“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one,” Albert Einstein famously said, which explains that truth has many versions and each side is a result of a different perspective. One cannot define his version although there needs to be a firm stand. And Director Partho Mitra’s recently released web series Naxalbari strongly essays a reality without being biased. With a basic plot setting, it takes us to a world which not many of us are aware of.
What made the story more terrifying was the fact that we have been hearing words such as anti-nationals, naxals, etc. too often from the polarized media. These terms are mostly used to weaken the revolutions against the mishaps prevailing in the nation. And that’s an important point Naxalbari highlights on making the show more relatable and relevant. With deep explorations in retelling the story, has Naxalbari got all the points right? How close is it to reality?
Naxalbari has been celebrated by the critics for its accuracy in detailing and the attention to history with which it conveys a story. The three front liners in Naxalbari are Corporate Leaders, Government, and the Naxals which have been defined through different perspectives justifying their agendas. Though the story is set in Maharashtra, the show draws real-life inspiration from the movement that began in the 1960s in Naxalbari, a village in West Bengal.
The movement sparked initiating a battle between government forces and the marginalized communities including poor farmers who fought for their rights. The movement soon spread like a wildfire in different parts of the country. Naxalbari, though in a fictionalized setting, has managed to shed a light on this long dispute.
The ‘bond-for-profits’ in Naxalbari is portrayed through a deal between corporate leaders and the state government for a project called FICA. The battle between Naxals and the Government sparks bounding to this project. To connect this instance with reality, I couldn’t have thought of anything else than the ‘Toxic Mines’ of Jadugoda in Jharkhand which is India’s only source for uranium. However, this project came at a huge price for the local inhabitants in the area.
In the name of progress, residents here are suffering from the ill effects of this toxic substance and face major health problems. And those who voiced their opinions against this were termed as anti-nationals. Hence we can say that through Naxalbari, another major story has been highlighted.
Naxalbari leaves a lasting impression on the viewers as they are hooked with reality. The long-ranging Naxal movement of the country which has been misrepresented by the media for decades gets a taste of reality with this story. The scenes including college students being misinformed of reality, the divide in the police force, and the corporate corruption make Naxalbari an accurate mirror to reality.
Naxalbari starring Rajeev Khandelwal now streaming on Zee5