The critically acclaimed first season of Naxalbari made viewers aware of the long-ranging Naxal movement in India. From explosive and dramatic moments to different political propagandas, Paartho Mitra’s directorial captured it all, doing justice to each and every side of the story. The perspective of helpless and innocent villagers trapped between Naxals and the government’s battle gave viewers a taste of reality.
Being a character-driven narrative, the subject of Naxalbari was apt and bold, which also stands out as an exception in the era of crime sagas. But how much of Naxalbari’s story is true? What inspired the setting? How much of it was a part of cinematic liberty? Here are all your questions fact-checked and answered.
History and its Inspiration
Naxalbari draws its setting and inspiration from the movement that began in the 1960s in Naxalbari, a village in West Bengal. The movement ignited a battle between government forces and the marginalized communities including poor farmers who fought for their land and other agricultural rights. The movement soon spread like a wildfire when police opened fire on a group of poor peasants while they demanded their right on a particular piece of land.
Paartho Mitra recreated this chapter from history and based it out of different corners of Maharashtra with an aim of getting this long dispute into the spotlight. The scenes where villagers are tortured by goons as well as police stand out as a commentary on the Naxalist-Maoist insurgency.
The 1967 uprising turned out to be a major inspiration for Naxalbari. Started by local tribals of the area and few radical communist leaders of the state, it was headed by Charu Majumdar whose real-life personality helped Mitra construct the side of Naxals in the story. The origin of this movement and its leaders became the crux of Naxalbari’s plot.
The one major part that Naxalbari rightly focussed on, was that of the unhealthy side of Indian media. In Naxalbari, we see how media plays a crucial role in changing the public’s opinion by supporting the FICA project and terming the revolutionaries as anti-nationals.
The FICA plan plays a vital role in the story of Naxalbari as it represents the unofficial alliance between government and the corporate leaders which are relevant even in today’s times. The FICA, here is a pen name to many such real projects emerged from corruption, leading to the sufferings of innocent farmers and local tribes.
And we can say that this project might be loosely based on ‘Toxic Mines’ of Jadugoda in Jharkhand which is India’s only source for uranium. And this project turned out to be a nightmare for the local inhabitants as they suffered from the ill effects of the toxic radiation and faced major health problems.
These were few bold commentaries that Naxalbari made and it deserves all the appreciation for it.
Naxalbari is streaming on ZEE5.