Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Perhaps There is a Shekhar in All of Us

Sushant Singh's death has left a void in many people hearts. Even those who vaguely knew him in a personal level feel the loss of Sushant as someone very personal today. As someone whose brilliance could have taken him anywhere to great heights, he had a zeal, a passion for art, and wanted to touch new heights, inspired by the greats of cinema in India and abroad. He did whatever it took to reach the pinnacles of success, only to be denied a seat at the high table by the hoi polloi of a film industry that never really welcomed him, that wanted to have nothing to do with a misfit like him. 

However, what people have perhaps thankfully gotten to talk about since the incident is nepotism.

Nepotism is everywhere. Publishing, cinema, politics, work - you name it, it's there. The pretensions of nepotism's non existence is a charade that has gone on for too long, and perhaps has been mocked at more often than not. The truth is that we don't mind nepotism in India as a rule. "Actor ka beta actor", "doctor ka beta doctor", "engineer ka beta engineer" - replacing a so called caste system that many nepotists claimed to fight all along with another kind of feudalism. Only there is more tools and tricks at their disposal today than ever, as these new societal elites go all out to destroy any potential threat to their interest groups.

It's a ruthless world out there. Matsya nyaya prevails. Dog eats dog world. The number of phrases that talk about the nature of any profession doesn't come to an end. And yet, a large number of them don't do more than cover up nepotism, shield the ineffectual and perpetuate the status quo. If we were animals it would make sense, but aren't we supposed to be humans? Isn't humanity supposed to be different? Or is humanity another club of exclusivity, where the talented shall be profited from till the individual dies in body and spirit, only to be exploited ever more?

I like the melancholy of the movie Pyaasa. Pyaasa was a great movie, and told the story of nepotism, of exploitation and disappointment in the system in a brilliant way, the anguish of which cannot be expressed in a better way. The movie's climax is called one of the most outstanding pieces of world cinema ever. I see more to it - a mirror to the very industry it was produced by. A fatigued poet Shekhar, played fabulously by Guru Dutt himself, sings out his disgust at the manner in which fame is granted to him after he is presumed dead, while everyone who ridiculed him when he was struggling now wanted to milk his name.

A song and a climax where the hero were disgusted to the point that he refuses to identify himself as Shekhar out of sheer disgust, 'killing himself' once again, and choosing to be anonymous.

Such is the disgust of Shekhar with the world of poetry and publishing, and the artificial world propped around it, that he would rather die than continue to be in it.

Perhaps it was a sign of things to come. Perhaps there is a Shekhar in many of us average people with a belief in our abilities and big dreams and plans for life, with the only difference that we choose to exit the scene after crushing our dreams for good, stomp on it and walk away. 

Perhaps, that Shekhar of Pyaasa turned out to be Sushant, only to end up a horrid death.

Or sometimes, we exit the scene by exiting the world we live in in every sense possible, breaking or connections with life.

I'll leave you today with that song that still gives the heart a tug. Ye duniya agar mil bhi jaaye toh kya hai.

Au revoir Sushant. You were perhaps like Shekhar of Pyaasa, a man who ended up declaring himself dead only to escape the persecutions of the world.


1 comment:

Pranav said...

Nicely articulated 😊

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