Khawaja Ahmed Abbas
An authentic Auteur or an Altruistic Agitator?
(A brief Introduction of Filmmaker)
K. A .Abbas was possibly the most definitive and progressive activist in Indian literature and cinema. He is an intellectual who tries to redeem and solve a paradox without making a crucial issue into pseudo intellectual paradigm, his personal life akin to his public profile is affiliated with his passion for his causes versus the eponymous vitriolic opposition of his critics.
He was immensely talented, a true altruist and even his socialist themes are euphemisms for common sufferings. He made some deeply moving and disturbing realist and experimental cinema, it is expressionist but never abstract, in comparison to the avant-garde western influences of Andy Warhol and rolling stones, he is more in league with Di-Sica and Satyajit Ray, but he is always an existentialist who blames the hierarchy and the criminals with observing the truth without taking sides visibly.
He made the following note worthy unique classics:
Shehar aur sapna
Bambai Raat ki Bahoon Mein
Do Bhoond Paani
They are all dramatic satires colloquially dressed as mainstream cinema, they amalgamate the virtues and evils of materialism against socialism and are a debate on various stoically impassive crucial issues which most people will choose to ignore, while Abbas is not a renegade or a rebel, he definitely is a reformer who wants social modification at grass root level without destroying the ultra-structure of the defined establishment.
K. A. Abbas addresses the anger of youth in an endeavour to channel it into a calm conduit without denying the failures of the judiciary and democracy in India, he discusses lack of clean drinking water, truant itinerant homeless sleeping on the sidewalk, police cruelty, incompetent bureaucracy, colonial values still rampant in modern free India and in his last most memorable movie, he investigates and details the doomed and damning NAXALITE movement, which arose in Calcutta as a direct reaction to the delusional dissent of disillusioned youth who saw no change in a free India for the common man, instead the cloak of oppression had tightened.
The cast worked free of charge, including the two stars Smita Patil and Mithun Chakraborty, it was shot on real life locations and is rumoured to be based on real life anecdotes. It is a final message from an auteur to a disgruntled and discontent social milieu, which persists despite the fact; he created this 30 years ago.
I have tried to do justice to this crucial but very significant movie in my review without discussing the rights or wrongs of the actions of its vitriolic, wrathful youth and their violent acts as I believe brutality breeds brutality and the right path to harmony lies in a society where all men are equal in the eyes of law and justice, whether it is a democracy or a totalitarian regime is besides the point, if justice is denied then a system has failed it's protagonists.
This is neither correctional nor sermonising but a profound observation from a disillusioned mind who has seen his dreams shattered before his eyes.
I hope you enjoy this review of a cult classic, which is expressionist cinema in technique, and neo-realist in content, despite being minimalist as it is shot on a shoestring budget due to financial constraints. God bless the soul of Mr.Abbas.