National identity in Indian popular cinema

It ‘s a reasonably well-known fact that the Indian movie industry is the most active in the universe, bring forthing more films each twelvemonth than any other ( including Hollywood ) . Few of those movies, nevertheless, reach screens beyond their domestic market. Largely because of their limited North American entreaty and doubtful quality, Indian films are routinely ignored by distributers. There are exclusions, of class — the work of Satyajit Ray Bandit Queen, for illustration. Occasionally, nevertheless, a worthwhile image causes adequate people to take notice that it becomes a front-runner on the international movie festival circuit. One such film like Bombay and Roja characteristic from celebrated manager Mani Rathnam.

Mani Rathnam is surely the most celebrated manager in South India today and a much-respected one all over India every bit good. He has revolutionized the Tamil Film Industry with technically strong movies that are attractively photographed with good picturised vocals and superb public presentations. Every frame in a Mani Rathnam movie is absolutely composed and attractively backlit even if at times this manner involves misdemeanor of tonic, focal and color continuity. With his following batch of movies, Rathnam consolidated his place as Tamil Cinema ‘s prima mainstream manager. He effortlessly made movies that were different, more reasonable and were extremely regarded by both the categories and the multitudes. Advanced managers are difficult to come by in India. But what the southern rebel Mani Ratnam is about to make this Friday is alone by all standards of international film

The movie is centred on events, peculiarly during the period of December 1992 to January 1993 in India, and the contention environing the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. Increased spiritual tensenesss in the metropolis of Bombay ( now Mumbai ) led to the Bombay Riots.In many ways, Bombay is delusory, but the mode in which it deceives the audience adds to its eventual impact. For the first hr, it ‘s a relatively-light-hearted romantic musical. Arvind Swamy plays Shekhar, a Hindi news media pupil who hails from a high-caste household. Manisha Koirala is Shahla Bano, a beautiful immature Muslim adult female. Because of the utmost spiritual bias bing between the Hindu bulk and the Muslim minority, Shekhar ‘s male parent perfectly forbids a matrimony. Shahla Bano ‘s male parent goes one measure farther, set uping an “ exigency ” matrimony for his girl to another Muslim. But Shekhar and Bano ‘s love will non be denied. They elope to Bombay, where, estranged from both of their households, they start a new life.

Three munificent musical Numberss highlight Bombay ‘s first half, as Shekhar and Bano sing about their love for each other and their felicity at holding kids. These vocals, penned by A.R. Rehman, set the movie ‘s initial tone, which is one of surging joy and passion. And, while the music is n’t precisely of the toe-tapping assortment, it ‘s stronger and more memorable than most vocals in American films over the past twelvemonth or two.

Merely when you ‘re get downing to experience comfy with Bombay, everything alterations — and the unexpected displacement in tone hits like a clout to the intestine. Gone is the merriment and frivolousness, as decease and force all of a sudden fill up the screen. Now we understand the full extent of Rothnam ‘s intent in the first half — he was puting us up to like these characters so that when calamity work stoppages, we can experience the hurting and hopelessness of their state of affairs. It ‘s melodramatic and manipulative, to be certain, but it works.

On December 6, 1992, Hindus destroyed a mosque in the northern Indian metropolis of Ayodha. This led to a moving ridge of Hindu/Muslim public violences in Bombay that left 1000s dead. Bombay ‘s 2nd half takes topographic point during this clip period. Shekhar and Bano have been populating in the metropolis for six old ages. They have twin male childs and are get downing to mend dealingss with their parents when the public violences begin. Suddenly, their universe is turned upside down. While the spiritual division in their household puts both Shekhar and Bano at hazard from extremists on both sides, their kids, who do n’t hold a fixed religion, are in changeless danger. At one point, extremist Hindus douse the male childs in gasolene and fix to put them on fire.

Cinematographer Rajiv Menon captures the pandemonium of the public violences. Cameras move unrelentingly through rabble of work forces choping at each other with matchets, lobbing bombs at houses, and treading incapacitated kids underfoot. It ‘s inexorable and terrifying, and, at times, hard to watch. The 2nd half of Bombay is as dark and harrowing as the first half is light and homosexual.

Bombay is a absorbing indictment of racial hatred. The emotions that fuelled the Bombay public violences are the same 1s that ripped apart the former Yugoslavia ( the movie Vukovar uses a similar Romeo and Juliet narrative to even better consequence for the Serb/Croatian war ) . The grounds given by both Hindus and Muslims for contending sound suspiciously like those used by Hitler when warranting his Concluding Solution. Shekhar ‘s call that “ we are all Indians foremost of all! ” is n’t heeded. The lone response is echoed many times over: “ The divide will ne’er mend. ”

Bombay ends on a hopeful note, but non before etching a series of twisting images in the heads of viewing audiences. Director Rathnam has shown great bravery in doing this image ( bombs were thrown at his house after it opened in India ) , which speaks with a voice that many will non wish to hear. Bombay recalls how forceful a gesture image can be. It besides reminds us of the axiom that those who do n’t larn from history are doomed to reiterate it. Hopefully, some twenty-four hours, world will understand the lesson that Rathnam is learning here.

AA© 1996 James Berardinelli.


1996 Political Film Society Awards ( United States ) -Won – Particular Award – Bombay – Mani Ratnam 1996 Political Film Society Awards ( United States ) -Won – Particular Award – Bombay – Mani Ratnam

1996 Film menu Awards-Won –Best Film ( Critics )Mani Ratnam

“ Bombay ( movie ) : BFI Modern Classics ” . University of California Press. July 2005. hypertext transfer protocol: // Retrieved 1 February 2007.

In July 2005, a book on the movie by Lalitha Gopalan was published by BFI Modern Classics, looking at the movie ‘s production, the several issues it covered, and its impact upon release in India and abroad. The movie was besides dubbed in Hindi and Telugu.

It was Roja ( 1992 ) , a loyal love narrative against the background of Kashmir terrorist act that made Mani Rathnam a family name all over India as it was dubbed and released in Hindi and proved to be a immense success all over the state. A semi-political, romantic thriller, the movie reinforces in a large manner Rathnam ‘s repute as a film maker of manner and substance. The romantic minutes between the lead brace are attractively handled with Rathnam ‘s customary genius. The movie besides marked a extremely auspicious introduction for immature music manager AR Rahman whose music contributed to the movie ‘s success in a major manner. India ‘s so election commissioner TN Seshan took the unusual measure of officially backing the movie.

But, Roja went on to go one of the turning points in Indian film ( non merely Tamil Cinema ) for even the dubbed versions besides became immense hits, the ground was non merely Mani but the subject chosen ( National integrating ) . This film helped Mani to switch from his Tamil base to a bigger national audience.

The movie won three National Film Awards, including Best Film on National Integration, catapulting Ratnam to national acclamation. The movie besides gained international acclamation with its nomination for Best Film at the Moscow International Film Festival. The movie was late re-released for international audiences in visible radiation of the turning fright of terrorist onslaughts across the universe.

It is the film which gave him national celebrity other than tamilnadu, the whole India turned and looked him. Unlike his old films he took a serious subject the war between India and Pakistan in Kashmir. on the whole the film evokes nationalism in the heads of many Indians.

1993 Moscow International Film Festival ( Russia ) -Won – Aureate St. George ( Best Film ) – Mani Ratnam

1993 Moscow International Film Festival ( Russia ) -Won – Aureate St. George ( Best Film ) – Mani Ratnam

1993 National Film Awards ( India )