Yesterday marked the birth centenary of one of the greatest filmmakers of all times, Satyajit Ray.

His work was way ahead of his time and even after so many years, they continue to inspire people around the world.

Here’s one particular movie I wanted to share my views about, which is also one of my favorites.

Heerak Rajar Deshe, 1980

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14948973

This movie is the second sequel of Gupi Gyne Bagha Byne trilogy. My memories of watching this movie for the first time are still fresh in my mind. As a kid, I loved watching it, especially Gupi and Bagha.

Gupi and Bagha

Everything about Heerak Rajar Deshe seemed so perfect – the superpowers of the two heroes (Gupi and Bagha), the rhyming dialogues, comedy timing, and the perfect happy ending where good overpowers the evil.

Only a few years back, when I re-watched this movie, I understood the important message hidden in it.

The king here oppresses free-thinking and denies basic education so that the citizen never gets smart enough to question his actions. And those who possess the threat of raising voice against him end ups getting brainwashed (mogojdholai).

When international guests arrive, he orders to hide the slums behind a false shiny facade of prosperity. We get plenty of examples of this in Indian as well as global politics.

Heerak Raja can also be seen inaugurating his own statue.

Heerak Rajar Statue

Even the lyrics of the songs in this movie emphasizes on the socio-economic inequalities. One of which is “Kotoi Rongo Dekhi Duniyae”, which was written and composed by Ray himself.

The lines are: “দেখ ভালো জনে রইল ভাঙা ঘরে,
মন্দ যে সে সিংহাসনে চড়ে।
ও ভাই সোনার ফসল ফলায় যে তার
দুই বেলা জোটেনা আহার,” which roughly translates to “the good ones are living in a broken house, and the bad ones got all the power. The one who grows the golden crops are dying of hunger.”

All these things are so relatable even today!

I’ll always be thankful to this movie for teaching me how important it is to be prejudice-free and conscious in life and to raise questions against the wrong.

The effortless political satire in this movie is truly a genius. A movie that was made some 40 years back is still relevant today, which shows how we’ve failed as a society.

You can enjoy the movie here.

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