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Haqeeqat, Hindi Chini in a Movie

(The virulent opinions (no they are not ramblings) expressed in this series are entirely mine and do not reflect the general opinion of India. India has its own set of problems with China.)

I think it all started with the Chinese in Haqeeqat shooting Dharmendra in the back. A really bad start. In the movie, scenes of Chinese Army attacking the Indian post were chilling to the bone. It was like watching waves of brain dead zombies attacking the last human outpost. Picture this: The last few soldiers keep shooting but the undead just keep coming in, walking in ranks, walking in straight lines. It was like watching million ants attacking a wet sugar cube.

Screenshots from the song ' kar chale hum fida' penned by Kaifi Azmi. The song was a sort of sum up of the film.

This was the first genuine Indian War film and a conscious effort at that.
Some of this conscious effort translated on screen into:
  • A Girl, a Ladakhi, in love with an Indian soldier, a girl trying save her honor from the lusty hands of Chinese soldiers - an allusion not to the Ladakhi resistance but to Tibetan resistance of China’s military capture of Tibet.
  • A limbless Indian Major, a Major who watches on haplessly as his men die - an allusion to general immobility of the mess in which India found itself and the immobility of the response.
The film is almost a testimony to the patriotic response of Indian people during the war.

Made in 1964 Haqeeqat was way ahead of its times. Why? Because, Night of the Living Dead, the harbinger of modern pop-zombie movie was made only much later in 1968. 'Nonsense!' you say. 'What has China got to do with man eating ghouls?' Nothing much except that there were incidents of cannibalism in China at the height of the Cultural Revolution in 1968. Of course, these incidents didn't inspire the makers of living dead, they couldn't have known about it. In fact nobody had even heard about these macabre incidents until the early nineties.

However, in 1964, the makers of Haqeeqat captured on screen an eerie feeling about this invasion of the post snatchers. Brilliant art direction by MS Satyu (director of partition movie Garam Hawa (1973)) be blamed for it. The real shock in the movie was the sheer Chinese numbers which were mind boggling. There is no way to know, but it is suspected that it was this movie that made the Indians conscious of their lesser numbers and pushed them into competing with China in terms of population. There is no sure way to know. What everyone is sure about is that one day India would surpass China in terms of population. Sad.

Sadly, in Haqeeqat India proved to be a no match for China. Many years later, Dharmendra did try to get back at the Chinese, beating the nunchaku out of Bruce Li - a famous counterfeit of Bruce Lee, in a little known film from 1981 called Katilon Ke Kaatil . Sadly, it was too much too late. It was desi ghee verses chowmein. Wait, I think that's a wrong analogy. Isn't cho'min also Indian?

Machismo represented by Dharmendra has a thing for being stabbed or shot in the back.
In Kamal Amrohi's 1983 film Razia Sultan, Dharmendra's character Yakut could only be killed by back stabbing. In the movie, flying daggers aimed at his iron chest never could produce the desired result.


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