Monday, 22 August 2016

Wazir: Pawn's Story of Pawn's Revenge over the King

Wazir: The Hindi Film

The journey of pawn from powerless insignificant identity to powerful Wazir - an equivalent to Queen in modern game of Chess is not an impossible one. If it goes on moving ahead with persistence, perseverance, determination and diligence, it can metamorphose itself into powerful identity. But as it is not possible in each and every game of chess to see that pawn reaches to final home-square to gain the power of Wazir, similarly, in real life too, it is only in the rarest of the rare stories that it happens. There are examples like Dhirubhai Ambani, J K Rowling, Oprah Winfrey . . . the list may include many more who's who.

The story of such pawns turning into wazirs, or the story of rags to riches is a very famous and popular literary archetype (ref: Northrop Frye's The Archetypal Criticism). In popular culture, popular films and literature also, this trope is quite in vogue.

But this concept is not much loved by social reformers and revolutionaries. They are bitter critics of this fairy-tale-sort-of-story. They prefer to narrate things more realistically. They argue that only a handful of exceptionally capable and/or mainly lucky persons are actually able to travel the "rags to riches" road, being the great publicity given to such cases a natural Survivorship bias illusion, which help keep the masses of the working class and the working poor in line, preventing them from agitating for an overall collective change in the direction of social equality (Wikipedia). Some of the interesting books with the similar theme are:
  • Peña, Manuel. "American Mythologies" Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2012. ISBN 9781409442745
  • Weiss, Richard. "The American Myth of Success: From Horatio Alger to Norman Vincent Peale" Basic Books, 1969. ISBN 0252060431
These observations are quite true. The Hindi film Wazir narrates a story of the struggle between the helpless pawn against an evil King. Not all pawns are lucky enough to metamorphose into powerful wazir to avenge itself against the evil King. Most of them, standing in front row, fight against the likes of theirs, and get sacrificed in protecting the evil kings. If they are intelligent enough, they may open the gateway for Elephant (Rook) or Camel (Bishop), who in turn can checkmate the revenge of pawn. But that too is some thing happening in fairy tales. Realistic commentators or narrators or viewers may not get convinced with it. In reality, most of such stories remains unavenged.

At the same time, this film also raised important question against the idea of 'talent' and 'merit'. If one extraordinarily talented or meritorious persona (Wazir / Queen) over shadows innumerable 'mediocre' or average individuals (pawns), how far is it fair enough to sing the songs of talent / merit? The popular culture and society loves to sing such songs. May be because it gives them an illusory dream that some day they also will be meritorious and their talent will also be respected, and if it is not, the fault lies with them - they are not meritorious, they are not talented! They will not have enough confidence to tell their stories with confidence.  Bejoy Nambiar (Director), Abhijat Joshi and Vidhu Vinod Chopra (Writers) gave voice to the struggle of a pawn named Pandit Omkar Nath Dhar (Amitabh Bachchan) against the talented politician who can blind people's eyes to become very popular with his language of peace and love, who in reality has strong connections with terrorist groups. Had it been not popular Hindi cinema, and has it been some realistic film, Pandit Omkar, like real Kashmiri Pandits pushed out of their homes to dwell in refugee camps, would have died an unknown death. But as it is a piece of feel-good cinema, he gets an elephant (Rook) to take his revenge. We see, in real world of human existence, millions of pawns meeting dead ends and lost in the oblivion from public memory as their stories rarely find an appropriate bard.





This film narrates the revenge story of one such pawn who reaches the final square to become Wazir. But that was not enough, he has sacrifice itself and make a way open for the Elephant (Rook) to rush in where even eagle dare to and end the game with checkmate. Kudos to Bejoy Nambiar (Director), Abhijat Joshi and Vidhu Vinod Chopra (Writers). The film is worth watching. Such thrillers are not watched without the presence of mind. It is normally advised not to carry the mind to the cinema-theatre to enjoy the films. But the watchers of this genre know it very well that they have to keep their minds on the toes. And as we watch with awakened mind, we start sensing at some point in the film - the secret which the film makers wants to keep. So, it is not a surprise when it is revealed. Yes, Sujoy Ghosh's Kahaani (2012) had that secret, very well kept till end and did not allow the viewers to doubt it. Wazir is, surely not, Kahaani. But Wazir has master performances by Amitabh Bachchan and Farhan Akhtar. It has some very well written dialogues. Its ups is not only script, which has some loops, but it is performance and dialogues.The movies is worth watching.

It is well said:  

BE NOT ashamed, my brothers, to stand before the proud and the powerful with your white robe of simpleness.Let your crown be of humility, your freedom the freedom of the soul.Build God's throne daily upon the ample bareness of your poverty, and know that what is huge is not great and pride is not everlasting. ~ Rabindranath Tagore