Skip to main content

Revealed: In 1974, LK Advani had accused "Garm Hawa" director MS Sathyu of receiving funds from Pakistan!

MS Sathyu
By Our Representative
“Garm Hawa”, one of the best known films made on the theme of Partition, was characterized by veteran BJP leader LK Advani way back in 1974 as having been funded by Pakistan. Revealing this on the occasion of the re-release of the film last week, its director MS Sathyu said, how political leaders could be “so irresponsible to make such statements without even seeing the film.” Snapped in the backdrop of travails of a Muslim family caught in the midst of Partition, Sathyu also revealed how Shiv Sena pressured him not to release of the film.
In 1974, Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray “held up the film’s release till he whetted and saw the film”, but “finally the film was released after he viewed it minus the team which was involved in shooting it being present.” Worse, he recalled, the flim was “denied film certification for several months”, and it came under the pressure of “intemperate objections from extreme rightwing forces like the Shiv Sena”, which “held up the release”.
Winning national and international acclaim, Sathyu won the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration as also the Filmfare Award for both Best Film and Best Director. He told well-known human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, who interviewed him for Communalism Combat on Hilletv and www.sabrang.com, that the film is of “particular relevance today, given the current Indian regime that is characterised by a communal and fundamentalist outlook”.
“Questions on the ‘nationalism’ and ‘patriotism’ of Indian Muslims, the attendant discrimination in access to livelihood and enforced ghettoization and segregation echo through the powerful depiction, showcasing present day realities for Indian minorities that have in no way lessoned, 67 years after Independence and Partition”, comments Setalvad, commenting on the film.
Shama Zaidi
Traversing through interesting biographical details, including the emergence of the final script after the seed of the story was fashioned by Ismat Chugtai, well-known writer, Sathyu told Setalvad, “It was Rajinder Singh Bedi who told Shama Zaidi, co-scriptwriter, that the narrative of Muslims who chose to stay behind after Parition needed to be depicted on celluloid.”
“Kaifi Azmi re-fashioned Chugtai’s version into the epic political narrative that has Shama Zaidi’s unique touch as a writer”, Sathyu said, adding, “Many of the creative team involved in the making of the film, were part of the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) and its making a unique reflection of the contribution of the Left movement to Indian culture, especially cinema.”
The film was shot on location over 40-45 days in Agra. Over decades, until the late 1970s, several senior members of the Communist party actually turned to cinema as a means of mass communication. Made on a shoestring budget released by the National Film Development Corporation of India, “Sathyu meticulously paid back the principle with interest over several decades that he had initially taken for the making of Garm Hawa”, said Setalvad.
Sathyu even paid the cast like Farooq Shaikh and Balraj Sahni small amounts over a period of time. “Farooqsaab was paid Rs 750 and Balraj Sahni a total of five thousand rupees, that too after his death” said Sathyu.
Added Zaidi, who accompanied Sathyu for interview, “Cinema in India is not a medium for serious reflection or meditation, which is why we have few films on the national movement and barely five or six on Partition... Even the more realistic films like the epic ones made by Satyajit Ray depicted everyday life and bitter realities, not historical episodes and periods.”
“Today Hindi cinema, except for a handful of films, is completely disconnected from the realities of Indian life unlike the cinema in other languages”, said Zaidi, adding, “While the access to technology had provided a veneer to Indian society we are still steeped in the 1800s resulting in the crude, Amar Chitra Katha kind of Hinduism, typified by the political regime.”

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.