There are movies made, that are not very impressive. Movies which might not hit the box office every Friday. Movies that will lack a glamorous star cast. But there’s something about these movies which makes you ponder about them. You might linger on to a certain scene, certain dialogue or even a character. From the theaters you take that scene, dialogue or character with you to your home because you know there was a click which is ineffable in it’s essence. But it was true to it’s identity.
Partho Sen-Gupta’s 2004 movie,”Hava Aney Dey” (Let the Wind Blow) is one such movie that could have been an emerging voice of Indian cinema had it not been banned by CBFC. Before I try to substantiate my point let me give you a gist of this movie.
PLOT: The story is set in 1998 of Bombay. The time when India was gripped by paranoia about Pakistan’s nuclear tests and Indian society was undergoing a sea change. The lower-and middle class workers were heading to Dubai, while the educated class stayed behind to welcome the wonders of Internet. Amidst this chaos, comes our protagonist Arjun, an 18 year old college going boy who has an anxious eye for the growing tensions between India and Pakistan but at the same time his hormonal age seeks for other distractions. Arjun is very disoriented. He questions the class structure and dreams to get out of this vicious circle of the society.
Arjun, Salma(his lover) and Chabia(his best friend) all these three characters, no matter how disillusioned they are, believe they control their own destinies. However, Arjun is the only one who seems to be paying attention to the external forces that are controlling their destinies for them.
One of the most prominent characteristics of this film is the realistic approach it is attached to. When it comes to Indian Cinema, I think, we are not fully done with the melodrama owing to the substantial audience we have for it. But the fact that the society still demands for something that is more relate-able is also not beyond ones comprehension or what one will fantasize.
But the Ban!!! The Censor Board had asked for 21 cuts in the film. And for what? For using crude Mumbai lingo. And when the filmmaker, Partho Sen-Gupta, refused to surrender to these cuts, the movie did not release in India.
‘They hit us mainly upon the ‘colloquial’ Mumbai language and ‘suggested’ so many cuts and sound blips that it became impossible to show the film. I refused them not only because they would be attacking my work but also for the simple reason that it was impossible to do so. The film had been mixed and we had already done a Digital Inter-negative in France. I also did not have connections in high places that would have helped finding the middle ground. Seeing this complicated situation, the Indian co-producer panicked and decided not to pursue the matter anymore. In other words he just dumped the film,’ says Partho Sen Gupta.
Such was the take of the filmmaker who refused to let down his work to the Censor Board. A movie he envisioned to resonate with the youth till present was subjected to cuts and censorship under the garb of language authenticity. However, we tend to forget that any art is actually the vocalization of artist’s opinion, how he/she visualizes the world. This film is just the representation of how the so called “minor lives” are often ignored by the government, because it wants to achieve greater “public peace and prosperity”. And this compels the tender minds to explore the world and take charge of their own lives.
The concept of Karma is not what drives the lives of youth. It is the cultural influence which makes an impact. Their entitlement to their problems and desires is beautifully woven in a complicated web. This web is the mirror of the social scenario the movie relates to. Denying this movie it’s right to be showcased on big screen did harm the Indian audience’s right to question the government.
Censoring this movie or it’s scenes was actually a very tactical blow to silence the Indian youth that struggles each and every day against the odds of life. A life they did not choose! A life they have been compelled to live!
In the end I would quote the maker of this film,Mr. Partho Sen Gupta “I want to make films that have some voice, some artistic leap, which do not try to imitate and copy, films that can hopefully live longer than me”.
By Aanchal Malhotra