Thursday, April 11, 2013

Red Salute Blogfest: Watch a film about Naxalites and blog about it in May!


Naxalites are hardline leftist, Maoist activists, terrorists or freedom fighters (depending on your point of view) fighting an insurgency against the Indian state. The movement began in West Bengal in the late 1960's but is currently mostly fought in the jungled areas of states of Jharkand and Chhattisgarh.

I've been fascinated by the cinematic representations of these Maoists ever since I first learned about them, and therefore sought out tons of movies that portray Naxalites. In some ways the Naxalites are a contentious topic; some see them as fighting for the rights of the underprivileged, such as the tribal (adivasi) people living in the areas where they're engaged in conflict, while others see them as taking advantage of these people in order to advance their own political agenda. To some they are just criminals and terrorists, to others they're concerned citizens, being angered enough to take up arms against the state. The truth may be a mixture of both of these points of view.

I figured I might as well not watch them on my own but make a blogfest out of it, so here's how it'll work:


1. Watch a film that portrays the Naxalites. 

I'll include a list of films in this post, with notes on the films I own and will be blogging about myself. There are quite a bit of these films, in various Indian languages so if Hindi films aren't your thing, you can watch a film in Bengali or Malayalam, for example. There might be films that I'm not aware of and therefore can't list here, so if you find a film that touches on the subject but isn't listed, feel free to watch it!


2. Blog about it during the first two weeks of May!

 You don't have to discuss the representation of the Naxalites in the film, it can just be a standard review like you would normally do. You may also review multiple films, films you've already seen, or about the topic more generally, or do whatever you normally do on your blog.


3. Link me to it, either by commenting here or tweeting @veraciously about it! 

I'll read it, and collect all the blog post links into a single post by the end of the whole shebang. I expect I'll probably make around 7-10 posts with my own film reviews.



The List (in completely random order, possibly incomplete)


Pratidwandi (Bengali) This film is probably the oldest film about Naxalite, coming out when the initial movement was still happening in West Bengal. It's directed by Satyajit Ray.  

Chakravyuh (Hindi)

Thalappavu (Malayalam)

Red Alert: The War Within (Hindi)

Chamku (Hindi)

Hazaroon Khwaishin Aisi (Hindi)

Ko (Tamil) Barely features Naxalites but it's a good film so it's worth a recommendation!

Hazaroon Chaurasi Ki Maa (Hindi)


Veerappa Nayaka (Kannada)

Laal Salaam (Hindi)

The Naxalites (Hindi)

Aranyakam (Malayalam)


Some of these may be difficult or even impossible to find! I've searched far and wide for the "The Naxalites", for example, and a DVD of Laal Salaam seems equally hard to get my hands on. Regardless, there are some very recent examples, such as Chakravyuh, Thalappavu (which is based on historical events) and Red Alert, which should be more widely available. A lot of these are also critical favourites (Hazaroon Chaurasi Ki Maa, for example), so should make for good viewing based on just that. I own the first 8 films from the list, and plan on reviewing them during the first weeks of May!

So join me, why don't you? 

10 comments:

Pasxalia said...

Very nice. I was thinking about naxalites in cinema these past few months, because I keep stumbling on references of them in all Indian films, Bollywood and South (Matru ki Bijlee ka mandola, a recent example). My blog is in greek, should I write the review in English?

veracious said...

If you want it to have a wider international audience, you can, but if you feel more comfortable writing in Greek, I'll still link to it! :)

Matru is an interesting case because it's clear their "Mao" has no connections to the wider Naxalite movement. It's like one village's form of seeking justice.

JabIMetBollywood said...

I think it was one of your reviews that introduced me to the Naxalites, and I find them fascinating. I will definitely be participating. Great idea! Now to select my movie... (thanks for the suggestions!)

Krishna said...

Try Krishna Vamshi's "Sindhooram" (Telugu)

Red said...

Great idea but I'm not sure I could write review about movie with Naxalites in English.

And hey, I have I question and request, I would like to translate your Ishaqzaade review in Polish, because I want to show it others who don't like read english posts. Do you mind?

veracious said...

Krishna, sadly haven't been able to find that one! Feel free to write about it yourself, though. I'd be interested in reading about it.

JabIMet - Yay! Chakravyuh is an easy, recent choice but I bet some of the more obscure ones would be worthwhile as well (I've still many to watch).

Red - Hi, sorry for slightly late response. Feel free to translate, with a link back to the original review naturally. Would this be in your own blog or on a web forum or..?

Mette said...

So cool! I think the Naxalites are a very interesting group/ groups, especially since I went to the Chakravyuh press conference in London and heard what Prakash Jha had to say about the conflict. It's very hard to make up your mind about it.
So yeah, I'll definitely join this blogathon and spread the word!

Mette said...

So cool! I think the Naxalites are a very interesting group/ groups, especially since I went to the Chakravyuh press conference in London and heard what Prakash Jha had to say about the conflict. It's very hard to make up your mind about it.
So yeah, I'll definitely join this blogathon and spread the word!

Red said...

Veracious, thanks. I posted it on my blog: www.opinie-bollywood.blogspot.com and of course I wrote from where I got original review.

It would be also great if you could check out my other blog where I post screens from Bollywood films: bollywood-screencaps.blogspot.com

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