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I was fortunate enough to attend the American debut of Jang Aur Aman with director Anand Pathardwan in attendance. Being fairly ignorant of the India-Pakistan conflict, this was a harrowing perspective of the magnitude of this escalating situation.
Beyond seeing Gandhi in 9th grade social studies class, I was not aware of how serious and passionate the dispute in the Indian subcontinent is. It is a whole different world over there, a distinctly un-American world. Pathardwan interviews the masses and lawmakers alike, and a story of corruption, deception, and inhumanity regarding potential nuclear war and the arms race unfolds.
Pathwardan takes the cameras to the streets to interview the Indians and Pakistanis to get their views. We learn of disease and death at test sites, see the starvation and poverty first-hand, and hear the propaganda instilled into the public by the government. To hear impoverished Indians say that they are a world super-power because of their nuclear technology and at the same time see them living in squalor is quite startling. Also, across the border, seeing Pakistani schoolgirls defame the Indian cause and motive for a public speaking class and then turn around after the speech and admit they just say what they say not as an assult on Indians but rather because that's what they hear day in and day out.
Jang Aur Aman shows the audience the potential disasters of a nuclear arms race, and particularly in third world nations full of deceit and corruption, particularly in the post-September 11th world. Anand Pathwardhan should be commended for showing Americans this different, harrowing perspective of conflicts on the other side of the world.
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