Bollywood and Hollywood Unite To Whitewash a Dictator

byotch.jpgIt was only a matter of time. Indira Gandhi created many myths during her tyranny. She created the myth of herself as Kali, the goddess of destruction following the war in Bangladesh in 1971. She created the myth of herself as Mother India, with a strong matriarchal love and care for her subjects. However, the most important myth that she helped create that has long captivated western audiences was the foundational myth of Indias independence the nonviolence of Gandhi.

Richard Attenboroughs Gandhi is one the most well-known films about the subcontinent. In 1982, the movie was awarded the Best Picture by the Academy Awards. Ben Kingsley, who played Gandhi, and the director, Attenborough, also received individual credits. However, few have ever delved into the politics in the movies creation. In many ways, we find ourselves far removed from the world of art and into the territory of propaganda.

The funding of the Gandhi was highly unusual. Fully one-third came directly from the national treasury could we ever contemplate money coming directly from the Treasury Department to fund a commercial, errr I mean movie? Propaganda at its best requires whitewashing and in the film we see a guiltless Nehru, the evil villain Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and a de-Hinduized Gandhi, without patriarchy, caste prejudices, or hypocrisy.

It was to be expected as the screenplay was checked and rechecked throughout the whole process, often directly by the then-Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi herself. Many noted that the opening credits of the film should have had the message: The following film is a paid political advertisement by the government of India.

I leave out a discussion for M. Gandhi for now, but will hope to take it up later. For now, we focus on the film. The success of the movie in terms of cultural capital cannot be emphasized enough. It was this movie that helped solidify the myth of India as related to Gandhi overthrowing colonial rule, nonviolent, and wedded to the belief of equality for all. Indira Gandhis purchase still continues to reap rewards for India almost three decades later.

We now get the sequel.

It seems Hollywood and Bollywood are teaming up for the next great propaganda piece. The description speaks for itself:

The biopic of the former prime minister of India who was assassinated in 1984 has a budget of 40 million and an international cast and crew.

Krishna Shah, the director, told The Daily Telegraph :”This is the project of my life, both in its scale and the subject. I have been working on the script for over two decades and it is simply a story that has to be told. It took me years to find a way into her story, but I found it with her role as a mother both to her family and to a nation with its teeming millions. Indira was India.

“The story is of how Indira is a mother in every aspect of her life, and how she used her instincts, compassion and tough love to hold the nation together ultimately ending with her violent death and martyrdom to the cause of national unity.[link]

A martyr for national unity? Now that is rich. With amazing animation being produced and the creation film screenings and festivals to promote our own stories, I wait for the final payoff. When we will be in a position to epically tell our own story.

In the meantime, I leave you with the Penn and Teller piece on Gandhi

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30 Responses to “Bollywood and Hollywood Unite To Whitewash a Dictator”

  1. Amit Singh says:

    Wow there must be allot of dumb people in the world to believe that indra ghandi was this noble, righteous, kind person and to make her movie a success. She is garbage and so is this advertisement, I mean movie of her life.

  2. Amit Singh says:

    Wow there must be allot of dumb people in the world to believe that indra ghandi was this noble, righteous, kind person and to make her movie a success. She is garbage and so is this advertisement, I mean movie of her life.

  3. Mandy Kaur says:

    "ultimately ending with her violent death and martyrdom to the cause of national unity" Are you serious? What about the murder of thousands and thousands of Sikhs? What about secretly plotting to wipe out an entire community because she couldn't be bothered to keep a promise? What about the rights of those who fought so hard for the freedom of the nation? What? Just because they weren't Hindu's she felt she was justified to kill them or make them seem like terrorists to the rest of the nation so that she would look like she was doing some favor? She is anything but noble and rightous.

  4. Mandy Kaur says:

    "ultimately ending with her violent death and martyrdom to the cause of national unity" Are you serious? What about the murder of thousands and thousands of Sikhs? What about secretly plotting to wipe out an entire community because she couldn't be bothered to keep a promise? What about the rights of those who fought so hard for the freedom of the nation? What? Just because they weren't Hindu's she felt she was justified to kill them or make them seem like terrorists to the rest of the nation so that she would look like she was doing some favor? She is anything but noble and rightous.

  5. Jatinder Singh says:

    do they also tell how she cheated in the elections and then imposed a strict cerfew to keep the public in check? Does it also tell how when she later went to jail for that, one of her men hijacked an airplane and was later made an mla when she came to power again? Does it also show how she had started the plan for the attack about 1.6 years in advance?

    I guess they forgot a bit of detail….

  6. Jatinder Singh says:

    do they also tell how she cheated in the elections and then imposed a strict cerfew to keep the public in check? Does it also tell how when she later went to jail for that, one of her men hijacked an airplane and was later made an mla when she came to power again? Does it also show how she had started the plan for the attack about 1.6 years in advance?

    I guess they forgot a bit of detail….

  7. Harinder says:

    Compassion – Forgiveness is Divine :–
    "Where there is Wisdom, there is Righteousness.
    Where there is falsehood, there is sin.
    Where there is greed, there is Death.
    Where there is Forgiveness (Compassion), God Himself is there."

    (Sri Kabir Ji, Slok 155, p. 1372, SGGS)

  8. Harinder says:

    Compassion – Forgiveness is Divine :–
    "Where there is Wisdom, there is Righteousness.
    Where there is falsehood, there is sin.
    Where there is greed, there is Death.
    Where there is Forgiveness (Compassion), God Himself is there."

    (Sri Kabir Ji, Slok 155, p. 1372, SGGS)

  9. Kala says:

    Mahraj Krishna Shah nu samj bakshe,,ja fir mahraj ji ehda de ullu de pathe nu es duniya tu leh hi jaan…

  10. Kala says:

    Mahraj Krishna Shah nu samj bakshe,,ja fir mahraj ji ehda de ullu de pathe nu es duniya tu leh hi jaan…

  11. Manpreet says:

    We need our own movie soon and fast.. Bollywood is a waste!

  12. Manpreet says:

    We need our own movie soon and fast.. Bollywood is a waste!

  13. rocco says:

    Jodha. Great Article Thanks for the Penn and Teller link. I had no idea Gandhi was so f*ck#d up.

  14. rocco says:

    Jodha. Great Article Thanks for the Penn and Teller link. I had no idea Gandhi was so f*ck#d up.

  15. Realism says:

    Im so eager to see how they depict us in this obviously bias sequel to a movie about a useless man who took credit for the sefless cause and efforts of real freedom fighters of those days. The depiction and need for the story of real sufferings of thousands of widows and families will likely be overpowered by the story about a loss of ONE person by her OWN actions. Instead of the reality of the sufferings of innocents, they make a movie about this ? What a joke.

    Just as the first movie did not even give even minimal credit to ANYONE including sikhs for our huge role in this movement and struggle – I dont expect this one to have any truth or compassion – but come on people its the Gandhi Family – did we really expect any truth or compassion ?

    I'll look for it when it comes out – Likely under the "Comedy" section.

  16. Realism says:

    Im so eager to see how they depict us in this obviously bias sequel to a movie about a useless man who took credit for the sefless cause and efforts of real freedom fighters of those days. The depiction and need for the story of real sufferings of thousands of widows and families will likely be overpowered by the story about a loss of ONE person by her OWN actions. Instead of the reality of the sufferings of innocents, they make a movie about this ? What a joke.

    Just as the first movie did not even give even minimal credit to ANYONE including sikhs for our huge role in this movement and struggle – I dont expect this one to have any truth or compassion – but come on people its the Gandhi Family – did we really expect any truth or compassion ?

    I'll look for it when it comes out – Likely under the "Comedy" section.

  17. Teg says:

    Indira Gandhi was one one the most evil wicked and vindictive women of the twentieth century. Now this Hindu film director wants to portray witch Indro as some one who was brave and who died for Bharat Mata as a martyr ?? Obviously the Sikhs will be shown as the bad guys in this movie . Sikhs need to launch a huge campaign warning the actors and other involved in this- specially from Hollywood of the horrendous mistake that they will make. They should be made aware of the genocide of hundreds of thousands of sikhs that was conducted by witch Indro and her son Rajiv..

  18. Teg says:

    Indira Gandhi was one one the most evil wicked and vindictive women of the twentieth century. Now this Hindu film director wants to portray witch Indro as some one who was brave and who died for Bharat Mata as a martyr ?? Obviously the Sikhs will be shown as the bad guys in this movie . Sikhs need to launch a huge campaign warning the actors and other involved in this- specially from Hollywood of the horrendous mistake that they will make. They should be made aware of the genocide of hundreds of thousands of sikhs that was conducted by witch Indro and her son Rajiv..

  19. lakhvir singh says:

    this movie will never happen. the indian government will pull their strings to save their national icon's image. indian government is a champion in protecting the guilty to the core.

  20. lakhvir singh says:

    this movie will never happen. the indian government will pull their strings to save their national icon’s image. indian government is a champion in protecting the guilty to the core.

  21. iSingh says:

    Freedom of speech and expression gives the right to any story-teller to depict whatever they think is appropriate (refer http://thelangarhall.com/sikhi/gurpreet-kaur-bhat… ) Instead of launching a campaign, create movies / media which shows the "truth".

    If you have not, it'll be worthwhile to watch (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0414713/) and (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116950/)

  22. iSingh says:

    Freedom of speech and expression gives the right to any story-teller to depict whatever they think is appropriate (refer http://thelangarhall.com/sikhi/gurpreet-kaur-bhat… ) Instead of launching a campaign, create movies / media which shows the "truth".

    If you have not, it'll be worthwhile to watch (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0414713/) and (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116950/)

  23. Paramjit Singh says:

    Whatever Indira Gandhi's personal and professional shortcomings,no one can deny the stability provided by her tenure as PM.It is because of her policies that there is a country known as BanglaDesh,it is because of her that Sikkim is part of the Indian Union,it is because of her that India is considered and acknowlegded as a nuclear power.Sure she made some mistakes,but who doesn't.As for her relations with the sikhs,one should not read too much without knowing all the facts.This comment will not find a welcome reception by many on this blog but truth always hurts.

  24. Paramjit Singh says:

    Whatever Indira Gandhi's personal and professional shortcomings,no one can deny the stability provided by her tenure as PM.It is because of her policies that there is a country known as BanglaDesh,it is because of her that Sikkim is part of the Indian Union,it is because of her that India is considered and acknowlegded as a nuclear power.Sure she made some mistakes,but who doesn't.As for her relations with the sikhs,one should not read too much without knowing all the facts.This comment will not find a welcome reception by many on this blog but truth always hurts.

  25. Harjap says:

    Why are people surprised about Bollywood and Hollywood doing this? Let's face it , we woul ddo the same for a Sikh hero..turn blind out to the flaws

  26. Harjap says:

    Why are people surprised about Bollywood and Hollywood doing this? Let's face it , we woul ddo the same for a Sikh hero..turn blind out to the flaws