Tuesday, 6 January 2015

PK, K-Pax & Jayanta Bhatta's Agamadambara

PK- Aamir Khan's Borgesian 'Justification'- differs from K-Pax  in that the Alien offers no novel therapeutic or ontologically dysphoric eschatalogical escape from the quotidian necessity of , supposedly Liberal, Panopticon 'Positivist' Psychiatry.
On the contrary, the Alien- whose 'remote control' jewel, capable of returning him to his own planet. is immediately stolen and sold to a fake Swami- is so much the opposite of the suave Kevin Spacey character that everybody assumes he is a Drunkard ('Peekee' in Hindi means 'having drunk a lot').

The Alien's aleatory trajectory, however, as this is a Hindu film, follows a path determined by Lord Ganesa- the 'creator' as well as 'destroyer' of obstacles.
Thus, when the protagonist addresses all the myriad 'murthis' (representations) of the Hindu pantheon, the camera finally focuses on the Elephant headed God. Hindus immediately understand that the obstacle to the Alien finding his path home lies in his notion that he has a 'property' type right to the jewel which is his 'remote control' command module for his space-ship and ride home.
By contrast, the fraudulent Swami who bought that Jewel claims it to be a sliver of Shiva's broken 'damaru' for which a great Temple must be constructed.
Since, the Alien still thinks the jewel is his 'property', he faces a self-created obstacle to getting it back. This entails a wrong concept of God, or false dynamic of the Divine process. He thinks appeals to the Deity are being systematically intercepted by mischievous 'wrong number' respondents.
Clearly, this is similar to Umaswati's notion of 'Karmic obstructors' as arising out of Narratological karmic 'matching problems'.
Obviously, when I say 'Clearly'- I mean 'clearly yadi tu PK is blog parh rahe ho.'- if you are reading this drunk mate.

But why not be PK (drunk) when watching PK?

Sanjay Dutt- son of two great film star patriots of  different Religions- in and out of jail because this son of a Hindu father and Muslim mother wanted to protect, in his own goofy style, people irrespective of Religion, irrespective of Geographical Origin, in Mumbai- is shown as helping get the Alien a 'voice' by taking him to a brothel & thus the Braj Bhasha of the savants turns into that Bhojpuri which renders even the tongue of emaciated sex slaves pure and worthy of adoption by the virtuous, but languageless, inhabitants of PK's planet.
Indeed, whereas Humans- that too from affluent-too-affluent America  want to emigrate to K-Pax- in India, the reverse is the case; at the end of the film a troupe of Bhojpuri speaking Aliens have turned up- Subramaniyam Swamy beware!- on our shores.

This film is calculated to incense the loony-toons Hindutva fringe. It begins with a twist on their favorite theme- the so called 'Love Jihad'. I have previously explained that Hindu girls having sex with Muslims under the rubric of marriage is nothing but rape and a naked attack upon Islam. There is no bar in Hinduism for a girl to have sex with anyone she likes. Lord Rama tells Lady Sita that he hasn't killed a lot of people to reclaim her as his property. She is free to choose any mate she likes- even his brother Laxman or the new Rakshasa King whom he himself has enthroned.
Obviously, Lord Rama is behaving like a hurt child which is kinda cute and lets Lady Sita have the last word as is right and proper coz when all is said and done Men show little heroism in battle compared to a woman in child-birth. It is the latter's heroism upon which the axle of the World turns.

However, the poor Muslim victim of an amorous Hindu girl forcing herself upon him in marriage, becomes immediately guilty of un-Islamic behavior because Hindus, unlike Christians or Jews, can not be taken in marriage, absent conversion, by pious Muslim men.
The heroine of the film PK, at the start of the film, falls in love with a Pakistani Muslim. Her father is a devotee of a bogus Godman who predicts that the boy will jilt her. She immediately asks her beau to marry her the very next day. However, there is a mix up at the Registry Office. Another bride asks her to hold her kitten. A little boy gives her a letter breaking things off which was actually meant for the other bride whose groom got cold feet. The Pakistani boy shows up a few minutes later and reads the same letter and thinks it is from the Indian girl. Both return to their own countries heart-broken.
The next thing that happens is the girl, who is a TV reporter, is holding a cute puppy and doing a fluff piece on the problem of doggie depression. Apparently the cute little canine keeps trying to commit suicide (so, contra Nietzche, God isn't dead- there's just this mentally unbalanced doggie who keeps trying to top itself). The heroine loses her cool. She storms into the TV anchor's office. Instead of fluff pieces about canine schizophrenia, why not do an investigative piece on the God racket? But the Station Anchor had previously tried to take on the fraudulent Godman and got stabbed in his rear end by a Trishul. Bogus Swamis are off limits- one buttock with Trishul stab wounds is one buttock too many. The man has learnt his lesson.
The TV reporter is fascinated by the Alien PK. He turned to God simply so as to get home but soon discovered that the various Religions have totally different ways of approaching God. He is thrown out of the Church for breaking a coconut on the altar. The Muslims chase him away when he attempts to offer wine in the Mosque. The Hindu widow wears white, but so does the Christian bride who explains that black is what widows wear. But the burqa clad women PK next approaches to condole with are furious at the suggestion that their Lord and Master has shuffled off this mortal coil. PK is chased hither and tither by irate members of all the various denominations and sects.

Back in the Fifties and Sixties, Movies would feature a song sequence where the hero bitterly berates the unfeeling stone idol of the Lord. PK harks back to that tradition but only by way of ironic homage. After all, those movies (including the Telugu classic- Sankara Varnam from the late Seventies) were very much in the 'Hubb al Udhri' tradition where Death is what unseals the Lovers to each other. Instead, in PK, another theme from the early Sixties- the love triangle, where the hero gives up the girl and arranges her marriage to another- gains salience. In the climactic televised showdown between PK and the bogus Godman, the Alien gains victory by properly explaining how and why the heroine's marriage to the Pakistani boy-friend failed to come off. It was a case of what the Yoga-Vashishta calls 'Kakathaliya'- coincidence, as when a crow alights on a palm tree just at the moment the ripe palm fruit falls to the ground.
PK the alien has used 'Viveka'- metaphysical discrimination- to provide a natural cause for what appears a super-naturally preordained occurrence. This provides him the means to regain his Jewel 'remote control', yet since his primary purpose was to selflessly benefit the heroine, not to self-interestedly assert a property right, the father of the heroine, previously his bitter enemy, himself places it in his hands. PK gains the means of returning home- not, as in the Gita, so as to never return- but so as to bring back his own people to this 'karma bhoomi' which, for those who act selflessly, is also the highest bhoga-bhumi- there being no higher joy or pleasure than in serving others- i.e. truly serving the Lord.
Aamir Khan is a great patriot as well as an amazing actor/ producer. His TV series 'Satyameva Jayate', though investigating various heart-rending Social Evils, was a smash hit comparable to 'Kaun banega Krorepati?'- 'Who wants to be a Millionaire?'
Aamir, no doubt, is a pious Muslim, incarnating the hadith  'hubb al watan min al iman'- Patriotism is part of the Faith- but PK is a great film from the Hindu perspective.
I am reminded of, the great Nyaya scholar, Jayanta Bhatta's 'Agamadambara'- 'much ado about Religion' ably translated by the Hungarian Scholar Csaba Deszo. Like PK, Bhatta's play is motivated by a Rationalist Transcendentalism. Rational Inquiry, if carried forward fearlessly and without selfish motivation, can indeed so alter one's inner ethos that the highest Gnosis, of a Transcendental type, becomes discoverable. Yet Revealed Truth- according to the various Sects claiming to possess it- appears contradictory and divisive.
In Bhatta's play a brilliant young Mimamsaka 'snatak' (recent graduate) is determined to defend Vedic orthodoxy against all rivals. Yet, during the course of the play, he learns compassion- letting off the Jains- and gives the last word to a Saiddhantika Saivite who re-establishes the Indian consensus that all Religions are univocal in so far as they proclaim true worship as partaking of selfless service to all needy beings. Yes, debauched and fraudulent sectarians making absurd magical claims should be banished or brought under the purview of the Law. But that is a matter of common sense. What is unacceptable is that arrogant and self-serving, holier than thou, polemicists sow the seeds of discord and condemn innocent people on the basis of which sect they were born into.
Religion is not about restricting free choice. It isn't about creating 'karmic obstructers'. On the contrary, as Lord Ganesha's appearance in the film PK shows, it is about helping us see that it is our own egotism which gives power to our 'karmic obstructer'. Compassion, forgiveness and self-sacrifice allow us to triumph over obstacles and 'return home'. However, the true Vaishnav does not want to remain on planet Vaikuntha living in perpetual bliss. He demands that the Lord send him back and assign him the humblest, most onerous, least prestigious tasks in caring for those who so wretchedly suffer they can't even cry out for help or offer thanks for any assistance received.

Ban Doinger's books by the hundred. They are nothing but sensationalized sloppy scholarship. Try to ban PK- an excellent Hindi film which ordinary Hindus, even worthless shitheads like me, find uplifting and wholly in the tradition of 'Agamadambara'- and you raise up a tsunami against yourself.
In any case, the box office has spoken. PK is a smash.
Once again, Aamir, you have made your countrymen proud.

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