On Why Rang De Basanti Would’ve Never Gotten That Oscar

This is a short essay about my personal feelings about why India’s entry to the Oscars, Rang De Basanti and why it would’ve never gotten the Academy’s Award.

Let me tell you first off, that I have no authority whatsoever, on the technical side to really make any comments. But I do have every authority as a discerning viewer to make these comments.

Plus it’s my blog and I’ll write what I want to!

What follows is a list of movies which have won the Oscars which I have actually watched. Therefore, my commentary on the subject above will be a comparison to these movies, especially regarding my favorite part of any movie – The Plot.

So here is the list: (Credit to Wikipedia for the info)

1939: Gone With The Wind
1941: How Green Was My Valley
1943: Casablanca
1958: Gigi
1959: Ben-Hur
1964: My Fair Lady
1965: The Sound of Music
1972: The Godfather
1979: Kramer vs Kramer
1982: Gandhi
1984: Amadeus
1987: The Last Emperor
1988: Rain Man
1990: Dances With Wolves
1991: The Silence of The Lambs
1993: Schindler’s List
1994: Forrest Gump
1995: Braveheart
1997: Titanic
1998: Shakespeare in Love
1999: American Beauty
2000: Gladiator
2001: A Beautiful Mind
2002: Chicago
2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2004: Million Dollar Baby
2006: The Departed


I have personally watched all these movies, some of them several times as I happen to own the CD of a few of these movies.

What struck me odd when I saw RDB (Rang De Basanti) was how the writer could take such a beautifully constructed plot and then screw it all in the end. For the most part, the movie went down well with audiences in India and even with me, till I saw the end.

The movie captures the angst of the urban and rural youth of India. The youth who are stuck within traps of their own making for the most part. With an ample dash of nationalistic fervor thrown in for good measure. Concurrent to the story is the dairy of a young British woman’s grandfather who witnessed the hanging of Bhagat Singh. So while she chucks it all in Britain to come film her dream movie, she encounters these people. She sees shadows of the characters of her film in all of them and they are all thrown into a mish-mash of flashbacks and current events occurring in the movie. All this was very well done.

The script then began to screw up big time. While the story established the need of the characters to gain justice, albeit through the time tested method of Satyagraha, they then resort to killing of the corrupt politician.

What did not go down well with me was when they took over the Radio Station (??!!) and began telling the world what they had done, the army commandos attack them and shoot them on sight. I know for a fact that the Army or the Police are legally not allowed to do that. They cannot shoot unless the firing comes first from the other side. In the movie, they did not even try to negotiate. They just shot the characters. Which was the most unrealistic part of the movie.

After killing the politician, why didn’t these people simply turn themselves in? This would have been more in keeping with the story so far.

Or they could have just exposed the corrupt politician in the media and gotten their revenge.

I mean, at the end of it all, it was just a waste!

So, if I compare this movie with all the movies listed above, I find it sadly lacking in coherence vis-à-vis the plot and storyline and the actual culmination of the development of the characters over the duration of the story.

India making its foray into the Oscars is all very nice. But they have to realize that formulae that work with the Rickshawallah crowd do not work with the Academy.

Even though a movie may have an innovative presentation style, it may not be competent enough. Most movie makers forget that the basis of any good movie is still its script, and not the popularity of the actors, songs or technical innovation. There are other awards for such categories.

From my point of view, a movie becomes a ‘Best Picture’ if it qualifies on all these fronts and more. The movie has to satisfy the viewers with the quality of the storyline and has to be pretty much logically in line with the build-up of the story. The climax must certainly not be an anti-climax. The movie and its (ill)logical ending must make sense to those evolved sensibilities and intellects sitting there and voting for the movie.

Language is never a barrier. I have seen Chinese movies with subtitles which make more sense that this movie.

Movies like RDB will never win an Oscar. My Humble Suggestions:

Write a good plot. Re-Write it. Let it at least make sense. Read it from a third person’s point of view. Read it from a point of view of a person who is a total stranger to Indian culture, way of life etc. Technically making a movie up to par with international standards is just not good enough. The story should be that way too. A random stranger from any part of the world should be able to easily relate to the conflict within the character and characters, very easily.

Perhaps, then we may even win an Oscar or two!

Junk In My Inbox

Here is an excerpt of the junk that I get on a daily basis in my Inbox – this means at least 5 e-mails everyday.

What is CIALIS?

CIALIS is the only ED (Erectile Disfunction) tablet clinically proven to work both
up to 36 hours and in as fast as 30 minutes. And because CIALIS has an extended
period of effectiveness, you don’t have the pressure to perform within a few hours.
You and your partner can relax and take your time choosing the moment that is right for both of you.

Benefits of CIALIS

• Works up to 36 hours
• Works fast
• Works Effectively
• Keeps you ready
• No need to plan around meals
• Used by millions of men

This is of course followed by a link to buy this stuff online.

Quite an informative e-mail at that. And I am sure that those of us who have such issues will most probably click on that link or visit their doctor.

But then, I have a slight problem here.

I mean I don’t see any chance in THIS lifetime to get Erectile Dysfunction (notice the spelling error made in the e-mail content).

To spell it out: I am a woman, and therefore, I do not possess the basic requisites of getting ED – which is quite clearly a Penis.

So, they keep sending me these mails and I keep adding these senders to my blocked senders list. *fumes*

My Honest Request To All These Junk E-Mail Senders:

Please check the gender of the person(s) to whom you are sending these mails out.

For Goddess’ Sake Stop!

Old People

Old people – that is people who have advanced in age, somehow feel that their age gives them an advantage of sorts. An advantage to open their mouth and speak whatever the hell they feel like and no one will ever dare say anything against them. I particularly find that is true of my landlady. Whenever she says something like that to me, I try to keep my mouth shut. That ‘one must respect one’s elders’ has been fed into me along with my mother’s milk.

I take my meals with my landlords. Not for free mind you – I pay them. I pay money for the maid who comes to cook, for the milk (I think they take a bit extra from me here, but I let it go) and for groceries. So its not that it’s free. And they think that I have pots of money which I don’t. A freelancer doesn’t make as much. While they are living a good life – money-wise – they have 3 people paying them the sum total of twice the money I make in a month (if I am lucky, that is).

So yesterday the maid didn’t land. So I ordered for a small pizza. I was moving stuff around in my room so that it is according to Vaastu and we had decided that I will come down and make some dal-rice in the cooker. So around the time that I was supposed to go down, I called them to tell them that I would be a bit late as I still had to bathe. She informs me that they have already made their food and eaten it. So then I ask if anything is left. She tells me that a bit of it is left. So I told her that they might need it in the evening for dinner and that I will eat outside.

I take my breakfast with them every morning. Trust me – if Oliver Twist were alive, he would know what I am talking about. One simply can’t ‘ask for more’. It’s lucky that I even get that much, I suppose.

So their son, daughter-in-law and their 2 kids are due to arrive in August and will stay for a week or so. She tells me today at breakfast to figure something out for myself for the whole month. I mean what’s the deal with that! If she would have said a week, then I would have understood. But the whole month!

I think I shall finish this month and tell her that I am not going to take my meals with them ever. Who likes it when someone is always leaning over your shoulder and counting every morsel that you consume.

My landlord – now he is a nice person. Funny, and a bit wacky. But nice. He asked me today about what I had for food yesterday. So when I told them that I had ordered for pizza last afternoon, my landlady makes a snide comment that I always go to eat in 5 star restaurants. I gave her an “Oh Yeah!” comment and walked out. I mean that is why I am staying in a one room with attached bathroom set-up where they observe when I come and go and who comes and goes. Because it is 5 star accommodation! Yeah Right!

So I am going out today and will not come back home till I have procured an electric hot plate. They have forbidden me to cook on a gas stove up here. Apparently, one of the girls who had stayed in this room here had blown up her gas. So I can’t use mine. I have a gas stove and a kerosene one as well. But I can’t use it. So I shall get an electric one and have my meals in peace. And they can eat their food in peace, counting all the pieces they swallow, to their hearts content. I will become independent and save a whole bunch of money cooking in my room.

Old people really think that they can get away with anything they say and do simply because age gives them some kind of advantage, or so they think. I just hope that I don’t turn out like them when I grow old.

Anal-ise This!

I am reading this book about psychology. And the book is full of amazing insights. Actually it is a ‘Teach Yourself’ book for Counseling. It makes sense for me to read it because I encounter some interesting situations in my profession as a Tarot card reader.

Anyhows, the book, while it is an interesting read, is also full of some interesting theories. This post is me going anal about some statements which I read in there and obviously one has to rant, explore and free-write about such stuff.

Freud noted that people repeatedly replay difficult or troubling relationships and situations which were originally experienced in the early years of life. The individual will have the ‘compulsion to repeat’ the unresolved material, until the unconscious element is brought into consciousness.

John Bowlby wrote about ‘Attachment Theory’ where he talks about the theme of attachment with regard to loss, sadness and depression. He said that the early prototypal attachment relationship affects the ability to form healthy attachments to others in later life. Insecure experiencing resulting from inconsistent or poor parenting, involving abandonment or loss, can lead a child or an adolescent to live in a constant state of anxiety, in the fear that they might lose their attachment figure. This expresses itself in ways like anger, sadness and depression, and in the difficulties in manifesting attachment behavior.

So I begin to think to myself. The logic of this psychology stuff states that the way we react with men in life depends on the stuff you had going on with your father and the way we react with women in life depends on the stuff you had going on with your mother.

So my father used to indulge me in my childhood – or so I was told. Too bad, I cannot remember it. Anyways, it all came crashing down one day when I refused to do something that he said and he was angry to the point of wanting to throw me out of the car onto the highway, enroute to our home. Which of course, he never did. But kept referring back to it time and again, while I was growing up and wouldn’t do what he said, and saying that he should have done it back then. So I have this great insecurity about the men in my life. If I don’t please them, listen to them and so on, I will be thrown out into the cold. As a by-product, the rebellious nature within also manifests in me wanting to prove to the guy that I don’t need him – how contrary! I am always the one seducing the guy. In my entire life, I have never been seduced by a guy, ever. I have to take the lead.

Now my mother probably did all the stuff that she was supposed to do for me as I was a child. I know she would have. I don’t remember though. Anyhow, as I was growing up, she had it that I had to become ‘independent’. I had to figure things out. I had to find things out on my own. I had to live on my own. And so on and on. She never accompanied me anywhere if I asked her to. I used to be scared a little, I guess. But she just sent me on my way. Never came with me. The good part was I learnt how to figure things out. The bad part was I was always left feeling lost and insecure. Sometimes this manifests in me being too brash in strange places. I have this idiotic habit of talking to complete strangers while I am standing in a line for something. So in my relationships with other women friends, I want them to provide all that my mother never did. Recompense, in a way. Not fair, but it happens.

It’s not that easy to be alone. No one likes it. I, for one, don’t like it much. Of course, there are things I do when I am alone. But then there are times when you want someone to talk to, cuddle with and so on. So to have all that happening, I keep running myself down and feeding people’s egos just so that they stay in my life. I don’t want to be left alone.

Here it is, in black and white. Fear of being left alone. The root cause for all the anguish and the pain. I must eradicate this fear from within me. Otherwise, I shall keep on repeating the same mistakes again and again, and obviously arrive at the same results. Frustrating process this is.

I suppose I shall ask the cards for guidance. And meditate. That is the best thing I know how to do! LOL

Gotta do this, just to get a handle on my life!


Why am I depressed?
Why am I so down?
‘Humanity’ does disappoint,
That’s how the seeds were sown.

Concepts were created,
Ideals were devised.
Time was to be a ‘Healer’,
So that Principles get revised.

Let go of all this nonsense.
Let go of all your ‘sense’.
And soon the rain will fall,
True Innocence will glisten.

The cleansing and the shine,
Old re-appearing as ‘New’.
There is nothing to hold on to,
Only the ‘inner self’ is true!

Copyright Madhavi Ghare 2007.