Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-dnltx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-24T17:02:22.045Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

7 - At Odds with the Nation: Joy Baba Felunath, Hirak Rajar Deshe and Sadgati

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 November 2023

Devapriya Sanyal
Affiliation:
Mount Carmel College, Bangalore
Get access

Summary

Shatranj Ke Khiladi was well-received in the West, but in India itself there was grumbling that Ray had destroyed the patriotic essence of Premchand's story. Although this may be contested, Shyam Benegal's Junoon (1978) may have been intended as an antidote to Ray's film – it has an English girl falling in love with a leader of the 1857 Mutiny. Ray, as already indicated, was particular that history should be respected and there are no indications that the ‘nationalist’ spirit even existed in 1857 – although the Mutiny has been officially renamed the First War of Indian Independence. Ray had been critical of the Congress Party in his Calcutta Trilogy; this was a much more bitter pill to swallow for the regime than the radical cinema of the 1970s, which often employed the same rhetoric as Mrs Gandhi – railing against the West, the colonial mindset and feudalism and being pro-worker and pro-peasant. Mrs Gandhi had aligned with the Communists in the 1970s and had brought left-wingers into her government, among them intellectuals like Mohan Kumaramangalam, who became Minister for Steel and Mines and Ashok Mitra, who was Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India. Ray was considered ‘conservative’ in relation to radical filmmakers like Mrinal Sen, but the radical polemic of these latter filmmakers was actually more aligned with political power. Ray, it can be surmised, found himself marginalised with Mrs Gandhi at the helm when he became critical of her party/government, and the films dealt with in this chapter examine the effect of the cultural marginalisation of the filmmaker on his films. Ray had made Pather Panchali in 1955 and had been internationally renowned for decades, but he received the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, the highest recognition for a film personality, only in 1985 after Mrs Gandhi's death – when much less important people associated with films had been honoured earlier. The films dealt with here were made in a five-year period at the turn of the decade.

A strategy employed in the course of this book is to examine Bollywood in the same period to which Ray's films dealt with in this chapter pertain, and Bollywood has always been deeply sensitive to the political currents at any time. In the timespan covered by the films in this chapter, Mrs Gandhi lost power (1977) after having imposed a very unpopular ‘Emergency’ during which press freedom was curtailed.

Type
Chapter
Information
Failed Masculinities
The Men in Satyajit Ray's Films
, pp. 125 - 140
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Print publication year: 2023

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×