Thursday, December 4, 2008
Tera kya hoga kaliya?
(Picture from rediff.com)
The year 1975 has been etched in the history manuals of Indian cinema. That year Ramesh Sippy’s ‘Sholay’ (Flame or Embers) was released and ever since the movie set and broke records in India and all over the world. It grossed in atleast 60 million U.S. dollars and ran for five years consecutively in the Minerva theatre in Mumbai. Truly it is a movie which has been unmatched in it’s public acceptance.
The movie as such is about hero’s and one specific villain, Gabbar, played by Amjad Khan. He is on the one hand a dacoit, a rule unto himself and feared by the nearby villagers. In the absence of a rule by law, he himself becomes the rule and the law. My aim here is to see the commonalities between Gabbar and the present mode of functioning of the government in India by highlighting four critical dialogues in the movie. In the event of a public outcry in our country in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, it is noteworthy (in a satirical way ofcourse) how we can draw a similarity.
Gabbar’s henchmen get beaten up by two people (played by Dharmendra and Amitabh) and they come back to the dacoit's den with their heads hanging in shame. Gabbar questions them and is angry that they were beaten by two, whereas they were three in all. He points his gun at the main person in the three and tells him, ‘Tera kya hoga kaliya?’ (What will happen to you Kaliya?). Kaliya the dacoit answers, ‘Meine apka namak kaya.’ (I have eaten your (salt (literal)) food and remain loyal to you). Gabbar answers, ‘Ab goli ka.’ (Now, eat my bullet). After shooting all three men, Gabbar says, ‘Jo dar gaya, samjo mar gaya.’ (Those who are afraid (fear), will die. Death is imminent if fear overcomes you).
The Mumbai attacks have opened a can of worms. Everyone is blaming everyone else. But who thinks of the common person? The one who can’t even complain because of fear and lack of resources. The common person who is used in every election for votes and to stand in big crowds and clap for the leaders. The silent ones who listen to every bid of their so called masters. After a life long following and unrelenting loyalty, there comes the time when they need help from the ones that have used them so much. In true Gabbar style, the politician/leader will say, ‘Tera kya hoga kaliya?’, followed by the frantic cry by the commoner, ‘Meine apka namak kaya.’ After an eerie silence the leader says in total disrespect, ‘Ab goli ka.’ And then the electioneering will continue and people will be galvanised and ghettoised with the war like slogan, ‘Jo dar gaya, samjo mar gaya.’