Wednesday, March 22, 2006

'Wrong' de Basanti

The latest issue March 2006 of 'Society' a magazine from the Magna stable of publications,which includes among others Stardust,Savvy, Health and Nutrition, featured a story 'Brave Heart' on Kavita Gadgil.

Who is Kavita Gadgil? Unfair Question.

Considering it was her real life story that inspired Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra to make his film "Rang De Basanti". While Mehra is currrently raking in the millions and being showered with accolades ,Kavita Gadgil awaits the promised call. Her martyred son Abhijit Gadgil,an IAf pilot whose death in a MiG aircraft on September 17th 2001, was the focal point of the film.

'Society' informs that not only has her name been conveniently erased from the credits, Mehra has never mentioned her contribution to the film. She had many offers from people to make a film on the issue. Mehra met her with the same intention. She shared her experience with him in complete trust and faith. Perhaps hoping that she could probably organise a charity show for her trust "Abhijit Safety Foundation Trust".

'Society'further says that Mehra had requested her not to speak to the media till the release of the film. After which there was no contact.Throughout she had been totally unaware of the making of the film. She was informed by friends that the film was based on her. So much so she was finally not even sent a couple of tickets for the preview.

Is it any wonder then that she has not seen the film? No wonder , but definitely a shame. The callous behaviour meted out to her is telling of those to whom making mega bucks or tasting success propogating hypocritical values of patriotism is of primary consideration, over and above honouring a simple promise made to a bereaved mother, whose life has been encapsulated, emotions have been exploited for personal benefit and she has been left to whimper. As if the cruel blow fate had already dealt her in the loss of her (only?) son was not tragic enough!

RDB has been successful in capturing the imagination of gullible audiences, vulnerable to the message of rebelling against a system which so far had only served to prove their impotence to circumstances they recoiled at with disgust.

Kavita Gadgil has been narrated the climax. The magazine quotes her as saying "the climax of the film is not right.Violence is not the answer to anything. You are misguiding the youth. There is a proper way to fight the system. Killing doesn't solve anything".

One fails to understand the apathy towards this mother from the film makers. Her needs were few and well deserved. Simple and unpretentious in fact. Naiivete was her undoing. Had she been savvier, not only would she have cut out a sizable piece of the pie, but might have managed to managed to whip up enough resources to lay the foundation for the trust which she is toiling to inaugurate on April 26th, Abhijits birthday.

Her husband , the magazine quotes consoles her with the following words 'theirs is a make believe world and this is common to them'. Ironic, that those who in real life play with the sentiments of others, claim to be professionals in the business of creating sensitive films! The scenes portraying Waheeeda rehman, who assayed the role of kavita Gadgil, had been milked of every emotion to gain the mileage required. Audience wept copiously, while the makers satisfied with their talent to metamorph a brilliant real life story with such authentic ingenuity into their script, revelled in glory and adulation, with the real Kavita gadgil left probably crying silently in her home.

Somebody ought to tap them on the shoulder and remind them that the 'use and discard' methodology they appear to have adopted, should have been restricted solely to tetra packs!! Humans deserve better.

Not one to give up, Kavita is busy raising funds for the memorial for soldiers who have been forgotten. Her way of showing them respect, she says. For her personally though,life extends from one sunday of the year to the next when she diligently goes down to Rajasthan the crash site, with water, flowers and a candle to light, in memory of her son Abhijit Gadgil.

A bitter taste, yellow stance.. not so Basanti after all!!

Cross posted at Desicritics Sepia mutiny DesiPundit


silbil said...

i feel kind of ashamed of being in the same field as those film makers and also hope (rather determine) that i face a dilemma ever i have the courage to do teh correct thing and not what is more practical and 'professional'

Kaveetaa Kaul said...

How true silbil,

a lot of self search went into the previous night to determine how I would have acted/responded if faced with a situation of the kind or any other that I choose to highlight. There was no doubt that due credit in no stingy proportion would have been accorded. It is the bounden duty as a human being to honour anothers contribution and sentiments and in this case ,especially so.

Like I have said in the article, defies logic, as to why was this woman left with a bitter taste in the mouth!

Anonymous said...

who the hell cares.. enjoy the movie..this movie will not make any difference to india.. just enjoy hte crap and forget it

my sympathies to abhijit's family

Kaveetaa Kaul said...


'who the hell cares'..

Sure that is one way of looking at this issue or any other for that matter.

To some, me included,our take on life would be akin to the lines of this quote

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

silbil said...

true that this one film or any individual film will not make a difference to the future of india...
but the message that the film communicates will seep in and become a part of your sub consious...
for example last year's judgement where the judge gave an 'option' to the rape victim to marry the rapist... the same has been suggested through lots of hindi films...karvachauths and such thing are so a part of our culture that no one questions them any more.
besides the enery of this particular film matches with the anyway boiling blood of the youth and the rebels without a cause imagine that they have found a the film can have dangerous implications...
and protesting against such blatant disrespect to one soldier are far more efefctive and sensible than 10 borders and LOCs put together

sathish said...

Typical of Bollywood..

Those guys did not give the Kannada author credit for the movie Swades while they increased their bank balance and now its the turn of Rang De Basanti...

Long Live Bollywood...

Kaveetaa Kaul said...


very few can envisage the subtle messaging process.

It is baffling however to fathom the reason of cold shouldering Mrs.gadgil.
If someone like her can go public, then it has rankled her pretty much.Which is sad.

Kaveetaa Kaul said...


Actually it is unfortunate that because of incidents such as this the whole industry is 'blanketed'under a common sentiment as 'these film unreliable'. This may not be the case entirely. There are some professionals who go about the business of making films with as much integrity as possible.

Just give me a week to come up with some names:)


Anonymous said...

My sympathy with Gadgil family. It is very sad and wrong on part of the director and entire unit of RDB. And what about Amir Khan, didn't he knew about this. When he can stand for people who got displaced because of Narmada dam, then why not for this? Or was he kept in dark too by the director???

Anonymous said...

My sympathy to Abhijit's family, and Hats off to Kaveetha to bring this to blog.
Just now I watched this movie and immediately started to search for information about this movie and found this blog. I feel bad I watched this movie so late.. I think everybody should watch this movie.
But I'm surprised after seing this article.
How could that idiotic Mehra do this to Kavita Gadgil. She, a big hearted woman, being so generous, started the foundation trust and trying to help people. I really appreciate this kind of activities. Why can't Mehra give atleast a small pie of his huge profit. I think we should take this to Amir Khan. I guess atleast he is one of the honest ones in the bunch of bollywood brutes, and he could help her to get good money to the trust.
I will try my level best to take this to Amir Khan's notice.
Folks, after reading this article, you also contribute some thing to this effort and be an INDIAN.

Once again I appreciate you Kaveetha Kaul. Good work and keep it up. Good to know people having same thoughts.

Kaveetaa Kaul said...

Thanks a ton anonymous. I have received a lot of flack for writing this piece. But it was a story that deserved to be told, especially since the credibiliy meter seemed to swing towards kavita gadgil by the fact that she openly divulged details in the article in Society. Perhaps had it been a rumor, not authenticated and in the absence of validation from her side I would not have ventured to write on it.

She is a bold, courageous and honest person and such people always find backers even in the times we live in. I personally do not think that it was absence of monetary considerations that triggered her ire, rather the fact that she was ignored, marginalised and sidelined.

insaaf ka josh said...

I liked the movie partly though despite the disturbing violence, it had some redeeming qualities , namely music , dialogue , lyrics . This Year I met Abhijeet Gadgil's sis in law and for the first time was au fait with the facts. His mother is true brave-heart and so dignified too . Thanks for writing this blog , you have written it wonderfully with maturity and intelligence . When will these people stop milking it I wonder ? . May his soul rest in peace and God give his family strength.

insaaf ka josh said...

Kudos to you for writing this . His mother is the true braveheart ! May his soul rest in everlasting peace and God give his family strength.She never even wanted any money for herself , just a screening at the Bhijeet Gadgil air safety foundation and if they wished funds for that and of course a mention in the credits.Shame on you Rakesh Om Prakash Mehra you are a sbad as the corrupt netas , you used a hero's death and a mother's tear to fatten your reserves of black money . I admire the way you have written the blog post with maturity , insight and depth, Every word is true and so is your evaluation of His mother's ire . What is she going to do with money except use it to benefit others and the fact that she has been emotionally , ethically cheated . She does not want fame or money unlike these nautinki wallas . Am surprised Aamir khan has not come forward to do something , am sure he is aufait with it all . Or. someone like Zoha ALi Kahan , Sharmila Tagore , they are educated well informed people . They staged a flash mob at CST Mumbai to the title song . I wish they had stood for a moment in silence to Honour Abhijeet Gadgil. Am so proud of your blog . Than You