Worldwide trade in goods is set to decline 8%
Conforming to all prejudiced stereotypes concerning Bollywood’s leading ladies, Kareena Kapoor’s visit to the Khaleej Times last Sunday, alongside director Prakash Jha and co-star Ajay Devgn, proved to be more of an anticlimax for her fans than Ben Affleck’s recent unveiling as the new Batman was for Dark Knight enthusiasts.Not renowned for her witty repartee, it was assumed the 31-year old would finally have something to impart on her latest role, which appears far more dramatic than the customary ‘couple of funny lines and a smile to camera,’ characters that are her stock in trade.
Playing an investigative journalist intent on exposing political corruption, Kareena’s aim in Satyagraha, by her own admission, is to (in no way patronisingly) break down the occasionally complicated plot into segments the audience can follow. Charting two men’s struggles – the older idealist Amitabh Bachchan and newcomer to the cause Ajay – as they join a movement against the endemic venality exhibited by Indian ruling classes, Kareena becomes embroiled in the action through continuously reporting on events, eventually nailing her colours to the wall by taking to the streets.
Although, speaking to the actress, it doesn’t seem like such a worthwhile plight in real life is on her agenda. Declining to comment on the majority of questions posed, allowing Prakash to take up the slack, the Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu star sat virtually silent until she was told to leave.
“We are actors and we have our own causes to promote; being in the public eye,” were about the only sentiments Kareena could muster when it was put to her whether she would be willing to take a stand to right a perceived injustice. And that was about it for the next 15 minutes. Brilliant.
Thankfully the film’s maker had rather more to add while ‘Bebo’ returned to the infinitely more interesting pastime of bemusedly staring into space.
Not quite enamoured with the idea of explaining the motives behind his movie to someone whom he presupposed hadn’t the foggiest about India’s social woes, Prakash nonetheless battled through his misgivings to relay the picture’s message.
“For me the things that are played in the political arena these days make a huge comedy,” the director said. “The drama is so fascinating and the fighting that goes on is so laughable that I can find a lot of stories there.
“The way the protest in Satyagraha develops is very organic. Ajay represents today’s India to start with. He sees greed as an incentive and profits are the only goal. It takes a tragedy to change that. Then he meets Amitabh and the two have an emotional connection that lead them to both join the cause against Ajay’s original way of thinking.”
Prakash went on to state that the reason he decided to release this story at this moment in time was a result of the number of protests currently taking place around the world. While not directly crediting the Arab Spring as inspiration, he preferred to recognise India’s frequent candle marches, attracting vast numbers in order to exact change, for providing the impetus to release Satyagraha in theatres, possibly to provoke greater responses for the next real world social mobilisation.
“This is a post-liberal economy generation that is not dependent on the government,” he said. “They have studied hard. They earn good money and pay taxes. It’s a performance generation who knows that if they don’t work well they will be kicked out and they want to kick the government out if they don’t perform well. That’s the massive force that is making its way forward now.
“Political change doesn’t just happen through participating in the political system. Sometimes you have to do more. It is heartening to see masses of young people engage themselves in issues. They’re not quiet. They don’t feel alone anymore. Their voices multiply.”
Prakash also told us that he considers social media to be the instigation for the youth’s current vocal dissuasion.
“Youngsters are beginning to see their future in the change that is being ushered. We are shedding shackles of caste-ism and communalism by talking indiscriminately. On a personal level we want to succeed, but on a social level we all talk more than ever before with the advent of the media and we can get our views across.”
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