A film on media - beyond TRP and deadlines

In the mad, mindless rush towards self-gratification, are we somewhere sacrificing those values that brought us, kicking, dragging and sacrificing from a hard-earned freedom from colonialism to the new millennium where we, the collective civilization, are now poised at the brink of a moral disintegration? Rann is that rare cinema about the collective conscience which we often like to think has gone out of style. Rann shows how tough it is to hold your head high up in dignified righteousness in a world where ethics crumble faster than cookies in a wide open jar left out for too long in the sun. Cleverly, Ram Gopal Varma situates his morality tale in the cut-throat world of the electronic media where the TRP is God, and deadlines the devil. The film was straight, and without really wasting time, introduces us to the plethora of characters that colonize the bowel of a declining channel run by the idealistic Vijay Harshvardhan Malik (Amitabh Bachchan) who believes there's room still for the straight and narrow path in a business where grabbing attention is the murder of all invention. Varma plunges us into the world of the characters that he knows only too well. The glistening sweats on ratings-challenged eyebrows are captured through tight close-ups of worried faces that the camera that give nothing and yet everything away. The swirling swarm of characters reading, reporting creating and even manufacturing news, are so normal in their workaday concerns we almost miss the underbelly of moral anomaly that has become a way of life in present times. Rann takes us into a world where right and wrong are more financial than moral issues, where the people who make news conveniently forget that the source is often the nadir of the conscience. Rann is a razor-sharp bitter and biting look at the real world of rapidly-moving moral issues. As expected, Amitabh Bachchan as the conscience of the plot presides over the speedened proceedings with a thoughtful and gentle performance. His climactic speech makes all of us sit up and think about the quality of work we do in order to keep up with the competition. Rann defines the role of the electronic media in today's context with remarkable virility and dramatic force.

Mohd Ziyaullah Khan, Nagpur

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 March 2010 on page no. 2

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