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Archive for the ‘The Magic of Movies!’ Category

I have never—in all the years this blog has been in existence—compiled a list of my favourite Madan Mohan songs. An oversight, and one for which I have no explanation to offer: just reparation. Born Madan Mohan Kohli in Erbil (Iraqi Kurdistan) on June 25, 1924, the young Madan Mohan returned with his family to […]

Ten of my favourite Madan Mohan songs — Dustedoff

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We appear to live in times when lyrics in Bollywood are mostly lost in the loud music churned out by a metallic orchestra. Lyricists are barely acknowledged.

It is times such as these which persuade us to travel back in time and remember the kind of soulful poetry the lyricists of yore used to offer.

Here is a great post on Hasrat Jaipuri.

Enjoy!

Dustedoff

Today is the birth centenary of one of Hindi cinema’s greatest lyricists, the very prolific and versatile Hasrat Jaipuri. Born in Jaipur on April 15, 1922, ‘Hasrat’ was named Iqbal Hussain, and took to writing poetry fairly early in life. In 1940, not even 20 years old, Hasrat moved to Bombay, where, though he attended mushairas and wrote (and recited) a good deal of verse, he was also obliged to take up a job as bus conductor. This job helped him make ends meet for the next 8 years, when Hasrat had the good fortune to be noticed by none other than Prithviraj Kapoor at a mushaira. Kapoor was so impressed by the young poet, he recommended Hasrat to his son Raj, who was then in the midst of planning Barsaat (1949). Hasrat was taken on to write songs for the film, and that was the start of a…

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My Views On Bollywood

By

Sharada Iyer

Bandish Bandits, the exceptionally melodious 10-episode web series that released on the OTT platform Amazon Prime on 4th August has found immense popularity among the young and old alike thanks to its outstanding music by the trio of Shankar-Ehsan-Loy, excellent performances by the entire cast who bring to life their respective characters and the striking locations set in Rajasthan which add a lot of colour to the proceedings.

Amidst all the revenge sagas and gangster dramas being offered on the OTT platforms, such a pure musical is a refreshing change and comes as a breath of fresh air.

The series has not only revived memories in the older generation of viewers the fast disappearing appreciation and magic of our culture and music but more importantly succeeded in attracting the younger generation to the beauty and allure of Hindustani classical music. Indeed, this is an incredible…

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Often, we complain about the inane offerings of mainstream Bollywood cinema. We bemoan the fact that we are expected to spend our hard-earned money, leave our brains outside a cinema hall, give our common sense a commercial break, temporarily suspend our beliefs and just enjoy the proceedings on the silver screen.

Some scripts make us go through the romantic upheavals in the lives of the hero and the heroine. Few others offer us unique insights into the world of crime and gore. Others thrive on keeping us glued to our seats wondering as to what may happen next. The thrill of a car chase, a saga of revenge and dollops of suspense make the experience worthy of our time, cost and attention.  

But there has always been a tiny segment of intellectually inclined directors who have kept regaling us with their unique insights on ills which plague our society as well as our economy. Call it the Parallel Cinema, the Consciousness Movement or the Cinema on the Fringes, if you will.

When Cinema on the Fringes becomes Meaningful

When it comes to caste-based prejudices, we have had Sujata (1959), Masaan (2015) and Article 15 (2019). A movie like Jhund (2022) showcases the everyday struggles of vagabond Dalit youngsters, haunted by the humiliating gaze of society. Speak of the disadvantaged and we are apt to think of Ankur (1974), Akrosh (1980), Chakra (1981) and Nil Battey Sannata (2015). Think of the angst of the educated unemployed and we discover Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyoon Aata Hai (1980) and Rang De Basanti (2006). Speak of sex workers and movies like Chandni Bar (2001), Chameli (2003) and Gangubhai Kathiawadi (2022) pop up in our minds.

When it came to our criminal justice system, movies such as Do Ankhen Barah Haath (1957), Kanoon (1960), Bandini (1963) and Achanak (1973) stood up for bold reforms. A cooperative movement leading to a resounding success in brand management inspired Manthan (1976). Difficulties faced by marginal farmers formed the central theme of such movies as Do Bigha Zameen (1953) and Heera Moti (1959). Challenges based on disabilities were poignantly captured in such movies as Koshish (1972), Black (2005) and Guzaarish (2010).

If the plight of rural migrants was showcased in Jagte Raho (1956), movies like Garm Hava (1973) and Pinjar (2003) brought home the trials and tribulations of those affected by Partition. Patriarchal maladies formed the crux of such movies as Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam (1962). The plight of a widow moved us in Ek Chaadar Maili Si (1986). Swades (2004) spoke of using innovative frugal engineering solutions to the issues faced by villagers.

The Winds of Change

However, jingoistic nationalism, often camouflaged as patriotism, is the flavour of the season. In the past, movies like Haqeeqat (1964), Shaheed (1965), Lakshya (2004) and Mangal Pandey (2005) led to a rise in patriotic fervour amongst movie watchers. Upkar (1967) was all about ‘Jai Jawaan Jai Kisaan’. In the recent past, we have had Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015), Raazi (2018) and Kesari (2019).

In tandem with the political headwinds, Islamic terrorism has come under a sharper focus. Gone are the days of such socials as Chaudvin Ka Chaand (1960), Mere Mehboob (1963), Mere Huzoor (1968) and Jodhaa Akbar (2008), wherein our composite Ganga-Yamuna ‘tehzeeb’ (culture) was lovingly portrayed. Instead, we now rejoice in people of a certain faith being portrayed as violent aggressors and anti-nationals. The recent successes of such movies as Padmaavat (2018) and The Kashmir Files (2022) form a part of this trend.

It is not that riots and genocides have not been captured by Bollywood before. A wonderful example which stands out is that of Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002). Movies like Mission Kashmir (2002), Parzania (2007) and Firaaq (2008) brought home the futility and tragedy of hatred. Some of these have attempted to uncover the inner turmoil experienced by the main protagonist. Many such movies have been banned. However, the focus now appears to have shifted on widening our social fissures rather than mending the same. Perhaps, a deeper cleaning of sorts of our social fabric is taking place.   

The rise of OTT platforms, thanks partly to a pandemic, has broadened the scope of offerings. If Jalsa (2022) keeps us on tenterhooks, The Fame Game (2022) gives us a sneak peek into the lives of celebrities. If Bombay Begums (2021) captures the ambition of gutsy females wanting to break the proverbial glass ceiling, Panchayat (2020) took us back to the countryside and showed us the kind of challenges which rural folks face. Bandish Bandits (2020) was a brilliant ode to the prowess of classical music.  

Even outside the traditional channels of cinema halls and OTT platforms, several talented directors keep coming up with offerings which show the day to day challenges faced by us in an inspiring mode. Those of you who have heard of Nirmal Anand Ki Puppy (2021) directed by Sandeep Mohan would heartily agree with me.

The line between conscious cinema and not-so-conscious cinema (in other words, ‘masala’ movies!) often gets blurred.  

Of Creative Consciousness

Creative juices need several favourable conditions which enable these to spring forth and eventually reach their target audience. When it comes to the powerful medium of cinema, a good script, backed by proficient actors, lilting lyrics and music, adroit editing and good production values surely helps. We may call many of these as meaningful. But if a movie entertains, educates and even goes on to address our deeply embedded social concerns and prejudices, it plays a useful role in shaping the values which govern our society. Such movies originate from a higher level of consciousness. Personally, I would prefer to call these movies as being the real meaningful ones!

A question may be asked as to whether it is possible for producers and directors to churn out socially relevant movies even when commercial considerations rule the roost. In Awara (1951), Boot Polish (1954) and Shri 420 (1955) Raj Kapur showed us how. So did B. R. Chopra when he came up with Nikaah (1982), and Yash Chopra when he offered us Dharmputra (1961) and Veer Zara (2004)!

Eventually, it all boils down to the level of consciousness of the producer-director duo. Awareness, Care and Intent alone are the enabling factors. These alone act as catalysts of Creative Consciousness. Those who have the courage and conviction to offer such movies pay back to the society what they get from it. 

Some Neglected Areas

There are three areas of strategic concern which appear to have been given the short shrift in the scheme of things.

What we lack is a vibrant children’s film movement. Movies like Aakhri Khat (1966), Makdee (2002), The Blue Umbrella (2005), Tare Zameen Par (2007) and Bumm Bumm Bole (2010) are few and far between. In the rat race of commercial considerations, this segment of the audience has lost its appeal. The outcome is that the age of innocence has got brutally cut short. The advent of internet and animation movies has further eroded the interest in child-friendly offerings. Children are losing the opportunity of imbibing rich values from such ancient texts as ‘Hitopadesha’ and ‘Panchatantra’. Poor souls are getting sucked into adult entertainment right away.   

Secondly, state funding for socially relevant and meaningful cinema has all but vanished. Unlike countries such as France where state support ensures that movies steeped in consciousness keep getting made, the rulers of today turn a blind eye to their own soft power.

Thirdly, the interest in preserving the history of cinema for the sake of posterity is singularly absent. It is an irony that not even a single print of Alam Ara (1931), the first ‘talkies’ to be churned out by Bollywood, is available in our archives.

If such strategic issues are left to the manipulations of the private sector alone, Bollywood will keep marching ahead with bolder and bolder themes, wooing their audience with exotic locales, sex appeal and special effects which leave the viewers in a state of shock and awe. Return on investments alone would count. The movies it churns out may be entirely soulless, so to say. Viewer tastes will keep getting manipulated by our dream merchants.

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My Views On Bollywood

By

Sharada Iyer

When it comes to versatility and range, there is no doubt that Asha Bhosle’s name would easily be above every other singer who has ever sung in Hindi cinema. Qawwalis, ghazals, devotional songs, classical songs, peppy romantic numbers, cabaret songs, dance numbers, folk music, mujra songs, sensuous numbers, sad songs, songs of yearning and separation, disco songs-she has excelled in them all with equal adroitness and alacrity. Asha’s uniquely melodious, exuberant, alluring and resonating vocals added that extra ‘X-factor’ to even the seemingly simple songs which ensured that no one else would be able to emulate her style or recreate her magic ever again.

Though Asha Bhosle was always versatile, she had to face a long struggle before she could get to sing for the lead heroine of the film. Right from the beginning, in order to carve a distinct niche for herself she moulded her vocals…

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Dustedoff

I am leery of attaching ‘best’ and ‘most favourite’ appellations to anybody or anything, no matter how much I may be fond of the person/creation/whatever in question. I tend to say that so-and-so song or film, for instance, is among my favourites; the same goes for actors, singers, directors, and so on. There are some whom I especially like, there are some for whom I will watch a film just because they’re in it. There are none whom I idolize and place on a pedestal and see no wrong in.

Sahir Ludhianvi may be one of the exceptions. This is one man whose genius blows me away. If I were to list my favourite Hindi songs from the Golden Period, based purely on the sheer memorability of their lyrics, the one lyricist who would lead the pack would be Sahir Ludhianvi. His versatility; his hard-hitting, often brutal, honesty; his occasional…

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People who go away to the Brighter Worlds beyond often leave rich legacies behind. Ms Ira who was the creative person behind this unique blog site is no more with us. But her scintillating work remains. She continues to live amongst the hearts of Bollywood fans through her work. Savour this piece as a humble tribute to her genius.

Do please also pass by her earlier site too, http://bollyviewer-oldisgold.blogspot.com. You are bound to find many of her brilliant posts there as well.

Thanks are due to Madhulika Liddle, yet another Bollywood buff and an author to boot (https://madhulikaliddle.com), who recently brought this blog site to my attention.

Masala Punch

It is re-union time again! In masala-land, a re-union does not need a reason, but a rhyme (and music) is always welcome. When Madhu posted her Aankhen songs list, Anu also wanted to post about filmi eyes and I am always happy to join a song-n-dance party. So we planned our re-union party, with songs about eyes – Anu decided to bring Nigaahein songs to the party, Madhu opted for Nazar, and I settled on Naina songs.

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Background

In this series, we have tried to look at some movies through the spiritual lens of 12 personality traits mentioned by The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry in India.

Part 1 had covered the traits of Sincerity and Humility. Part 2 had looked at movies which touch upon such traits as Gratitude, Perseverance, Aspiration and Receptivity. In Part 3, we had checked out some movies which could be held to be representing the following personality traits: Progress, Courage, Goodness and Generosity.

Here is the concluding part, which covers the remaining two traits, namely Equality and Peace.

Thank you for joining me in this exploratory journey!

 

Equality

Here is a rare virtue, seldom practiced, whether at an individual level or in a society. Walls of race, caste, colour, creed, gender and financial well-being keep going up. The notion of ‘I’ takes precedence over that of ‘We’. Deriding ‘the other’ often satisfies our ego more readily. In many parts of the world, even some professions get looked down upon.

 

Boot Polish (1954) brought home the point that one’s self-respect is paramount, that polishing shoes is better than begging and also that work of any kind is dignified.

 

Shree 420 (1955) showed us how Ponzi schemes trick ordinary people into parting with their hard earned money. The stark contrast between the haves and the have-nots of the society formed the backdrop of the movie.

 

 

Meri Surat Teri Ankhen (1963) and Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978) both highlighted the need for giving more importance to inner beauty rather than the external appearance of a person.

 

Rudaali (1993) touched upon the plight of social discrimination, based as it was on the tribe of women of a lower caste who are invited as professional mourners when a person from higher caste passes away.

 

Philadelphia (1993) covered the trials and tribulations of someone who suffers from AIDS and is a homosexual. He is sacked by the legal firm he works for on made-up work-related grounds but fights for his dignity and his rights.

 

Article 15 (2019) is a telling commentary on the perils of the caste system prevalent in the Indian society.

 

Several movies have touched upon the issue of racial prejudices. Schindler’s List (1993) and Munich (2005) are some examples.

When it comes to gender equality, our dream merchants appear to have kept the issue under focus for a long time, much before the #MeToo campaign gained popularity.

In Aandhi (1975), we meet a couple who get reunited after a long time, but decide to keep pursuing their different career paths

 

Arth (1982) and Luck By Chance (2009) had the heroines walking off from a relationship.

 

If Abhimaan (1973) touched upon the balance of power between a couple, Ki and Ka (2016) showcased a role reversal between the husband and the wife.

 

 

Parched (2015) narrated the story of four women breaking through the shackles of rigid practices of patriarchy. Thappad (2020) highlighted the issue of patriarchal attitudes and the lack of gender equality within the ambit of marriage.

 

Peace

Many movies depict the gory details of a war to highlight its futility. Here is but a random sample of the ones which drive home the importance of peace in our lives.

 

Life Is Beautiful (1997) made us feel not only the pangs of separation of a couple but also the blossoming of a special bond between a father and his son when they are held in confinement in a concentration camp. When the war gets over, the son, unaware that his father has met his death, excitedly tells his mother about how he had ‘won’ a tank, just as his father had promised if he played the game between them right.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002) was a poignant tale of the kind of affection which develops between two strangers in the midst of chaos and uncertainty caused by communal riots.

 

Veer Zara (2004) narrated the travails of star-crossed lovers. The Indian Air Force officer Veer (Shah Rukh Khan) sacrifices his freedom to protect the honour of the Pakistani heroine’s family. The latter, Zara (Priety Zinta), after a failed marriage, decides to support his elderly parents in India. Both get reunited, thanks to the efforts of a lawyer (Rani Mukherji). Not a single bullet gets fired. Nowhere does a prisoner get tortured. Yet, the message of peace between two warring nations gets delivered.

 

Life Is A Miracle (2004) had the backdrop of the Bosnia-Serbia conflict. When the hostilities break out, Luka’s wife goes away and love blossoms between him and Sabaha. His son is conscripted in the army and is then taken a prisoner of war. The dilemma faced by Luka is that of an exchange between Sabaha and his son Milos. Family gets reunited in the end.

 

From Heartless to Heartful

The movies mentioned here were not necessarily made for any spiritual purposes. These appear here simply because a part of theirs touches upon the 12 personality traits under discussion. In fact, some of these – like Saving Private Ryan and Lakshmi – have graphic violence which often creates revulsion and intellectual indigestion. Perhaps these are designed to hasten our progress from practicing heartlessness to heartfulness!

 

Almost all of these have an underlying streak of spirituality. These affirm the positivity of life, hold human beings as sacred rather than expendable, depict the practice (or otherwise) of human values and encourage the audience to ponder over their existence more deeply than they would in the course of their day-to-day routines.

Another common trait of these movies is that these do not promote a sectarian or religious worldview. Rather, the focus is on highlighting what, in essence, our scriptures and spiritual masters tell us.

Movies with a streak of spirituality stand in sharp contrast to the kind of inane ones which win popular appeal by using item songs, soft porn, obscenity, graphic violence, sadism and torture for sport. This virus, to be dreaded more than the current pandemic, has already spread into video games, kids’ cartoons and gaming applications, polluting the minds of the coming generations and promoting a shoot-first-think-later culture.

We also get hooked by the car chase/big explosion flicks like Fast & the Furious series; high-tech gadget movies like the Mission Impossible franchise; nationalistic movies like Independence Day; heist-based movies and web-series like Ocean’s 11 etc, Money Heist and Jamtaara which do not feel shy of using cuss words; and high school sex-obsessed, gross-out films like the American Pie franchise. Thrillers like Sholay, Khaki, Kahaani and Mom also keep us glued to our seats. But so do such movies with socially relevant themes as Gulaab Gang, Padman and Toilet – Ek Prem Katha.

Perhaps there is an emotional disconnect between Mother Earth and its denizens. Perhaps we are bringing up a bunch of bleary eyed kids glued to their screens – oblivious of the joys of human interface; in the process, dehumanizing them.

Rays of Hope

But we can find some solace in the fact that movies with a dash of spirituality do keep turning up. These keep illuminating the world outside and within us, restoring our faith in the basic goodness of Homo sapiens. Even though these may be few and far between, our producers, directors and script writers have a sharp eye for public tastes. The fact that these are getting made is a positive sign in the first place. There is hope.

Moreover, there must be several others which do not boast of popular stars. We would have never heard of the same. All these, in regional and other languages, must be out there, waiting to be discovered by a receptive audience.

Different approaches to spirituality could lead us to yet another set of movies. But the challenge of choosing the right movies on one of the media platforms we subscribe to would always remain. More so in times which are highly uncertain and when the fear of contracting a disease keeps nagging us from within.

To change and enrich our taste of movies – from heartless to heartful, from mindless to mindful, from hopeless to hopeful, from gory to glory and from demonic to angelic – may not be that easy, unless our own mindset changes. When that happens, our craving for a deeper meaning in our movies would get a leg up. Producers and directors would then offer juicier flicks. Once a ‘critical mass’ is achieved, our collective consciousness shall start changing its contours.

This could be our own humble contribution to some desirable changes in the society at large.

(This series of posts is dedicated to Ms Usha Bhatia, my late wife. Inputs from Mr Sanjay Mohan and Ms Gargi Banerjee are gratefully acknowledged)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2020/08/13/some-movies-with-a-dash-of-spirituality-part-1-of-4

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2020/08/16/some-movies-with-a-dash-of-spirituality-part-2-of-4

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2020/08/20/some-movies-with-a-dash-of-spirituality-part-3-of-4)

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Background

In this series, we consider some more movies through the spiritual lens of 12 personality traits mentioned by The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry in India.

Part 1 had covered the traits of Sincerity and Humility. Part 2 had looked at movies which touch upon such traits as Gratitude, Perseverance, Aspiration and Receptivity.

In Part 3, we cover the following personality traits: Progress, Courage, Goodness and Generosity.

Progress

This could be of several kinds – material, spiritual and social. Most of us keep chasing materialistic goals in our lives. Some who feel a nagging emptiness within despite outstanding success on the material plane get awakened to the possibility of a spiritual growth. Few others try and work on such social ills as corruption and hygiene.

Guide (1965) showed us the transformation of an ambitious Raju (Dev Anand) from being an ordinary tourist guide to a successful businessman, thanks to a talented dancer Rosie (Waheeda Rehman). What followed was a web of commerce and misuse of funds, leading to a jail term for Raju. Eventually, upon nearing death, he experiences an awakening of the soul.

 

Invictus (2009) captures the manner in which Nelson Mandela endeavours to overcome racial prejudices not only in his team of personal assistants but also in his country, using the unlikely sport of rugby to make progress. The movie sets an inspiring example of achieving social harmony by dismantling apartheid through a spot of out-of-box thinking.

When it comes to progress on the social front, several movies have touched upon the issues of corruption, regressive attitudes and sexual exploitation.

 

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (1983) and Well Done Abba (2009) addressed the issue of corruption with dollops of humour.

 

 

Toilet – Ek Prem Katha (2017) and Padman (2018) championed the cause of hygiene.

 

 

Gulaab Gang (2014) spoke of various ills plaguing the Indian society.

 

 

Mardaani (2014) and Lakshmi (2014) were both hard-hitting but highlighted the challenges one faces while battling human trafficking and child prostitution.

Movies which focus on social attitudes are often preachy and negative. But these serve a useful purpose by telling us where we are going wrong, thereby hampering our own progress.

Courage

The hero who shows courage by bashing up a bunch of goons to save the honour of his beloved on the silver screen gets lauded enthusiastically by a cheering audience. But here we shall touch upon the courage which manifests in many other ways, mostly utilized to achieve a higher goal in life.

Pyaasa (1957) depicted the courage of a poet Vijay (Guru Dutt) to denounce a corrupt and materialistic world. Unable to tolerate the hypocrisy in the society, he decides to start a new life with Gulabo (Waheeda Rehman), the woman in his life.

 

Lakshya (2004) takes us on an inner journey of a happy go lucky but aimless Karan Shergill (Hrithik Roshan) who joins the army during the Kargil conflict between India and Pakistan. Death of a close friend leads him to discover his aim – that of capturing Point 5179, a strategic mountain peak on the border by ascending a 1000 feet high rocky vertical cliff.

 

A Wednesday (2008) shows the extent to which a common man (Naseeruddin Shah) can go to meticulously avenge all the terrorist attacks some people had helped carry out in Mumbai and other major cities of India, specifically the 2006 Mumbai train bombings.

 

Life of Pi (2012) shows the kind of courage it takes to survive and do well in life. The search for an identity becomes a voyage extraordinaire. The movie has a touch of sentimental spirituality.  Pi survives his great adventure of crossing an ocean in the company of an adult Bengal tiger!

 

Neerja (2016) is a tribute to Neerja Bhanot (played by Sonam Kapoor) who laid down her life while protecting passengers on a hijacked Pan Am flight 73. The film ends with a tribute to Neerja, who was eventually honoured posthumously with the Ashoka Chakra, India’s highest military decoration awarded for peacetime valor, courageous action or self-sacrifice.

Goodness

When we overcome our greed and our prejudices, and when we learn to radiate love and display concern and empathy, we practice goodness.

Parakh (1960) was about an award from an anonymous donor of Rupees 5,00,000 to any resident of a particular village who will use it for the benefit of the entire village. Villagers decide to use democratic methods and favour an election where the winner gets the money. Each candidate tries to woo the villagers by being sympathetic and by becoming a cheerful giver to all by offering various sops. Goodness, however superficial, prevails. Eventually, the decision comes from the benefactor who lives in the village in disguise. At a deeper level, the movie highlighted the limitations of the concept of democracy.

 

Satyakam (1969) introduced us to Satyapriya (Dharmendra) who tries to live a truthful, honest and good life. Even in great adversity he doesn’t let go of his ideals. A fatal illness leads to his death and the grandfather (Ashok Kumar) who had sworn him to a path of righteousness realizes that even though he has spent his whole life studying religious scriptures and philosophical books as well as practising many rituals, he still had much to learn about the nature of truth. He overcomes his moral prejudices and vows to take care of his daughter-in-law (Sharmila Tagore) and the grand kid.

 

Raincoat (2004), based on O. Henry’s short story ‘The Gift of the Magi’, brings together two ex-lovers Mannu (Ajay Devgun) and Neeru (Aishwarya Rai). The former is unemployed and has limited means. The latter is now a housewife leading a frugal life. Each boasts to the other about their successful life but realize the hollowness of the other’s claims. Mannu ends up paying Neeru’s overdue rent for many months whereas she slips in two of her gold bangles into the pocket of a raincoat he has borrowed from her.

 

Patch Adams (1998) was all about the importance of laughter, empathy and concern for patients who are often treated in a soulless and mechanical manner in the medical world. The hero’s conviction of his own approach never waivers, except when his companion dies in unfortunate circumstances. But he soon recovers and reverts to his practice of goodness, dedicating his work to her memory.

Generosity

Many of us have occasionally had a helping hand from someone who went out of the way to offer support when it was badly needed. Those who are kind, empathic and compassionate could be said to be of a generous disposition. Somehow, life always gifts them with generous bonuses – whether financial or in terms of a cult status.

 

Schindler’s List (1993) portrayed the efforts of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist, who saves the lives of more than a thousand Polish-Jewish people from the Holocaust. When World War II is declared to be over, the workers give Schindler a signed statement attesting to his role in saving Jewish lives and present him with a ring engraved with a Talmudic quotation: “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.” Schindler is touched but also ashamed, as he feels he should have done even more. In a scene which is deeply touching, he breaks down sobbing, and is comforted by the workers.

 

 

Erin Brockovich (2000) was all about a legal clerk motivating a group of sufferers to stand up against a large company and get suitable compensation awarded by a court of law. Her identification with the cause and her perseverance – both are worth emulating. She does not expect any personal benefit in return, though she does get suitably rewarded for her services at the end of the movie.

The generosity showcased in these movies is neither feigned nor artificial. Both are based on actual incidents, restoring our faith in the innate goodness in people.

(This series of posts is dedicated to Ms Usha Bhatia, my late wife. Inputs from Mr Sanjay Mohan and Ms Gargi Banerjee are gratefully acknowledged)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2020/08/13/some-movies-with-a-dash-of-spirituality-part-1-of-4

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2020/08/16/some-movies-with-a-dash-of-spirituality-part-2-of-4

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2020/08/24/some-movies-with-a-dash-of-spirituality-part-4-of-4)

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