No, wait before you read the rest of the post. See the video first. (It’s in Hindi, sorry haven’t found a translation, for those of you who don’t know Hindi, see it anyway)
What is freedom of expression?
I think of the Ganguli brothers in this film and I allow myself to be transported to the late fifties (1958 to be precise). You may have often come across the obscure question of ‘what is that one thing that you would like to change in your past?‘. Not much, if you ask me, but yes, if such thing was possible, it would require a time machine. I’d rather use the time machine to transport myself to that era – the late 50s and early 60s or the late 70s and early 80s. Without going into my personal grouse against the changes in the world today that I detest, I’d like to use the time machine to transport myself to the sets of Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi. Take the song that you just saw. See Kishore and Anup Kumar and Mohan Choti in the video.
Tell me if you can script that; direct that.
The wonderful world of free expression is a lost world for us today. See the video a few times – and you will see some awkward actions (no retakes for the purpose of perfection). Ask yourself if it matters. If it does then you need to get back to some politically correct and scripted stuff of the 21st century. Let go of the rest of the post.
If the awkward actions don’t matter, again, ask yourself why.
I’ll give you my take.
It is because the action wasn’t determined by the future reaction of the observer, no polls, no ‘customer pulse’ – just pure passion. While the Ganguli brothers may have had a plan in mind while making this film, I believe it was the spontaneity from all the actors (oh yes, Madhubala too, how can you forget!) that made it the film that it was.
These moments are the ultimate cauldron of mixed emotions. I feel happy to see such a gay expression of performance, I feel sad at the constrained expression that I often exhibit and often see – the proper conduct, I tell you – gets to me. Is it who we are that inhibits us? Hardly! More often than not, it is what “they” may think of us, how they may feel, that dictates any action. Polite communication with hidden layers of seething anger or sarcasm is hardly free expression. Will the person on the other side feel bad? Will, what I say create a different impression of who I am? Will I become an outcast? What is the price to pay for being yourself? Is that expensive than the cost of my goals? Will those that allow me to reach my goals judge my behaviour or will they judge my talent? Will I be seen as a heretic, insane, a Bohemian – is that acceptable in today’s world?
There is better question than all those that may cross your mind:
Do I know who I am and do I know who I want to be?