Daily Archives: May 10th, 2013

In Conversation With A Great Writer: Discussion On Impact Of Movies With Sunanda K.Datta-Ray


Sunanda K.Datta-Ray: One of the writers who impressed me!

Sunanda K.Datta-Ray: One of the writers who impressed me!

The Indian cinema would complete 100 years of its glorious existence this year. It’s a fitting occasion to discuss the impact of movies on average cinema-goers. The Indian movies have always created deep impact in shaping the psyche of a large section of people. Sometimes back I had an interesting discussion with Sunanda K.Datta-Ray-the Editor of The Statesman (Calcutta and New Delhi) and contributor for the International Herald Tribune and Time Magazine
about the impact of movies.
In fact, he was so impressed with my views that he asked me as to why I did not send it to The Telegraph ( Kolkata Edition) for publication for whom I was a regular letter contributor in those days. The discussion is of paramount importance in wake of  centenary milestone achieved by the Indian cinema this year.  

The discussion, which took place in year 2006, was centered around movie Lage Raho Munna Bhai, directed by Rajkumar Hirani and produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. The character played by Sanjay Dutt in this movie had the capability to interact with spirit of Gandhiji. The movie turned out to be a blockbuster besides restoring the faith of common people in simple gestures conveying heartfelt emotions. What an irony that the actor who taught us Gandhigiri is now about to face imprisonment after being convicted  in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case! 


My Viewpoint: 

This has reference to the articleFollowing Fashion published in The Telegraph (Oct.07,2006).  Though Lage Raho Munnabhai, due to pompous and pretentious treatment of its theme does no justice to Gandhian ideology, it can be safely stated that such movies come to stir the hearts and minds of an average person. After all, parallel cinema with complex presentation fails to strike a chord with man on street. What’s important is that inherent message must reach to the masses. 

No doubt, well made commercial movies do not respect sense of proportion yet they leave an indelible impression on inert souls. Vidhu Vinod Chopra should be complimented for defying stereotypes with interesting version of serious issue, which provoke us to do some soul-searching. Regarding Gandhism it can be safely stated that the country which has not been able to showcase Gandhi’s ideals in real perspective does not deserve the right to probe their utility in such a casual manner. It’s better that we learn to anticipate Gandhism with the right bent of mindset instead of mirroring it in our prejudices.


I too interacted with him at the Global Village :-)

I too interacted with him at the Global Village 🙂

Viewpoint of Sunanda K. Datta-Ray:

Thank you for your message. I greatly appreciate your comment but wish you had sent it instead to The Telegraph for publication so that there could have been a wider discussion. Such examination and analysis are necessary. No one could be happier than I if the film do have the effect you mention. My fear is that while no one will actually act on the principle of the dharna outside the Lucky’s house, lots of people will repeat catch phrases and that Gandhigiri will be exploited in many commercial ways. My internet already has a pop up about Shabana Azmi practicing Gandhigiri years ago! 


About Sunanda K. Datta-Ray:

Sunanda K. Datta-Ray has been a leading Indian newspaperman and journalist for half a century. He has been Editor of The Statesman (Calcutta and New Delhi) and has also written for the International Herald Tribune and Time Magazine. He was Editor-in-Residence at the East-West Center in Honolulu. He was Editorial Consultant to Singapore’s The Straits Times newspaper. Datta-Ray also worked in Singapore in the mid-1970s with S.R. Nathan. After The Straits Times, Datta-Ray was a supernumerary fellow ofCorpus Christi College, Oxford.

Datta-Ray returned to Singapore in 2007 to work on book with Lee Kuan Yew at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies[7] based on a series of one-on-one conversations and a host of classified documents. The book was published in 2009 as Looking East to Look West: Lee Kuan Yew’s Mission India and won that year’s Vodafone Crossword Book Award.

Source: Wikipedia 


Suggested Reading: 

Sunanda K. Datta-Ray: Following Fashion- An Article Published In The Telegraph, October 07, 2006. 


The movie that introduced Gandhigiri!

The movie that introduced Gandhigiri!

Pics Credit: 

Pic One 

Pic Two 

Pic Three

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