New Delhi, 02 Oct 2020 7:30 IST
The short film makes us wonder about the idea of India and the spirit of humanity, brotherhood and secularism that forged the nation.
Inspired by true incidents where mobs unleashed violence in the name of God in our country, Yashwardhan Goswami’s Hey Ram! makes us question what it means to be a certain kind of devotee in these times.
On a seemingly regular day, a God-fearing auto driver engages in conversation with his passenger, lamenting that technology has made people distant instead of bringing them together. As the passenger is nudged into conversation, the two discuss generalities when suddenly they are stopped by a mob that starts harassing them.
Hey Ram! highlights the religious persecution that permeates an increasingly divisive society. Goswami adeptly creates tension with verisimilitude, making us imagine what the actual victims of hate crimes in our country would have gone through. The use of technology hints at the motivations of the perpetrators of violence, as they unleash terror upon innocent people with a degree of performativity.
The ending of the film questions the idea of faith and the meaning of ‘Jai Shri Ram’, a phrase that, sadly, has accompanied heinous acts carried out in the name of religion across the country. Hey Ram! leaves us unsettled, wondering who is the true believer?
On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the film is especially pertinent as we think about the idea of India and the spirit of humanity, brotherhood and secularism that forged the nation.
Hey Ram! won the UK Asian Film Festival Short Film Competition and was also screened at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2019.
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