What are you supposed to feel when two of India's most celebrated filmmakers make their latest films on the same issue? Do you think that creative winds of change are finally sweeping Bollywood and grounding it (even as it continues its elaborate fights of absolute fantasy elsewhere) or that the issue being talked about has reached such a crescendo that even Bollywood cannot but take notice?
In a village square in rural Haryana, villagers are huddled morosely. Along stumbles a bearded drunk who asks them what the problem is. They inform him of a man trying to grab their farming land to build factories and malls. The drunkard curses that ruthless brute and asks who it is. Meekly they tell him that it is none other than him.
Shaken but not stirred, the drunk cheers up the villagers and not only inspires them to take out a procession against him but also leads it, a flaming torch in hand. When it reaches his house, the drunk decides to sneak into his own house from the back door, emerge from the front and listen to the farmers. Sadly, on the way, he falls into his own swimming pool and becomes sober.
He emerges with a loaded gun threatening to shoot the villagers if they persist. The villagers scatter in a huff.
Cinematically, this scene from Vishal Bharadwaj's Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola becomes a bizarre, surreal and poignant opening. At a political level though, this 'Jekyll and Hyde' act played with stunning conviction and 'cuteness' by Pankaj Kapur becomes a metaphor not only of the government of this country, but also its corporate class.