Saturday, February 24, 2007
Bindi, Colonel Sanders and I went today to see Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Bollywood epic Eklavya - The Royal Guard. (It's Chopra's first film in seven years; he also directed Mission Kashmir, which was cowritten by Caca's favorite Park Slope-based writer, Suketu Mehta. Chopra also wrote and produced Parineeta and the Munna Bhai movies; he is currently in preproduction on his Hollywood debut, 64 Squares).
Eklavya was short, sweet and lovely, and featured Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt *and* Saif Ali Khan. The acting was.... understated. The visuals were stunning. The scenes were short and to the point. And there was only one song.
Amitabh Bachchan, by the way, had his own beard stylist for the film.
The recurring theme was dharma, which ties into the ideas of karma and reincarnation. It questioned the idea of dharma as blind duty, as in the story of Eklavya in the Mahabharata. (In Hinduism, in order to achieve good karma (and burn away bad karma) it is important to live life according to dharma, or what is right. This involves doing what is right / one's duty for the individual, the family, the class or caste and also for the universe itself. If one goes against the norm it can result in bad karma....Anything that helps a human being to reach god is dharma and anything that hinders a human being from reaching God is adharma. For instance, in the epic poem Mahabharata, the Pandavas (righteous ones) represent dharma in life and the Kauravas (land grabbers) represent adharma).
The film suggested dharma is no longer about following the path of righteousness as defined by tradition if it results in awful acts. The concusion was that dharma should be rooted in reason - Dharma Mitabhya Utghrita.
Imagine if they started raising questions like that in American films....
People might actually wake up and start to think.
For Bindfry's take on the film, click here.