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Mayor Stockmann was not a villain

Mayor Stockmann was not a villain

Postby manikjethu on Thu Feb 16, 2006 2:55 am

I do not agree with the negative portrayal of Mayor Stockmann in GANASHATRU.
Ideologically conservative, the mayor was a man of principles and had his own political constraints. He knew that a public outcry would shatter the town's economy and lead to a break-down of the political order. It is quite obvious then that he could not accept his rigidly idealistic brother's idiosyncracies.
Dr. Stockmann wanted the best for his fellow townsmen, but so did the mayor. Only that the mayor, being a politician, wanted to take the lead in whatever he did.
Surely, the character of Nishit Gupta--visualized by Ray--is far removed from that of Mayor Stockmann that Henrik Ibsen conceived. Gupta is shown as part of an evil conservative ruling clique ever ready to take on the Left-leaning doctor and his band of radical supporters. A scheming leader jealous of his brother, Gupta ultimately uses his political clout to outdo the latter.
Director's liberty, in this case at least, borders on distortion. Worse, conservatism has been equated with villainy.
AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE is a story of the clash between an honest but hard-headed doctor and a well-meaning, no-nonsense, yet self-seeking mayor.
The Master had vowed at the beginning of his career that he would never limit himself to the mainstream practice of showing characters in black and white. In GANASHATRU, he had failed to keep his word on that count: the doctor is wholly white and his mayor brother fully black. No shade of grey in either.
Under normal circumstances, GANASHATRU could well be regarded as an attempt to misinterpret the text, misrepresent facts, misinform the public, and mislead them ideologically. But GANASHATRU was not made under normal circumstances. The Master was making a feature film after a gap of almost five years, the doctors had asked him to shoot only indoors (which made him choose a play in the first place), and he chose a story in haste. Keeping such things in mind, the factual and ideological digression can well be overlooked.
Last edited by manikjethu on Thu Jul 02, 2009 2:54 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:58 am
Location: Delhi, India


Postby ratnakar shashonkarta on Mon May 01, 2006 9:26 am

thats slightly more agreeable than your usual avid adulation:)..seems you have internalised his nik.considering you think of him as a Him("divine manifestation"),bit scared as to who you might be.baba re..pala re..

ganashatru was rubbish as a film.sadly ray had lost his capacity to be critical of himself,tolerate criticism too(he admitted previously for instance chirhiyakhana was a bad film).however the dry runs of shakha proshakha and gana shatru post ilness led to a reasonably good film,less technically sound for his standards but certainly closer to ones heart or ones lump in the throat.
ratnakar shashonkarta
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Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 8:15 am

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