Pinjar — A review by Ashwini Falnikar

1 09 2008

The only reason why mainstream press recommended the film ‘Pinjar’ as a ‘must see’ was perhaps because it is based on a novel written by an author of the caliber of Amrita Pritam. But the press clearly lied when it praised Urmila Matondkar for ‘best performance’ and ‘great’ cinematography by Santhosh Thundiyil.I see only one reason behind all this lying – to divert the attention from the Hindutva propaganda. The film itself does not pretend to be not promoting Hindutva ideology; in fact it clearly names the main protagonist, Sanjay Suri as ‘Ramchand’. He is a musician, he is working on a project of translating Ramayana into Urdu (so he is a secular Hindu) he also has a good command over Sanskrit. He is a broadminded young, soft-spoken Hindu, rich man as opposed to ‘Rashid’, who is a backward Muslim – since he wears all the markers of being a Muslim, his only wealth is his farmland (and not knowledge/ education) and initially appears indecent since he kidnaps Puro, who is to marry Ramchand. Is it a coincidence that the storyline is parallel to that of Ramayana, where Rama’s wife Sita is kidnapped by Ravana?

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Jab We Met: An Analysis by Karuna D’Souza

29 08 2008

(This was an assignment for the subject Cultural Studies for which I had to analyse a film in the context of the way it naturalises and hegemonises certain ideas and concepts)

When Rolland Barthes in his essay “Rhetoric of the Image” dissects the image of the black Algerian soldier saluting the French flag, he speaks of how the hegemony operates in depicting a coloured man, the colonized subject, as willing and loyal subjects to the colonizer France. Images have a plurality of meaning, and at the denotative level can be quite innocuous. The connotative level is what we need to be aware of, for it projects ideas that we inherit without questioning and naturalises the depiction.

Jab We Met came to be quite popular when it released. And it is not hard to see why. This is a very simple, entertaining film which on the most visible manner is innocuous. Gramsci’s theory which relates that hegemony is not a fixed set of ideas. Instead, it is a ‘shifting set of ideas by means of which dominant groups strive to secure the consent of subordinate groups to their leadership, rather than as a consistent and functional ideology working in the interests of a ruling class by indoctrinating subordinate groups.’ I intend to look at how these shifting ideas are being depicted in the film by the dominant groups.

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