Sakhavu, Let’s talk comrade
Sakhavu – Let’s talk comrade
Written and executed by a director who understands his subject communism thoroughly and doesn’t shy away from speaking it loud on screen.
Wish the director could have toned down the eulogy a bit, as it’s the ideals of communism which needs to be spoken and are far more important than altruist traits of an individual.
Happy to see the director speak on present day ills of party – caste and corruption creeping in and high handedness of few comrades destroying the good will.
The director wasn’t just an academic but understands pragmatism. Case in point a strike was an option in tea estate crisis but not with landlord since rice shortage will hit the poor worse than rich.
It reminded me on recent Venezuelan food shortage and riots on streets which is definitely a problem of socialism.
If capitalism is problem of surplus, communism has a problem of shortage. In capitalism the food aisles of supermarkets are full, offering 23 varieties of cheese but unaffordable to large section of masses.
The surplus ensures food coupons can be handed out to keep the poor barely alive and continue to be a cheap labour and generate further more surplus into the hands of few.
Central planning on other hand destroys optimal allocation of resources and loss of productivity resulting in shortage. There is no food and no money to buy limited food available.
This is what happens to the tea estate 10–15 years after the comrade has left the hills of Periyar. Non profitable, plagued with labour problems the company is closed driving the. daughters of employees to prostitution.
Solution offered is to find another capitalist who can invest more money and run the business. I have a problem with this approach.
The alternative to breakdown of capitalism is not another form of capitalism. The solution is seizing the means of production and taking control.
I wish the director could have shown a radical solution like that of a co-operative society formed by the workers of the factory coming together and raising capital and taking joint ownership of the factory and running the business.
There is an eternal conflict in capitalistic model between the bourgeois and proletariat,cause the bourgeois would aim to maximise the profits at the cost of cheap labour pushing down the living conditions of proletariats.
Western democracies model of capitalism is already witnessing such labour unrest and the failure of communism to offer credible alternative is flocking them to far right which points fingers at wrong reasons for the problems(immigrants) and provides fascism /totalitarianism as prescription to ailing economy.
Coming back to the movie it is silent on social inequalities of Indian society – the caste system. In one scene the comrade refuses to identify his caste and asserts that he’s just a communist. The film hardly has a scene where it shows how the labourers came together burying their caste differences. The historical fact is Indians didn’t form a cohesive social group on basis of class but did on basis of caste and the failure of Left to comprehend this inequality explains the near wipe out of elected communist in India.
A scene or two shows how landlords are bringing labourers from Tamil Nadu to cut costs against the organised Kerala workers. Did the workers overcome their linguistic differences and identified themselves as pan worker class and fight equally is not shown. Another inequality overlooked for macro structure obsession of communists.
The role of managerial class (கங்காணி) which is oblivious to the fact that it too belongs to worker class and being the agent of suppression on behalf of capitalist interest was brought out well. (Welcome relief to see how well this role was handled when compared with the way it was portrayed in the poverty pornography பரதேசி)
Comrade’s love interest doesn’t have large scope in the movie but is shown worshipping a deity(thankfully no idol was shown and was. just a tree) and the comrade compromises to accept a thilak out of love putting aside ideology.
Historically the Hindus of Kerala have been supporters of communist party while the Christians/Muslims have been voting against the communists for Congress. This tactical pact with religion has stopped communist from taking liberal reforms in Hindu religion. (Ayyappan temple woman entry etc.,)
While the current climate in the country is raise of Hindutva and there is a dire need to make such movies like Sakhavu we could do better.