By Enkayaar, Glamsham Editorial
How times change! in the earlier times when there was an issue of price rise there was an element of despair that was projected in the cinema but as it became an endemic feature and became a monster which could not be controlled, it became a farce, and that is how it started being projected in the world of Hindi cinema. SAARE JAHAAN SE MEHNGA which is releasing this Friday is one more addition to l'ffaire conundrum associated with price rise. Such is the confidence of the makers of SJSM about the content of the film that they have not taken any mainstream stars, but instead used the actors of the likes of Sanjay Mishra to be the lead protagonist with the understanding perhaps that a star would not be able to depict and portray the daily struggle associated with price rise, but the characters would be able to deliver a convincing performance.
One thing that needs to be underlined here is the fact that SJSM is also a satire on the different schemes being promoted, and how those who know the ways to manipulate it are benefiting from the schemes, while the real beneficiaries still continue to be at the receiving end of the price rise.
On the eve of SJSM, here is re-run of films that used price rise as the focus:
ROTI KAPDA AUR MAKAAN: It was Manoj Kumar in his heydays, who projected succinctly the monster of price rise, the dilemmas associated with dealing with pangs of hunger, and the compromises that females have to make, and using the voice of Narendra Chanchal in the song-Mehngai maar gayi- Hai Mehngai Mehngai Mehngai to drive home the point of despair in the life of the common man.
PEEPLI LIVE: Aamir Khan produced and Anushka Rizvi directed film, was a stark portrayal about the yawning gap that has emerged between two classes in India, have and have not's, and song- mehngai dayaan became a signature tune about the price rise, and touched the chord somewhere some way for most of the citizens of the country.
CHAKRAVYUH: The song from Chakravyuh,- bhaiya dekh liya hai bahut teri sardaari, was again a telling comment on the way the rising price is pinching the day to day life of common man, and how it is indirectly also encouraging rebellion against the state, as after all, it is the pang of hunger that drives one to unlawful activities. The pithy lyrics created controversy but it was ultimately cleared with the caveat that the names used do not constitute a character assassination but have been used as metaphors.
DO BIGHA ZAMEEN: Bimal Roy's classic in fact was one of the first films which underlined how a common man is driven to a situation, where to eke out his living he has to mortgage his land and become an urban labourer, a situation which still continues to manifest.
PARIVAR: This 1950s film stands out for the humorous song sung by Kishore Kumar, Khush hai zamana aaj pehli taarikh hai, underlining the role of salary day in the life of a common man and how it is a day when he or she could think of an idea to convert some aspirations into realities.
One only hopes that more and more new manifestations of SJSM would continue to be made and bring out the plight of the common man with lots of humour and pathos.