Chak de India!!

On Sunday I watched ‘Chak de India’ – a great movie with rock-solid performance by SRK as well as the girls. The characters were beautifully sketched out and the script was amazing.
It isn’t to say that the movie was flawless. The thing that disappointed me the most was the lack of a solid inspirational speech from SRK to the players. I am not trying to say that the movie required such a speech – its just that, I don’t know why, but I was looking forward to an awe-inspiring speech from the coach throughout the movie. Maybe when India would play its first match in World Cup, then maybe before the start of the semi-final. Just before the final, there is a speech but not as awe-inspiring and not as beautifully delivered by SRK as I was hoping for. I am again not saying that in real life sports, there would be such speeches but being a movie, I really expected one.

Anyways, it was a brilliant movie and one I would love to watch again (few movies fall in this repeat bracket). At the same time, Chak de India cannot be bracketed with movies like ‘Rang de Basanti’, ‘Swades’ that were just superb. There are few things in life that have stirred me more than these two movies.

And it is in the context of such movies that I religiously read the special newspaper editions today on our 60th Independence Day. Now what makes this Independence Day a little different this year is the fact that I also witnessed the Americans celebrating their Independence Day on the 4th of July this summer while I was in States.

Now before I start, let me state very clearly that it is very hard and at the same time not fair to compare two such vastly different societies.
One has been celebrating its Independence Day for a couple of hundred years and more; while the other is still comparatively young at 60. One is a developed nation, with nothing to frown about but politics – “how best to deal with the situation in Iraq and other such nations”, “why we see China everywhere now”; while the other is a developing nation, and a rapidly growing economy that discusses all issues that fall within the purview of mankind. It is not to say that politics lags behind in such discussions. This point was all the more reinforced in my brain when I picked up yesterday’s TOI edition, where I read about the people worried about the state of our politics the most and as such, ToI has launched a India Leading campaign kinda stuff, searching for young leaders across India. The concept is interesting and though very new and a grand idea, it somehow lacks punch; however I wish it good luck and sincerely hope it to be a huge success.
One nation is the lone world super-power; while the other yearns to be one in the near future.

The idea of a holiday on Independence Day is, I guess, very similar in both countries. Americans crave for that extra holiday and if falling on a Monday or Friday, it becomes a holiday weekend and a big thing to look forward to. If falls on a Tuesday or Thursday also there is no problem as by taking a day off, it becomes even a longer weekend. Its just Wednesday thats a problem and it so happened that this year it fell on a Wednesday. Also, it so happens to be that today also is a Wednesday – a similarity that Chacha and I had observed during the summers…the largest and the most powerful democracies in the world celebrate their Independence Day on the same weekday every year. Talking of a holiday, in India too, 15th August means an extra holiday at least for students like me 🙂

The only major thing that “I” observed (maybe its not actually true) to be quite different in both countries, is the way the media presented the day. Talking of newspapers, even on normal days, the NYTimes lacks the glamour and brightness and the feeling of freshness that breathes out of Times of India here. While the NY Times would every day cover the war in Iraq on its front page, the ToI has that India Poised theme attached to the front page that screams for every Indian to hear that India is “in”. I may be wrong, or probably I am wrongly analysing the right observations. But this is my blog, and my space 🙂

So, on this special day of Independence Day, while Indian newspapers shower us with different survey results, comparison charts and stuff on the cover page, I noticed no such stuff on NYT. I might have missed stuff hidden deep inside the thick newspaper, but whats the use of such information that most people won’t find as they would be sleeping by the time they would reach to that page. No, seriously, I don’t understand the need for having such huge thick newspapers. Even though it might carry useful information on each page, but who in the world has the time and patience to go through the whole paper to look for information that he wants to read. At least I didn’t have it and as a result, from being a newspaper-aholic for the past, say, eight years atleast, I never looked forward to reading the newspaper while in States.

Apart from this crap, the nice thing about States was the grand fireworks that go off all across the length and breadth of the country on the 4th of July; the one at NYC of Macy’s being the largest show. The one close to our home was cancelled owing to a severe thunderstorm that struck Long Island that day (It actually was a very gloomy day to be an Independence Day…that might have made a difference in my observations). Therefore, I watched the Macy Fireworks on television. It was a half an hour affair but it was really awesome. There are like millions of people gathered on the streets and buildings to participate in this grand celebration. And it is this oneness that people must feel during such celebrations that I would really like the Indians to emulate. I guess the huge gathering at Red Fort during the early morning hours when the Prime Minister delivers his address, makes up for that; but I am not sure as I have never witnessed it for myself. Hopefully it does inspire that feeling of oneness and patriotism in each person listening to the PM’s speech.

The two countries are miles apart and it is just so unfair comparing them so objectively; but thats the way I am 🙂

Happy Independence Day!