Let’s not even talk about the reams & reams of film roll on the French Revolution, the life & times of Henry VIII, Shakespeare’s classics & their many versions …

but only of the events of 20th C where, there are thousands of films in English & almost all European languages on
the Holocaust.

They cover every imaginable point of view -
the political, geographical, historical, anecdotal.

Stories of children, adults, concentration camp guards, a commandants family living amidst the horror, Kapo the Jewish prisoner functionaries.
They all have found a voice on celluloid. Even those that deny the Holocaust.

Similarly, the list of films & documentaries made on the assassination of President JF Kennedy is 17 pages long.

From every angle, be it his widow Jacqueline, the assassin’s wife, Mrs Harvey Oswald
to J Edgar Hoover, Head of FBI, Lyndon B Johnson, the president who succeeded him, eye witnesses, Dallas citizens, reports of CIA, FBI, forensic discrepancies, deep Mafia connections, even defecting Russian spies...

the versions go on & on, piecing together a jigsaw puzzle
that still leaves so many unexplained, disjointed ends.

To a lesser extent assassinations of brother Robert Kennedy & Martin Luther King have also been explored in much detail.
India however, has been presented a fait accompli when it comes to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

Birla House
prayer meeting
Gandhi accompanied by his two nieces
Nathuram Godse appears, shoots him three times point blank in the chest.
Gandhi collapses with his last words, Hai Ram!
Godse gives himself up without much ado.

Most details are basic & sketchy at best, except for the assassin’s political ideology of which there is no uncertainty & has in fact been rammed down generations of the population.
Does anyone remember more than two films which covered the assassination ?
One of course being, Attenborough’s Gandhi …

It was only last year on reading a brilliant thread by @loosebool on the unexplained events & subsequent actions of 30th January 1948 did I for the first
time attempt to comprehend the enormity of what most of us have absolutely no idea of.

In a first of its genre the subject of PM Shastri’s mysterious death in Tashkent was covered by @vivekagnihotri #TashkentFiles

Now looking back it is indeed strange that successive govts
didn’t find it necessary to investigate the unexplained death of a PM on foreign soil & we the people over decades made do with rumour, gossip or simply & shamefully forgot him.

One might disagree with the presentation of a creative work, a director’s cinematography but one
cannot take away the fact that for the first time via a popular medium, @vivekagnihotri opened up a Pandora’s box of questions, opinions on history, politics, foreign affairs & intrigue.
There were many reactions to the film, positive, negative but the strangest was -

~What was the need ? What was his motive ?~

A PM of this country died unexpectedly in Russia after signing a treaty with Pakistan who we had been at war with & we don’t want to know how & why …?
By now we should have seen several films & gripping documentaries on these momentous events with an array of opinions for us to think about, accept & reject.

But then, we are also a country with no commendable body of work on celluloid of our historical personalities.
We seem to be happiest with that !

Don’t rock the boat.

Maintain status quo.

What has been fed to us is what we are satisfied with.

Why question just in case something uncomfortable turns up ?
The Out of Syllabus Syndrome has been our worst nightmare since childhood & we are unable to face it even in our adulthood.

Is that why there is this panic in certain quarters when certain periods in our history are delved into anew ?
Old theories questioned.

Leave it.

Why get it into now ?

Exam de diya. Pass ho gaye. Abh kya ?

An inexplicable fear of unlearning, of who we thought we were.
What ever you might say, for the first time in the history of Indian cinema thanks to platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime we are seeing a quality of filmmaking that has been rarely seen before.

Yes some of us can see that agenda, that unnecessary twist to perpetuate,
maintain stereotypes & status quo.

But instead of wanting to shut down these voices we must encourage others to come forth with their stories & films.

Not till we see, hear, experience & enjoy multiple opinions will we
be able to discuss, debate with nuance & maturity.

Our Prime Time panels are a good example of how we are not able to accept any other opinion but ours.

For too long there has been but one accepted school of thought and that has to be countered logically, rationally,
factually with the art of story telling.

So bring on more films, bring on more documentaries & let’s talk Out Of Syllabus.
You can follow @NAN_DINI_.
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