Remember the countless Hindi movies― old and new― with perverse logic of young children singing ‘Kya hua tera wada’ or ‘Bachpan ke din bula na dena’, Son of India conducting intimate monologues with God and singing ‘Nanha munna rahi hu’. Young Bootpolish wallay bachay are asked ‘nanhe munne bacche teri mutthi may kya hai’and wisely they reply ‘Mutthi may hai taqdeer hamari’.
Angry youngling with ‘Mera Baap Chor hai’ tattoo gets angry with God in another movie and in a frothy dialogue declares self to be a Nastik, just as the opening credits start to roll. In another movie he pulls a cart carrying his dead father, recently butchered by a mob, all the way to the shamshan ghat. In another movie, he is a beedi smoking foul mouth young would be krantiveer, he is a son of an ex-freedom fighter.
The lineage of ‘wise-beyond- their age’ children in this land can be traced back to time when children here first started to be told stories. Should we blame storytellers who told us about Nachiketa, gods who told us about Prahlada and Puranas that told us about Dhruv. Whom should we blame for telling us about Herculean adventures of Bal Krishna.
Notice the missing girl child. Talk about Cinematical Gendercide! She is playing with gudda guddi, playing the ever hungry, ill but dotting sister and she is the rich future love interest of the poor kid. She is the young gopi Radha, forlorn yet worshipped.
Young children have fought it all seen it all, creation of nations, fought devils and gods, brandished swords and guns, resisted evil aunties and uncles, indifferent parents
Children in popular Hindi cinema are in essence miniature men/woman, children pretending to be adults, and brought to life by adults pretending to be children. Children with adult gloom.
Reminds of lines of Matthew Arnold on the gipsy child that I read in Nirac C Chaudhuri’s To Live or Not To Live:
“Glooms that go deep as thine“Enhanced and Glorified”, the weird ambiguous twilight world of popular Hindi Cinema, these children, these mini men and women, certainly have.
I have not known:
Moods of fantastic sadness,
Thy sorrow and thy calmness
Are thine own:
Glooms that enhance and
Glorify the earth.”
Santosh Sivan's Tahaan