This is quite a joke among our girls Ghalib gang that we the single women on the wrong side of the 50’s is increasingly finding ourselves marginalized even if we have a room of our own. Ghalib becomes our reference point because he lived and wrote during a time which was materially and hence logically not suited to give him the sustenance that a poet of his stature needed. In times when the means of livelihood are against your craft, art, skill or even proficiency, what does the endowed do? Maybe s/he seeks revenge. This is the revenge of art turned into a graceful art of revenge in Srijit Mukherjee’s recent film, Vinci Da.
The system has relinquished the need for art and for that matter anything that needs the creativity of the brain as human innovation is highly dispensable in a system which merely produces more of the same thing. The system has also little flexibility to accommodate brilliant minds who run it and hence we have the self-trained lawyer who fails to get a formal professional degree. These two occupy the two ends of what constitutes the middle-class intelligentsia, created and yet crushed by the capitalist system. And they seek revenge on the order; though the capitalist class can defend its position through power and violence, it is the intellectual who really knows the ways of how the world goes who can undo the sceptre of capital. The two categories of intellectuals, namely the artist and the lawyer seek to avenge the system that marginalises them. But then the two clash.
The lawyer personifies instrumental logic, universalistic ethics without caring for how the generalizations are going to harm the subjects of the objective law. The artist is empathetic, his ethics are compassionate and not rule based. The lawyer turns hegemonistic and oppressive while the artist turns to a selfless compassion; the holder of the universal justice is unforgiving; the compassionate artist is humanistic. Who wins? That is the drama of the film.
The artist’s temptation is an opportunity for work, the lawyer’s temptation is the scope for control. The former is about creativity, the latter is about seeking to order. The question is whether art will lend itself to be used for purposes of the ordering of the world? Art is shocked at the absence of empathy; law that seeks order has none of art’s compassions. Art is self-absorbed and self-fulfilling; law is other directed and external to those which it orders. Art’s reward is spiritual, law’s success depends on what it attains in terms of material gains.
One must watch VinciDa in order to understand what a competent singer Noble is. He debuts as a play back singer in the film. Noble sings in the backdrop of the artist emerging from a mood of determined revenge, to a doubt and then towards a moral tremor. Soon the artist transcends his basal instincts, the limitations of his ego and reaches for the superego where his revenge has dissolved into forbearance; and clemency and not reprisal redeems him. Anupam’s song moves in when the artist is finally free, in a tone that has found an uncompromised freedom, perhaps an escape from all the demands of the system on him, beyond the reach of all kinds of ordering principles of the world on the individual. This is why, all of Anupam’s songs are various versions of the one single song that says Amake Amar Moto Thaakte Dao..