They finally killed JESSICA.

As I sipped my cup of tea, I read the news paper. And a silent discussion ensued between the article and myself.

When Jessica was murdered, I was a school kid in Delhi. I watched the story on the News. I saw the pictures. I saw how the assassin walked out free. I wasn’t old enough to comprehend much, but something about it registered very strongly. A life finished-off at the hands of some person with a bad temper and a gun in his hand.

Years later, when I am older , I see the Justice happening. 10 years later. I see people protesting , I see a movement, I see a lot of hard work, strength , grit , and courage.
Moved ; in a college debate, I discuss Gandhigiri in this day and age. It isn’t about taking another blow. It is about winning over evil without resorting to wrong means. Modifying the Gandhian principles to stand against the wrong today, I sited how Media Activisim had brought the Jessica lal and Priyadarshini Mattoo cases to a closure.
It was purely the power of togetherness. A united call questioning the judiciary responsible for our security. When people marched out with candles, when they demanded justice, when they asked questions and expected answers; when the MEDIA was ONE with the people and when in the true spirit , the nation was democratic.
Death and rape are too absolute. For murder of life and murder of soul, no price paid is even.

The Jessica Lal murder case reached an end not because some egoistic journalist decided to drive a movement for personal gratification or weak sibling who gave up the battle abruptly; as shown in the movie. Contrarily, the case reached a closure because somehow, the people who fought, didn’t give up. It is because of unshaken determination and unshaken courage to fight.
Having lost her sister and her mother , with her father hospitalised, you can sense how tough it might have been for Sabrina Lall , sister of the deceased Jessica. In the movie,it is the part where the journalist walks in and shouts “ Sabrina this is about Jessica. Not about you” , is where I cringed.
Why does the movie fail to show that had Sabrina given up 10 years back, or any time mid way, the so-called-jouralist-hero in the movie would not have got her story.
Sabrina’s failures in getting support are highlighted profoundly, but her fight isn’t. Had she not fought, would this end have been met? The end has been met. Justice has been done. Hence, logically ; an incorrect representation.

And the end has been met because of the first of its kind : Media activism, which brought a whole country together.
Yes, Indian journalism had never before, in “free India”, seen anything like this.
The movie merely states this as a fact, without successfully touching the pulse. It “informs” us about the SMSes that have come in, about the Calls, about protests, but fails yet again to touch the sould of truth. How did the nation empathize? How did it all start? Only because a journalist began screaming about “Justice” and a sudden set of haphazard sting operations?
Those who followed the cases closely like I did, would know. When the court acquitted the doer, it enraged the common man. It’s wasn’t about it being a “high profile” murder case, but it was about the brink of tolerance. It was the anger over all those murders that have happened. It was about trusting our own lives with the indian judicial system. It was about a question on our legal system : how could a murderer, proven guilty before entire nation, walk out scot free.
Perhaps the common man can’t do much for all that is unjust, but at least he could do something. For once, he could come together and demand justice. For once it could make sure that integrity is maintained.
And it was this Media Activism that played a major role in winning over corruption : where witnesses were bought, threatened or killed to save the guilty.

Perhaps I’d just have ignored this movie like the many other badly made movies in Bollywood, had I not read that article over tea.

An article by Georges Mailhot ( Peter from the movie) about the trials that his family and he had to go through for being honest. It brought back the memory of how the court had applauded this family, for sticking to their word, for their courage and how this movie showed then in a totally negative light.
In the article, Mailhot writes about how his wife Bina Ramani, daughter Malini, and himself had retained their statements throughout and how they had been unofficially harassed , all through the years of the trial . From passport seizure to property issues to false framing in cases, they saw it all – only so that Jessica could get justice. Only because they had a clear conscience.
Today they receive hate mails from people who watched the movie.
Why! Our sweet-little-movie-makers had said right in the begining, in BOLD LETTERS , that the movie is based on a true life incident, BUT IS PART FICTION.
Why then do these people believe the representations? And which representation is to be believed and which not; if this is a true story?

Why then do the real wounded have to pay the price for their honesty. Why.

A movie that is made on true life instances cannot afford to stray from truth a look like a poorly-informed-magazine-article taken to tabloid.
The Jessica Lall case, the Mattoo case, they all go far beyond Wikipedia!
Yet, if you read the wiki page for Jessica Lall, you will see that the movie is based entirely on that one page. The characters and their representation however, are on imagination. Wow. Very creative.

Unfortunately I am not a News channel journalist. Nor am I am film maker. Nor am I a professional critique. Hence, my shouting “Cannot” doesn’t make a difference.
I am told not to take this movie seriously because movies are meant merely for entertainment. Real life events that moved a nation are now entertainment.
On the other hand, so many are claiming that such movies are good for educating people. And this Education is superficial.

Still, people who made the movie , will reap in the commercial success and believe they have made history. They will go out there and make more movies based on half truths.
Ignorance will prevail and will be appreciated.
Movies will be made on real issues that reigned high on EQ for entertainment. People will continue to support the movie without being affected by a Manu Sharma being jailed or hanged or walking scot free; as long as they are entertained.
And those who are sensitized, will hold the Ramanis in the same frame as Manu Sharma because the movie committed the sin of showing them in the same light. Of course no one will care to see how wrong the film makers were!
Somewhere down the line… People will watch the movie and like it, not especially because they were touched, but because they didn’t read the newspaper 12 years back and it is “cool” to like a real-life-movie and pretend to be informed.

Bravo.

Resources :
About 80 compiled links of the case : http://www.rediff.com/news/jessica.html  

The MUST reads :

  1. Court lauds Bina Ramani’s courage : http://www.rediff.com/news/2006/dec/18jessica4.htm
  2. The arguments that nailed Manu : http://www.rediff.com/news/2006/dec/18jessica3.htm
  3. It is a victory for all of us: Sabrina Lal : http://www.rediff.com/news/2006/dec/18jessica2.htm
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3 Comments

  1. i don’t comment on things about which i don’t fully know. But with your ideas, i can’t resist agreeing with you. I feel the article is too lengthy, else you are a nice writer.

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