Anna Hazzare and Shankar’s Indian

Kisan Baburao Hazare, popularly known as Anna Hazare is the latest sensation of India through his hunger strike to make the government implement the Jan Lokpal Bill which will help reduce corruption in India.

If we start analyzing why he has been able to attract such a huge following in a short span of time, two things strike me as very important.

The first thing is media support. As portrayed by KV Anand in KO, if someone is trying to enter public life, he needs some sort of attention from media to reach out to the people and let them know what he is doing. Without the focus and reach of the media, a protest led by one man will be nothing more than smidgen. Imagine; what chance would Anna stand against a posse of politicians, most of them millionaires, who are trying to make their voices and opinions heard through private satellite channels. If not for the media support, would Anna’s call for a nationwide protest against corruption have been heard so loudly across the country. One of the major factors behind the one-man protest becoming almost a revolution which is making the government look powerless is the backing of the media.

A good example of the media’s power in getting the public involved can be gauged from the contrasting ways in which two protests have evolved over the decade. Take the case of Irom Sharmila (many of you would have read about the lady) who has been fasting for more than a decade, been force fed through tubes and been constantly under house arrest; all because she went on hunger fast against the Armed Forces Special Powers act. Yes, she has been fasting from November 2000, nearly 11 years. But, her protest never became a huge movement or a revolution. Why? Because, the media did not take it up. She has not been prime time focus of many news channels, instead she has been given spaces in op-ed columns hidden well within the depths of newspapers.

Yes, the media’s power in magnifying the deeds of person is undeniable. But, that is not to say that Anna’s popularity and the effectiveness of his movement is just because of the media. Anna Hazare, has lived in a small room attached to a temple in Ralegan Siddhi village since 1975. He has a bank balance of 67,183 rupees and 1500 rupees in hand. He also has 0.07 hectares of family land which is being looked after by his brothers. And above all, he is a respected senior citizen running a crusade against the biggest malice of our country – corruption, something which every Indian has been affected by.

This takes me to the other foremost thing – how a man of his age can lead a campaign like this. Is this practically possible?

Although Shankar’s Indian was a fantasy against corruption made with realistic screenplay without hitting the logic, few people raised their concerns over an old man staging such a protest. Here, in real life, Anna, 74 by age is still energetic and raring to go to fight for his fellow countrymen. And people who saw his sprint in Ramlila Maidan even after a 3 day fast in Tihar jail will definitely agree that physical strength is not a matter if you are courageous enough to fight.

Both Senapathy and Anna are ex-miltiary men. Kamal was with Indian National Army and Anna was with Indian Army.

In the movie, all of Kamal’s close associates will be killed by British government. Whereas when Anna was sent to Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Pakistan launched an air strike on November 12, 1965 where all of his comrades were killed and Anna comes as the only survivor.

Both Senapathy and Anna Hazare are smart, they don’t want to protest by just blocking roads and shouting or protesting in a small area, they want their message to reach the entire nation.

Both used electronic media to send a message to their countrymen. When Senapthy used a television channel, Anna uses the service of youtube where the video of Anna’s speech from Tihar jail was uploaded and created waves among the youngsters.

Although Indian’s plot doesn’t happen in day to day life, it was director Shankar’s dream to have a senior citizen fight corruption, which is becoming true in real life now. Means and the approach is totally diametrical. Both – ‘Indian thatha’ & ‘Anna Hazare’ cannot be and should never be compared. But my only sincere wish is to have more social justice fantasies by such filmmakers come true !

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