- a juvenile propaganda film (Movie Review)
When you see people like Chhattisgarh ex-DGP Vishwa Ranjan, who was perennially under fire for the pathetic human rights abuse in the state during his term, and state Chief Minister Raman Singh being thanked before the film, you know that "Aalaap" at best will be a one-sided state propaganda film.
To find it to be one isn`t surprising. What does surprise is that the filmmaking is as juvenile, simplistic, illogical and outright dumb as its ideology.
Four young adults, after watching soldiers being blown up by a Maoist landmine in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh, are restless at this mindless violence. Angry, they finally realise that they have the `weapon` with which they can fight Maoists - music.
Exactly how music is supposed to end any violent struggle anywhere, one must find from the talented and debutante writer-director Manish Manikpuri.
Besides this very basic and fundamentally flawed premise, its flaws are too many to recount.
The biggest flaw is that it is an unabashedly one sided and one dimensional film. Maoists are equated to terrorists and one after another characters scream at the screen talking about how Naxalism is the worst thing that has happened to the country.
What is not fair, however, is to completely blind out the other side which claims the state to be the aggressor stating that tribal having no other option but to turn to Naxals to protect their hearth and homes.
There isn`t even one-line lip-service paid to the side of the tribal who have seen 644 of their villages burnt (official figures), thousands killed including women and children and scores of women raped in the pogrom unleashed by the state to give their mineral rich lands to corporates.
The death of soldiers and civilians needs condemnation. The death of thousands of tribal needs equal condemnation. Does the filmmaker even consider a tribal to be a human to care giving his side as well?
There isn`t thus an iota of doubt that this is a state propaganda film.
As propaganda films go, the history of cinema is rife with examples including "Casablanca". In recent time "The Hurt Locker" was picked up by the American state, awarded with hordes of Oscars and made into a propaganda because of its pro-war leanings.
As you will notice, no matter how twisted their ideology, the quality of both the films was exemplary. Indeed one can even argue that for propaganda film that is wrong in many ways, to be right at least when it comes to their technical specs, is an absolute must.
You have no such luck with this film with its entire gamut of filmmaking being as terrible as its ideology, excelled only by a wrong casting and terrible dialogue writing. A small saving grace is provided by a few tracks by the music band Agnee. Sadly their music too fluctuates between the inspiring and downright insipid.
With the state-sponsored Operation Green Hunt taking lives on both sides of the divide, this insensitive film seems like a terrible nightmare one hoped one had not seen.
It`s an insult to each - civilians, soldiers and tribal killed in the conflict zone.
Aalaap is an upcoming musical drama film and the first film directed by Manish Manikpuri. The film is set and shot in and around present day with the main protagonists being college students with a passion for music.