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August 20, 2014 Wednesday     

Partition The Day India Burned

Beginning on a straight forward note, one must have seen numerous ventures written or visualized on the subject of Indian partition of 1947 in all these past decades. Yet this truthful BBC documentary is still capable of giving you the same terrifying fears back through some more shocking secrets revealed by many scary real life accounts and interviews. Admitting it honestly, post the two most well researched and brilliantly conceived projects on Indian Partition, namely FREEDOM AT MIDNIGHT (The Book) and TAMAS (The TV Movie/Serial), the present BBC documentary remains the third not to missed attempt on the subject, which fearlessly discloses the hidden political drama behind one of the most tragic and biggest migrations in the world history.
 
The film tell the story of those bloody months of 1947 through various testimonies of people who were forced to leave their ancestral homes after living together for centuries, despite all the religious disparities. The documentary also has some dramatised reconstructions which actually reveal many undisclosed facts, which are sure going to surprise the youth (in particular) who might not be knowing or have read much on the most unfortunate happening in the history of India.
 
To give you an idea, it tells you how the British officials hurriedly took many major decisions disregarding the possible dangerous outcome in various regions of the country, especially Punjab. The well directed film clearly showcases that how it was earlier decided that the split will be there in the summer of 1948 after long negotiations between Lord Mountbatten, Mohammed Ali Jinha and Jawaharlal Nehru. But then it was suddenly announced that the British Empire would actually be granting the freedom a year ahead than planned in August 1947. It further reveals how the border line of this partition was drawn by a person, who had never been to India and knew nothing about the religious and cultural diversification existing in the country. Moreover it also tells the fact that how numerous Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims were being slaughtered all over, since the British army was too small in numbers in front of the huge mobs and therefore couldn’t stop it well in time.

Through many noteworthy accounts of real eyewitnesses of that mad massacre, it makes you aware how all the political leaders of that time manipulated the people in the name of religion resulting in merciless bloodbath, loots, rapes and killing of innocent children too just because of the disastrous partition. How everybody started behaving like lunatics in only few weeks, how friends turned into enemies overnight and how several brave individuals saved their neighbors too from the communal attacks. Trying to combine all the individually managed states into one country, the government was actually not prepared enough to handle such a vast outbreak of riots due to the mass migration, which probably affected the women, children and the old in the most horrifying manner beyond imagination.
 
But most importantly the enlightening interviews also reveal an ugly truth that even before this ill-timed partition, there still used to be such disgusting traditions which clearly divided the people according to their followed religion. Like the two major sects were not willing to drink from the same tap, a person from another religion was not allowed to enter the kitchen in other’s house, jobs were being offered on religious preferences and thus there did exist an undercurrent of hatred for the other religion even before the frightening independence.
 
These rare facts in fact make this documentary even a more important, must watch at the earliest, since it does tell you a shocking truth that at times,
“Religion can also become one of the most dangerous threats to life, if not understood or followed in the right manner.”
So if you do wish to see a better future for all the future generations to come, then do watch this documentary as a must and learn the much desired lesson of PEACE………., as soon as possible.
 
Directed By Ricardo Pollack
Tags : Partition The Day India Burned (2007), BBC Documentary, Movies To See Before You Die Historical, Must Watch Films List by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, BBC Documentary on Indian Partition 1947, Worth WAtching Movies List by Bobby Sing, Must Watch Documentaries at bobbytalkscinema.com
 
 
15 January 2014 / bobbysing /
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Tamas - A Must See ClassicAfter more than six decades of Indian Cinema since independence, if one tries to make a list of the most significant and worth watching attempts on the cruel subject of PARTITION in films as well as television, then there are just two projects which would always be there at top of all the lists compiled, unconditionally.
And these two creative masterpieces are M. S. Sathyu’s GARAM HAWA and Govind Nihalani’s TAMAS (presented as a TV Serial in 1987). Now without going into the irrelevant discussion of which should be placed at first or the second I would only like to say that, if you haven’t seen these two cinematic triumphs of Indian Cinema yet then probably you are just pursuing the passion of watching movies on the periphery only and still haven’t taken a deep dive into the actual mesmerizing, blue ocean of the ‘Real Indian Cinema”. Giving you an indicative one line description of these immortal classics, where GARAM HAWA is a very quiet, suggestive, subtle yet extremely thoughtful depiction of that terrible era. TAMAS is the most descriptive, explicit, verbal, brutal and shockingly authentic portrayal of those tough times ever filmed by an Indian film-maker till date.
Honestly, writing about the research, direction, performances, sets, costumes, background score and music of TAMAS (including brilliant devotional renditions by Singh Bandhu) actually deserves a pretty long note of praises going into several pages, which you can or might have already read in several other articles in many similar sites and publications. So here I would like to applaud the legendary achievement by the entire team lead by Govind Nihalani in a different way, by sharing few real life experiences of those months when this serial used to be aired on Doordarshan at nights after 9pm (in the following points).
And reading these surprisingly unbelievable kind of real life instances, you would probably realize that what was the impact made by TAMAS on every single person of especially North India at that time and how important and useful can be this epic re-creation of our bleeding, avoidable history for the present young generation to contemplate upon.
1. Based on the award winning book (with the same title) by Bhisham Sahni, who himself came to India from Pakistan during the partition, TAMAS ("Darkness" in English) was originally shot as a film on 35mm but since it was too long for a theatrical release with a length of approximate 300 minutes, it was later telecast on Television as a 8-10 part mini-series on Partition.
2. Contrary to the general belief, TAMAS didn’t take sides of either Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs and presented a very truthful, realistic and the most frightening portrayal of the tensed bloodshed of 1947 involving all the three sects in different regions. But despite its impartial viewpoint of the era, there were several agitations made against the serial, just after the first episode was aired and a case was also reportedly filed against the director to stop its transmission. However as the court didn’t find the objections justified, the telecast was resumed in time and all its remaining episodes were aired as scheduled.
Tamas - A Must See Classic3. The epic also got huge support from the students and all the educated social groups in the major cities and did raise a very informative as well as an enlightening positive debate in the whole nation on the subject of partition and its after effects on both the sides.
4. Towards the end of 80s, there were two serials which were held responsible for a deliberate market closure (or late openings), deserted roads and a curfew like situation in the locality in the most literal sense and I myself have experienced that unexplainable euphoria caused by RAMAYAN in the mornings and TAMAS in the evenings still fresh in mind as ever (because that has never been repeated again in the next 3 decades till date).
In those weeks, once it was the day of TAMAS and we were anxiously waiting for the clock to strike 9 pm which was the relay time of the serial as I can recall. Those were the days of my late teens and I had my elder cousins (living in the same area) studying in college who were quite active in all the local festival celebrations and club activities in our region. As the clock was going to strike 9, our door bell rang and I quickly got up to open the door in order to get over with the duty at the earliest.
As I reached there, my cousin was standing outside and he hurriedly said, “Open it fast as we don’t have much time to reach our homes, so wish to see TAMAS in here only…..So just unlock it fast”. Hearing this I quickly opened the door and my cousin entered the house immediately. But surprisingly he was not alone, as there were not 1, 2 or 3 but more than 10 boys in the queue, getting into the house one by one and then taking whatever space available in the room, on the sofas, chairs, bed and even floor in order to see that week’s episode of TAMAS so eagerly. So that evening, we were about 16-17 people jam packed in a small room of 10 by 15 watching TAMAS like maniacs (on a black & white TV set) and I could never get that scene out of my mind ever.
5. In those days, a cricket match between INDIA & PAKISTAN was like a Festival day, where in people used to plan an off or half-day, weeks before in order to watch the game at home or with friends. But the match was also considered to be highly sensitive in security matters, particularly in some specific regions of Delhi city and there were extra arrangements made to tackle a probable tense situation in those areas during the match and its end.
Now recalling that time once again, I still remember that once the first 2-3 episodes of TAMAS were aired on television, the specific day of the serial’s telecast in the week was exactly treated like an INDIA-PAKISTAN match for the next few months by the authorities and the security arrangements were all tightened up during its telecast, since it was considered to be so authentic in its depiction which could actually create some serious trouble in these areas.
Tamas - A Must See Classic6. After about 5-6 years post its transmission when I was in College, then there were few friends in our group from Delhi and Meerut city (U.P.), who told me that in their areas the moment TAMAS was supposed to begin, suddenly a suspicious load shedding used to be there and the services exactly resumed after the episode was over. Now they were pretty sure that it was being done deliberately to avoid the possibility of some tense clashes in the sensitive localities caused due to the series. And these were the times when once you missed it, there was no chance to catch that particular episode again as the serials were not released on any home video VHS immediately and CDs were still a product of the unknown future in the late 80s.
    Concluding the distinctive description of this legendary creation, I would like to add that director Govind Nihalani is known as one of the most gifted & visionary directors of Indian Cinema with films such as AAKROSH, VIJETA, ARDH SATYA, PARTY, DRISHTI, DROH KAAL, HAZAAR CHAURASI KI MAA, DEHAM, DEV & many more to his credit. But when it comes to his contribution made to the Indian Cinema then TAMAS has to be included as the foremost name unquestionably, since it still enjoys an unparalleled majestic status of the most authentic movie made on the subject of partition till date and you got to see it at the earliest like a necessary medication required for your human soul.
In fact, if you haven’t seen TAMAS yet and have just heard or read many good things about it in few sites or books then you are actually missing one of the most valuable and crucial chapters of 100 years of Indian cinema and haven’t really witnessed or experienced what our Indian visionary directors are actually capable of.
However, another serious point to be considered here is that TAMAS is just not another fast paced entertaining, historical thriller to be seen with the dinner being served side by side and the internet running at the laptops lying at the other corner. TAMAS needs to be seen with your full devotion and it deserves RESPECT a lot more than just interest or curiosity from the younger generation. It has the content to teach you life and the way to live it harmoniously with love and reverence towards every fellow human being and his individual religion.
Hence if possible try watching this gigantic 5 hour long epic (available in a 2 DVD set) at a stretch with very few breaks and see what shameful things we all did collectively with each other in the name of religion and independence in the year 1947.
Cheers!
(Note : I hope we get to see the complete uncut version of TAMAS in the theater soon, probably in the Director’s Cut series just as they showed the two part GOW together at one go. Frankly that will indeed be a dream come true treat for many cine lovers like myself.)
Directed by Govind Nihalani
Written by Bhisham Sahni
Music : Vanraj Bhatia
Starring : Amrish Puri, Om Puri, Pankaj Kapoor, Saeed Jaafery, Virender Saxena, Manohar Singh, A. K. Hangal, Deepa Sahi, Bhisham Sahni, Dina Pathak and more.
Tags : TAMAS (1987), Movies on Indian Partition, Indian partition, Movies To See Before You Die, Historical Drama. Govind Nihalani's masterpiece, Classics from Indian Cinema, Must See Movies List by Bobby Sing, Worth Watching movies on World History, Indian History
 
 
20 August 2013 / bobbysing /
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One of the most important films of the recent times made on a real life event of the late seventies, when the American Embassy in Iran was invaded by local revolutionaries who took all the people working in it as their hostages for many months. Luckily 6 out of them managed to escape and found shelter in the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador in the city. Now a daring and unheard kind of plan was adapted to get the 6 out of there by the Americans with the timely help offered by the Canadian Ambassador and his government.
 
Here without revealing the basic plot adapted for their narrow escape I would like to say that ARGO is in fact a very crucial film of the current times of World Terrorism which revolves around a very rare instance in the world history, where the governments of two countries mutually planned and made efforts to save the lives of their 6 employees. Undoubtedly the secret political affair is an admirable example of international co-operation for the whole world, which was eventually made public, years after the actual happening by the American Government.  
 
The film begins on a tense note with a completely realistic depiction of the terror and mob activity on that particular day of attacking the American Embassy. And then later on it becomes an exciting roller coaster ride showcasing the planned escape bringing you on to the edge of your seat towards the end. Interestingly ARGO has a very unusual mix of some diverse subjects involving political affairs of two major countries, White House, Pentagon, Terrorism, Hollywood and Film-making. And maybe that’s the reason why despite of being a tense revealer based on a real life historical terrorist activity, the film also turns out to be great entertaining thriller with many nail biting moments.
 
The brilliance of the film can also be judged by this fact that ARGO was the first film in the last 7 years to win the reputed Oscar for The Best Motion Picture without winning the award for The Best Director in 2013 (after CRASH). Moreover it also became the first movie to win The Oscar for Best Motion Picture without having its nomination in the Best Director category in the last 23 years (post DRIVING MISS DAISY). Though I personally feel the nomination should have been there for Ben Affleck since he really conceived it well enough to please all sections of viewers. Still moving ahead, if you wish to witness a rare and unique historical chapter of the World history, conceptualized in the form of an electrifying and engaging high paced thriller then do watch ARGO at the earliest and amaze yourself. But don’t forget to read all the informative captions in its end credits which would surely help you to realize the importance of this brave attempt made in the present current scenario of constant tension all over the globe.
 
Directed By Ben Affleck
Starring : Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman
Tags : Argo (2012), Movies To See Before You Die, Historical, Must See Movies List By Bobby Sing, Not To Missed Films List By Bobby Sing, Best Movies List at bobbytalkscinema.com, OSCAR Winner Movies on real events, Realistic Films winning OSCAR.
 
 
07 March 2013 / bobbysing /
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