wiki:The Naxalites

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The Naxalites

1979 141’ col Hindi d/s/co-dial K.A. Abbas pc Naya Sansar co-dial Inder Raj Anand lyr Ali Sardar Jafri c Ramchandra m Prem Dhawan lp Mithun Chakraborty, Smita Patil, Nana Palsikar, Imtiaz Khan, Priyadarshini, Jalal Agha, Tinnu Anand, Dilip Raj, Pinchoo Kapoor

Abbas’s political drama about the Naxalbari peasant uprising (see Naxalite) and student movement borrows from several real-life characters including Ajitha (Patil), an activist from Kerala, Charu Majumdar (Palsikar) et al. The complexities of the historical issues are reduced to an interplay of simplistic attitudes while the sensationalist aspects are intensified (e.g. police torture shown in silhouette). In typical Abbas-style social realism, efforts to convey an insight into the historical events have been replaced by efforts to manipulate the viewers’ emotions, as in the sequence where Majumdar’s speech reverberates through the countryside while the police gather for the final assault, or in the finale, played with great skill by Smita Patil, where she walks to the gallows to the farewells of her fellow inmates. The reasons why young people became part of the Naxalite movements are presented in titillating images of rape, torture and corruption, with the sexual threats to women providing the main motive for male rebelliousness. Partly because of Abbas’s prior political history and the CPI’s rejection of the movement, the film faced some censorship problems. Abbas claimed that unsympathetic political groups waged a vendetta against the film.