Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dharm: The film

All he had to do was to say "I Could watch Dharm", for me to get out of the house, jump into a car, and get 2 tickets of the film, before he'd had a chance to change his mind. (yes, wicked)

Pankaj Kapoor is a treat, getting better with time. It looked like a movie with an IQ above 10 (To me, the average IQ of a movie today is about 8). And the visuals showed promise of being worthy of a big screen. In retrospect, all 3 expectations got met.

The movie is subtle. As we argued later, a little too subtle for some people. The central message, as we carried back, was that every religion has to, at some point of time, make a decision between rituals and essence.

Hinduism is used as the example in the film. The motif of a pundit, or clergy, or ulema, or whatever, is universal.

But perhaps, the subtlety is too subtle for some minds. I also enumerated for the Other, the less positive messages one could take back from the film, and he said, "Well, people have specialised in taking dung out of the cow, instead of the milk, so can't be certain this film will get the right message across. Yes, sadly, people might make biogas from this film too."

There was one other interesting thing. The trigger for this conflict, in the film, is, interestingly, Moh मोह , or attachment. And then I thought, if Moh can trigger a thought process of choice between rituals and essence, then, is Moh bad, in that one situation? If attachment forces you to rethink what Dharma means to you, or your values, is that attachment, in that one context, bad?

What do you think?


dharmabum said...

interesting post, hdwk. and it sounds like an interesting movie too. i have always liked pankaj kaporr and fully agree when u say he's improved with time.

about attachment - imho, nothing by itself is either good or bad. it is only in the manifestation of its effects. there must be a word of caution here though - attachment and other such emotions that are usually deeded 'negative' - they do set off a thought process, but such thinking is only very temporary. again this is my opinion only - we tend to think about values and such things only when things go wrong. in vedanta, they call it 'smashana vairagya' - a temporary sense of detachment that death brings. when things are fine, we just revert back to our good old ways!

"Hinduism is used as the example in the film." this is something that irks me - all the hindu bashing. can you imagine the consequences of say islam was chosen 'as as example' to bring out the general thought of religions looking inward?

this post has provided much food for thought - thank you :)

Chiya said...

Incidentally I just put up a new post on the same topic.

After reading your post I realised almost the same thing i wanted to say, but you have put it in words in a much better way..

Too Good :)

Life is a matter of virtue said...

i think life is moh which is it to without attachment is very difficult..people who can lead a simple life with no expectations are happiest but it is very hard to acheive such a state of mind..religion teaches us to reach that state of mind where we surrender/attach ourselves to God which is the final destination for everyone...

Shruti said...

hmm, i havent get chance to watch the movie..
But as you said, Moh and dharm , is all it talks about..
I can only say that balancing the both is very imp , every one has to take decisions at certain point of time and it depends on the situation and perception of an individual..

Nice post indeed.
Take care

Feather in the breeze said...

Almost 15 years back, I remember asking a Swamiji from Ramakrishna Mission as to how it is possible not to be attached? He said, "please be attached to your work, who is not asking you to? But only, immerse yourself in it so much that your attachment gets dissolved." I did not understand it fully then. While I may not be practising it, today, I feel I understand what he said better - "Be immersed in ur work so much that u r not bothered/ do not have time to worry abt the results." Incidentally, Bhagavadgita doesn't tell us not to have attachment with the work; it tells us not to have attachment with the fruits of our actions.

How do we know said...

Hi Dharma: i kind of agree with that smashana vairagya concept. Later, when that priest would have gone home, would he have regretted his action of touching a Muslim? Would he have wondered if he could have saved the boy without touching him?

can you imagine the consequences of say islam was chosen 'as as example' to bring out the general thought of religions looking inward?
- I thought about this line a lot. Primarily because it was one of the things that i pointed out "could" be taken from the movie - that its another excuse for Hindu bashing. I have 2 thoughts on this:
1. Would we have identified with it if it was based on a religion that we do not understand? What has been the fate of movies, or even TV serials, made with a not so well understood theme? We understand Maun Vratam, we understand penance, because its something that is familiar. Even if it is not in our immediate religion, its familiar. That could be one reason for using Hinduism as the example.

2. Really, is it any concern of ours how another religion reacts to ideas/feedback? If a religion closes itself to new thought, new interpretations, revival of the essence instead of the rituals, that, at best, is the misfortune of the religion. Either way, it does not impact us. And all religious leaders will resist a revival of the essence, just like all parliamentarians will vote in unison to increase their own salaries. It is upto the ordinary followers of that religion to ignore the clergy and to revive the religion. That happened in the BHakti/Sufi movement, happened long before that in the Jainism/Buddhism period. It can happen again, and perhaps should.

There, even your comment inspires so much thinking!

How do we know said...

Hi Chiya: Is ko kehte hain coincidence!!

Hi life is a matter of virtue: True!!!

Hi Shruti: Please do see the movie. It puts a lot of things in a very different perspective.

Hi Feather in the breeze: Thanks so much for that quote. I am still thinking of it and trying to find my own interpretation of the line.. and yours appears very close to the truth.. Thanks again!!!

Sugarlips said...

Pankaj Kapoor "office Office" fame?
It sounds like an interesting movie.

I'm going to watch "Jhoom Barabar Jhoom" tomorrow :) Have you heard the song "Bol na halke halke" from this movie ? Its sooooo lovely, Rahat Fateh Ali sang the song and Gulzar is the lyricist :)

Stay Beautiful...!!

Neihal said...

read a lot about this kid in the Movie. Will watch it. But right now I am trying to get Khamoshi (old one). I so badly wanna see it. and what music.

How do we know said...

Hi Sugarlips: Yep, the saame guy.. but Office Office is at best the tip of the iceberg of this guy's talent.You MUST try and see him here.. he scintillates.

I love that song.. and do tell me how u liked the movie. I am not planning to watch it bcs its got a Thumbs Down here in India so far, but your review might change that.

Hi Neihal: Khamoshi - Waheeda Rehman vaali ya Manisha Koirala vaali? Songs of both are pretty haunting, so cldnt make out ;-)
And coincidentally, they are both amazingly gud movies too!

Neihal said...

old one yaar Wahida Rehman...the new one is a good movie as well....but the old one is just too good. :D

and Hemant Kumar is like my all time favourite. I am biased. :P

Wriju said...

I love pankaj kapoor movies and I so want to watch this one!

How do we know said...

Hi Neihal: That Hi was more like the Hindi हाय्!
You reminded me of... Tum pukaar lo.... that might even be my next post!! :-)

Hi Wriju: Ah! The Vagaries of Geographical distance!

Feather in the breeze said...

I have published a new post (Freewill vs. Destiny) based on our interaction on this post of yours, and some issues that I was grappling with. You may want to check out my blog and comment there -