o!!! (super) is indeed a super movie. It is so awesome in so many different dimensions, that it’s hard to capture it all in one post. I guess in this post I’ll simply stick to the economic aspect of the movie.
So basically the premise is that in 2030 India is the most powerful country in the world. Bangalore is clean and green, with whites working as chauffeurs and sweepers, with 70 pounds to the rupee, and so forth. The movie is a fairly elaborate nested story about how this transformation is brought about. (rest of post under the fold. spoilers are there)
So the story is all about property rights. The magnificently named Subhash Chandra Gandhi (Upendra), following a “resort coup” becomes the chief minister of Karnataka, and his way of developing infrastructure is by assigning property rights. As Yazad Jal would say, roads are privatized and written in the name of the people who live on it. Community parks, government institutions, and so on are similarly bundled up, broken down and given away to the stakeholders.
In fact, this was a little bit of a let down based on what was shown a couple of scenes earlier. Gandhi’s initial plan is to “sell off the state”. He even devises a Lalit Modi-esque auction in Chinnaswamy stadium, with models walking up and down the ramp, as corporates bid for various portions of the state (districts, PSUs, etc.) . So while that scene was being shown, I got all excited that the end result which had been shown in the beginning of the movie (Bangalore as it would stand in 2030) was all achieved by means of privatization of the state.
Unfortunately (perhaps because this idea would’ve been too radical for the “janate” to accept) Gandhi shelves this idea, and instead just gives away all the state infrastructure and property to people (he explains that the auction was just a way of letting people know the real value of state owned institutions, so that they would take good care of it once given ownership). Nevertheless, the final idea (of property rights leading to unmitigated development) is a bold one.
I wonder if there have been any other Indian films that have unabashedly pursued this kind of a libertarian agenda. Most Indian movies that deal with development, and “miraculous change” usually have a leftist bent to them, such as a benevolent rich donor, or NGOs, or some such. It is thus indeed refreshing to see a movie that shows privatization and libertarian values as the way forward.
I hope that whenever the DVD is released it comes with subtitles so that a large number of you can enjoy the movie. Actually, I think even if you don’t understand Kannada, you would be well advised to go watch the movie in a theater. It’s well worth it.
Idu sooopero ranga..
Wikipedia informs that the movie has been made in three languages and the Telugu and Tamil versions will be released shortly.