CHAPTER 14: A YOUNGER BROTHER
Saket is desperate to get the gun back. Just then he gets a brainwave. He remembers Govardhan telling him that he knows the place in and out. He digs through the trashcan and retrieves the visiting card Govardhan had given him. As the curfew nears, Saket goes into Chandni Chowk with Govardhan. He does not tell till then that he was in search of a truck and not a girl. Govardhan says that he is scared and wants to leave. Saket does not allow him. Govardhan picks up a stick and tries to attack Saket. But he is too slow and too old for Saket, who twists his arm and sends him begging for life.
As Saket asks Govardhan about the address, he hears someone calling “Hey Ram”. It is Saket’s friend Amjad. He is delighted to see Saket. But Saket is not a bit surprised or happy. Perhaps, he views Amjad as a Muslim and not a friend. Amjad hugs him and asks him if Govardhan is troubling him. The coward Govardhan says that he is a close friend of Saket’s and tries to stick with him in order to save his skin. Amjad asks Saket about Aparna and he comes to know of the mishap. He asks Saket to come to stay at his house till the curfew is lifted. He says that he has moved to India permanently and Saket’s sister Nafisa is there too. But Saket is not interested. Amjad reminds him that this is not South India and will get butchered if he stays out. Saket says that he needs to find this Azad Soda Factory first to retrieve his wallet.
Amjad smiles and leads them to the place. Possibly, it is his factory. They proceed as Govardhan sticks around for safety. They go through a surreptitious setup to enter the factory. Govardhan tries to leave but Amjad prevents him to go out during curfew. As they enter the factory, they are able to see many Muslim men holding guns and staying low. Amjad asks them to wait till he gets back with the wallet. Amjad talks to a few men about the wallet who hit him back for conniving with a Hindu and tell him that the “wallet” is actually a gun. One of the men, Amjad’s uncle decides to deal with Amjad later and finish off the Hindus now. Saket is not a bit scared, in contrast to Govardhan who is trembling. Saket stands with his cold deadpan face before the Muslims. Amjad defends Saket and says that he is like a brother to him and Nafisa ties a Rakhi every year. He also believes that the gun is not Saket’s. But to his surprise, Saket admits that the gun is indeed his, but is not here to kill anyone. It just came thereby accident and he will go back if it is returned. Govardhan is scared out of his wits and begs for mercy. The other two Muslims get ready to shoot the Hindus as Amjad defends them. He tries to negotiate as Saket takes a good look around and plans his next move.
One of the two Muslims asks Amjad to move and says that he will only blow Saket’s knee off. As Amjad tries to stop him, Saket jumps into action and manages to ward off the people surrounding him. He falls off the window along with Amjad’s uncle, who dies moments later. He manages to hide here and there as the other Muslims search for him. Amjad helps him to hide too. Meanwhile, Govardhan calls a certain Mr. Chari and tells them about the factory and the ammunitions in it. As Amjad and Saket hide from the eyes of the rest of the Muslims, they talk about the situation, the partition and much more. I’ll give the transcript of the conversation instead of paraphrasing it for more effect.
“Amjad: Tell me the truth. I can still save your life. Did you come here to kill Muslims?
Amjad: But this gun…
Amjad: But why did you bring it here?
Saket: I didn’t. Your Uncle’s truck brought it here. Okay, I am leaving now.
Amjad: Are you mad? Fool! You’ll die. Fool! I don’t know why you are carrying this gun, but you’ll need my help to get out of here.
Saket: I don’t need anyone’s help. I’ll escape on my own.
Amjad: And you’re going to shoot your way through, won’t you? Which means that gun is meant for killing Muslims!
Saket: It isn’t, but it could be.”
Amjad: You too Ram? But why?
Saket points the gun to Amjad’s forehead who is surprised to find his tame friend carrying a gun. His reply reminds us of Caesar’s final words as Brutus stabs him.
The conversation continues as they find anther place to hide.
“Amjad: Because your Aparna is dead?
Saket: She was killed! Like countless Hindu men, women and children! By Muslims.
Amjad: So you are here as a representative of your religion? Do you remember my father? He didn’t die on his own. The Hindus killed him!”
They get behind a ruined crate to hide again and the conversation intensifies. Both Amjad and Saket become representatives and symbols of their religion as they talk.
“Saket: Enough! Just go away. Get out! Out of our sight!
Amjad: Go away? Where?
Saket: To your Jinnah’s Pakistan.
Amjad: Jinnah’s daughter considered India as her own country, and stayed back. I am Gandhi’s son. I have decided to stay here.
Saket: Decided? With whose permission?
Amjad: I don’t need anyone’s permission to live in my own country!
Saket: Your country? You foreigners walked across the Khyber and ruled us for 700 years!
Amjad: I was not born then. I belong to your times. Many came from the Khyber. Why pick on me? You call me a Foreigner! Aren’t you also a foreigner?
Amjad: Some say that your Lord Ram came across the Khyber.
Saket: Don’t you dare mention my Ram’s name!
Amjad: If not your Ram, O.K., Can I talk about my Ram? What’s happened to you?”
Saket mentions that Muslims have settled in India because of the Mughals who had invaded India through the Khyber Pass while Amjad mentions the theory that Rama is actually an Aryan who has his origins in Europe. Both of them get enraged by these comments. Additionally, Amjad mentions that he (Muslims) is Gandhi’s son and very much Indian. He is shattered to see his friend being turned into this animal. He had always seen Saket to be a very calm and peaceful person. He asks him why he had turned like this,
“Amjad: Am I not your brother? At least, am I not your friend?
Saket: That’s just why you are still alive. Leave before I change my mind. Now.
Amjad: Everything was peaceful for a few days, thanks to Gandhi. See what you started!
Saket: You started it. You people killed Aparna!
Amjad: All Right. I will put an end to it too.”
Amjad kneels before Saket and asks him:
“Forgive me for killing your Aparna. I forgive you for killing my father. Now will you accept me as your brother, Ram?”
The camera is high above Saket’s head denoting his dominance and majority and Amjad’s pleading position and minority. This scene where Amjad asks Saket to be accepted as his brother carries a lot of weight in the film and gives out multiple meanings. As Saket and Amjad have become representatives of their religion during the conversation, this plea by Amjad acts as a plea by the minority Muslims to become brothers with the Majority Hindus. Hence the camera raised angle over Saket’s head. Additionally, it is a plea from a single man, Amjad, a simple one, who has lost his beloved friend and wants to get him back. He requests Saket, straight from the heart, to accept him as his brother. Even though they are born to different mother(land)s (Amjad was born in now-Pakistan whereas Saket was born in now-India), they have been raised by a single undivided mother – the pre-independent India. This again takes off from the conversation between Amjad and Mr. Bright during the Karachi party where Amjad says that Saket and he are from the same alma mater.
Saket turns down the plea. Amjad continues:
“Very well, then. Shoot. I’ll give you the pleasure of killing Muslim. And once you are done, cleanse your heart of the hatred. Let my death save you from this madness. Somebody will have to put a full stop to this.”
Though he does not show it outwardly, Saket is immensely moved by this statement. He says that he is not here to kill Amjad, but the cause of all this – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Amjad is surprised at this and informs Saket that Gandhi is the only sanity in the country. If not for Gandhi, whatever peace is being maintained couldn’t have been possible. Just then he hears a gunshot nearby and tries to check out what it is. Saket senses that it is not the Muslim group but a Hindu group with weapons, which was called by Govardhan.
Saket asks Amjad to hide immediately. The roles of the saved and the saviour are reversed now. It is Saket, now, who is trying to save Amjad from a fanatic group. Amjad realizes that Saket indeed wants Amjad alive and says that Hindus and Muslims can be brothers if they try, like Gandhiji says. Saket drags Amjad to safety as the fanatics follow. He even hits Amjad to make him quiet and orders him to go into the hiding place he has pointed to. But this is all an act of kindness and possessiveness, like the one between two siblings. Amjad reminds Saket that if anything happens to him, he should take care of Nafisa, their sister. Saket is moved and asks him to hide.
The fanatic group led by Chari arrives along with Govardhan. They ask Saket to point the way to the factory which contains a lot of Muslims with weapons. He says they want to attack the soda factory so that they can equip themselves with rifles instead of traditional swords and axes. Amjad is shocked to hear this and comes out in to clarify that there are no weapons in the factory, just some old men, women and children. He also offers them to show them the place where guns are there. Saket is surprised and speechless but musters some courage to say something to defend Amjad. Note the frame composition here. The misé-en-scene is strikingly similar to the scene where Amjad defends Saket, with the defended on one side and the fanatic group on the other and the defender in between.
“Saket: He is my brother. Bharat, that’s his name. He’s madly in love with a Muslim girl, Nafisa. He is mentally ill. You are mad. Ever since, he has been dressing up like this. I came to stop him before he converts to Islam in this madness. Come home, Bharat”
Yet again, the Ramayana track being emphasized. Bharat, in Ramayana, was Rama’s half brother. Rama was born to Kaushalya and Bharat was born to Kaikeyi. Even though they were born to different mothers they were the closes than two brothers ever will be. Similarly, in spite of Saket and Amjad being born to different mother(land)s, they are very close and will give their lives for each other.
Amjad turns down Saket’s offer to defend him, in the same way Saket had turned his offer of defense in the soda factory, again highlighting the reversal of roles. He decides to reveal the truth to the gang. He steps to the centre, with chest held high and says
“I am Ram’s brother all right. But not Bharat. My name is Amjad Ali Khan. And if you want, you can add a Bahadur.”
The “Bahadur” indicating his bravery too. He knows that Saket has always accepted him as his brother. Just as he finishes, he is knocked down from behind with a hammer. Saket is mad and shoots the guy who knocked Amjad down. As Chari comes forward to attack Saket he shoots at him, killing him and Govardhan. The rest of the crowd, scared, runs off.
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