Singham preys on Anna for food

Director Rohit Shetty and actor Ajay Devgn must be elated by the success of their newest film. However, there is a hero in their success tale who does not feature when the credit roles. He is not young like Devgn and does not have six-packs to flaunt, but in my opinion, is a contributor to the sucess of Singham. He is Anna Hazare.

Devgn, in his brawny avatar, is the latest on-screen saviour of the masses who protects them from rampant corruption which has seemingly become synonymous to our political system. While people derive vicarious pleasure in seeing their hero beat up the baddies, the producers of Singham continue to laugh their way to the banks.

There is a sense of restlessness amongst the general public as their tolerance level for corruption has, in the recent years, fallen substantially. From a ‘sab chalta hai’ attitude it has now become ‘ye nahin chalega’. I feel it is this wind of change that film makers have capitalised in the last one year to deliver two of the biggest hits, namely Dabangg and Singham. Otherwise how can you justify the sudden penchant of Hindi film viewers, and I include the multiplex audiences here, towards Rajnikanthesque action? An audience which did not have a palate for Mithun Chakraborty’s movies, where the hero could terminate an entire army of goons just by twisting his wrists, has suddenly found love for heroes who can jump like Batman and fly like Superman.

Both Chulbul Pandey and Bajirao Singham are manifestations of our frustration with the current state of affairs in the country and the audience only wants more of them to beat up the goons (read politicians) who have run this country to ransom. I do not intend to paint all personalities in politics with the same brush, but it is an image ascribed to them because of the rotten ones in the pack, and even the honest ones have to bear the brunt despite their unimpeachable personal integrity report cards.

The point I am making is that art imitates life, and cinema is one of the most potent mediums to reflect the going-ons in a society. It is also not a free commodity (piracy is a different discourse on which I will not dwell upon here), as the audiences pay a price to see a film in a theatre. When a film like Singham finds takers in millions, it only proves that people want something like this to happen in their lives. Their tolerance for corruption has already reached its peak and they want a hero who can demolish a dirty system.

Anna Hazare and his likes are these heroes, if not for every section of the intelligentsia, but definitely for the general public. The old Gandhian would never have enjoyed the public adulation that he currently does if people were not frustrated. It is now a common sight to find common people across Mumbai wearing caps with ‘Aamhi Anna Hajare’printed on them. Mind you these are not necessarily Gandhi/Nehru topis, but come in all shapes. People want change and they are now taking it upon themselves to bring it.

Ofcourse, Dabangg had Munni to help Chulbul Pandey rise in the popularity charts but it is undeniable that when he bragged about making holes (chhed) in the baddy’s body, audiences surely wanted him to do that. Chulbul Pandey with his Robinhood like personality also believed in robbing the rich and being generous to the poor. However, Singham goes a step ahead in etching out the character of the protagonist, as he is shown to be rich and benevolent but incorruptible. I may be reading a little too much in the character design of Bajirao Singham by the makers of the movie, but it looked to me that in the ensuing period since Dabangg’s release last year, people of India have grown furiously averse to even an iota of negative traits in their leaders.

Both Singham and Dabangg are out-and-out action flicks with dollops of romance where the leading ladies are no more than pretty props. They have a linear plot line and the execution of the action scenes is also pretty much the same. I would love to see a day when films like these flop at the Box Office, since that would mean people are no longer able to empathise with the protagonist as the situations in which he operates would be far from reality. It is an utopian thought since Chanakya said that it is not possible for a fish to swim in water but not drink it. However, if the fishes start drinking so much that there is nothing left for others, then it would lead to their own peril.

For now audiences are loving these films and perhaps Singham would turn out to be this year’s biggest hit since everyone, as it seems to me, wants Anna Hazare to win.

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9 Replies to “Singham preys on Anna for food”

  1. I wonder whether Mr Shetty decided to make a film based on corruption out of an inspiration from Shri Anna !!! However, the fact remains that corruption has been breeding in India since time immemorial and unfortunately will remain till our life time atleast. There is no doubt that Cinema has a wide reach. But what you have perhaps tried to express that films like ‘Singham’ or ‘Dabang’ carried a social message against corruption, and the society around us are going to change by virtue of such films – in that case you are perhaps giving too much credentials to Hindi cinema ..

    Infact, if that would have been the case, the doyen of Indian cinema Mr Bachhan would have received Bharat Ratna by now for having changed the society almost a quarter century back, for having been a part of innumerable films showcasing his disgrunt against malices like corruption and injustice in films like Agneepath, Kalapathar, Coolie, Sheehenshah, Main Azzad Hoon and the list goes on …

    Or rather, Richard Attenborough’s ‘Gandhi’ which we are almost used to seeing on Oct 2 everyyear on television, would have atleast made many of us a much wiser man 🙂

    True … Cinema is an agent of Change … but the Change that we witness is temporal … our adrenaline pumps when we want the evil in the film to perish at the hands of the protoganist (generally the hero) … but that is where it ends …and thats a FACT …

    All said and done Singham is a nice movie .. a paisa vasool … however it will die a slow death after the initial WHIMPER .. for the time being it has failed to ROAR.

    1. Dear Rahul,

      Thanks for your comment. I do not intend to say that films like Singham and Dabangg carry a social message, neither am I saying that cinema has the potential to bring a social revolution. It is beyond anybody’s imagination to think that films will revolutionise the society. But cinema is definitely an agent of change.

      What I am saying is that when films like Singham find audiences in such huge numbers, it is an indication to the political power centres about people’s aspirations. Triumph of good over evil is a social message that has been in our system for as long as human civilisation, but the very fact that people are reinforcing the message by coming out in large numbers to support cinema of the “Singham” league, talks about their aspirations.

      I do not say that Singham gives a social message to the audiences, it merely reflects their aspirations. And in my view that aspiration is having a cleaner social and political system.

      You may be right in saying that such a change might not come through in our lifetime, but who knows, and I can’t help my belief in the dogma that people are born good from taking over my cynical self, which leads to such write-ups.

      Cheers and keep reading.

    2. Dear Rahul,

      Thanks for your comment. I do not intend to say that films like Singham and Dabangg carry a social message, neither am I saying that cinema has the potential to bring a social revolution. It is beyond anybody’s imagination to think that films will revolutionise the society. But cinema is definitely an agent of change.

      What I am saying is that when films like Singham find audiences in such huge numbers, it is an indication to the political power centres about people’s aspirations. Triumph of good over evil is a social message that has been in our system for as long as human civilisation, but the very fact that people are reinforcing the message by coming out in large numbers to support cinema of the “Singham” league, talks about their aspirations.

      I do not say that Singham gives a social message to the audiences, it merely reflects their aspirations. And in my view that aspiration is having a cleaner social and political system.

      You may be right in saying that such a change might not come through in our lifetime, but who knows, and I can’t help my belief in the dogma that people are born good from taking over my cynical self, which leads to such write-ups.

      Cheers and keep reading.

  2. I concur with your thoughts Swarup that the India mindset has taken a decisive turn from ‘sab chalta hai’ to a ‘ye nahin chalega’ one & I assume the day is not far when perhaps every penny will be accounted for…the distraught Indian perhaps is looking for the slightest opportunity to break it even with the system…& he is not short of courage anymore…there would be scores of Indians like us, young ones to be particular, who, if given an opportunity, can form an alternate government or even stage a coup…the only question that bothers them is ‘how’ & ‘when’.

    Cheers Swarup…time for some Swarupnomics I guess 😉

  3. Really Nice thoughts Swarup..Love the way you have woven together Anna Hazare and Singham story together !! I also feel that the real hero (Actor) was Jayakant Shikrey who acted so well that people could hate him soo much easily…
    Today’s directors are really banking on the current emotions of Indians. No one is making a love story at all. Though I do miss them as they sometimes relax your mind and take you away from the humdrum of city life…
    thanks for sharing!! Insightful writing !!

    1. Prakash Raj is a fabulous actor. Give him any role, any day and he does complete justice to it. He is a National Award winning actor from South having acted in a number of movies both commercial and art films. It is a pity that actors like him don’t get to enjoy the stardom which
      non-actor “superstars” do.

      Thanks for liking the blog post.

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