29 September, 2020

Blank Out The Black Slate

Bollywood has been loath to ruffle feathers, explore the nation's upheavals like Partition

Blank Out The Black Slate
A reason why actor Naseeruddin Shah was all praise for Rahul Dholakia's Parzania was for its quickness in responding to an ugly event in our recent political history, the communal violence in Gujarat in '02. But the film is an exception. Hindi filmmakers largely shy away from facing up to our more hideous contemporary realities. A most glaring instance: their virtual silence on the upheavals of Partition, a source of trauma for the whole nation. Unlike the Holocaust, which has been documented in myriad ways in the West, we can only boast of two moving films on Partition—M.S. Sathyu's Garam Hawa and Govind Nihalani's Tamas. More recently, it became cause for strident Pakistan-bashing in Anil Sharma's Gadar, and became a larger-than-life melodrama in Chandraprakash Dwivedi's Pinjar.

It's in this context that Lalit Mohan Joshi's recent documentary, Beyond Partition, is of considerable interest. Through a series of interviews with filmmakers from the subcontinent, the docu talks of the impact of Partition...


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