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Has GANGS OF WASSEYPUR failed to make 'Bihar Ke Lalas' into 'Lallus'?
June 25, 2012 12:33:27 PM IST By Rajesh Kumar Singh, Glamsham Editorial
The distributors and publicists of GANGS OF WASSEYPUR must be disappointed by the response of the film-loving audience of Jharkhand and Bihar. It collected a measly Rs.5-6 lakhs on Friday with no improvement on Saturday in spite of the hype and hoopla of houseful shows in Wasseypur and Dhanbad. 'Bihar Ke Lalas' have not bitten the bait, elaborately laid out for them terming the film as a piece of their history.
It seems Biharis have refused to be made into 'Lallus' by the film's publicity and made their dislike quite clear by comprehensively rejecting it at the box office. The GOW team had actually travelled to the state's capital Patna to promote it on the occasion of the celebrations of hundred years of the creation of the state by releasing the 'Jiya ho Bihar ke lala' song sung by the popular Bhojpuri singer and film star Manoj Tiwari. These shenanigans have obviously not worked. Even the songs, that claim to be inspired by local popular music, have not cut much ice with a population very fond of Bhojpuri songs. It's probably because they are a modern remixes and an urbanized parody of Bhojpuri tunes and lack the panache and power of the original rustic compositions. They hardly evoke a sense of time, place, and culture.
There have been local voices claiming that the film is an ugly and demeaning portrayal of their culture and milieu and a complete misrepresentation of their history. According to various reports, local community leaders have demanded a ban on the film since it sullies their reputation, presenting them as people using filthy language and as obsessive 'fornicators' and goons. An organization like Wasseypur Ekta Manch has been formed to protest against the film. There are fears that there can be communal tension in Dhanbad area since the film pits two Muslim groups against each other and depicts an upper caste Hindu politician in poor light.
This is in complete contrast to the views of venerable Amitabh Bachchan who has climbed on to the film's publicity bandwagon, endorsing it as a fare depiction of the realities of Hindi heartland. Some have also questioned Big B's assertion of having lived the reality depicted in GOW. Big B was educated at Doon School and most of his childhood and youth was spent in Delhi, Calcutta, and the other big cities. He has very little experience of rural India and his attempts to get himself declared as a farmer in order to buy agricultural land in Maharashtra had generated a lot of controversy in the past and he was forced to backtrack his move.
(Rajesh Kumar Singh is Editorial Consultant for Festivals and Markets for BollywoodTrade.com. He is a filmmaker, critic and market analyst)