'Rann' inspires Nepal's Maoists

Feb 8, 2010 Sudeshna Sarkar

Kathmandu, Feb 9 (IANS) Two years after Ram Gopal Varma's remake of the Bollywood classic "Sholay" suffered censors' scissors in Nepal, the film director's new release "Rann" has met with an entirely different response here, with top Maoist leaders calling it "inspiring".

Nepal's former Maoist guerrillas, who had often called for a ban on Hindi films during their 10-year "People's War", have now trooped to see "Rann", starring Amitabh Bachchan, who plays a media tycoon grappling with wily politicians.

Former Maoist finance minister Baburam Bhattarai and his wife and former tourism minister Hisila Yami were given a red-carpet treatment by the owners of the Gopi Krishna multiplex in Kathmandu, close to deposed king Gyanendra's former residence, when they turned up to watch "Rann" at a special screening, the Kantipur daily reported.

At a time Nepal's politicians are busy drafting the new constitution, the Maoist couple expressed a desire to see the medley of news and politics, two essential ingredients of the Maoist movement. The two chose the latest Bollywood release over James Cameron's blockbuster "Avatar" and were led to a special cabin in the theatre to watch Amitabh Bachchan, Paresh Rawal and Gul Panag in action.

As the film started, more Maoist leaders began to enter. They included two of the deputy commanders of the Maoists' underground People's Liberation Army, Nanda Kishor Pun Pasang and Chandra Prakash Khanal Baldev as well as Maoist MPs Top Bahadur Rayamajhi and Netra Bikram Chand.

The otherwise frantically busy leaders watched the film for nearly two hours, mesmerised. At the end, while leaving the theatre, Bhattarai, whose name had been doing the rounds as the next prime minister of Nepal, had a comment.

"Films like these are an inspiration for us politicians," the daily quoted the scholar from New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University as saying. "It sends out the message that politicians have to reach top posts through ability."

Yami, a former student of Delhi's School of Planning and Architecture and a peer of Arundhati Roy also had a comment. "The film teaches us that you shouldn't join politics till you have won people's faith," the former minister said.

"Even if you try to hide your sins by bribing the media, one day they will be out."

The praise was in sharp contrast to the way the censor authorities in Nepal had cut "Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag", a remake of "Sholay", two years back.

The Maoist couple had also recently watched "3 Idiots", the top-grossing Bollywood film starring Aamir Khan and directed by Raj Kumar Hirani. Last year, the Maoist-led government banned Bollywood action comedy "From Chandni Chowk to China" for wrongly describing India as the birthplace of the Buddha, who was born in southern Nepal.

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