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Kumbh, Baisakhi, Sankranti, etc., all and Hindi films

January 14, 2010 6:54:34 PM IST
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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Cultural melting pot that India is described as in no better way manifest than on 14 of January every year when this day is celebrated in different forms. It is basically a day that marks the end of the harvesting season and there is a general spirit of festivity all around, and the holy baths that are performed on the bank of Ganga in Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik and at Ganga Sagar is also eponymous with the washing away of all sins and beginning a new.

Interestingly enough, while the world of Hindi cinema has been rather generous in giving a cinematic expression to Baisakhi through score of films, primarily owing to preponderance of people from Punjab, it has rarely been given due representation from the perspective of holy baths being performed all across the country. The latest example of Baisakhi being given a due recognition was in VEER ZAARA where Big B along with Hema Malini, Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta shared the frame for celebrating this festival and there never could be a better endorsement of the marketing this festival. One often wonders why the frame has not been used to market this occasion in the diaspora.

Incidentally, Baisakhi continued to find reverberations in the films in the balck and white era, but it was not restricted as a celebration only for a particular region, but was symptomatic of the festivities to be performed after the end of agricultural season. So films after films used the backdrop of mela to celebrate the occasion. OP Nayyar's music in score of the films celebrating the occasion therefore gained immense popularity, as it was symbolic celebration of a cultural milieu. Sadly enough, such Indian cultural nuances have gone out of the filmmaking arena and we are focusing more on the occasions that are celebrated with much enthusiasm in the western countries.

When Sanjay Leela Bhansali made HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM he was indeed thoughtful enough to give a distinct representation to Makar Sankranti, one of the most important festivals in Gujarat, where Kite flying is a norm. As a part of cultural milieu formed the backdrop of narrative identification with the film was much easier for the public.

It indeed is surprising that so far the event of Maha Kumbh, which is an event, which is looked at by the world in awe, has not been included as a part of the narrative of a film. In 1978, a film by the name of GANGA SAGAR was made, by Trilok Kapoor, which had underlined the importance of holy bath on the occasion, but it was not followed up subsequently by any new cinematic exposition. Incidentally, when Maha Kumbh was celebrated in Allahabad in 2001, an event that happens once in hundred years, and this writer had the occasion to be there, has been given a cinematic exposition in the form of documentary named SHORT CUT TO NIRVANA. The documentary however has been made more from the western perspective. Incidentally, when Vijay Singh had made his documentary GANGA he had given it an Indian flavor.

The manner in which we are forgetting such cultural nuances, the hope only rests on Hindi cinema to make it a part of its oeuvre to give it a historicity for the posteriori or else the future generations may not even be aware about the vital role that these occasions play in the Indian ethos. May be, the new breed of directors and film makers would give it some thought.

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