Two Historical Sore Points Benchmarked Quite Unnecessarily || Maqsoodul Haque

Two Historical Sore Points Benchmarked Quite Unnecessarily || Maqsoodul Haque

Watched the Moner Manush  DVD this morning. I admit that it was a long over due, however with anything to do with Fakir Lalon sHAH, I guess I always exercise a bit of patience and wait till the dust of controversies have settled down.

In the meantime have read one too many critiques, reviews and general comments on the movie and some of it was worrying. Several sHADU friends who had seen the movie found it disturbing — so in deference to their sentiments, I couldn’t be less cautious.

Over all as a movie, the screenplay, imageries, casting and choice of location was fabulous. Some of the songs, specially those rendered by my gURU Bhai Latif Shah were a class in itself as it captured the rusticity of the Nadiya dialect and essentially the ‘bhaab’ of the songs.

However in the case of the females, they fell short. ‘Jekhaney sHAIr bAARAMkhana’ by Farida Parveen was a nightmare — a hugely put-on voice that irritated me no end. I am sure if Gautum Ghose concentrated and looked for female voices other than a ‘name brand’ that has fallen out of fashion in Bangladesh in recent times, he would have been surprised. That in turn would have lifted the renditions to greater heights.

As far as spirituality is concerned, the movie was a disaster as there was more emphasis on Lalon the Man than his message. Since it’s a fictional account based on Sunil Gangapadhay’s novel (I have read very few of his books and essays so not in a position to speak for or against the man!) — I would have let it pass, but there were two historical sore points bench-marked quite unnecessarily.

  1. The identity of Lalon — which the young Lalon admits in the first person, was that of Shonaton
  2. The implied malevolence and patronization by Rabindranath Tagore’s family. The movie ends with a subtle message that had it not been for the largesse of the Tagore family granting the land in Seuria where Lalon’s ankhara was situated then (as even now) — the Bauls would have disappeared given the forces opposed to the fraternity, is the final seal.

Both emphasis defeats the purpose and lofty ideals of Bauliana.

July 2011

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