The movie inspired by Modi’s childhood has a remarkable social message

'Chalo Jeete Hain' raises issues of caste, poverty, inequality in a quietly radical way

ajay

Ajay Singh | July 28, 2018 | New Delhi


#Short Film   #Chalo Jeete Hain   #Caste   #Narendra Modi   #Inequality  
YouTube screengrab of Chalo Jeete Hain
YouTube screengrab of Chalo Jeete Hain

A 32-minute short film titled ‘Chalo Jeete Hain’, premiered at a screening hosted by vice president M Venkaiah Naidu at the GMC Balayogi auditorium on Wednesday, is more remarkable for the social message it carries than the fact that it is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s childhood days.

The film is essentially centered on deep-seated caste prejudices that glaringly exist among the Hindus much to the discomfiture of a young lad called “Naru” (the abbreviated name of Narendra). It revolts Naru’s sense of justice to see a boy of scheduled caste denied education on account of his penury. The scheduled caste’s unending travails and society’s apathy is boldly depicted in the movie.

But the beauty of the movie is that it is not seditious. The ‘peela phool’ (yellow flower) offered to the gods in Hindu temples is used as a metaphor of social reforms. In fact, “Peela Phool” is also the title of a play written by Modi during his school days and staged in Vadnagar town where he spent his childhood days. The play is essentially a commentary against orthodox brahminical order but avoids commenting against the caste system directly.

For instance, the movie is replete with instances of even upper caste people coming to the support of those considered untouchables by the higher echelons of society. The faith in the inner goodness of the society is emphasised quite forcefully when the protagonist of the movie manages to collect enough money through contribution to fund education of the scheduled caste friend. One can see the satisfaction on the face of Naru when he sees his friend walking into the classroom.

This short movie breaks the usual mould on various counts. It carries a very profound message without spreading any rancour against anyone. Though it is apparently inspired by Modi’s childhood life, it does not convey any political message and exclusively focuses on social reform. What is particularly outstanding in this short film is the deep empathy felt for one another by those living on the margins in the suburban milieu.

Naru’s family is also living in stark poverty and economically they are only a shade better than the scheduled caste family, though they are not so ostracized socially. Yet Naru could easily identify himself with the travails of a scheduled caste boy both economically and socially. He seemed quite conscious of humiliation one faces on account of not only economic marginalisation but also social inequality. In one scene, the hero accompanies his mother who does domestic chores on a rich neighbourhood to eke out her family’s living.

‘Chalo Jeete Hain’ is also a classical portrayal of society’s fault line while reposing an unremitting faith in its collective strength to overcome it. The movie may not be a work of revolutionary story-telling in the subversive sense – it is conformist to the core. This may expose the movie to the charge of being an exercise in public relation by the prime minister. It may also be seen as a prelude to image correction in the run-up to the election campaign for 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Without contesting these charges, there is no denying the fact that the short film is a socially audacious enterprise in a scenario where a biopic like ‘Sanju’ gets a big draw. In this case, the protagonist of the movie, Naru, would have to bank on the collective goodness of the society to make this movie a vehicle of social message and not just entertainment.

[This comment has appeared on FirstPost.com]

Comments

 

Other News

Thus ends the Chidamba-Run!

The arrest of Palaniappan Chidambaram, former union minister of home & finance, by the CBI, albeit after his much dramatic disappearance and reappearance, has brought an end to his long run from the arms of law. As a finance minister, being at the other end of the law, the former ministe

What Imran’s rant against RSS tells us about Modi’s Kashmir policy

An unintended consequence of the inversion of Article 370 and the division of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories is the curious revival of Pakistan’s interest in Indian history and sociology. For the first time in decades, a Pakistan prime minister made the Rasht

On a Personal note with actor Neeraj Kabi

Neeraj Kabi, a critically acclaimed self-taught actor, theatre director, and acting teacher, has worked in Odiya, Hindi and international cinema, theatre, television and web series. In 2014 he was honoured with the best actor award at the 4th Sakhalin International Film Festival for his role in the fil

Talking to Trump, Modi hits out at Imran’s anti-India rhetoric

Prime minister Narendra Modi has told US president Donald Trump that Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan’s “incitement to anti-India violence” was not good for peace in south Asia. Modi and Trump had a telephonic conversation – their first since the Aug 5 move to chang

Paediatricians call for junking unhealthy food

As children are consuming more and more fast foods and sweetened beverages are becoming, leading to obesity and related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) has come out with guidelines on such substances. The dietary guidelines under its nutrition chapter

Modi’s forward-looking I-Day speech lays down 5-year agenda

Contrast prime minister Narendra Modi’s first Independence Day speech in 2014 with his latest, the first in the second term, and you know the difference. His first speech was less about future and much about the basic needs like Swachch Bharat (clean India). His speech on Thursday, on the other hand,



Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter