The fact that Maharashtra's Home Minister R. R. Patil doesn't watch too many films is not so interesting as the fact that he viewed Ananth Mahadevan's Red Alert - The War Within on Monday evening, a film about the genesis and consolidation of the Naxalite movement in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh.
The film literally abuses the Establishment and lays the blame squarely on the government for fostering inequalities and injustice for the unprivileged classes thereby leading to the Maoist-Naxalite movement.
Says the director, "I was very apprehensive about Mr. Patil's response to what is clearly an anti-establishment film. The language used against the Establishment is almost abusive. It shows my protagonist Suniel Shetty unwittingly becoming part of the Naxal movement just to feed and look after his family."
Apparently, the Home Minister was completely swayed by the film and has recommended the film to P. Chidambaram and other important ministers. Significantly, unlike the other recently-released Naxalite film Raavan, Red Alert doesn't flinch from calling a spade a spade.
Says the director Mahadevan, "With due respects to Mani Ratnam Sir whom I admire to death, Raavan seemed to be set in an indeterminate region and time zone. Was Beera really a Naxalite? Not once was he mentioned to be a Naxal. His politics seemed more personal than political. His vendetta was for wrongs done to him rather than against a socio-political system that fosters inequality and injustice."
Mahadevan is unfazed by the lack of face value in the project. "Distributors were wary because the film stars Suniel Shetty. In fact, Suniel had himself questioned me when I had narrated the script to him. "Why are you offering me this film? I don't sell solo." But I was sure Suniel was right for Red Alert. From the way he has worked on his look and body language to his expressions, Suniel becomes the character of the reluctant Naxalite."
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