Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mithunda's take on Singur/Nandigram

"The film begins with the customary disclaimer.. But Mithunda's latest box-office wonder is about land acquisition in a burning Bengal", goes the review of Bong film Tulkalam in The Telegraph by Chandrima S. Bhattacharya (could not find it on the web edition).

Hindustan Times has a special story by Drimi Chowdhuri titled Bengali cinema raises issue of land acquisition. "Filmmaker Haranath Chakroborty’s "Tulkalam" starring Mithun Chakraborty and Rachana Banerjee has struck a chord with viewers. The movie is running to packed houses in Minar, Bijoli and Chhabighar which are mostly haunted by Bengali cine-goers looking for something more than the regular commercial fare.."

"The city’s commercial theatre district, Chitpore, that has always shown a penchant for recent happenings, is also tapping in on the issue. All the theatre companies involved with production seem to be changing their storyline, even though their titles prominently feature Nandigram.."

The Telegraph review can't conclude without a reference to the "Left intellectuals":

"Such direct political reference is not usual in a mainstream Bengali movie. The issue must be so hot that it can't be swept under the carpet any more. Neither by Left intellectuals nor by Mithunda. The carpet will catch fire.."

Funny. The carpets of The Telegraphs and The Indian Expresses and Anand Bazar Patrikas seem to be catching fire. All these "development-mongers" vehemently supported the WB Govt on the land acquisitions and kept quiet about the first round of violent turn of events in Nandigram this January (that led to the March 14 firing).

["Villagers have become extremely wary of journalists, they turn back some of them, and claim that at least the biggest newspaper group, ABP, has sold itself to the state government. The variations are whether the buying party is the state government, the CPI(M), or the chief minister..", wrote Aloke Thakore in The Hoot].

So now, they are all busy taking digs at Left Intellectualism (IE article on "Why left intellectualism is so damaging", refering to some statement by some CPM intellectuals who are not sure where to stand.) Understandably turning a blind eye to most other left intellectuals who stood firm against the WB Govt's development policies even before the March 14 firings at Nandigram. In a desparate attempt to make sure everything goes "right", the way WB Govt and CPM has been moving. So that any voice against them, intellectual or not, are not taken seriously by anyone.

But no matter how muchever they try, the fire is very much here. Unlike what they would like to believe ("Unfortunately, real rural Bengal does not have a Mithun", says Ms Bhattacharya), the people are standing up for their rights and won't give in without a fight. And they are aware who are trying to take them for granted and who are benefitting from it.

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Tailpiece: It seems March 15 and March 16 issues of Ananda Bazar Patrika went missing from their web archives!

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