Turning the clock back on the acclaimed Partition saga Buniyaad, called the Sholay of Indian TV

Mahatma Gandhi attacked the crowd attending his prayer meeting a month before August 15, 1947, and even after Gandhi’s repeated calls against violence, he said, “Cut me first and then bite me.” Divide India “- The partition of India and Pakistan became a reality in 1947.” A disgusting character commentary in Ramesh Sippy’s Baniyad, which reimagines the events of that tragic past through the eyes of Master Haveliram, “Partition Has also put Gandhiji on his feet. (Alok Nath, in his successful role) and his wife Lajoji (Anita Kanwar, supremely inferior). The Partition riots were one of the worst incidents in Indian history, as millions of people died on the border battling today’s bitterness. At a great human cost, both independent nations were unhappy with history, free to give up their worst nightmares to dream of Tagore and Iqbal’s succulent imagination. But then the harsh realities of life are not poetry. Certainly for Haveliram and the family, the visit was far from it. Rather, it was full of pitfalls, difficulties and never ending trials. Aired on Doordarshan in 1987, Baniyad with MS Siyathu’s Garm Hava and Govind Nihalani’s film Tamas, has become a canonical cinematic work on Partition over the years. Actor Mangal Dhillon said, “This is Sholay or Mughal-e-Azam of Indian TV.”

The story begins in pre-partition Lahore, in an old neighborhood that marries with life, love and friendship. We are in British India and a very young revolution is in the air. Ideally idealistic and rebellious, Haveliram (Alok Nath) comes from the merchant class, where his official father (Sudhir Pandey) is given the last word. Haveliram has a secure teaching job. But it is his secret connections with Arya Samajis who are involved in anti-British activities and a forbidden love story with a young widow, Lajoji (Anita Kanwar) that attracts the father’s desire. Despite family opposition, he married Lajoji and replaced a new leaf. Life goes on. In the frenzy of partition, Haveliram is left behind, while the rest of his family, poor and homeless, end up in a refugee camp in Delhi. It is not until much later when his sons succeed that they finally have a home. As sons grow up, they have their own complications. Through 105 well-aired episodes, the show covers the arc of Harrihelm’s life and relationships during the 1970s, when he is an old man, at a point in life when he can do nothing, But can not look back.

Kiran Juneja Baniad Kiran Juneja as Veeravali in Baniad. (Photo: Express Archives)

Place called ‘Home’

The Baniad captured both Jauhar and Terror living in pre-partition North India. Communal harmony prevails these days not only on screen but also in real life. The web site scroll displayed the show as a “historical depiction of the Great Indian Family” and it is easy to see why. Baniyad has a middle-class taste, whose protagonists have a strong moral code. Despite tragedies and failures, it has large extended families at its center, much like mini-India. Lighthearted conversation, serious quarrels, jealousy, competition, conflict of personalities, generations living under the roof and trying to live with religious temperament, gender roles, etc. – the foundation of the Baniyad lies in the Indian family system. And yet, listener Ramesh Sippy finds subtle ways to disrupt this traditional way of life. For example, Lataji’s character, played with calm dignity by Anita Kanwar, is an unconventional one for her time. However a shadow to her husband she has a mind of her own and it is she who holds the family together and impresses her elder brother with her strong thinking and serious resolve. Equally powerful is Haveliram of Alok Nath who rebels against his own family. Dubbed the truthist ‘(who tells the truth), his actions are spoken louder than words. He comes from a privileged background, but does not think twice before throwing himself into the risks inherent in the freedom fighter’s life. He is proud of his country and its glorious past and blames the British invasion for depriving India of its wealth, both material and cultural. “I am not against the English. I am against colonialism, ”he tells Lala Vrishnabhan of Vijayendra Ghatge that in the opening episode is seen courtship with Haveliram’s sister Veerwali (Kiran Juneja). Haveliram believes that if India is to evaluate its weaknesses and shortcomings as a nation and civilization, it must be “through our own lens, not the British.” An anglophile who drives his car and inconsistently dresses like a sahib (sometimes appearing to slip out of Chachor), Lala Vrishnabhan insists on looking ahead instead of past. “I failed to understand the rationale for being able to go further,” he said, “where will ancient India be in the modern world?”

    The foundation It can be said with certainty that Baniyad gave rise to the cultish image of Alok Nath. (Photo: Express Archives)

While there is no end to such cultural discussions and if else (but the conversation is, ironically, still relevant in 2021 India), one can concede with certainty that Baniyad gave Alok Nath’s cult screen Gave birth to the image. It was only later that the Soraj Barjatya School of Cinema took this Indianness to its logical conclusion in the 1990s. Today, Alok Nath is the Internet’s favorite mem generator. But remember, Baniyad is where it all began. As the Madraswal blog reiterates, Alok Nath was “followed by Babuji, who reinforced the character once again on cinema and television.”

Sholay: Curses or blessings?

If division forms Baniyad’s soul, then the complexities of family relationships are his body and mind. The show mentions something about the great Indian institution called Vivah. Married marriages are still common in India. Imagine how society would have been about marriage at the time in which Banyad was founded. This is what makes many love tracks in the show so unusual. In a divisive saga about the ups and downs of ordinary Punjabi life, it is easy to recall old, old-fashioned love stories. First, Master Haveliram and Lajoji’s marriage is based on their unspoken romance that Lajoji put in the bud after marrying an older man. Then, Veeravali has a short-lived relationship with Lala Vrishna. Mehndi planters Bhushan (Dalip Tahil) and Engaged Lochan’s (Soni Razdan) also look like a love marriage. But the biggest love story was playing off-screen. It was between former model Ramesh Sippy and Kiran Juneja. The producer Amit Khanna is said to have sent him to Sippy. For both Sippy and Kiran Juneja, Baniyad was more than a show. This was a personal milestone.

The foundation Ramesh Sippy was already a Bollywood mogul when he made his TV debut with Baniyad. (Photo: DD National)

The son of influential producer GP Sippy, Ramesh Sippy was already a Bollywood mogul when he debuted on TV with Baniyad. There is a scene in the last chapter. Presented by his great-grandfathers, it shows that Haveliram is enjoying Rajesh Khanna’s ‘Zindagi Ik Safar Hai Suhana’, a song from Sippy’s very beautiful (1971). As the face of Khanna and later Amitabh Bachchan, it was an age that saw filmmakers like Yash Chopra, Gulzar, Manmohan Desai, Prakash Mehra and of course, Sippy at the height of his power and popularity. With their roots in Pakistan today, Yash Chopra and Gulzar reflect on the suffering of Partition, especially through their films and poetry. Chopra started making films on serious subjects (Partition, Hindu-Muslim unity etc.) under the melancholy mantra of his elder brother BR Chopra before going all-out mainstream. Arguing that Chopra’s cinema is more than just a romantic spectacle, a Swiss gateway and her chiffon chic, writer Siddharth Bhatia, in 2012’s Chopra’s Abkari, pointed to the director’s radical early films, in which YRF owner Punjabi Refugees Done the life of After partition India became almost discouraged and became extremely successful. “

In the 1970s, Chopra was God. But Sippy had Sholay. A Bollywood touchstone, whether Sholay is a boon or a bane for its producer, is no guess. Within Hindi cinema, there is a silent consensus that what Sippy has done has eclipsed everything. And he has done some major top-notch projects – Shaan, Shakti, Sagar and Sita and Geeta are hidden gems in his repertoire. So is Baniad. Coming from a family victim of partition, Baniyad may be just his most personal work in terms of his story and vision. As for the scale of the show, Sippy left no stone unturned. It is as large a canvas as it can get. There is also a story that he had several plans for the show, as he initially thought of Havliram with Dilip Kumar and Kanwaljit Singh’s role as Satbir with Amitabh Bachchan.

Baniyad vs We

Talking about Baniade invariably invites comparisons with Hum Log, the other great drama of that era. If the two shows in Tone and Tenor look the same despite different themes, it may be because a man was writing them. Manohar Shyam Joshi who shot to fame on TV with Hum Log gave a sharp look to literary realism, tight plot and both tele serials. Due to the vast cast of Baniyad (Goga Kapoor, Kiran Juneja, Dalip Tahil, Soni Razdan, Mazhar Khan, Vijayendra Ghatge, Mangal Dhillon and Kanwaljit Singh’s fine acting collection) is a deeply loyal audience for just a few weeks after week. And its labyrinth plot has been called ‘soap opera’, at a time when Indian TV was in a nascent stage and no one probably knew the meaning of this most American of words. When the modern-day TV series Ekta Kapoor churned on the turn of the Millennium in exchange for Sahas-Bahu soap, there was a prime-time explosion of the kind of Indian time that many savvy viewers saw as retrograde before watching was not. The return of acclaimed plays such as Baneed and Hum Log. In 2013, that wish was approved and Baniad was welcomed to run again. And only last year, it was again brought to public demand to shut down the lockdown blues, joining the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. At a press conference in 2013, with his cast and attendees, director Sippy hoped that the new generations would rediscover their labor of love.

We log We are artists. (Photo: DD National)

It cannot be ensured that younger audiences are still interested in the split, although author Christopher Hitchens, in a Vanity Fair essay titled ‘This Will Be a India’, mentions the survivors of this great tragedy. Did “as they were talking about” yesterday. “To artist Krishna Khanna, the division is a fascinating memory. Once he recalled the disturbing sights at Ambala railway station, as he saw many helpless women. , While waiting for their husbands to arrive, a scene that Khanna later recreated. “Many trains didn’t come,” he said, sadly. Khushwant Singh wrote about the expectation that this massacre “It will pass, that India and Pakistan will be free members of the Commonwealth and I will live where I was in Lahore.” But that is not how history played out. It was “Shab-Ghazida Sehar” (night-cut dawn) that revolutionized Poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz was thrown out of his heart. Sadat Hasan Manto, who took a terrible form, adopted another method. Its divisive frustration in the lyrical, Czechovian short story Toba Tek Singh. There was either a manto bonnet, or the world. Mostly, this is the latter.

By reading about the Partition, one would think that perhaps the memories of survivors like Khanna are still fresh and their wounds have gone unheard. For those like Sippy, who were born in 1947 and grew up listening to stories of Partition from their parents, the turbulent days after India’s independence were a personal tragedy. Those who did not see it first hand or whose families did not have to go through it, can return to partition narratives such as Baniyad, Dharmaputra, Garm Hava and Tamas or a Khanna painting to imagine the extent and magnitude of suffering. Can see and suffer. At the very least, such an exercise can help to empathize with the victims as well as survivors of the greatest human disasters and those suffering from inexplicable pain.

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