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Red Alert coming soon to a screen near you

Posted by Admin on October 4, 2009

NEW DELHI: Wedded to the gun and determined to manufacture an armed insurrection, the radical Reds have spread their tentacles across large swathes of the country. And Bollywood is ready to capture the growing menace in a forthcoming flick, ‘Red Alert: The War Within’.

"The film couldn’t have been more timely," says director Ananth Mahadevan. He adds, "When I showed the film in Stuttgart, people around the world recalled their own rebellions. They had the same question that the film raises: does the end justify the means?" Viewers might also find shades of Kobad Ghandy in one of the film’s characters played by Vinod Khanna, says Mahadevan.

Since the late 1960s, the Naxalite movement has strongly appealed to a section of urban youth as well as rural masses. But there have been few films on the subject. Films such as Mrinal Sen’s ‘Calcutta 71′, a searing study of naxalism, violence and corruption in the politically-charged Seventies, and Khwaja Ahmad Abbas’ ‘The Naxalites’ (1980), starring Smita Patil and Mithun Chakraborty, were exceptions rather than the rule.

Trade expert Komal Nahta offers an explanation. "Films on naxalism are generally perceived to be depressing and, therefore, find few producers. The common man is not aware of the subject. Hence, it has a sectional or intellectual appeal" he says.

Sudhir Mishra, whose ‘Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi’ (2003) dealt with the problem, offers a different view. "Most Bollywood filmmakers mentally live in New York and London. They are illiterate about real India and find it unfashionable to pick up topical subjects," he says.

Sudhir finds naxalism appealing because it made some of the brightest men from affluent backgrounds, leave the comforts of their homes in pursuit of an idea. "When you explore Indian reality, you realise that over 150 districts are prone to naxalism. That speaks volumes of its reach. Here, the violence is in malnutrition and lack of justice," he says.

There have been some other films on naxalism. Sanjiv Karambelkar’s ‘Lal Salaam’ (2002), starring Nandita Das and Sharad Kapoor, is based on true incidents of victims of police brutality in Nagpur turning into armed rebels due to an unresponsive government. The film flopped in most territories but became a surprise hit in the naxal-infested regions of Bihar.

‘Red Alert’ will also incorporate Y S R Reddy’s chopper crash site in the Nallamala forests. "We replicated the entire forest in Khandala," says Mahadevan. His art director, Sanjay Jhadav, canned shots of Telengana’s signboards, activities of the dalams (naxal groups), market streets and the village square where the cops were hanged and recreated them in Khandala. TOI

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