Reality and Rang De Basanti

Youth awakening is an overrated non-event

When I saw Rang De Basanti in 2006, I came out of the cinema hall all pumped up and ready to kill a few politicians, so to speak. Today, I look at myself and many others around me and all we remember from the intentions of that movie are the performances of the protagonists and nothing else.

During that time, I had promised myself that I would undertake a reality check once the movie is forgotten and props up in its "original cheap" DVD form. And I feel that little has changed. I feel that change is not possible through a movie. And I guess I was naive at the time, to think the same. Two years down the line "What youth awakening", I asked myself?

Youth awakening, in most honest terms, is a misleading hoax brought into the spectrum by the media, movies and many other sources to keep us peppy, positive and distracted from the lassitude that is actually omnipresent and is also the grim reality. The problem with us is that we constantly use glorified and immortalized terms like YOUTH AWAKENING to keep ourselves distant from the devil called reality.

Reality is harsh and our aversion from that probably keeps the un-truth alive and hence today's overtly-capitalist India is actually a hunting ground for emotionally profiteering units called movie production houses and their dispensable products called movies. And Rang De Basanti is exactly the realization of my defeated dreams of widespread change in the country today.

Masala movies have gained such unnecessary precedence in the hierarchy of India's priorities today that people, especially youngsters, are completely oblivious from what is important and even proud of it! As long as they can look like Shahid Kapoor or Mallika Sherawat, they are happy. As long as a movie is out every Friday, life is cool. As long as tickets are affordable, cinema halls run wild. Or rather, they run wild irrespective of that.

Indians, and again mostly youngsters, are feeding themselves on a lifestyle where the word cool is of primary importance and very conveniently ignoring everything that is essential. When a career in modelling becomes cooler than one in the Army, you can sense the misplacement of all priorities. If ever there was a mirage in front of us, it is now. Yes, a few tears roll when a massacre like Mumbai 26/11 takes place. Yes, the youth are out ranting on the streets about irresponsible governments and politicians. Yes, the youth are seemingly keen on bringing change. But all of this is tightening our eye lids and not exactly reaping change.

What do youngsters know? The Prime Minister of the country, the chief minister of their respective state? The Home minister (because he is always in the news)? Regarding our current Prime Minister, the focus is shockingly always on sardar SMSes and hardly anything else. I am certain most youngsters could write a book on the cast of their favourite TV shows, the Nach Baliyes and the Comedy Circuses, but would fail to label their family tree appropriately.

Spoilt and cowardly. At complete loss with his/her morals. Passing exams and rewarding himself/herself with visual treats and food fests. Nothing else, according to this blogger, can more objectively define the so-called young Indian. And hence, youth awakening eats the dust.

And Rang De Basanti remains a DVD.

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  J P Joshi

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 7:57:00 AM PST

I do agree with all that you have written about today. However, I do believe that youth is idealistic and passionate and this is the combination that can bring about change if this idealism and passion can be channelised by a good leader. This is probably lacking in our context. Hopefully one day we will have the youth all geared towards nation building under a good leader. I am very positive it will happen...ek din......


Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 9:13:00 PM PST

Jay, you are an example that youth awareness is not dead, that India's youth is not just spoilt and cowardly, that it is not just "tightening our eyelids"...

There is little doubt that there is little inspiration to be drawn from the present crop of manufactured leaders thrust upon a people who actually have not voted for them. There is also little to be learned from the media and the film industry, both of which are focussed on maximising their returns, can you blame them?

In that little to learn is the real learning, the seed which you and many more like you carry. Water it, nurture it, protect it, make it grow into a mighty tree, a majestic forest...in such seeds lies the heart of real India. Let its beat be heard. Let it guide you and other Indians like you who are India's promise.

  Pangala Nagendra Rao

Thursday, January 1, 2009 at 3:09:00 AM PST

I also feel the same thing as the blog explores. There are numerous movies may not be in comarable numbers with regular masala or so called commercial movies still the josh or whatever, the things needed to get the wake up call is not permanent. But I won't say there is nothing. This story as other part too. Any one after watching movies like RDB, Anniyan, Bhagath Singh etc feels the josh to do something. But the main thing lacking is how to convert that josh to facing challenges of real life. Starting from personal life, job security, family responsibilty, social status etc all these bothers every individual. Then the 'Cool' factor comes to play and all the josh will be lost. That is how the things are moving now. Awakening should be such that it tells how to be inside the ring while getting bumps!


Thursday, January 1, 2009 at 10:38:00 AM PST

Awesome post! I agree with most of what you've said, but the fact also remains that the youth would rather get a job as a spot-boy on a film set to see their favourite actors, rather than try and enter politics at a young age and make a change.

All we need are young, non-corrupt (or at least minimally corrupt), dynamic politicians. And the changes will show.

In my opinion, politics has become such a dirty game, that given a choice, I would rather become president then prime minister of India.

  hitch writer

Friday, January 2, 2009 at 3:54:00 AM PST

Calling a spade is always not an easy pill to swallow ....

Remember again from the same Rang De Basanti ...

Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota, use perfect banana padta hai...

Each country has its problems and each country has capitalist people who only care bout their own bread...

But there are also people who try to make a difference...

If each one of us can take care of himself and try and make a difference himself instead of complaining if so many dont care how can i make a difference,

Each one of us can atleast take full care of what we do... we shall be law abiding citizens, we shall not break rules, we shall vote... simple things...

Already after a mistake politicians too now fear, they apologise, resign they are starting to feel accountable after the 26th november attacks....

Behold my friend India is awakening !!!


Friday, January 2, 2009 at 10:27:00 PM PST

Like Vinod says in his comment, there are people like you (and a lot of your readers) who are aware of the current issues and long for a better, progressive India.

I agree that today's Indian youth mostly disappoints me in their shallowness and contempt for sanity. But i like to believe that on the other extreme we have people who do care for the nation and are willing to work towards improving the state of affairs.

Rang De Basanti can only happen in movies. It is probably too far fetched to happen in real India. A revolution (if i may call it that) is a gradual process and cant happen overnight.


Friday, January 2, 2009 at 10:54:00 PM PST

@J P Joshi
Thanks. Yes, but the channelizing has gone completely awry Mr. Joshi. Ek din...:-)

@Vinod Sharma
Thank you for the kind words.

I agree that the current leaders are no inspiration but it is the duty of the youth to learn their history and realize who their true role models can be. I am just upset at the liking taken to the Page 3 culture by the youth, which is shocking.

If we dont do our duty, then we cant blame anyone but ourselves.

@Pangala Nagendra Rao
Yes. I agree.

Hmm. I would agree. But the President is selected by those same elected representatives of ours.

For example, Pratibha Patil's history with corruption and kick backs towards her private initiatives are well documented in history.

And the UPA still selected her!

@Hitch Writer
Ha ha. Thanks for the motivation. Wonderful.

Nice words and spot on, AD.


Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 3:41:00 AM PST

The citizens of a nation only come together in case of a crisis. For e.g. after the Mumbai attacks, whole of the Mumbai was on the streets. It takes a handful of atrocities to wake up the youth. But, we can protest and raise a voice. The rest of the work had to be done by the politicians. That is where everything goes wrong.
The problem is that we don't have anyone to inspire us, to unite us. A mob is always directionless without a leader.

  How do we know

Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 10:12:00 PM PST

if i tell u whats on my mind, will u join hands to do it? no violence, but definite action.


Monday, January 5, 2009 at 10:45:00 AM PST

Budddy , if we are not passionate when we are young , then when will we be so ? RDB may still be a DVD , but it was inspiring . And while the nation has not seen the uprising as promised , but who knows , may be it is around the corner . And what you said about youth is applicable to the urban youth mostly . The majority of India still lives in its villages .


Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 5:44:00 PM PST

I think most of the things u've written must be right, as all these people agree with you. However, what I feel is our youngsters, WE are a lot more righteous and nationalistic than our counterparts in other countries, obviously our countries have different problems too. What is more important is that the system and life struggles beat that moral core out of you as we grow up. Rang De Basanti is an example of how something can inspire and put brakes on that progressive deterioration of values and if possible reverse the corruption as such


Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 8:07:00 AM PST

kya likha hai dude...trust me this was the first blog that i have read of urs...whatever u said is the naked truth....keep bloggin man.....


Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 10:13:00 AM PST

Very true.
but i firmly believe that RDB is not only in movies. They modeled it all on real events, and drew parallels, how can it be only a movie, and how can its event only happen in a movie?
We can make it happen, in our own little bits.


Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 1:20:00 AM PST

Yes. A leader is lacking. Life would be much easier if we had better leaders. Instead, we have pseudo-leaders who promote nonsense that we could well do without.

@How do we know
Please do.

Yes. I agree. My post was based on a collection of random thoughts on urban youth. It was a little generalized as there will definitely be many exceptions. But when I see a huge crowd next to a multiplex and a small one next to a museum, I'm forced to bring my feelings out.

If you think what I've written is wrong, feel free to debate.

We are more nationalistic than maybe the youth in countries like the US, but we are definitely way more ignorant. The first thing that comes naturally to us is ignorance, and then the feeling of being Indian.

Thanks for the kind words. Keep visiting.

Yes. "Own little bits" is a start.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 10:43:00 PM PDT

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