Tag Archives: Rajiv Gandhi

Madras Cafe Review: Dark, Deep And Exemplary Storytelling

madras cafe

By Ankush Kumar

Cast: John Abraham, Nargis Fakhri, and Raashi Khanna.

Introduction: Coffee apart, this one filters bullshit as well and presents an engaging political thriller; get off the train baby and head right into ‘Madras Cafe’.

Premise: This is a story about a hero who fails to save the Prime minister. It’s built around the incidents leading upto the assassination of the Prime minister.

Plot: ‘Madras Cafe’ is a dark, deep and exemplary film about the politics of separatism. If you have a penchant for history and know a little about the LTTE struggle, the connect will be instant. For the naive, it still is an engaging entertainer. Even though no names are taken its quite obvious that the story is about Prabhakaran, LTTE and the killing of Rajiv Gandhi.

Technical Insight: The cinematography by Kamaljeet Negi captures the right tones throughout, the music is unconventional but has a double play value, the editing and sound designs is the stand out aspect of the film. But what puts a cherry on the top is the direction of Shoojit Sircar.

Acting: John Abraham plays a RAW agent, and for a change looks and behaves like one. Nargis Fakhri essays the role of a war correspondent and does it brilliantly. Raashi Khanna is promising but the stand out one is is Prakash Belawade as John associate who takes home the honors.

Kela moment: Jaya speaking in English and Vikram answering in Hindi.

Citizen Kane moment: The climax of the movie.

Brownie points: 4 out of 5.

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Defining Moments : India at 66

As India takes one more step forward, let us take a look at 11 defining moments after its Independence.

From Dominion to Republic, 1950.

From Dominion to Republic

The Dominion of India becomes the Republic of India on 26th January 1950 by adopting the newly drafted constitution. Today, we are the largest democracy in the world and the constitution is the largest one in the world and maintains its unique nature while adopting several portions from British, US & other constitutions of the world.

Biggest Gamble in History : First General Elections 1951-52

First General Elections 1951-52

It was like the biggest gamble in the history of India. Consider, first of all, the size of the electorate: 176 million Indian voters of whose more than 85% could not read or write. Each one had to be identified, named & registered. At stake were around 4500 seats – about 500 for Parliament and rest for Provincial assemblies. Again these figures are not enough, there were 224,000 polling booths, 2 million steel ballot boxes (made of 8200 tonnes of steel) and about 380,000 reams of paper were used. And with all this, India went to its first general elections.

Redrawing the Map : State Reorganization Act, 1956

State Reorganization

India is a land of many languages, each with its distinct script, grammar, vocabulary and literary traditions. And as we became independent, demand for states on linguistic and ethnic identities started growing. It was the 58 – day long fast of Potti Sriramulu that led to the creation of Andhra Pradesh and setting up the First State Reorganization Commission. Potti Sriramulu might be a forgotten man today but his fast and its aftermath sparked off a wholesale redrawing of the map of India on linguistic lines.

The Experience of Defeat ; Sino – Indian War, 1962

1962 India China War

As the Dalai Lama crossed into India in 1959 and China tightened its control over Tibet, the “Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai’ slogans on the border were replaced by “Yeh Zameen Hamara Hai, Tum Wapas Jao”. Border & territorial claims of both the countries were starkly different and as China grew stronger under the Communist rule, it was determined to undo all the ground positions. As China attacked India in 1962, the war lead to a bitter defeat for ill-prepared India. The India-China conflict, then, was a clash of national myths, national egos, national insecurities and ultimately of the national armies.

Victory against Pakistan, 1965

1965 War

Pakistan’s ruler Ayub Khan and his company were encouraged by the debacle against China in 1962. But they forgot that it was in wet & slippery Himalayas, while war with Pakistan is on a terrain that Indians knew much better. The victory in the 1965 war came as a confidence booster to everybody, be it army, civilians or the Govt.

The Uncertain years and the Bangladesh War, 1967-71

Pakistan

Once the Congress was the national cohesive force, but by late 1960s, it was split into disputatious parts. Between Banking nationalization, slogans of “Garibi Hatao” and several other reforms by Mrs. Indira Gandhi, India was again facing trouble from its western neighbor, but this time on the eastern frontiers. The than East Pakistan was witnessing popular uprising for a separate nation and this lead to a war between India & Pakistan. Within 6 days, Indian army had marched till Dacca. It was hailed as the biggest victory ever in Indian history and it changed the map of the subcontinent.

The Emergency Years, 1975-77

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After Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was found guilty of electoral malpractice, she declared State of Emergency in June 1975. The emergency revived the debate as to whether India could, should, or ever would be reliably democratic. The emergency was lifted in 1977, and India saw its first non-Congress govt, though a short-lived one.

Operation Blue Star and Assassination of the Indira Gandhi, 1984

Assassination of Indira

As militancy and violence was on the peak in Punjab, the Indian Government decided to attack the Khalistan movement and “Operation Blue Star” was launched in July 1984. As a consequence, in October that year, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards and this was followed by large-scale Anti-Sikh riots in Northern India. Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as the Prime Minister.

Mandal, Kamandal & Economic Reforms : 1990-92

Babri Mosque Demolition

In 1990, the controversy rose over PM V.P. Singh’s decision to implement 1980 recommendations of the Mandal commission for further job reservations to “other backward classes”. The same year Bharatiya Janata Party launched nationwide protests over Ayodhya issue. After the tenth General elections in 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by LTTE terrorists. The economy took a downturn, and gold reserves were pawned to stave off default on international debt. In 1992, Babri Masjid was demolished and riots broke out not only in India but in several other countries.

Peace & War, 1999

Lahore Bus Trip

As Prime Minister Vajpayee undertook a historic bus journey to Pakistan and signs a declaration of peace; within a few days, Pakistani soldiers crossed the LOC and infiltrated Indian Kashmir. India repulsed the attack and Pakistan lost the brief, but bloody, border conflict in the Himalayan district of Kargil.

Gandhi’s land in communal riots, 2002

Gujarat Riots 2002

As several Kar Sevaks were burned to death in an attack on Sabarmati Express in Godhra town in 2002, large-scale Hindu-Muslim riots broke out in Gujarat leaving over a thousand dead.

IPL, Indian Politics And The People of India

politics

Our anonymous government critic points down why IPL is the least important with what is happening around India and its governance. 

One of those special weapons, super power which is used by spin doctors is the hook, a competitive mental angle, weapon of mass distraction which came in the form of the Indian Premier League and the Congress spin doctors are rejoicing. The UPA celebrates its fourth birthday recently, they tried distracting the public sentiments by their ‘Bharat Nirmaan’, their Bharat Nirmaan sounds like a female wore a mini-skirt, not because she was independent, but because, she shaved her legs. The Bharat Nirman sounded like those advertising programs decreed to vagaries of ignorance.

What the Congress could not do with crores of advertising budget, a hook in the form of the IPL did. Even Rajiv’s birthday and the Congress failures in the fourth-term did not defer our mass media. They covered the IPL with much-gusto disregarding Rajiv Gandhi and the Congress.

What is more surprising is how the media/police/officialdom found a Bollywood scape goat in the form of Vindoo. Everything said and done, the Congress is loving this moment in history. For once no one wants to know of strategic matters and corruption they are involved in. The Japan-China-India foreign affairs is now less important in the media than having foreign players in the Indian Premier League. With the spot-fixing, there are more hooks for story-telling linked to legalizing of betting, increasing role of the BCCI and the thin line between cricket and entertainment.

If you need to look at breaking news, ask yourself, what are they breaking news against. Perhaps, we owe much political debate against our government and Congress’ performance than the IPL, also important, but not at this moment.

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