Sunday, May 15, 2016

Lessons from Sairat (सैराट)

Having seen Nagraj Manjule's first short film Pistulya (Review here) and his first movie Fandry, it was obvious that Sairat will leave you shaken. And that it sure did.

Not because it told us something new. It does not have anything that you will not find in a newspaper every other day. But it managed to make it real for you in those three hours. It somehow takes a small newspaper article about something which happened in an unheard-of village and makes it a part of your life, your experience. That is the hallmark of brilliant cinema.

"लई इगो हाय तुला"

Everyone views great art through their prism, mine is this. Sairat is about the ego. The more successful and powerful you become the more it grows within you. The only person who can keep it in check for you is the person you love. If that person is strong enough to fight with you and make you fight with your own ego then you are saved. Otherwise it will end up eating you and everyone around you.

"Your mother is a quiet women, she makes me listen to my own voice. And it is a voice I do not like much lately." - Trumbo

This ability to be the conscience of someone else is hardly ever respected or praised. But it is a rare gift. I am not saying that you cannot be your own watchman. That you always need someone else you point out your failings. Most people manage to play both roles. But it is particularly hard for people who are most focused and driven. They, almost by definition, do not have any room for a contrarian viewpoint. And a balancing act is most important for such men and women, because they are the ones who are capable of most damage.

Also, if your long lost relatives - with whom you had a great fight the last time you saw them - happen to suddenly show up on your doorstep and are looking grim and silent, smell a rat and get the hell out of there.