Thursday, October 07, 2010

Lame duck? Devil incarnate? Choose one.

Not a day passes without someone pointing out the linkage between crime, terrorism and the “minority community”. Whenever this connection is made, I’m reminded of MS Sathyu’s Garam Hawa (1973) and Saeed Akhtar Mirza’s Salim Langade Pe Mat Ro (1989). The former film deals with the turmoil in the mind of the Agra resident Salim Mirza (Balraj Sahani) in the midst of the post-partition tumult around him until the time he makes up his mind to stay back in what Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had for a while been calling “Hindu India” and joins the mainstream in the final shot. The other Salim living in latter-day India is a victim of poverty and prejudice. With little education under his belt, he has turned to petty thievery for survival. His tragedy is that, after seeing the error of his ways, despite his best efforts, getting on the right side of law and out of the clutches of his former criminal colleagues in order to earn an honest living seems simply out of his reach, mainly because of his religion. Whereas Salim #1’s saga is deathly serious, being as it is set in the aftermath of a monumental blood bath, Salim #2’s saga is laced with a lot of humour, somewhat like Mirza’s tele-serial, Nukkad. Both of them are very relevant to the Indian reality as of now.