11 July 2005

Sarkar And the Fine Art of Spin

"Sarkar," as movies go, is impressive. Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan in a Godfather-inspired tribute by Ram Gopal Varma does make your Sunday.
From the media point of view, however, some tricky issues remain.
We had newspapers reporting about a special screening for Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray, apparently to convince him that he was not the "Sarkar" as some might have thought. Subsequently, Shiv Sena's notorious cadres had no problems with the movie, which was running to full houses on the last count.
But we are tempted to examine closely the obligatory line with which Varma starts the work: that its characters bear no resemblence to real persons, living or dead (as they say).

Amitabh is in black robes, but the long-kurta and the lungi are in classic Thackeray style, though the colour is not saffron. The Rudraksh beads on his hand, and the middle-class Maharashtrian backrop of women and children complete the picture.And that does clearly bear a resemblence to the leader hated by his critics as a champion of anti-minority vilence.
And the "sarkar" don has two sons, one estranged and one dear. Sounds familiar?
So where is the catch?
As we see, "Sarkar" is a good man, even if he breaks a law or two, not to speak of legs and heads.
He helps the poor, fights the goons, and unlike your New York mafiosi, does not seem to have a passion for gambling dens or babes...but his married son tries to seduce a starlet.
Subliminal impressions conveyed by this film to Bal Thackeray's famous followers, would, of course, be positive.
In the old age of hypocrisy, vice was packaged as virtue.
In the new era of spin, it seems, virtue is packaged as vice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A terrific sign off line. much food for thought.

Vice masquerading as virtue - we all know the whys and wherefores of it. But the latter? That's worrying is it not? Why does virtue have to wear a mask -- Why does it need to use the pock marked face of fear and terror as a crutch?

Is it a sign of our times then, that what we thought as self sustaining and indestructible, remains so only when clothed in the black robes of power?