India Uncut

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A strain of saffron

Shyam Benegal is quoted by PTI as saying:
Saffronisation of the polity during late 1990s was sharply reflected in popular Hindi cinema made in that period. Some of the Hindi films made during that period displayed an intransigence where Pakistan and Muslims are made synonymous.

Nationalism and secularism was considerably narrowed down and made an exclusive preserve of the Hindu Community. You can see this in JP Dutta's hit film Border. Excessive jingoism is even more crudely depicted in another film Ghadar [sic].
I think Benegal is confusing correlation with causation here. (Post hoc ergo propter hoc.)I don't believe that the BJP/NDA government was influential enough to inspire the subject of Bollywood films. The saffron beliefs that Benegal talks about were -- and are -- widely prevalent across India, something that is reflected in the fact that Border and Gadar were huge hits, and the BJP did come to power at the centre. Mainstream producers make films according to the market, and politicians play to the votebanks. Rather than one causing the other, the saffron strains in Bollywood and Indian politics both came from the same source: the Indian people.

That's the worrying part.
amit varma, 7:23 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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