Indu Sarkar, Baadshaho: How Madhur Bhandarkar, Milan Luthria's films portray the Emergency
The 21-month period that India witnessed between 1975 and 1977 is still considered by many as the darkest in the history of the Indian politics. Thanks to two films that are all geared to hit the marquee in coming months, the ghost of the Emergency of 1975 is in vogue again.
Both the films have slowly and steadily started their campaign and the plot explores incidents which were an offshoot of the Emergency era. While the core plot of Madhur Bhandarkar’s Indu Sarkar is fiction with the events of the 21 months forming the backdrop, Milan Luthria’s Baadshaho is based on a true incident, which involved a raid on a royal family of Rajasthan in 1975.
However, it has taken ages for a Bollywood filmmaker to touch this subject. The last film to be based on the Emergency was Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, where Sudhir Mishra showed some muscle. When asked on the same, Milan Luthria has a different take. “I have not actually seen it from that point of view. I only reacted on the material that came in front of me and it felt right and so I was not thinking of all these things. This thought has not crossed my mind,” says Milan.
Though filmmakers may not admit to it, but the current change in the political scenario has given courage to filmmakers, and Milan Luthria’s Baadshaho and Madhu Bhandarkar’s Indu Sarkar might just be the change we have been looking for.
When one sees the promo of Indu Sarkar, it's evident that Madhur Bhandarkar has called a spade a spade and has refused to dilute history. Though it's difficult to tell how much his political inclination helped him, it surely is a brave attempt. “It's not as if this film was planned for when NDA government were to come in power. I could have easily released this film before the just concluded five state elections or waited for another election but I did none of it,” said Madhur refuting allegations during the trailer launch of the film.
According to Madhur it was a sudden idea that popped up : to make a fictional drama keeping the real events of the Emergency as the backdrop. Madhur also maintains that the current generation is not aware of what transpired during those 21 months and the current scenario is the best suited to tell this story.
Not much is know about the plot of Milan Luthria’s Baadshaho, except the fact that it talks about a raid on a royal family by the then government. Books on emergency tell us, and it is believed that the incident depicted in Baadshaho pertain to events at Jaigarh fort in Rajasthan when an excavation order to recover gold was issued by the then PM Indira Gandhi.
Troops were sent to the fort followed by a raid after Maharani Gayatri Devi objected to the excavation order. The incident has been mentioned in detail in Maharani Gayatri Devi’s autobiography. It is also said that the raids were conducted as the emergency measures of the government were opposed and severely criticized by the Maharani.
According to Milan, the incident of emergency as a backdrop to his story is not incidental at all. “Its not incidental as everything came as a package. People say this that it all happened during the time of the Emergency and thus they both are connected.”
Indu Sarkar and Baadshaho deserve a big applause to unearth stories that are now forgotten and remain just a footnote in the Indian History.