It is not always that I bunk office for some mauj-masti but when you are serving your notice period – the boss is a little lenient and the work heaped upon you relatively less. Hence went watching Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra‘s second coming (after Aks) – Rang De Basanti. Probably an extra y in his name made lady luck smile a little.

So what lesson did I learn from this ‘youth awakening’ film? Water the ceramic during intermission, especially if you are going to down a large and overpriced Pepsi during the later half. Stranded between a bursting bladder and the climax, I opted for the latter amidst serious discomfort but had to skip the ending titles (something which most theatres don’t even bother showing). Somehow I made it to the surprisingly empty and clean relieving zone – what a relief! The friend accompanying me couldn’t control her laughter and I know I’ll be mercilessly teased for years to come.

Mr. Mehra seems to have a love-hate relationship with the defence minister. In Aks the Raksha Mantri (Amol Palekar) was the good guy, here he is the usual unscrupulous politician (played by Mohan Agashe, he was the Prime Minister in Aks). I’m not going to write a review/synopsis, The Comic Project had already typed out the very first one.

Amidst the good performances (if you excuse an aging Aamir Khan), I found reflections of an erstwhile idealistic existence, where wannabe vigilantes wanted to take on the system, change it for the better. Tough job. The powers at play against you are too overwhelming. In this unipolar world the days of mass revolution are long over. The suppression is swift and brutal. Good people do not want to enter politics, even if they do, they are voted out in the next elections or end up being puppets in the hands of extra constitutional authorities. An honest existence is a difficult one, most don’t have enough guts. The rot is evenly spread across all the pillars. Where do you seek support?

Someone might pick up the gun and pump half a dozen lead pellets into a black heart, but there are too of them around. You’ll fall short of ammunition (unless the big bully of the west has some plans for you). Kamal Hassan as Indian/Hindustani did something similar, but such characters exist on pages of screenplay alone. Real life is dirty, even the soap to wash the dirt is made of mud extracts.

But all’s not lost. We’re not a defunct democracy destined to doom. I believe that corruption grows within you as you age. The young are generally good at heart and have a zest for doing things. Let not age be a criterion for high office (a 50 year old here is addressed as a youth leader), usher the young in. Give the newbie a ministry and observe the change (exceptions like Prafulla Mahanta do exist). 70 is an age of retired relaxation, not hobnobbing in the corridors of power. How about a Rajya Sabha seat for a certain Soumyadip (I’ll forfeit my deposit in a general election) and the I&B ministry? Don’t expect Playboy TV on your coaxial cable my lascivious friends. With great power comes great responsibility (and absolute power corrupts absolutely).

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