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India – Authoritarian State or Democracy?

Authoritativeness

Courtesy Google

For those firmly believe in the idea of India, the morning of 3 January was nothing less than that of  a shocker. Triple blows punched the balloon of the myth of Indian democracy into non existence. The State yet again tried to over step its powers and dictate terms of living to the citizens.

The day began with the raging debate surrounding comments by Minister in charge of Women and Child Welfare, in the state of Karnataka, where he advised women to keep “skin show” in check to avoid being raped by men. To add fuel to the fire, the head of the “committee against harassment of women” in Bangalore University, endorsed the minister. She claimed, nothing short of a saree worn with full sleeved blouses qualify as modest outfit for women.

As people recovered from the “saree fatwa”, a new bomb exploded. News trickled in that the government of Madhya Pradesh has passed a law making eating beef a punishable offence with jail term of 7 years. Imagine, eating cow on the same pulpit as rape in the hierarchy of crimes!

Kashmir

Courtesy understandingsociety dot blogspot dot com

These two events are surpassed in gravity by the tragic killing of a teenage student in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, a day before. Another example of high handedness of the state – an innocent life lost simply because he was a by stander at a protest against power crisis. The state has virtually become a graveyard for human rights, innocents sandwiched between the state and the militants.

These unrelated events that unfolded within a span on twenty four hours, expose the journey of India from a democracy towards authoritarianism. This ploy to gain complete control over public life, including their thought process, grimly transports me to “Hirak Rajar Deshe”, how uncanny is the resemblance of the present with the world depicted on celluloid!

Questions of morality and modesty of woman’s dressing have been answered by yours truly in various previous posts, which you can read if interested here and here. On the question of banning a particular meat because of religious connotations, i am completely baffled. Religion is a personal prejudice of an individual. The State has no business forcing its own notions on everyone, especially when many do not want to subscribe to the view adopted by the State.

I have always supported the repeal of draconian AFSPA and any law which gives absolute powers to institutions. From what i have heard from people residing in the state of Kashmir, it is clear that Army treats Kashmir like its Zamindari, for the “favour” it is doing India by fighting against militancy. Just like rich Zamindars have fanned the rise of Maoism in rural tribal Indian belt, the arrogance and indifference of State forces in Kashmir have fanned anti military sentiments across the province.

Until 2 July 2009, the State even wanted to control the private sex lives of citizens with draconian article 377 of IPC. Thanks to Justice A P Shah, has no legal sanctity anymore. But the continued efforts on part of Indian State to monitor the social life of citizens only evokes fears in my heart. Is India soon going to join the league of nations like China?

Long Live Democracy

Courtesy The Hindu

Get Dirty with Vidya Balan

Gone are the days when innocence and piety could make you the most desired. This is the season of getting dirty! Shed your inhibitions, keep your dogmas at bay, exercise your right to free thought and indulge in this blissful celebration of female sexuality.

India is a nation with its feet in the twenty first century but its mind is still in the middle ages. Sex is a still a taboo word, a concept which is dirty and better kept under the wraps of satin inside the bedroom. People of this country find it hard to distinguish between sex and sexuality. And when one breaks away from the norms, (s)he has to bear the brunt of being the rotten fish.

In our society, women enjoy all the freedom as long as their male counterparts will. How much we tend to deny it and claim to be progressive, we are never comfortable with the idea of a liberated woman. Her desire, specially those that are carnal, are majorly scuttled by their male partners. Any woman trying to live on her own terms is described a slut, a pariah for the society.

The Dirty Picture

Courtesy FilmReviews dot Bizhat dot com

With a pseudo liberated society in place, in 2011, how difficult must it have been for Silk Smitha to carve out a niche of her own and reign over the masses back in the ’70s! Failed in love, betrayed by her own, exploited by the industry, for her desire to be famous, to become an actor and the desire to be successful.

The Dirty Picture is a celebration of femininity which is much wrongly portrayed as titillating sensuality and vulgar display of physical assets. Vidya Balan gets into the sleeves of the character of Silk (only except her accent which flawlessly educated for a small village girl). Outstandingly ravishing, the comfort that oozes out of Vidya’s demeanor on screen mesmerises the audience in me. A powerhouse of talent that she is, one is forced to forgive the lackadaisical male cast  members. What earned Tusshar Kapoor a role in this film is not a mystery to me, given her sister is a producer of this film. Emraan Hashmi has less scenes than Tusshar, and thank God for that, to prove that he cannot act. Naseeruddin Shah proves to be the saving grace.

Dirty Picture is audaciously aesthetic, seductively serene, piously pompous yet ecstatically earthen. The tonal quality of the film is appealing. Background score accentuates your cinematic satiation. Ignoring the slowering of pace in the second half, blotched up efforts to speed up the climax and a few melodramatic sequences (like the Award Acceptance Speech by Silk) the film proves to be worth the prices of tickets. And behold, it is not a senseless masala potboiler. Neither is Dirty Picture preachy. With a better male cast and a good screenplay writer, Dirty Picture could well become India’s answer to Hours or A Single Man.

My rating – 3.5/5

Watch it for Vidya Balan.

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