27 July, 2021

The Hero Myth

Anna is all-permeating. Bollywood isn’t immune. But they’re okay with that.

The Hero Myth

The Anna Hazare story—about the small man taking on the establishment—has been Bollywood’s go-to script for ages now. Anna, for Om Puri, brings back memories of the iconic Anant Velankar, his cop turn in Govind Nihalani’s influential 1983 film Ardh Satya. Puri’s policeman was perennially trapped in a cesspool of corruption, mafia and politics. “However, corruption is not a half- , but the absolute, truth in our lives now. People are fed up. That’s why there has been such spontaneous support for a simple, honest and blameless man. Anna is the Gandhi, Mandela, Martin Luther King of our times,” says Puri.

For veteran actor Anupam Kher, Hazare is reminiscent of his grandfather, a civil engineer in Shimla who quit his job when he was offered a bribe. Anna is also a throwback to Kher’s first role—the principled, unbending headmaster B.V. Pradhan in Saaransh (1984). He terms Anna’s movement the most significant event in independent...

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