Not about Rajput pride

Published On: 2016-09-15

Author: Anurag Kashyap

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Not about Rajput pride


source: Mumbai Mirror 


The Jodhaa Akbar controversy is more about the film industry not wanting Ashutosh Gowariker to succeed than a misrepresentation of historical facts Twenty-five people walk to a multiplex and threaten the exhibitors with dire consequences if they screen Jodhaa Akbar and the entire city of Ahmedabad refuses to show the film... we sit and watch... Rajasthan puts a ban on Jodhaa Akbar, we sit and watch... in the evening we sit down over drinks and discuss how Ashutosh Gowariker should have been careful and how much loss the film is going to make and we have sides to choose and we know exactly what and how the film should have been made. It’s pathetic. 


JA has brought out the Rajput in us. And what exactly is offending us? Is it history? Distortion of history? When wasn’t our history distorted, first in the textbooks, before that by very many custodians of history? In a country that has staid and negligible copyright laws, who has copyright over history? Don’t we have various versions of it officially available? Well, if we are honest to the fake Rajput pride coursing through our veins then what really is threatening the upwardly mobile moustache of the warrior clan is the very idea of one of our women sleeping with one of their emperors. History is an excuse here and creativity bears the brunt of it. If Jodha was the king and Akbar the queen, I wonder if we would have felt the same. Well, I am a Rajput too and I don’t care about my history because my present worries me (God!! I need a hit), my future makes me insecure (will they give me good reviews next time around)... I don’t care if Jodha married an Akbar or a Salim or some Pratap Singh from her own clan, I don’t care if she was Jodha or Jodh or Jo-bhi. What I want to celebrate is that someone has the courage to go out there and lift our cinematic standards a notch higher. 


I might not like it through and through but I cannot ignore some of those great sequences that Mr Gowariker has managed to pull off, giving us a platform to believe there are ways to get around things like Maneka Gandhi. I don’t care if Ashutosh Gowariker is wrong and others are right. What I care about and what worries me is the state of our democracy. I don’t recall a single Rajput murmuring that went around when Mughale-Azam released, both times around. I wonder where was the Rajput’s sense of history when Jodhaa Akbar was announced... well the film was obviously going to be about the two people in the title. What doesn’t surprise me is the timing of the protest. We’ve now come to expect it. 


What depresses me is the industry watching, secretly rejoicing because they didn’t want Gowariker to be able to see it through, them not coming together and saying, ‘Okay, enough of these protests, if next time any of the exhibitors don’t stand by one of them which is us, we ban them, let’s ban Rajasthan, let’s withdraw all of our films from the state and let’s not beam into their TV sets and let them travel to Delhi or Haryana if they want to watch it...’ Why for once can’t we come together and say it’s high time you recognise our importance in the nation’s daily state of affairs and stop treating us like a puppet on a string and give us our rights? Even in Pakistan, the head of state stood by the anti-fundamentalist controversial Khuda Ke Liye and said if it hurts your sensibilities, don’t watch it. 


I was witness to how a writer’s strike forced a Hollywood shutdown and affected the economy of California, adding to the recessional woes of the big daddy. In there, film-makers and people know their rights. We need to know ours. And what I know is that “History” is “His-story” and the “His” in this context, according to me, is the one who writes it and not the one it is about, because it is never about one, it’s always about “them” and them is how we see them. I know that’s very convoluted but then what isn’t, I got it from the man who coined the word and it has been passed down the ages to me and I will protest against anyone who says otherwise and hurts my ancestral sensibilities.