Posts Tagged ‘rajiv gandhi


Film Review: Madras Cafe

Shoojit Sircar’s film is a political thriller that takes itself seriously and allows you to take it seriously. This movie review doesn’t contain spoilers

bollywood-madras-cafe-posterMadras Cafe is a Hindi movie that has nothing to do with Eid, Diwali, Ganpati, star power. It is a political thriller that isn’t adulterated with romance, and it doesn’t have songs for the masses to hum. Madras Cafe is that rare Hindi film which has nothing in common with the Bollywood fare that is thrown at you every week.

Madras Cafe is about the LTTE (LTF in the movie), why they plotted the assassination of Indian ex-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, how they executed their plan, and how a few men unsuccessfully tried to stop it.

A peace force is dispatched from India to Sri Lanka to restore calm before the upcoming elections, but the Senalese, who have been wiping out ethnic Tamils, are now constantly being attacked by the LTF – a Tamilian militant outfit created by Anna Bhaskaran (remember LTTE chief Prabhakaran?), and John Abraham, RAW’s most efficient agent, finds himself in Jaffna.

nargis-fakhri-in-madras-cafe-movieIt’s hard to get over how unlike everything else in Bollywood this film is. Shoojit Sircar is an excellent director, and I came out of my hiatus to watch Madras Cafe only because I loved Vicky Donor (read my review of that movie here), and I’m happy to tell you Madras Cafe has no songs, no heroes flexing their biceps and thrashing twenty goons at a time, no flying cars… you get it, but let me go on… nobody’s trying to be witty or macho, and there isn’t even a hint of the possibility of a love angle. Nargis Fakhri (read my review of her film Rockstar here) is a journalist, and nothing happens between her and John Abraham… they don’t even seem remotely interested in flirting or even smiling at each other. Madras Cafe is all about the story, and because of the way it has been told, written, edited and directed, is what you should watch if you’re interested in seeing a Hindi movie that doesn’t embarrass you in any way. It’s a fictional story that takes place in a dark chapter of Indian history.

john-abraham-madras-cafeI tip my hat to John Abraham for, despite being very much a part of Bollywood, having the balls to not make Madras Cafe “salable” at the box office. This is his second triumph as a producer and perhaps his first as an actor (read my review of his action flick Force here). Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Cafe is a film that takes itself seriously and allows you to take it seriously.

RATING: 3.5/5

READ: An update about my band Solar Deity’s new album Devil Worship on Eight Octaves


Rajiv Gandhi’s Union Carbide Connection

Union Carbide is a subsidiary of Dow Chemicals.

By Dinkar Kamani

The media is playing dumb again pretending not to know who allowed the Union Carbide boss in India, Warren Anderson to get away after a lethal gas, methyl isocyanate leaked from the company’s factory in Bhopal in 1984 killing over 3,500 people, maiming another 15,000-odd and killing them thereafter.
Frankly, when I heard it myself, I was left thinking, surprisingly, I wasn’t taken aback. But I suddenly lost respect for a man, probably the only Congressman I held in high-esteem. His name is Rajiv Gandhi.
The facts were already out. In 1984, there was a Congress government in Madhya Pradesh headed by perhaps the most trusted and senior member of the Congress party – Arjun Singh.
For days on end, the media has anguished over the name of the person who could have ordered Arjun Singh to fly Anderson in the chief ministerial plane to Delhi. The man is none other than Rajiv Gandhi, who was then, prime minister of India — a person I had immense respect and admiration for.
It is a wonder that the electronic media-men (and women), who make it their business to poke and gnaw various panelists by asking them the most inopportune questions, have failed to grasp a few facts that require only the application of one’s common sense.
This common sense will prevail the moment one looks at simple facts. Firstly, that Bhopal was under the jurisdiction of the Congress chief minister at the time – Arjun Singh. Secondly, that it is but obvious that it could only have been the chief minister who could have put Anderson in his private plane and have him flown to Delhi. Thirdly, that Arjun Singh could not have acted of his own accord without the consent of his boss in Delhi – prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Lastly, it is highly unlikely that Anderson could have flown from Delhi to New York without the express approval of the prime minister himself. Let us believe for a moment, that Rajiv Gandhi did not want Anderson to escape. If so, why wasn’t Anderson detained when he landed in Delhi? It is not cryptic, however, that these facts escaped one of the more loquacious news channel anchors who has a foul habit of cutting off his panelist mid-sentence.
It is not surprising that sycophantic Congressmen who have always towed the line of dynastic accession to the Congress throne, will never speak out against their demigods – the Gandhis, hoping that they will receive a few crumbs from their table, ever more so now, because the former prime minister’s widow presides over the Congress party, and his son is being groomed to take the prime minister’s job in the not-so-distant-future.
Finally, the the media also failed to ask inconvenient questions to the Congress regarding compensation handed out to the victims of the tragedy. The original compensation sought was $3.5 billion, but only $450 million was given as settlement. This is clearly a failure on part of both the central and state governments. Even as of today, 26 years after the terrible tragedy, $350 million still remains to be distributed to the victims of what can easily be called the world’s biggest industrial accident to date. Why has this not been done?
But what will go down in the annals of history is the fact that in the aftermath of the Bhopal gas tragedy, it was prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and the Congress government, who allowed Union Carbide and it’s chief to get away with what I would call a grave crime against innocent Indians. Mistakes were made, no doubt, but no attempts were made to correct those mistakes. And the Indian media has chosen to ignore facts yet again for a purpose which does not demand significant application of reasoning to fathom.
[Written with the help of the article “For them Rajiv could do no wrong” by Virendra Kapoor, Inside Story, Afternoon Despatch and Courier, Monday, June 14, 2010.]
Also Read: Taking Sides

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