Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spiritual Ancestors

It has been seen that often, characters in later creations of the same author or filmmaker are ancestors or progeny of their earlier creations.

For example, Deshu of D (played by Randeep Hooda) is actually the starting point of Malik of Company (played by Ajay Devgan). D ends with Deshu becoming a fearsome mafia don by taking control of his godfather's empire. Company begins with exactly the same plot point and carries on with the trajectory of his don-hood, where his trusted lieutenant turns against him. The director/producer of the two films mentioned this as the connecting link between the two films, which read - quite unsubtly - D Company.

The idealistic police officer of Zanjeer - Vijay Khanna - was destined to come up against political interference, corruption, nepotism and rot in the system. He had exorcised his personal demons by killing his father's killer but he was unable to cleanse the system. His honesty being a liability, the authorities would have posted him in an obscure police training school. And over the years, he would have become a cynical, tired man - until he was called for an assignment of a lifetime.
Meet Anant Srivastav, of Khakee.

In Satyajit Ray's Pratidwandi, the protagonist - Siddhartha (played by Dhritiman Chatterjee) - goes through a series of debilitating job interviews. His obvious sincerity, strong articulation and intelligence comes to a naught as he faces questions with pre-decided answers. In the most famous sequence from the film, he is asked 'What is the most significant event of the last decade?' and Siddhartha answers 'the war in Vietnam'. This is not only at variance with the 'correct' answer (landing on the Moon) but sets up the damning next question - 'Are you a Communist?'

The previous year, Ray made Seemabaddha about an upwardly mobile executive - Shyamalendu - whose obvious sincerity, intelligence and charm made an observer wonder that if Pratidwandi's Siddhartha had indeed answered 'moon landing' to that question, he would have become Shyamalendu later in his career!

So, why this sudden chain of thought? Because of 2 States. Which is a love story between a Tamil girl and a Punjabi boy set in IIM Ahmedabad. The Punjabi boy is from IIT Delhi, had an affair with his professor's daughter and was almost expelled. His grade point average made him a Five Point Someone. The protagonist from Chetan Bhagat's first book is back!

And the book ends with the cheesiest line I have ever had the privilege of reading. Even if you don't like Chetan Bhagat, just pick up the book and read the last two pages. Its brilliant!

So, any other spiritual ancestors you can think of?

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