• Uses of History: Rang De Basanti and Lage Raho Munnabhai

    The present being a product of the past, our attempt to understand history is a part of our endeavor to understand ourselves and shape our world today.  However, it is also true that often our understanding of the present determines the way we look at history.  So, when it is popular imagination that is involved […]

  • Mangal Pandey: The Rising: Articulating the Nation?

    Aarti Wani, “A Dream and a Nightmare” (30 August 2005); and “Three Films and a Nation” (22 October 2005) Ketan Mehta‘s Mangal Pandey: The Rising was four years in the making before it was released this August with the hype normal to any mainstream Hindi cinema.  Barring a few exceptions, the film received good reviews […]

  • Three Films and a Nation

    The number of films on national figures like Gandhi, Ambedkar, Savarkar, and Bhagat Singh, as well as films like Lagaan and Gadar, in recent years point to an interest in revaluation and reinterpretation of history, especially that of the freedom struggle, in India. That this has happened in the last few years needs an explanation. […]

  • A Dream and a Nightmare

    Two films, Paheli and Matrubhumi: A Nation without Women, hit theatres in India within weeks of each other. Significantly, both the films, directed by Amol Palekar and Manish Jha respectively, have or claim to have women at the centre of their discourse. In the promos of Paheli, the producer-actor Shah Rukh Khan talked of the […]