Since I read an article in "Social Change, December 2009: Vol.39, No.4, pgs 504 - 527", titled "Reviving Gandhi and the utopia of Hind Swaraj in popular Hindi films", an itching was happening to raise this question which has been chosen as the title of this blog piece.
The article in Social Change went through the minute facets of certain Hindi films like - a) Sardar, b) Veer Savarkar, c) The Making of Mahatma, d) Hey Ram, e) Maine Gandhi ko Nahin Mara, f) Lage Raho Munna Bhai (LRMB), g) Gandhi My Father and explains how each of these films have built a conscience of Indian masses about the ideologies, principles of Mahatma. The article also raised questions about how these Hindi films have contributed in building the conscience of Indians about Gandhi as a Mahatma and Gandhi as a human being.
Hindi films in India have a strong penetration effect on the imagination of Indian masses apart from the regional films. It builds the world of imagination of the Indians which also helps in constructing their consciousness. Popular films like LRMB contribute to a larger extent in reaching out to the people all around us. Precisely the article on social change explains how LRMB was made to demystify the notion of Gandhism for even a Chaiwallah when Raju Hirani discovered that a Chaiwallah he had interacted didnot know who was Mahatma .
It is over here, I give a pause and think for a while. Immediately what I feel is that popular Hindi films also therefore have made "Anna" - "Anna". You must be thinking why I am saying so. For the time being let us accept that popular hindi films like Lage Raho Munna Bhai builds the imagination, consciousness of common Indians about Mahatma and creates an innate wish inside them to live with the imagination of Mahatma. This conciousness and imagination strikes the proper emotional chord when in the present day people of India see the practice of Gandhism through another protagonist Anna.
So is it so that Anna helps the imagination and emotional chord related to Gandhism in the minds of the Indians to stay alive. However, this emotional chord of an image of Gandhism has been created by popular Hindi films which has a strong effect on the subconscious of common Indians. Hence can we say that if these Hindi films would not have been made, a particular sustaining popular image of Mahatma would not have been there with the present India. Does that mean with the absence of that popular imagination and conciousness within the present India, Anna would not have been able to hit the emotional chord of so many Indians all around us.
Does that mean - "Anna" is "Anna" because of popular Hindi films? I really donot know. However, it would be worthwhile to see how popular communication medium like Hindi films play a major role in building a belief and thought process across class segments of India by building a particular world of image, conciousness, imagination regarding a popular personality.