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Mother: The Indira Gandhi Story

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Aman Singh, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. Aman Singh

    Aman Singh
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    Admin SPNer

    Jun 1, 2004
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    Would You Tolerate A Film Glorifying Hitler?

    After the amazing success of Slumdog Millionaire, Bollywood seems to have found a new romance in Hollywood.

    UCLA and Yale graduate of Indian origin, Hollywood and Broadway acclaimed filmmaker Krishna Shah has recently announced an enormous epic that would be made in collaboration with the two largest film industries of the world: a sixty five million dollar film that Shah claims will be the realization of his life-long dream ... one that he has been working on for the last two decades. On the line and scale of Lord Attenborough's Gandhi, he claims.

    It will be called "Mother: The Indira Gandhi Story"

    Knowing the mindset, I can guarantee you that Sikhs will once again be shown as terrorists and traitors, not as the patriots and defenders of freedom and justice that they are. Invariably, the film will end with the "martyrdom" scene at the hands of her two Sikh bodyguards ... the world will leave the theatres with a lasting impression of Sikhs as such.

    Like the intense and relentless media propaganda generated by the Indian government since the 80's, the world will once again be pelted with images that will put us all, collectively, in a bad light. A lot of Sikhs who have grown up beyond the reach of the mischievous propaganda to date will suddenly be ashamed of themselves ... and so will those who have barely recovered from the decades old trauma and stigma.

    It does not help that this will be an international biopic directed by one of her biggest worshippers and fans. Shah has also announced the creation of an NGO - "Celebrating Indira Gandhi" ("CIG") aimed to propagate the ideals of Indira Gandhi through publication of books, seminars, competitions and cultural and educational programs.

    I ask you two questions today.

    1 Dare any director today make a film glorifying Hitler ?

    2 The movie is going to glorify her - as "Maa Durga" (a Hindu goddess) - in the filmmaker's own words and consequentially the Sikhs as - you guessed it ---the demons. If even the filmmaker was going to show some respect to the Sikhs, the question is: "Where is the writer going to get his statistics and facts about the 1984 and preceding events for the whole world to see ?"

    The answer is - from the same Indian Government reports that claim less than 700 fatalities in the army operation that, according to eye witness accounts, took thousands of innocent lives. [See Lost in History, 1984 Reconstructed, by Gunisha Kaur]

    From the same reports that do not explain why 72 (official figure - 37) other Gurdwaras were attacked in those black days of June and several thousand additional innocents killed.

    The same reports that claim the loss of a few hundred lives in the Delhi "riots", whereas we all know the figure exceeded several thousands. And that thousands more were killed in each major town and city in northern India under carefully planned government-sponsored pogroms (they were not riots!).

    The same government reports that declared all amritdhari Sikhs as terrorist and justified the execution of all Sikh males between the ages of 15- 35 from thousands of villages in Punjab under the guise of ‘encounters.'

    Fillmamker Shah is already referring to Indira Gandhi as a martyr who gave her life in the interest of "National Unity".

    My next question to you today is: "What? What are we going to do about it?"

    Ever since I heard about this news report, I have been trying to talk to Sikh leaders about it in order to find out if we are doing something over the issue and, shockingly, they are all either ignorant or complacent over it.

    "We will see when the movie is released". " Yes, SGPC needs to do something about it", "Yes, Sikhs should write to the director"... are the responses I get.

    I fear that the knee-jerk response by many will be to fume, demonstrate, boycott, burn the theatres and stage protests later on, after the release of the film - rather than to educate, negotiate, be proactive about things when there is time ?

    How can we rely on an organization such as the S.G.P.C. which has no muscle left (it miserably fails even at the local issues in Punjab), no soul left ( it has sold it out to the politicians); and no intellectual substance or integrity whatsoever?

    Close to a 100 million dollars are already slated for this movie. Names such as Tom Hanks and Tommy Lee Jones are already being tapped in for the roles of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

    I say we need to wake up now, organize over this issue and start a lobby to portray Sikhs in the right light.

    Here is where I put a challenge to all the Sikh organizations who are active in the education/ documentation of the 1984 Sikh Genocide, including

    Sikhs for Justice


    Voices for Freedom


    One of them needs to starts talking to the filmmaker and ensuring an accurate representation. All the way from research, script, production and post-production, to see that Sikhs pre and post 1984 are fairly represented. Even if you leave 1984 alone, Sikhs have played important roles throughout the life of Indira Gandhi such as the leading and carrying much of the Indian Freedom struggle, the Indo-Pak wars, the Indo-Chinese war, and the creation of Bangladesh, Akali opposition of the 1975 Emergency ... and more.

    Perhaps it is the right time for the birthing of an organization whose sole intention is to ensure accurate representation of Sikhs on the big screen and TV media - in India and across the diaspora.

    If we get our act together quickly, we may win the battle before it starts destroying our image around the world one more time, this time in a bigger way. Every day we sit and do nothing about this issue is a step towards defeat.

    Here is a bigger challenge: What will you do to educate yourself, your families and friends about 1984 and modern Sikh history. It is plain wrong to expect Hollywood or Bollywood to shed light on our issues fairly, if we ourselves choose to live in the dark.

    But a caveat: One thing we do not want to do is fall into the obvious trap. Remember, a very mediocre filmmaker - Deepa Mehta - has made a career out of movies which intentionally goad certain constituencies into strong, knee-jerk responses which include violent protests, sabotage of sets, death threats, etc. It has worked for almost all of her productions: they give her less than mediocre films an air of legitmacy, oodles of free world-wide publicity ... and a personal air of martyrdom!The result? Her critics have turned her into an international cause celebre!

    Let's think this one out carefully and treat it as a problem we need to solve in our collective boardroom.

    With munn neevan, mutt ucchi - "Wisdom grounded in humility!"

    For more information on the proposed film:

    India Journal - South Asian News for Southern California

    Bollywood and Hollywood collaborate for Indira Gandhi biopic

    Attached Files:

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  3. Mai Harinder Kaur

    Mai Harinder Kaur
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    Mentor Writer SPNer

    Oct 6, 2006
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    I believe that the Indian censors must have shortened the title of this movie. In English, we have a two-word phrase that starts with the word "Mother" that describes Mrs. Indira Gandhi perfectly. :u): ::cool::

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  4. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Mentor Writer SPNer Thinker

    Jun 30, 2004
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    Mai ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    This is one more thing among many that I enjoy in you, which is your "hidden" charm.:)

    Tejwant Singh
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