Sometimes an incidence forces the pen to give words to emotions that are bursting inside. I watched the movie ‘Haider’ this week and there has been an enormous storm brewing inside which needs to be put to rest by sharing my feelings with Indian citizens and people of Indian origin.
This movie is supposed to be inspired by the Shakespearean tragedy ‘Hamlet’. Hamlet or ‘Haider’ is the prince torn between the love for his mother and the desire to seek revenge from his uncle who transpired to kill his father. Unfortunately the mother is in love with the same uncle and unknowingly aids him in the death of her husband, an act which ultimately bears heavy on her mind. When she finds out that her husband’s death is driving Haider crazy and that revenge is weighing heavier than love, she has to act by sacrificing her life to save her son and his soul!
The movie has its highlights as an excellent display of acting skills by Shahid Kapoor and Tabu, haunting music and an enchanting cinematography.
But here brews the storm!
Even though the story and the promos show that in the movie, ‘Haider’ is ‘Hamlet’, that is just a facade.
The people of Kashmir are the real ‘Haider’ or ‘Hamlet’.
Mother is ‘Kashmir’ whose love is the sanity which keeps Hamlet going amidst the chaos of life.
Father is ‘Azadi’ or ‘Freedom’, killed or denied to people due to which their life is turned upside down and that is the reason for the turmoil in their life.
And the uncle or the villain who should therefore be India and Pakistan as perhaps both are ruing after the mother with lustful eyes and denying her love to the son of the soil ! Wrong !
The movie portrays India, Indian army and the administration as the villain which is the main tormentor to the people of Kashmir, the poor ‘Hamlets’ of Kashmir.
And to add salt to the wound, the movies shows the people who are fighting the Indian army with guns and ammunition and I would resist from calling them militants as that word restricts the thought process in a very narrow way, the people who are ably supported by Pakistan and have easy accessibility to it, as the people supportive of the father ‘Azadi’. They are in fact portrayed as ‘Roohdhar’, the ‘soul’ of ‘Azadi’ or freedom.
I watched the movie to see that the story unfolding in front of me is what I was seeing or did the director just mean it to be the conflict of a man !
But alas I was right! The soulful song at the end which mourns for the people of Kashmir clearly reminds people of the real ‘Hamlet’ for which the ode is being sung.
Thank God this is fiction, though originating from the wrong country!
And to think that the movie was passed by the Indian censor board and is being critically acclaimed all over India for the performances of the main actors! As if the people who go to cinema turn a blind eye to the story unfolding in front of them and just care for who is telling it and how it is told! Perhaps this is true for Bollywood with the mindless scripts becoming successful movies just on the basis of the names or performances of the actors.
Now I am not a nationalist and the concept of boundaries or nations is something which I abhor as that is more like lines drawn by power hungry monsters who we call leaders for the sake of ruling over people who fell between the boxes created. Who would better know that then people like us whose parents and grandparents were thrown from one region to another and their loved ones killed, in the name of games being played between the leaders of Congress and Muslim League in 1947?
It can also be said that India and the Indian administration accepted this movie as this is the bold new face of India, ready to accept criticism and allow freedom of speech at all costs.
But what causes pain is the feeling that in spite of all things bad with India or the Indian administration, Indian army was one identity which was always sacrosanct in the eyes of Indians worldwide. India can go wrong, but the spirit of Indian army cannot go wrong and will always remain in the right place, defending the nation AND its PEOPLE with dignity and honour and ensuring that the same remains the guiding lamps for the disciplined force.
To see the Indian forces killing or ordering its own people to be killed and that too on the basis of suspicion, is something which shakes the very foundation of the trust for the forces and is damaging. That too, when the same Indian forces risked their lives and worked nonstop to help the same people when floods affected Kashmir just a few weeks back!
To see that in a war like situation like what we have been seeing in Kashmir during that time, the other side is shown as the ‘keepers of the soul’ is further damaging.
To see that India is accepting this as a reality, as a part of the work being carried out by Indian forces to protect the land and not complaining about an unjust portrayal, is further damaging and is like icing on the cake.
The favourite Indian attitude of “Chalta Hai” is at work- everything is OK.
No ! Everything is not OK! “Sabh kuch nahi chaltha hai”!
I for one would not talk about banning a movie as such activities should never be allowed.
However first there has to be a disclaimer that this is a piece of art and fiction and not drawn from true incidences! Secondly it should portray a balanced view and also show the acts of betrayals being done by the ‘Keepers of soul’ in the name of acting on behalf of the people of Kashmir!
Third and perhaps the most important, there should be an introspection on whether indeed such acts are being carried out by the Indian army in which detainees are being butchered and murdered !
If that is not the case and this is just an act of fiction, then the Indian army should demand and get an unconditional apology from the movie makers.
And if the movie is justified in what it shows, then the Indians or people of Indian origin need to give it a thought as to whether this is worthwhile in the name of nationalism or pride? Is human dignity and human life not the most important thing to defend in this world!
Would it not be a better idea for the people of Kashmir to decide for themselves what they want? Including the Hindus or people of any other religion who resided there once and perhaps would still consider going back!
Perhaps the choice given to them could be of staying with India or breaking free ? Or do we still consider Kashmiris or for that matter, people of our land as naive and foolish who would decide in favour of what is not good for them?
Britain allowed the Scots to decide on their freedom and look at what happened ? They whole heartedly defeated the idea of separation and voted to remain a part of the United Kingdom.
Or do we still feel that the “Gora Sahab”, the ‘White man’ can do it right and not our people?
It is almost seventy years since we gained freedom and if we still feel that our nation’s unity will be at stake if one Kashmir breaks free (and that too is yet an IF), then India and Indians will never mature !
Or perhaps I am wrong!
The Indian politicians and the so called leaders will never mature! Indians have proved over centuries how proud they are of the concept of BHARAT and BHARATVAAD and India will always remain a proud group of people, with or without Kashmir!
Let us for once, show the world, that we have arrived in the true sense and that we do not just allow movies like Haider to be produced, screened and marketed worldwide but also respect the most important virtue which a human mind possess, FREEDOM !