Cinema & Bollywood · History India South Asia

History, Bollywood, and Love Stories

This was published in Huffington Post India on 10 Sep 2015. Here is the link.
An excerpt:
For instance, we perhaps need countless more movies on the horrors of Partition and communal riots (as Indians still love to hate each other on religious lines); perhaps a movie on Sanjay Gandhi’s abysmally callous (but little-known to today’s youth) sterilization campaign that highlights the hazards of authoritarianism and nepotism; probably a biographical film on Dara Shikoh, the liberal and peace-loving brother of Aurangzeb who translated the Upanishads to Persian and was an exceptional adherent of secularism. There’s truly no end to ideas, and it will certainly be a great loss for India if its filmmakers fail to tap the remarkable historical episodes that this vast nation carries in its bosom.

6 thoughts on “History, Bollywood, and Love Stories

  1. Fresh, beautifully written. When an audience that is completely illiterate can watch outrageously stupid Chennai Express umpteen times and has not even heard of a movie called Ship of Theseus, you can't expect much. Big production houses will definitely shy away from funding such initiatives which guarantee no big returns. And the story of History as a subject and Indians' idea of understanding will give an insight into why a movie like Lincoln will not work in India. Go down your memory lane and bring forth one History teacher that you liked the most and taught the way it should be, I fail to recollect any. Y? History to the general psyche is only a chronicle of dates kings empires etc which carries meaning only from the point of view of exams, mug up and reproduce, chhodo yar y should I know how the battle of panipat is different from a battle of Plassey, write something and kiss a good bye! This is the scenario everywhere. If a movie is made on a character, period about which one hardly knows or known only to pass final exams, y will it interest the audience, vis-à-vis, the Harry Potter series, the curiosity it generated made every aficionado look forward for its next release on the big screen. Will it happen for a Lincoln in India, or for a Constitution? We need to target this mentality of Indians the answer to this lies at the grass roots, young receptive minds should be taught through such effective teaching modules that it should make an indelible impression on them, I say do Harry Potter ofIndian social studies/History. Maybe we can then expect a shift a metamorphosis and then a change in the trend in cinema goers, u can't ask a population to go watch a movie on constitution of India when they have known only blah blah blah of the drafting committee and Dr. Ambedkar that's it. Generate an interest amongst the youngsters, maybe one day they will yearn to see such a movie, their imagination given colors on a bigger screen. Albeit, things are changing, if not a radical shift but a paradigm, its still welcoming. An epic movie on the life and times of the legendary Indian mathematician, Srinivas Ramanujan, which is down the pipe, comes as a relief— Dr. Madhav


  2. Hello Dr Madhav! Thats some wonderful stuff u have articulated. School history needs a big overhaul, no doubt. U seem to be a very passionate film-buff and history lover. Great! Its an honor to be appreciatd by u 🙂


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