The Greyhound – A Tangential Take

As is the case during these pandemic times no one is in a hurry to get to bed and good films watched are now discussed threadbare with a mug of the last masala chai of the day…

The Greyhound is one such film that brings to mind past war epics that we have seen, enjoyed and still remember. The expanse and depth of cinematography makes the film so nail-biting real where Tom Hanks as Navy Commander Ernest Krause, displays his exceptional skill and craft.

The story is of a U.S. Navy Commander Ernest Krause assigned to lead an Allied convoy across the Atlantic during World War II. His convoy, however, is pursued by German U-boats. Although this is Krause’s first wartime mission, he finds himself embroiled in what would come to be known as the longest, largest and most complex naval battle in history: The Battle of the Atlantic.

Plagued by self-doubts, personal demons, his ability or inability to command a ship this most unlikely hero finds solace and comfort in his Bible.

From the first scene in the film to the last Commander Krause reads the Holy Book, quotes relevant verses to the momentous events that he faces and the responsibility of ‘shepherding’ the ships under his command.

The character is portrayed as a good Christian who rises to the task given to him and performs exceptionally.

Based on a 1955 book, The Good Shepherd by CS Forester which I had last read in my 20s touched me differently as a film.

First, the choice of the book’s title made me see it with new eyes. It also brought forth the trajectory of one’s own journey and one’s own beliefs – from being benignly incidental to my faith to an interested and more invested one.

How naturally, how easily and how unapologetically Tom Hanks character portrays a good Christian.

Could we ever make a film and depict the commander of a ship, or an officer leading his men to war, as a good Hindu in his personal life?

Forget about seeking answers in the Bhagavat Gita, quoting it, but even hurriedly muttering a prayer or bowing his head to a deity?

Yes, we can imagine a Sikh character doing it, a Muslim spreading his prayer mat, a Christian making the sign of the Cross …. but a Hindu?

We tried to recollect any one war film, not that we have more than a handful … but couldn’t think of a name.

In fact, the recent web series on various platforms came to mind and the depiction of Hindus left us cringing.

In our mainstream films, Hindu women can go to temples, ring bells, perform Aarti but the Hindu man has been sacrificed at the altar of Secularism.

The good Hindu male must keep his own faith hidden while showing respect for all.

Yes, he can show disappointment to his God, berate him …but worship? No, that would be Hindutva, whatever that is supposed to mean.

Because the man who practises the Hindu faith in our films wears a janeu, a mark now of disrespect, a distinctive flaming tilak, a saffron scarf and plays a conniving priest, a hate mongering politician, a Bahubali or part of a lynch mob.

When and where did this image emblazon itself on the cinematic consciousness of a nation predominantly Hindu?

When and where did this villainy characterise a faith?

When and where did each belief and festival become an opportunity for an actor to show his/her derision and the celebration of another faith a badge of honour?

And why is it those who do so, know little about that, they mock and ridicule?

When did we define Secularism with disdain for one faith and tiptoeing around the others?

This confusion, this convoluted sense of self-worth has shown to be self-defeating and has cut off one section from the other.

And once more the biggest lesson in the last decade has been that the problem lies within.

Not in the kitchens where the hands that serve meals and clear the dishes…. because they understand who they are, where they come from. But in the sheen of drawings rooms with their titter of English and high education.

However, make no mistake even in these rarefied climes lies a distinct difference between one chandelier, Kashmiri silk to the next – a reality one cannot escape from.

The warp and weft of the Sikh, Christian, Muslim binds them through liens to the core they belong to.…except for one the segment who with the pretensions of being cosmopolitan reveals a nowhere-ness in thought and belief.

This self-hating segment sell out their own, in history books, in films, in stand-up comedies, in so called avante-garde art and leave the ordinary Hindu to face the consequences of their shameful capitulation in the next riot.

No amount of mellifluous wine can wash that crime or blur their compliance to a devious agenda since Independence.

With due respect to George Orwell –

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their own faith ….

32 Comments

  1. Nandini, just loved it. Simply pure magic, magic all the way. Hope this would awaken the ever dormant hindu spirit & bring about a renaissance in our thinking, attitudes, beliefs specially with respect to our religion. May ur pen be the harbinger of that change.⚘👍🙏

    Liked by 3 people

    1. One more master piece from Nandini. The compulsions of Hindus in a secular ecosystem especially in our Armed Forces get shadowed to respect the feelings of fellow soldiers who are more than a close family even in most adversity. The esteemed author has brilliantly depicted the dilemma of a commanding officer when the established ethos does not allow him visible projection of only his religion when his troops, a secular family which live together & die together, belongs to more than one religion. Still last word may not be war cry but your own individual faith.
      My compliments to dear Nandini, you are an awesome blogger.😊

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Nicely worded. It’s always a nice feel one gets reading your articles.

    Why secularism has come to mean more than Hinduism, especially in the light of the fact that Hindus are by default secular in their belief orientation? This is and has always been one of the most effective ways to suppress the majority. Kill their belief and you will kill the culture – a culture that is the essence of secularism.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very well put….
    Hindus have either become defensive or apologist about being Hindu.
    The reason is the education system and syllabus influenced by leftist and so called liberals.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a fantastic article! Thank you. ” But in the sheen of drawings rooms with their titter of English and high education.” – Those who are often so proud to “study” and feed the next generations with the Devdutt Patnaik and his self-invented Hinduism of course… Pity indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The Greyhound – A Tangential Take – what a brilliant blog and comparison to Bollywood and Indian Media who for ages have demionised the Hindu identity . The tide is turning slowly but surely. Hindus who are secular by nature and have been subjugated for ages are now increasingly unapologetic, well informed and don’t want others to see secularism as their weakness all thanks to inspirational and motivational people like you Nandini. Lots of Respect.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. May you show light all the way to the society .it was the same since day one after independence.our own politicians are in a race to obliterate our beliefs only to rule us for their personal gains.and they are helped by crooks with money ready to be invested..Congress takes the cake with many other regional parties accepting the formula to ruin the structure of the society and country.they will for deciept name themselves as Hindus including MNCs like Hindustan Unilever but act to kill the structure of Hindu society.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Firstly am propagating & disseminating it as much as possible I can. Simply brilliant writing. Movie creed analysed and woven on our contemporary state of Accidie & malaise.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. At least
    We now have a Prime Minister
    Who is Proudly by his actions visibly adhering to Dharm by Karm while respecting religions & majhab

    That bothers sheep’s amidst Hindus even more than those who do not understand the difference between Dharm and religion

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Have the highest regard for Nandini – the word Smith & the superlative analyst that she is. Hardly find many on Twitter with this kind of amazing ability!! Doff my hat to you (for umpteenth time) for this excellent blog.🙏🙏🙏🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It began as a counter to Muslim separatism in the misguided hope that those who didn’t migrate to Pakistan in 1947 would settle down to becoming Indians, abjuring allegiance to the ummah. This glossing over their bigotry, exclusivity, and narrow-mindedness was supposed to make them feel at home and comfortable. It was a Commie solution to the problem of partition, glorifying one while demonizing the other. Gradually it turned into appeasement. Finally, Bollywood sold out to D Co. The messaging now is bold and brazen. The only person who can change it is the common moviegoer. He has to make his distaste obvious by refusing to pay to watch their films. Not only boycott the actors, but all those associated with a particular film. Since theatres now are shut, the filmmaker is using OTT platforms. Boycott him there too. Hurt their pockets and you hurt the entire chain from sponsor to actor.
    Reward those who make cinema of the other kind. Your preference will force the change.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. this is a lovely brief for a film script . the long arc of a life story, with all the twists and turns, victories and traumas . with the anchoring wisdom of the scriptures guiding the protagonist to navigate through his life . and his own understanding of the scriptures evolving as he is purified by the circumstances of his own life . to make us realise that our scriptures are an inclusive reflection of ourselves . as we get more purified by our experiences, we understand it differently, more clearly . until we understand ourselves fully and then don’t need to rely on the scriptures any more

    Liked by 1 person

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