Posted On Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 06:53:15 PM
For a film that claims to “explore the different sides of Naxalism”, Aalaap’s politics are muddled, its objective naïve, and method laughable.
Three Chhattisgarh aimless college kids team up and record a song that becomes a nationwide YouTube rage. A fourth overachiever kid brings them a wad of cash to buy his way in and takes over as lead singer for a performance at a college fest.
They’re witness to a landmine explosion that kills CRPF personnel and they get angry and vow vengeance on the Naxals. Soon, they have an invitation from the Naxals themselves to perform in the jungle amongst them…
When an official synopsis uses the words “infested with Naxalism” you know that this is going to be a one-sided affair. I am not going to use the term ‘propaganda film’ because at least propaganda has clarity.
Here we have unbalanced lip service paid to Dr Binayak Sen in the form of a doctor-sympathiser and unnecessary focus in an attempt to prove that no matter what kind of film Bollywood churns out, the politician is always the bad guy.
Aalaap says nothing about Naxalism. It fails on this very level. It only uses the vague idea that most of India is grappling with –– that there is an issue –– without as much a basic one-line dialogue explaining ‘how’ or ‘why’, much less showing anything.
Why are there Telugu speaking gun-toting men sitting in the jungles of Dantewada blowing up army trucks? Surely a whole film on the subject might shed some light. Nope. Try Wikipedia.
Anyway, what’s the solution to the “Naxal problem”? Music. This only proves that the makers are themselves clueless about the problem they've taken up cudgels against. It’s like saying a reality TV show will solve the Kashmir problem or a football game will sort the differences between Israel and Palestine. What mockery of a serious matter.
And even if you’re going to pull off such a fantasy, you’d at least have to be convincing at some level. But whether it's acting or the technical departments nothing manages to go past substandard. Agnee’s music brings some respite to proceedings, but even the best songs can’t lift visuals beyond a certain point.
Unless you’re a well-informed, anti-Naxal, state policy-supporting non-politician who doesn’t mind a tacky film, Aalaap has nothing to offer to you.