exclusive by Devansh Patel
In an age where the media broadcasts and prints countless pieces of foolishness, the educated man is defined not by what he knows, but by what he doesn't know. After yesterdays mammoth Press conference in the capital to promote his ambitious film Rann, Ram Gopal Varma was seen in a rare smiling pose while addressing the country's media along with Big B, Riteish Deshmukh, Sudeep and Paresh Rawal. The grand unveiling of his first ever Rann promo created quite a bit of stir among the media present there as the video started off with India's National Anthem weaved into the films story. As overflowing as an ashtray with details that are so ingrained into the trailer, the video becomes almost invisible yet critical to the mood and tone of todays diminishing journalism.
'Jana Gana Mana Rann' sounded like a passionate and concise civic lesson from the past, arriving with much political and cultural relevance of today. It started off with a provocative, principled and richly detailed snap shots of all the characters from the film looking stunned in what seemed to be an upheaval. An eye popper more than an eye opener, it was pretty compelling and invigorating. Revered for his courage, high standards and clear, unaffected way of making films, RGV pulls out a stunner promo which makes you stand in pride and salute. The question is – to whom? Ramu, Mr Bachchan, Riteish or Sudeep? All masters in their own right and representing all that is best in crusading journalism. With no speech and only the anthem being sung, the promo palette looks heavy on shadows with serious colours on lost faces. It feels like all the images are lit up on screen inside a bunker, after all, Rann promises to be a war...war of words and wisdom...which leads us to the promos most gripping moment – the moment when a hand from the foreground switches off the television. For us, it's the moment of truth because in a world where freedom of speech is killed by fear, Jana Gana Mana Rann restores the combative speech into an anthem trumpeting its greatness. What still needs to be seen is the domino effect on the promo. Will it create a controversy just because the National Anthem is used? or will the journalists be seen visiting Ram Gopal Varma in prison tomorrow? Will any politician wake up today and take a stand against the promo? Or will any political party be too obsessed to use it for their own betterment? Before we get the answers to the above questions, UK's Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama's London correspondent spoke to the master of disguise, RGV, and asked him questions on the first promo of his forthcoming film Rann, which bears the message about dissension, and the power of the Press. A power that is soon fading. But as Ramu himself quotes, 'Power cannot be given...it has to be taken'.
Isn’t’ it morally incorrect to demean the National Anthem?
Of course it is morally incorrect and completely unpatriotic to demean the national anthem. However this song isn’t and shouldn’t be misconstrued to be an aberration on the National Anthem. It’s a song by itself that in a way tries to depict the current situation in the country. The reference to the national anthem is also for the same.
It is illegal to dissect the National Anthem and use it for your own purpose like you've used to publicise your film Rann.
I feel this song, only depicts what some characters of this film feel is the current state of affairs in the country. If one was to notice carefully, it isn’t a dissection of the national anthem nor is it an attempt to do so. Yes, for obvious reasons it sounds like it, but if one was to notice carefully, the national anthem talks a completely different language and this song talks of the battleground that our land has become today.
How was 'Jana Gana Mana Rann' conceived?
This song stemmed out from the fact that today freedom of speech is actually curtailed and the freedom that we actually fought for somewhere is back to being controlled and manipulated in the hands of someone or the other.
What is the idea behind 'Jana Gana Mana Rann'?
The idea behind the song is strongly tied in with the premise of the film. The film showcases the lengths people would go in order to secure the all consuming power of controlling the people’s mind space. The song talks about, how this largest democracy in the world runs the greatest risk of being manipulated by a few minds to promote their personal interests. It tells how a nation once regarded as the most secular, cohesive and peaceful is now being broken down to pieces. Are we awake to this fact or just sleepwalking through it? Is it victory or death?
What is your take on the promo?
Well I think this is a song that resonates the very thought of the film. No one should misconstrue this song as meaning anything else or as one that is meant to offend anyone’s sentiments.
What do you believe will be the mass reaction to this promotional song promo?
They would appreciate it. Everyone understands and realizes the current state of affairs of our country.
This ain't a publicity stunt, is it?
It’s a creation meant for and lending support solely to the premise of the film. We believe the audience today is intelligent and don’t fall for so called ‘stunts’.
Is this supported or endorsed by any political party?
This is not a song pro or against any political party or any political element. It is very clear if you listen to the lyrics. It's not meant to be provocative nor is it meant to violate. It’s the state of the nation the song highlights and if anything it would be accepted by each and every Indian.
What if the Censor Board does not issue a certificate for this promo?
We believe in this song and what it stands for in the context of the film and we know in our hearts that there is nothing wrong in this song in the way it is going to be depicted in the film.
Will this song be broadcast as a promotional song? Is it going to be sent to anyone?
This song will be made available to anyone and everyone. It’s not something to be apologetic about, but something that you listen to, understand and acknowledge. It’s the state of the nation and every Indian should know it, so that he or she can do something about it.
Why do you think 'Jana Gana Mana Rann' is relevant in today’s time?
This song is extremely relevant simply because it voices the truth, the real sorry state of today’s affairs. Yes we have great economic growth and are the rising superpower, while the world talks of that, here we lie warring amongst each other, looking for excuses, sparking communal violence. In this situation we have lost our voice, this song merely states that.