I know this post is toooo late. The movie is an old one now. But can’t help it if I did not see it when it was released. Saw it on a rented CD few days back. Filmed failed on the box-office I think. The reason was probably that it was made a bit too late. Not many of my generation would know much about the days of naxal movement at its peak, associated with youth ideals, rather than the obscure-misguided-bunch image they occupy in the minds of educated youth of today. Probably those associated with the movement in their youth and now comfortably out of it, settled to see their grandchildren grow up in prosperity would have let out a sigh, if they saw it. Sigh of what kind will probably depend on which of the characters of the movie they identify with the best. Siddhartha, who was openly sold to the idea of revolution, and later found himself thoroughly disillusioned, Vikram, who equally openly saw it as a toy and fantasy of rich kids, who can afford to waste their time best utilized for making progress in career, or Geeta – somewhere in between – confused between London and Movement and Marriage, but who ultimately gets sold to the revolution more than anyone else.
While this was overall a good movie, and reviews abound for you to read, what struck me very particularly was Vikram’s view of the movement. His skepticism and the way he thinks that those ideas are pointless and are not going to do any good to those whom they are supposed to benefit. And somewhere the turn the movie take, Siddhartha going back to studies, proves that he was right. Due to his background, it was possible for Siddhartha to go back to his studies and career despite having lost so much of time. Many others, not so well supported, would have suffered in the aftermath. While I write this I am not trying to make a point-blank statement of the kind that the movement was meaningless or pointless. I do not know enough about it to really have a very strong opinion. But why this point still struck me is that parallels can be drawn even at other places. It is very much possible for intellectuals, who have not really suffered themselves, to feel exalted by the idea of getting others out of their sufferings, but in the process leave them only in a worse state. All this without any ill-intentions, in fact, probably with a lot of intellectual good-intention. Part of this phenomenon is expressed in these famous lines
जाके पैर ना फटी बिवाई
सो क्या जाने पीर पराई।
(Approximate translation: How would someone who does not have cracked foot heels himself/herself would know the pain of others?)
And under these circumstance, if one still tries to ameliorate the situation for the sufferers, one has to be careful. What if your grand plan fails. What if you get disillusioned mid-way and decide to call it off. You can comfortably go back to your own world. But where do you leave the sufferers whom you had gotten all excited, who probably trusted your wisdom and got themselves into it for a better world? Very, very difficult to draw the line between when you are being a Bhagat Singh and when you are being a Siddhartha. A Siddhartha, who got people to follow him to fulfill his (egoistic) ideals, and later left them stranded. And of all the people, Vikram!! Although the non-idealist, he at least had one constancy in his life. His love for Geeta. (on a slightly unrelated note – there was a constancy in his love, but no selfishness. She never accepted him and he bravely kept himself from messing with her life.). Siddhartha had none. He did turn out to be a rich kid, who could afford to have those dreams because dreams going awry did not destroy him.
Sigh! There was something more coherent that I wanted to point out through this discussion. But I realize that I am kind of lost. If you get some idea, good enough. Else, I do not know whether to promise a re-write. But I will try.