difficult to try and do it as well as the birds.” He still lives with the pain of that accident every day. As he puts it: “Phantom pain my a---. It’s very real. It’s a neurological pain. Scalding and corrosive. Constantly on fire. I cry because I am in actual pain, not because I’m sad.”
He tried suicide once, wrapping his oxygen tube around his neck and leaning back. Does he still think about doing it? “No, I have completely stopped thinking about it. It is quite common this reaction, when the pain gets too bad. I attempted it because I felt guilty that I was going to be a burden on others who had to look after me. Basically, I don’t give a damn about being handicapped but to be a burden – that was a problem. It was unbearable because I was always in charge and then all of a sudden I was dependent, especially on a wife who was ill.”
He has been following the case of Tony Nicklinson, the British man with locked-in syndrome who went to the courts to appeal for the right to an assisted death. On the morning I meet Philippe the news is reporting Nicklinson’s death. “I think he died of starvation,” he says. “I have no judgment on this. And I wouldn’t like anyone to use a law in a case like this. The family and the doctor and the individual have to decide together, but you have to be very careful. I have a good friend who has been in the same state as this guy for 20 years, and he writes books with his eye and there is no question of him giving up. But you do go through depression, it is part of our condition, the pain can be depressing. If you are in a deep pain period you might think you want to give up, but you have to be careful about allowing others to help this guy kill himself, because he might come out of the depression. I would be very sad if I had succeeded in killing myself 19 years ago, because I have enjoyed the 19 years that came after that.”
He writes movingly about his first wife Béatrice, who died in 1996; has the passage of time helped him overcome his grief to some extent? “In the first years I found it hard to talk about her because I would get upset. Sometimes when I’m asked about Béatrice it still takes me a moment to answer. We have pictures of her everywhere here. She lives with us. Time helps. But I was lucky to know a lady like this.”
As well as photographs of Béatrice, there are modernist paintings, another subject which is played for laughs in the film. Before he met Abdel, he had never mixed with people who didn’t give a damn about high culture. “Abdel simply couldn’t understand modern art,” he says with a fond laugh. “He would dismiss it all as bulls---. But at least he came to enjoy some of the classical music I liked, just as I came to appreciate some of the pop music he liked.” It is a touching note on which to part. Philippe gives his warm smile and I give his hand a squeeze. I know he can’t feel it in the conventional sense, but in other ways I’m sure he can.
‘A Second Wind’, by Philippe Pozzo di Borgo (Simon & Schuster), is available to order from Telegraph Books at £7.99 + £1.10 p&p. Call 0844 871 1516; ‘Untouchable’ is released in London cinemas on September 21, then nationwide a week later

‘काला’: मनोरंजन से बड़ा है फिल्म 

का दायरा

फिल्में दरअसल हमें बनाती हैं। हमें रचती हैं। हमारे जीने और सोचने के तरीके में हस्तक्षेप करती हैं। फिल्में ड्रेस सेंस देती हैं। चलने-बोलने की अदाएं सिखाती हैं। प्रेम और विवाह के मायने बताती और बदलती है। घरों की साजसज्जा तक पर फिल्मों का असर होता है।
फिल्में पॉपुलर क्लचर का निर्माण करती हैं और कई बार राजनीति से प्रभावित होती हैं और राजनीति को प्रभावित करती हैं। आम तौर पर जो विचार समाज पर हावी है, पॉपुलर फिल्में उसे मजबूत करती है और अन्य या विरोधी और विद्रोही विचारों को किनारे लगा देती है। सांस्कृतिक वर्चस्व स्थापित करने में फिल्मों की बड़ी भूमिका होती है।

ऐसे में अगर कोई फिल्म किसी जमी-जमाई हुई सोच और प्रभावशाली विचारधारा को चुनौती दे, तो वह फिल्म चौंकाती है। यही काम पा. रंजीत निर्देशित फिल्म ‘काला’ ने किया है। इसलिए इस फिल्म के बारे में जो बात हो रही है, उसका दायरा मनोरंजन से बड़ा है।

यह फिल्म चार सौ करोड़ का कुल बिजनेस करने की और बढ़ रही है, फिल्म में रजनीकांत हैं, उनका स्टाइल है, रोमांस हैं, नाच-गाना है लेकिन ज्यादा बात इस पर हो रही है कि काला फिल्म ने समाज के किस अनछुए पहलू को सामने रख दिया।

काला फिल्म इसलिए स्पेशल है क्योंकि इसने भारतीय समाज के सबसे विवादित पहलू- जाति- को दलित नजरिए से छेड़ दिया है। यह फिल्म और बहुत कुछ करते हुए दलित सौंदर्यशास्त्र यानी एस्थेटिक्स को रचती है और उसे वर्चस्व की संस्कृति के मुकाबले खड़ा कर देती है। इसलिए यह एक यूनीक फिल्म है। हिंदी के दर्शकों को तो यह फिल्म बुरी तरह चौंकाएगी और परेशान भी करेगी, क्योंकि ऐसी या मिलती-जुलती कोई फिल्म हिंदी में अब तक बनी नहीं है।

इस फिल्म का सब्जेक्ट मैटर वंचित समाज है। दलित और आदिवासी यानी एससी-एसटी इस देश की एक चौथाई आबादी हैं। यानी हममें से हर चौथा आदमी दलित, जिन्हें पहले अछूत कहा जाता था, या आदिवासी है। जनगणना के मुताबिक ये लगभग 30 करोड़ की विशाल आबादी है। भारत में किसी सिनेमा हॉल का भरना या न भरना इन पर भी निर्भर है।

ये लोग भी टिकट खरीदते हैं। फिल्में देखते हैं। लेकिन ये लोग फिल्मों में अक्सर नहीं दिखते। लीड रोल में शायद ही कभी आते हैं। ये लोग फिल्में बनाते भी नहीं हैं। इनकी कहानियां भी फिल्मों में नजर नहीं आती। खासकर, हिंदी फिल्म उद्योग में तो ऐसा ही होता है।

वैसे, हिंदी फिल्मों में दलित कभी कभार दिख जाते हैं। अछूत कन्या और सुजाता जैसी दसेक साल में कभी-कभार कोई फिल्म आ जाती है, जिसमें दलित पात्र होता है, जो अक्सर बेहद लाचार होता है और जिसका भला कोई गैर-दलित हीरो करता है।

भारत के लोकप्रिय सिनेमा में आखिरी चर्चित दलित पात्र आमिर खान की फिल्म लगान में नजर आया। उसका नाम था कचरा। वह अछूत है। उसमें अपना कोई गुण नहीं है। उसे पोलियो है और इस वजह से उसकी टेढ़ी उंगलियां अपने आप स्पिन बॉलिंग कर लेती हैं। उसकी प्रतिभा को एक गैर-दलित भुवन पहचानता है और उसे मौका देकर उस पर एहसान करता है।

इसके अलावा आरक्षण फिल्म में सैफ अली खान दलित रोल में नजर आता है। लेकिन उस पर एहसान करने के लिए अमिताभ बच्चन का किरदार फिल्म में है। फिल्म गुड्डू रंगीला में अरसद वारसी को दलित चरित्र के रूप में दिखाया गया है, लेकिन उसकी पहचान साफ नहीं है। मांझी फिल्म में नवाजुद्दीन सिद्दिकी ने एक दलित का रोल किया है, लेकिन दलित पहचान को फिल्म में छिपा लिया गया है। मसान जैसी ऑफ बीट फिल्मों में दलित हीरो बेशक कभी-कभार नजर आ जाता है, लेकिन मुख्यधारा में उनका अकाल ही है।

ऐसे समय में मूल रूप से तमिल में बनी और हिंदी में डब होकर उत्तर में आई रजनीकांत अभिनीत और पा। रंजीत द्वारा निर्देशित ‘काला’ अलग तरह की दुनिया रचती है।

काला पहली नजर में एक मसाला फिल्म लग सकती है। इसमें रजनीकांत हैं। ग्लैमर के लिए हुमा कुरैशी है। इसमें बुराई पर अच्छाई की जीत का फार्मूला है। नाच-गाना और मारधाड़ है। एक्शन सीन हैं। लेकिन अपने मिजाज में यह एक राजनीतिक-सामाजिक वक्तव्य भी है।

फिल्म में काला या करिकालन बने रजनीकांत की जाति कहीं बताई नहीं गई है, लेकिन उसे छिपाया भी नहीं गया है। जिस सीन में रजनीकांत की एंट्री होती है, वहां गली क्रिकेट का खेल चल रहा होता है और बैकग्राउंड में महात्मा बुद्ध और ज्योतिबा फुले और बाबा साहेब आंबेडकर के पोस्टर लगे होते हैं। काला के घर में बुद्ध की प्रतिमा नजर आती है। काला अपनी बैठक बुद्ध विहार में करता है।

काला का समर्थक पुलिस हवलदार एक जगह भाषण देता है और अंत में आंबेडकरवादियों में प्रचलित अभिवादन ‘जय भीम’ बोलता है। ऐसे प्रतीक पूरी फिल्म में जिस तरह से बिखरे पड़े हैं, उसे देखकर यही लगता है कि निर्देशक पा। रंजीत अपने जीवन की आखिरी फिल्म बना रहे हों और अपने विचार और सोच को हर फ्रेम में चिपका देना चाहते हों। फिल्म में आखिर में परदे पर जो रंग बिखरते हैं, उनमें दलित जागृति का रंग नीला बहुत प्रमुखता से आता है। फिल्म के डायलॉग में भी लगातार यह बात नजर आती है और वंजितों की आवाज को लगातार स्वर मिलता है। फिल्म में रैपर्स का एक ग्रुप है, जो बीच-बीच में रैप गाता है। यह अमेरिका के ब्लैक रैपर्स की याद ताजा कराता है।

फिल्म में जो विलेन का पक्ष है, वहां भी पा। रंजीत अपने प्रतीक सावधानी से चुनते हैं। जो बिल्डर गरीबों और दलितों की जमीन छीन लेना चाहता है, उसका नाम मनु बिल्डर रखकर रंजीत बारीकी से अपनी बात कह जाते हैं। फिल्म दो विलेन हैं। मुख्य विलेन बने नाना पाटेकर का नाम हरिनाथ अभ्यंकर है जबकि उनके गुर्गे का नाम विष्णु है।

दोनों को गोरा दिखाया गया है। दोनों सफेद कपड़े पहनते हैं, जबकि काला तो काली ड्रेस ही पहनता है। अभ्यंकर जब काला के घर आता है तो उसके घर का पानी पीने से मना कर देता है। काला की पत्नी इस बात को बोलती भी है। लेकिन काला जब अभ्यंकर के घर जाता है तो न सिर्फ उसके घर का पानी पीता है, बल्कि अभ्यंकर की पोती को पैर छूने से रोक देता है। अभ्यंकर को पैर छुआने का शोक है, तो काला को अपने स्वाभिमान को बचाने का।

फिल्म के आखिरी दृश्यों में जब अभ्यंकर के गुंडे काला को मारने के अभियान पर निकलते हैं तो अभ्यंकर के घर में रामकथा का पाठ हो रहा होता है। रामकथा में रावण वध की तैयारी होती है तो दूसरी और काला की हत्या की कोशिशें। रामकथा में रावण की हत्या की घोषणा होती है, तभी काला के पीठ पर गोली उतार दी जाती है।

लेकिन रावण यानी काला इस फिल्म में सारी सहानुभूति बटोर ले जाता है। और अंत में वह जनता के विभिन्न रूपों में लौट कर आता है और हरि अभ्यंकर को परास्त करता है। रामकथा का यह आख्यान तमिल दर्शकों के लिए जितना सहज है, वैसा हिंदी दर्शकों के लिए नहीं है। इसके बावजूद यह तो पता चल ही जाता है कि निर्देशक कहना क्या चाहता है।

काला फिल्म दरअसल भारतीय समाज की एक सच्चाई –जातिवाद से समाज को रुबरू कराती है और वंचितों के पक्ष में खड़ी होती है। यही काम मराठी फिल्मों में नागराज मंजुले कर चुके हैं। उनकी फिल्म फंड्री और सैराट भी जाति के सवालों से टकराती है और जातिवाद के खिलाफ खड़ी होती है। सैराट मराठी फिल्म इतिहास की अब तक की सबसे कामयाब फिल्म है, जिसने 100 करोड़ रुपए से ज्यादा का बिजनेस किया है। इस फिल्म के न सिर्फ डायरेक्टर, बल्कि लीड एक्टर और एक्ट्रेस भी दलित हैं। यह एक दलित युवक की सवर्ण लड़की से प्रेम की कहानी है, जिसका अंत ऑनर किलिंग में होता है। इस फिल्म का हिंदी रिमेक धड़क रिलीज के लिए तैयार है। इस फिल्म का ट्रेलर रिलीज हो चुका है। हिंदी में बनी धड़क सैराट के बागी स्वरूप को कितना बचा पाती है, यह देखना दिलचस्प होगा।

कोई कह सकता है कि फिल्मों में किसी जाति या समूह का होना या न होना क्यों महत्वपूर्ण है। या कि कलाकार और फिल्मकार की जाति नहीं होती। उसे इस बात से नहीं तौला जाना चाहिए कि उसकी जाति क्या है, बल्कि उसे उसके काम से देखा और परखा जाना चाहिए। यह बात तर्कसंगत लगती है। लेकिन किसी समाज में बन रही फिल्मों में अगर समाज का एक हिस्सा अनुपस्थित है तो इस बारे में सवाल जरूर उठने चाहिए और बात भी होनी चाहिए। इसका यह मतलब कतई नहीं है कि फिल्मों में आरक्षण होना चाहिए। इसका मतलब है कि फिल्मों के दरवाजे हर किसी के लिए और तमाम तरह कि विषयों के लिए खुले होने चाहिए और वातावरण ऐसा होना चाहिए, जिसमें ऐसी फिल्में बनें, जिनमें पूरा भारत दिखे, न कि एक खंडित समाज का एक टुकड़ा।

किसी भी दौर का पॉपुलर सिनेमा एक फैंटसी रचता है, मनोरंजन करता और साथ में अपने समय के कुछ दस्तावेजी सबूत भी साथ लेकर चलता है। किसी भी अच्छी फिल्म का अच्छा होना इस बात से भी स्थापित होता है कि उसमें इन तीन तत्वों का कैसा मेल है। काला इस दृष्टि से एक सफल फिल्म है कि उसने मनोरंजन भी किया और डायरेक्टर ने अगर इसके जरिए कोई संदेश देने की कोशिश की है, तो वह संदेश बहुत जोरदार तरीके से सुनाई देता है। पा. रंजीत ने साबित कर दिया है कि फिल्म अभिनेता का नहीं, निर्देशक का माध्यम है।

  • 'फंड्री' दलित सिनेमा का उत्सव है

    पिछले हफ्ते समय निकाल ‘फंड्री’ देखने गया था. चेम्बूर के एक सिंगल स्क्रीन थिएटर ‘अमर’ में “लास्ट डे - लास्ट शो” देखा. यहाँ चालीस रूपए में बालकनी का टिकट मिल जाता है. फंड्री  की स्क्रीनिंग के दौरान थिएटर में जो जोश भरा माहौल था वह बस अनुभव ही किया जा सकता है. मेरा एक दोस्त चेम्बूर के एक मल्टीप्लेक्स में इस फिल्म को देखने गया था. वहाँ की टिकट डेढ़ सौ रूपए से कम की नहीं आती. साथ ही वहाँ का दर्शक वर्ग भी मुख्यतः अमीर-सवर्णों का ही था जो फिल्म के गंभीर दृश्यों के दौरान भी अपनी जाति की समझ के अनुसार ठहाके लगा कर हँसना नहीं भूलता था.
     फंड्री देखने पर ऐसा लगता है जैसे कि सिनेमा के पर्दे पर दलित साहित्य सजीव हो गया हो. ‘फंड्री’ महाराष्ट्र के एक दलित समुदाय ‘कैकाडी’ द्वारा बोले जाने वाली बोली का शब्द है जिसका अर्थ सूअर होता है. फ़िल्म में सूअर को छुआछूत के प्रतीक के रूप में इस्तेमाल किया गया है जहाँ सवर्णों ने यह तय कर दिया है कि किस तरह के जानवर और आदमी ‘शुद्ध’ या ‘अशुद्ध’ हैं. फ़िल्म के निर्देशक नागराज मंजुले फंड्री को अपने जीवन की कहानी बताते है. फंड्री में ओमप्रकाश वाल्मीकि का “झूठन” भी दिखता है. फंड्री उन सभी दलितों की कहानी है जिन्हें जाति की वजह से सवर्णों के अत्याचार सहने पड़े हैं. फंड्री इस कहानी को कहने में कहीं भी जरुरत से ज्यादा मेलोड्रामटिक नहीं होता और ना ही फ़िल्म में दलितों पर होने वाले अत्याचारों के सनसनीखेज वीभत्स दृश्यों को दिखाने की जरुरत पड़ी है.
     फ़िल्म एक दलित लड़के जामवंत उर्फ़ जब्या (सोमनाथ अवघडे) की कहानी है जो किशोरवय का है और अपनी कक्षा में पढ़ने वाली एक उच्च जाति की लड़की शालू (राजेश्वरी खरात) से प्यार कर बैठा है. जब्या एक काली चिड़िया की तलाश में है जो दुर्लभ है और जिसके पीछे मान्यता है कि चिड़िया को जलाकर उसके राख को किसी पर भी छिड़क देने से उसे मोहित किया जा सकता है. फ़िल्म 14 फरवरी को महाराष्ट्र में रिलीज़ हुई थी. 
     इस फ़िल्म को बस एक प्रेम-कहानी मान लेने की भूल नहीं करनी चाहिए. यह फ़िल्म एक दलित के प्यार के सामाजिक यथार्थ को दिखाती है. फ़िल्म गहरे सामाजिक-राजनीतिक अर्थ रखती है. फ़िल्म में ऐसे बहुत से दृश्य हैं जो बहुत ही प्रभावशाली हैं. वह चाहे पृष्ठभूमि में दिख रही स्कूल की दीवारों पर बनी अम्बेडकर और सावित्रीबाई फुले की तस्वीरें हो या कक्षा में अंतिम पंक्ति में बैठने को मज़बूर दलित बच्चे. अपने घर की दीवार पर ‘शुभ विवाह’ लिख रहा जब्या का परिवार हो या फिर स्कूल में डफली बजा रहा जब्या या फिर वह दृश्य जहाँ जब्या का परिवार सूअर उठाकर ले जाता रहता है और पृष्ठभूमि में दीवार पर दलित आन्दोलनों से जुड़े सभी अगुआ नेताओं की तस्वीरें होती हैं. ये मोंटाज उस यथार्थ को दर्शाता है कि इतनी लड़ाई और इतने साल गुजर जाने के बाद भी दलितों की स्तिथि में कोई ख़ास बदलाव नहीं आया है.
     इस फिल्म का एक दृश्य मेरे लिए ख़ास अहमियत रखता है जिसे मैं कभी भूल नहीं सकता. जब्या स्कूल जाने की जगह गाँव के सवर्णों के आदेश पर अपने परिवार के साथ सूअर पकड़ रहा होता है. तभी अचानक स्कूल में राष्ट्र-गान बजना शुरू हो जाता है. राष्ट्र-गान सुनकर पहले जब्या स्थिर खड़ा हो जाता है और फिर उसका पूरा परिवार. फ़िल्मकार ने यह दृश्य बहुत ही प्रभावशाली बनाया है जो हमारे भारतीय सिनेमा के सबसे महत्वपूर्ण दृश्यों में से एक है. इस दृश्य के गहरे राजनीतिक अर्थ हैं कि कैसे हमारा शासक वर्ग राष्ट्रीय प्रतीकों और एक कल्पित राष्ट्र के सिद्धांत के बल पर देश के वंचित तबकों को बेवकूफ बनाकर रखे रहता है.  फ़िल्म का क्लाइमेक्स शायद इस जंजीर को तोड़ता है. फंड्री का क्लाइमेक्स बहुत ही गैर-परंपरागत क्लाइमेक्स है जिसका लोग अपने हिसाब से अलग-अलग संभावनाएँ सोच सकते हैं.
     फ़िल्म में नागराज मंजुले का भी एक किरदार है जिसका नाम चाणक्य है. फ़िल्म में उसे एक साइकिल की दुकान चलाते हुए देखा जा सकता है जो जब्या के प्रति सहानुभूति रखता है. चाणक्य को लोग बदमाश समझते है और जब्या का बाप भी उसे चाणक्य से दूर रहने को कहता है. फ़िल्म में एक जगह गाँव के एक मेले में जब्या नाचने की कोशिश करता है ताकि वह शालू पर अपना प्रभाव जमा सके. इस दौरान जब सवर्ण उससे धक्कामुक्की कर उसे बाहर कर रहे होते है तब चाणक्य बेधड़क नाचते हुए भीड़ में घुसकर जब्या को बचाता है. फ़िल्म में यह घटना लोगों को भले ही छोटी लगे लेकिन देश में मेलों-त्योहारों के समय दलितों का पिटना आम बात होती है.
     फंड्री सच्चे अर्थों में एक नव-यथार्थवादी फिल्म है जहाँ एक दलित फ़िल्मकार बिना भव्य-नकली सेटों की मदद के असली लोकेशन पर फ़िल्म शूट करता है. फ़िल्म में जब्या के बाप का किरदार कर रहे किशोर कदम को छोड़कर लगभग सभी किरदार नए हैं. सोमनाथ कोई मंझा हुआ अभिनेता नहीं है बल्कि महाराष्ट्र के एक गाँव का दलित लड़का है जो अभी कक्षा 9 में पढ़ा रहा है वहीं उसके दोस्त पिरया का किरदार कर रहा सूरज पवार सातवीं कक्षा का छात्र है. फिल्म अंग्रेजी सबटाइटल्स के साथ रिलीज़ हुई है. फिल्म मराठी में है लेकिन कई जगह दलित कैकाडी समुदाय की मराठी बोली का भी प्रयोग किया है. अभी तक मराठी फिल्म निर्माण में सवर्णों का ही दबदबा रहा है. कुछ लोग व्यंग्य से कह रहे हैं कि फंड्री और इसकी भाषा ने मराठी फिल्मों की ‘शुद्धता’ को ‘अपवित्र’ कर दिया है.
     फ़िल्म में सोमनाथ सहित दूसरे सभी किरदारों का अभिनय बहुत ही स्वभाविक रहा है. फ़िल्म में जब्या और उसका दोस्त पिरया अभिनय करते नहीं बल्कि अपनी रोजमर्रा की जिंदगी जीते दिखते हैं. फिल्म में सोमनाथ ने डफली बजायी है और उसे वाकई डफली बजाना आता भी है. दरअसल फिल्मकार की मुलाक़ात सोमनाथ से भी तब ही हुई थी जब वह अपने गाँव के एक कार्यक्रम में डफली बजा रहा था. फंड्री में कैमरा और साउंड का काम भी बेहतरीन रहा है. फ़िल्म देखते वक्त लगेगा कि आप वास्तव में जब्या के गाँव पहुँच गए है. नागराज मंजुले ने इससे पहले एक शार्ट फ़िल्म ‘पिस्तुलिया’ बनायी थी जिसे कई पुरस्कार मिले थे. फंड्री ने कमर्शियल सिनेमा के दायरे में रहकर भी बेहतरीन काम किया है. नागराज मंजुले का कहना कि जब तक अलग-अलग समुदाय, खासकर वंचित समुदाय के लोगों को फ़िल्म इंडस्ट्री में जगह नहीं मिलेगी तब तक हमारा सिनेमा हमारे समाज का सही मायने में प्रतिनिधित्व नहीं कर पाएगा. पिछले कुछ सालों में आए हिंदी के कथित प्रयोगधर्मी फिल्में फंड्री के आगे पानी भरते दिखती हैं.
     पिछले दिनों एक पत्रकार ने इस फिल्म पर प्रतिक्रिया देते हुए कहा कि हिंदी सिनेमा के जो कथित प्रयोगधर्मी फिल्मकार हैं उनकी फ़िल्में कभी इस ओर नहीं जा पाती हैं और वे फ़िल्मकार सामंती भावना को तृप्त करने में ही लगे रहते हैं. वाकई अगर देखा जाए तो इन कथित प्रयोगधर्मी फिल्मकारों की फिल्मों से दलित-आदिवासी गायब होते हैं और अगर कहीं होते भी हैं तो उनका चित्रण मनमाने ढंग से किया जाता है. इनकी फ़िल्में जातिवादी दंभ और सामंतवाद का जश्न मनाती है. गैंग-वार और अपराध कथाएं ही इनकी सीमा है और वहां भी वे हॉलीवुड से चुराए गए फ़ॉर्मूले ही इस्तेमाल करते हैं.
     अभी देश के एक दूसरे हिस्से से आने वाले दलित दशरथ माँझी पर ‘माउंटेनमैन’ के नाम से एक फ़िल्म बनायी जा रही है. जाहिर है कि फ़िल्मकार एक सवर्ण है. फ़िल्म की पटकथा को सुधार रहे एक पटकथा लेखक से कुछ समय पहले बात हुई थी. उनसे बात कर पता चला कि फ़िल्मकार के तरफ़ से दशरथ माँझी के चरित्र को जानबूझकर आक्रमक दिखाए जाने और कहानी को मसालेदार बनाने की कोशिश की जा रही है. ‘बैंडिट क्वीन’ का शेखर कपूर ने क्या हश्र किया था वह सबको पता है. ‘बैंडिट क्वीन’ में बलात्कार के दृश्यों का इस्तेमाल फ़िल्म को सनसनीखेज बनाने के लिए किया गया था. फ़िल्म बनाने के बाद निर्देशक ने फुलन देवी को फ़िल्म दिखा उनकी रजामंदी लेने की जरुरत भी नहीं समझी. यही हाल भंवरी देवी पर बनी ‘बवंडर’ का भी हुआ था. ये सवर्ण फ़िल्मकार, दक्षिण भारत के एक डाक्यूमेंट्री फ़िल्मकार के हालिया फिल्म के शीर्षक को अपने लिए सन्देश समझ सकते हैं - “डोंट बी आवर फादर्स”!
     फंड्री अब देश के कुछ मुख्य शहरों में प्रदर्शित होने वाली है. पीवीआर इसे 28 फरवरी को देश के सात शहरों दिल्ली, कोलकाता, चेन्नई, बंगलौर, इंदौर, अहमदाबाद और बड़ौदा में रिलीज़ कर चुका है. फंड्री दलित सिनेमा का उत्सव है! फंड्री सच्चे अर्थों में लोगों का सिनेमा है जिसकी हमारे समय में बहुत जरूरत है...
    अतुल, रांची से जनसंचार में स्नातक करने के बाद अभी टाटा सामाजिक विज्ञान संस्थान (TISS), मुंबई से मीडिया में स्नातकोत्तर कर रहे है. इनसे संपर्क का पता है-
    साभारः- भड़ास4मीडिया.कॉम

    Kabali Rajinikanth in Kabali (2016)

    'कबाली' : दलित दखल के दम से बदलता परदा


    अरविंद शेष

    फिल्म में 'कबाली' का डायलॉग है- "हमारे पूर्वज सदियों से गुलामी करते आए हैं, लेकिन मैं हुकूमत करने के लिए पैदा हुआ हूं। आंखों में आंखें डाल कर बात करना, सूट-बूट पहनना, टांग के ऊपर टांग रख कर बैठना तुमको खटकता है, तो मैं ये सब जरूर करूंगा। मेरा आगे बढ़ना ही मसला है, तो मैं आगे बढूंगा।" हो सकता है कि फिल्मकार ने 'हमारे पूर्वज' या 'सदियों से गुलामी करते आए' जैसे सामाजिक संदर्भों को परदे पर सशक्त तरीके से रखने के बावजूद किन्हीं व्यावसायिक वजहों से 'कबाली' की जाति का साफ उल्लेख नहीं किया या यह भी हो सकता है कि सिर्फ इतना भर कर देने से फिल्म सिनेमाघरों में आने से रह जाती।
    हाल ही में आकर चली गई फिल्म 'कबाली' ने कथित मुख्यधारा के फिल्म समीक्षकों को क्यों डराया, इस सवाल के जवाब के लिए आपको यह खोजना होगा कि वे फिल्म समीक्षक कौन हैं! जब सत्ताएं अपनी ओर से अपने और साधारण लोगों के बीच एक विभाजन-रेखा खींच देती हैं, तब ऐसे सवाल मजबूरी बन कर उभरते हैं!

    क्या 'कबाली' को अभिनय या इसमें पेश कला के दूसरे पहलुओं के लिए इसके समीक्षकों ने खारिज किया? पता नहीं कि कला की अंतिम परिभाषा क्या है, अगर है तो उसने किसने तय किया और क्या वही उसकी आखिरी सीमा है...! लेकिन 'कबाली' को लगभग 'खराब' फिल्म की रेटिंग देकर फिल्म समीक्षकों ने अपनी तमाम कोशिशें झोंक दीं कि जो लोग समीक्षा पढ़ कर फिल्म देखने जाते हैं, वे नहीं जाएं। बहरहाल, 'कबाली' चली, और खूब चली! तो सवाल है फिल्म समीक्षा के महंथों के मना करने के बावजूद 'कबाली' को किन लोगों ने देखा? मेरा खयाल है कि जिन असली वजहों से इऩ महंथों ने लोगों को रोकने की कोशिश की थी, उन्हीं वजहों से इस फिल्म ने धूम मचाई।

    अगर एक लाइन में वह वजह बताई जाए तो फिल्म में 'कबाली' का डायलॉग है- "हमारे पूर्वज सदियों से गुलामी करते आए हैं, लेकिन मैं हुकूमत करने के लिए पैदा हुआ हूं। आंखों में आंखें डाल कर बात करना, सूट-बूट पहनना, टांग के ऊपर टांग रख कर बैठना तुमको खटकता है, तो मैं ये सब जरूर करूंगा। मेरा आगे बढ़ना ही मसला है, तो मैं आगे बढूंगा।" हो सकता है कि फिल्मकार ने 'हमारे पूर्वज' या 'सदियों से गुलामी करते आए' जैसे सामाजिक संदर्भों को परदे पर सशक्त तरीके से रखने के बावजूद किन्हीं व्यावसायिक वजहों से 'कबाली' की जाति का साफ उल्लेख नहीं किया या यह भी हो सकता है कि सिर्फ इतना भर कर देने से फिल्म सिनेमाघरों में आने से रह जाती। लेकिन अपनी सीमा में ही सही, जिस तरह बार-बार 'कबाली' 'अपने सताए गए पूर्वजों' और उनकी 'सदियों की गुलामी' का हवाला देकर अपनी ताकत और साम्राज्य के जरिए अपने दुश्मनों की छाती पर पांव रखता है, वह किसी औसत दर्शक के दिमाग में भी यह साफ कर देता है कि यहां 'पूर्वजों' और उनकी 'सदियों की गुलामी' का मतलब बेहद कमजोर जातियां या दलित तबके ही है।
    दरअसल, सिनेमा की शुरुआती दृश्य में ही जेल में बंद कबाली एक दलित लेखक वाईबी सत्यनारायण की किताब 'माई फादर बलैया' की किताब पढ़ रहा होता है, तभी यह संकेत मिल जाता है कि फिल्मकार का मकसद क्या है। लेकिन कई बार दुनियावी और व्यावसायिक मजबूरियां हाथ बांध दे सकती हैं। इसलिए पूरी फिल्म में कबाली ने समाज के दलित-दमित तबके को 'सदियों तक गुलामी झेलने वाले अपने पूर्वज' के तौर पर ही पेश किया है। लेकिन अपने उन 'पूर्वजों' के दुख से कबाली कमजोर नहीं होता, बल्कि हर वक्त उनके उन दुखों को याद कर और आज भी अपने दुश्मनों के उन तानों को सुन कर आक्रोशित होता है और उनके दांत खट्टे कर देता है। 
    कबाली एक गिरोह का मुखिया है। और इससे अलग 'सदियों की गुलामी झेलने वाले पूर्वजों' की अब की नई पीढ़ियों को बेहतर इंसान बनाने के लिए अपने तमाम संसाधन झोंक देता है। यह कबाली साफ लफ्जों में अपने संस्थान के उन बच्चों से बात करते हुए बताता है कि कैसे उसने तयशुदा तरीके से एक ऊंची कही जाने वाली लड़की से प्रेम किया, उससे शादी की और उसमें लड़की के ऊंची कही जाने वाली जाति की वजह से कितनी मुश्किलें पेश आईं। कबाली से कोई पूछता है कि मौसम में गरमी होने के बावजूद वह सूट-बूट और कोट क्यों पहनता है तो वह गांधी के बरक्स बाबा साहेब के हमेशा अच्छे कपड़े पहन कर रहने के संदेश की अहमियत बताता है।
    यानी कायदे से इसे दलित-विमर्श की फिल्म कह सकते हैं, जो न रजनीकांत के आकर्षण के साथ न सिर्फ मनोरंजन का खयाल रखती है, बल्कि समाज में चल रहे उथल-पुथल और दलित-वंचित तबकों के भीतर दबाई गई आकांक्षाओं को पूरा करने का हौसला भी देती है। कल्पना की जा सकती है कि प्रत्यक्ष या परोक्ष हिंसा के जरिए जाति से निम्न कहे जाने वाले लोगों की आवाजों और इच्छाओं की जिस तरह हर पल हत्या की गई है, उसमें परदे पर कबाली को अपने प्रतिद्वंद्वी पर धौंस जमाते, उन्हें पीटते और आखिर में मार डालते देखते हुए एक कमजोर, सदियों से दमन का शिकार आर्थिक या जातिगत पृष्ठभूमि का सिनेमा दर्शक अपने मानस के स्तर पर क्या हासिल करता होगा। उसके भीतर उन बातों के लिए कितनी हताशाएं भरी होंगी, जब उसे हर वक्त का अपमान झेलना पड़ा रहा होगा... और चुप रह जाना पड़ा होगा।
    ऐसे में कबाली जब परदे पर 'मेरे पूर्वजों को तुमने सताया था' की घोषणा के साथ कबाली अपने सामने की सारी सत्ताओं को चुनौती देता है, तो उस औसत दर्शक की उन दमित भावनाओं को तुष्ट करता है। उस दर्शक को अब परदे पर परोसी कहानियों में अगर कोई पात्र सबसे करीब लगता रहा था तो वह था सिनेमा के विलेन के गुर्गे..! कभी उसे यह महसूस करने का मौका नहीं मिला था कि परदे पर जो हीरो अपने सामंती दुश्मनों का गर्दा उड़ा रहा है, वह उसका अपना बंदा है, यानी परदे पर हीरो के रूप में या उसके आसपास का कोई है, जो 'अपने बंदों' जैसा है। कबाली भारत की आम दलित-वंचित आबादी का वही हीरो है, उसका दोस्त है।
    आखिरी के एक सीन में 'दुश्मन' गिरोह की ओर से चारों और से भयानक गोलीबारी हो रही है, 'कबाली' अपने दोनों हाथों में भारी पिस्तौल लेकर दोनों तरफ बारी-बारी से गोलियां चलाते हुए बीच से आगे बढ़ रहा है। यह सीन एकबारगी आपको 'जैंगो अनचेन्ड' फिल्म के उस सीन से रूबरू कराती है, जिसमें जैंगो ठीक इसी तरह गोरों की ओर से भयानक गोलीबारी के बीच दोनों हाथों में भारी पिस्तौल लेकर दोनों तरफ गोलियां चलाते हुए आगे बढ़ रहा है।
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    तो परदे पर कबाली सिर्फ एक दलित लेखक वाईबी सत्यनारायण की किताब 'माई फादर बलैया' दिखता है, तो वही अपने पैसों से 'अपने लोगों' के लिए अलग-अलग तरह के प्रशिक्षण का इंतजाम करता है, सभ्य समाज बनाने के लिए इंसान तैयार करता है। यानी ब्राह्मणवाद के जटिल तंत्र में अलग-अलग चेहरे में परदे पर उतरा हीरो आखिरकार व्यवस्थावाद का हरकारा ही साबित होता है। लेकिन कबाली इस छवि को तोड़ता है। शायद इसलिए कि वह खुद सामाजिक दमन और शोषण के चक्र से गुजर चुका है और अब एक खास हैसियत में होने के नाते वह कोई दिखावे का नारा देने के बजाय नई पीढ़ी को तैयार करने में लग जाता है। यही इस फिल्म की कामयाबी है।
    जमीन से ब्राह्मणवाद के खिलाफ दलित एसर्शन का दबाव इतना बढ़ रहा है कि अब निर्माता-निर्देशकों को न केवल दलित-वंचित पृष्ठभूमि से होने के नाते, बल्कि दूसरे निर्माता-निर्देशकों को भी अपने टिके रहने के लिए 'गुड्डू रंगीला' या 'कबाली' जैसी फिल्में बनानी होंगी।
    अरविन्द शेष ,बिहार के सीतामढ़ी से हैं और दिल्ली में जनसत्ता (दैनिक हिंदी अखबार ) में सहायक सम्पादक  हैं

    पर्दे से उतारी गयी व्यवस्था से टकराती “काला”

    पहली बार पर्दे पर ब्राह्मणवादी व्यवस्था के चिथड़े उड़ाता दमदार बहुजन किरदार “काला” रियल लाइफ में भी अब उनकी नींदे उड़ाने लगा है.
    यूँ तो मैं कभी-कभी ही जा पाता हूं मूवी देखने, लेकिन इस बार अकेले ही मन बना लिया था. फिर वरिष्ठ साथी भंवर मेघवंशी के साथ आने से इस मूवी की सार्थकता और बढ़ गयी.
    पिछले कुछ दिनों में शानदार रिव्यूज के साथ-साथ कई लोगो को हुई समस्या को पढ़ा तो याद आया कि हमने भी इसके लिए ऑनलाइन बुक करने की कोशिश की थी लेकिन हॉउसफुल बताया गया. बाद में जब काउंटर पर जाकर टिकट लेकर अंदर गए तो एक तिहाई सीटें खाली नजर आयी.
    खैर, इसे रोकने की कोशिश करने वाले यहीं नही रुके, लगभग सभी हिंदी भाषी बड़े शहरों में पर्दे से उतार दिया गया है इसे.
    इसके पीछे किसी साजिश का मेरा शक तब यकीन में बदला जब मैंने इसकी रिलीज तारीख और बॉक्स आफिस पर कलेक्शन की तुलना समानांतर चल रही अन्य फिल्मों से की.
    आंकड़ों पर नजर डालेंगे तो पाएंगे कि यह फ़िल्म 7 जून को रिलीज हुई थी और महज सप्ताह भर में तकरीबन 140 करोड़ के बड़े आंकड़े को छूने के बावजूद इसे उतार दिया गया.
    वहीं इससे पहले 1 जून को रिलीज हुई “वीरे दी वेडिंग” 78 करोड़ की कमाई करने पर्दे पर जमी हुई है. इससे भी पहले 25 मई को रिलीज हुई “परमाणु” महज 59 करोड़ की कमाई के बाद भी पर्दे पर है.
    यही नही “102 नॉट आउट” और “राज़ी” जैसी फिल्में 1 महीने से ज्यादा समय के बाद भी क्रमशः सिर्फ 80 करोड़ और 120 करोड़ की कमाई के बाद टिकी हुई हैं.
    इस व्यवस्था से सवाल करता और व्यवस्था से भिड़ता “काला” उन्हें पसंद नही है, उन्हें “जय भीम” का नारा पसंद नही है, उन्हें थार जीप पर सवार मूंछों को ताव लगाया हुआ बहुजन पसंद नही है.
    सदियों से फर्जी कहानियों और फर्जी नायकों को थोंपने का काम इसलिए चल पा रहा है क्योंकि उसी फर्जी नायक का सिनेमा जगत पर कब्जा है.
    जो “काला” को अपना नायक देखना चाहते हैं उनके पास पास अपना सिनेमाघर भी नही है.
    जब से भारतीय सिनेमा जगत की स्थापना हुई है तब से अभी तक हीरो सदा “सवर्ण पुरुष” ही रहा है. कभी ओबेराय, कभी सिंघानिया, कभी मुखर्जी, कभी बेनर्जी तो कभी कपूर. इसके अलावा कभी किसी को नायक के रूप में दिखाया गया है तो टैक्सी वाले को, मजदूर को, किसान को लेकिन “सरनेम” छुपाकर.


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