I was passing by one of those seedy movies theaters that you see in the seedier parts of Bangalore. This one too was festooned with streamers and serial lights, which seem to be ever present in these theaters. This time I saw a giant poster of the Kamalahaasan movie Indian. The “I” in Indian was the picture of the ‘older’ Kamalahaasan in Khaakhi. This movie is about an old man who became a killer after the some tragic circumstances in his life bought about by politicians and people in authority. The movie was a huge hit. Kamalahaasan acted as the old man, the wife and the son in a triple role. The poster was signed by a string of names from the Kamalahaasan Fan Club.
During the time this movie was released, a slew of similar productions hit the floor, all with the same theme. Man gets abused by politician, or his daughter/wife/sister raped by a politician or his son/father/brother killed by a politician, and spineless cops etc etc. These themes were sure fire hits and made many a producer rich.
Someone left a comment on Poomanam sometime back that “movies reflect life”. How true. And movie makers who are willing to harvest current sentiments always win. It is evident by the popularity of these movies that there is a great deal of resentment against the all powerful rich politicians. And it is this aspect about our people that puzzles me. If this is the case then ‘why oh why’ do the crowd that watch these movies elect them?????
When I was staying in the city last year to cut back on commute time, we had a maid doing top work in our house. During the local corporation election time I asked her who she would vote for. She named a really corrupt Corporator of our Ward. The reason? Because he got her a seat for her child in school. Now this man was the epitome of corruption and would demand money even if you were putting up a garage in your house. He would ride to power on the votes of the people in the Ejipura slum and the slum adjacent to Games Village and then lord over the Koramangala residents. I looked at my maid and realized that it was she who selected rulers for me and not me the educated and hence ‘better informed’ voter. The fact is it is my maid, the corporation sweeper on the road, the workshop man, the housepainter, the tea coffee delivery boy etc who make the choices of our leaders and not you and me. It was a depressing thought.
And it is these people who throng the theater and whistle when the baddie gets bashed up, usually a goonda protected by a politician. And by the reaction of the masses to these scenes in the movie, one would think that they are aware of the corruption and hence would vote responsibly. But that rarely happens, doesn't it?
And the politicians have never had it so good. Muscle power, Investments flows, a powerless educated electorate makes them the omnipotent class in this country today. Which is why Bangalore the Hi Tech City had dust tracks instead of roads for the past four years and looked like a ghost town.