Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Hidden Symbolism of Amar Akbar Anthony

That hit movie from 1977, Amar Akbar Anthony,  supposedly has deep ideological significance.   In Body & Society Vol. 15(2): 71–99  DOI: 10.1177/1357034X0910343,  Jacob Copeman in his paper "Gathering Points: Blood Donation and the Scenography of 'National Integration' in India" cites Cohen (2001)

Cohen (2001) has described the 1977 film Amar Akbar Anthony in which three brothers, separated at birth, have been brought up as Hindu, Muslim and Christian, respectively. 
A woman, unbeknownst to them their mother, requires a transfusion.
In the transfusion scene, three intravenous lines connect the men to the woman, Bharati, whose name ("Indian") and body figure the nation.  The camera pans showing the three young transfusers in turn with a temple, mosque or church respectively as backdrop.  (2001: 15).
India herself is the centre into which its constituent religious populations deliver themselves in an image of transfusion as national integration.

As Cohen (2001) points out, however, that the transfused woman is Hindu ensures that 'integration' takes place under a Hindu sign, thus suggesting a vertical interpretation of national integration, with Hinduism the overarching national schema into which 'minorities' must obligingly position themselves.  This, of course, can be read as a departure from the Nehruvian insistence on the equal status of all religions, and serves as a reminder that 'national integration' is a contested category, the egalitarian content of which cannot be taken for granted. (McKean, 1996; Sheth, 1996) 38.
One of the famous lines from the movie is this gibberish: "You see the whole country of the system is juxtapositioned by the haemoglobin in the atmosphere, because you are a sophisticated rhetorician intoxicated with the exuberance of your own verbosity."

But the gibberish of the social "scientists" beats it hollow.