Dabangg – And Our Reality

The media is comparing “Dabangg” with “3 Idiots”. First the media compared the first day earnings and showed how Dabangg has beaten 3 Idiots. Then it showed the lead on the second day earnings. Now it has started to extrapolate on how much it will collect in a week. Finally, by what margin Dabangg will finally beat 3 Idiots.

The comparison is primarily quantitative. But I was slow to realise this. I went to see this movie entirely based on its materialistic assessment. I have not yet seen 3 Idiots. So I thought if I see Dabangg, I could make up of whatever I have lost by not seeing 3 Idiots.

I know; my reason is faulty. But so is, of the rest of humanity who went to see Dabangg. The majority is mad and the media is a con.

Let me compare the two movies, Dabangg and 3 Idiots. You will say- Wait, how can you compare the two, when you have not seen 3 Idiots. I very well can! If the media can compare two movies on data based on earnings, I can compare on data based on “earnings from where”?

Dabangg, though it claims to be set in Uttar Pradesh, is actually a Bihari Movie and Dabangg is a Bihari word. If you concentrate on the Lingo, they are all Bihari. The use of “HUM” in dialogues is natural Bihari.

I am born in Bihar. And though, I grew up in Calcutta, I often visited my mama’s (Maternal Uncle) place at Kankarbagh, Patna. On every visit, I heard fantastic stories. Corruption is folklore in Bihar. On the first day of my every visit, mama’s sons took me around Kankarbagh and showed me all the new multi-storied houses which had come up since my last visit – Look – this house, it belongs to a clerk in Bihar secretariat – and this house – it belongs to a havaldar (police sergeant) who did his stint in Purnia (Indo-Nepal border town in Bihar) and again this – and this, and the list was quite long. Even my own Mama, who was, so called SP, in Patna city, had a big multi-storied house. My Father always told my mother- he is just a Daroga (Head of a Police station). Whenever we visited, we always got special treatment. Because my father worked at the Airport – our every relative in Patna thought, that was a lucrative position. Only we knew the truth.

I can relate corruption with Bihar, but corruption is not a Bihari monopoly. Sitting in the hall, watching Dabangg, I could deduce, why this movie got more success than 3 Idiots. We love the corrupt. We seek them, elect them, try to befriend them and align with them. We have more faith with the corrupt. Over the years, like “Pavlov’s dog”, we have come to recognise brute force with strength and rule breaking with proactive leadership.

Whatever I have “read” and “heard” on 3 Idiots, it’s a movie which projects the malaise of our education system and attempts to correct it. 3 Idiots is idealistic. Dabangg is reality. You can live and feel Dabangg daily. 3 Idiots is like a festival, to be visited once in a while for some moral and ritualistic absolution.

If we look into our daily lives we live dabanggish. We have no respect for processes. A simple queue is a torture for us. If you conform to rules, you are one of the “Idiots”, break it and you are a great dabangg.

By now, its quite clear, why Dabangg is more successful than 3 Idiots. The assessment is not only quantitative, it is also qualitative. It reflects our reality.

So, how do we improve? What do we do? I don’t know. We have made lots of quantitative progress, but that has not kept pace with the quality of our lives. But you can judge the improvements for yourself by looking at the indicators. What would be the indicators? I must say- the day, movies like 3 Idiots succeed and Dabangg type of crass is trashed, and comparing the two is considered a taboo, we cannot be comfortable with our own progress.