Thursday, March 01, 2012

One of life’s minor joys is finding someone to admire.

Not many heroes are left to us, thanks to the mainstream press ignoring instances of quiet, sustained courage, and our own cynicism. I’m sometimes annoyed at ‘positive’ news that translates into interviews with students who have managed high scores, or interviews with successful businessmen or creative professionals. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but there’s a difference between success and heroism.

We rarely hear about those who take a stand — unless they end up being jailed or tortured or killed for it. And then we begin to wonder if there is anybody at all who takes a stand, and whether it is worth it. And if nobody does, why should we?

So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Shyam Benegal and Gul Panag had withdrawn from the jury of a filmmaking competition organised by Vedanta... Corporations are powerful media forces. They control advertising in print and TV and, increasingly, movies. Filmmakers, actors and other creative professionals have a lot to lose when they criticise the people who sign the cheques. But when they do take the risk, they show us what they’re made of.

What, after all, does courage or morality mean? Waving to crowds at cricket matches or even doing a charity show is not especially brave, or moral. Besides, it’s been years and years since a Hindi film professional took a public stand that would actually cost them something (with the exception of Ranbir Kapoor and Bipasha Basu who do not endorse skin-whitening/lightening/brightening creams, soaps etc).

2 comments:

Upkaran Gupta said...

Interesting.... There is a possibility of a bigger discussion here....

The fact that most ppl confuse Sucess with Heroism is what I feel you should elaborate on.....

It will be n interesting read....

dipali said...

One of life’s minor joys is finding someone to admire.

The way things are, it is a major joy! It is, in the long run, soul-destroying when you don't have people to look up to, especially public figures who can really make a difference when they take a moral stand. Shyam Benegal and Gul Panag have shown their mettle.

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