अनिल एकलव्य ⇔ Anil Eklavya

September 11, 2007

Faces of Dignity (Contd.)

Filed under: Movies,Things As They Are — anileklavya @ 11:52 am

I talked about how dignity can be ‘maintained’ in the face of two different extreme conditions which can easily destroy the kind of dignity I am referring to: extreme wealth and power as well as extreme deprivation.

This is true, of course (that’s why I said it: I wouldn’t lie, would I?). However, what I called extremes are not really extremes. We Indians shouldn’t have difficulty in understanding it. Rosetta’s poverty is relatively much better (what a word to use!) than that of tens (hundreds?) of millions of Indians. Rural as well as urban. It seems to me that Life in a Metro should also include life in metropolitan, even somewhat cosmopolitan, dwellings of the poor called slums. I may be wrong. Anyone can be wrong. Nothing is absolutely right or wrong. We all know that, of course.

Still, since it’s beyond my capabilities to rise above the notions of right and wrong, I do wonder how hard it can be for a person in a typical Indian slum to maintain (as in maintain lifestyle?) the basic human dignity I am so stuck up on. Sounds incredible to me, but it may just be true that Rosetta is lucky. And the princess is, of course, much more luckier. Not just because she falls in safe hands.

Just to make it simple to understand, and it is amazing how difficult it can be to understand such things, I can cite the example of a man (leave aside women) being tortured in a police station. Any police station anywhere in the world where torture is still an acceptable method of ‘interrogation’. Can a man being tortured ‘maintain’ his dignity? Fantasies will tell you that he can. Perhaps that’s true. But people from George Orwell to Khushwant Singh (not to mention our actual executioners, beg pardon, executives of the Law and Justice System) have pointed out, everyone has a limit. Where you lose your capacity to retain (that sounds better) your basic human dignity. Because it is snatched away from you and you can’t even fight back. You are trapped. (Is anyone calling a psychoanalyst to ask why I use this word so much?).

When I originally planned to write this post, I had thought I would write about the characters of Ann and Rosetta. About the technical aspects of the movie. About acting and direction. And, most importantly, about specific incidents in the movies which are not talked about by your usual reviewers. Like the scene of the princess doing her shopping with precious little (borrowed) money. Or like the scene in the barber shop. Or even about the dignity of the (comic) photographer: an unlikely candidate. Or why Rosetta leaves her job which she got after doing something which cost her the favor of many viewers and reviewers. Or about her apparent stomach aches. Or about the only time in the movie when she has an (awkwardly) good time.

It has turned out differently because what I wrote today is what I wanted to write today. No stylistic effect intended. No explanation intended. No protestation intended. No apologies intended. No pun intended either. Sometimes simple truth alone can be quite stylistic. I hope (or fear?) it often is.

So what’s the point? Well, the point can’t always be expressed in a punch line. You can know it if you want to.

Enough! No more waste of my philosophical profundities on a mere blog post.

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