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Like the way you shoot, boy!

Like the way you shoot, boy!
History can be a nagging bitch. Hence, old wounds need new balms to end matters once and for all. Mad boy Tarantino has been walking that path since Inglorious Basterds, a gorefest of a film where pretty actresses are murdered, men are butchered and theatres blown to bits to serve out justice. As plot line, Inglourious Basterds takes you back to Nazi-occupied France during World War II, when a group of Jewish US soldiers lay out a plan to bumb off Nazi leaders. Their outlandish venture coincides with a petite theatre owner's ambition to avenge her family's murder in the hands of ‘Jew hunters’. And when Brad Pitt and his pretty boys kill Hitler and his men you cannot but stand up and clap and wish it was real life and not cinema.

With Django Unchained, Tarantino goes further back in history. To the time when nigger was not a dirty word and black men could not ride horses. Or even look a white man in the eye. The film, which got the Oscar this year for best original screenplay, is about German bounty hunter Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz memorable as the smooth and diabolic SS Colonel Hans Landa in
Inglourious Basterds
and for bagging the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor two times in a row), who buys a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) and promises him freedom once he has helped Schultz gun down the criminals who have a price on their heads. Django, however, has his own quest. His wife has been forced into slavery at the plantation of the white supremacist Calvin Candie (played to perfection by Leo DiCaprio) and he wants her freedom. So this unlikely pair, Schultz and Django, set out to chase dollars and dreams in a country that will witness the Civil War soon.

Django Unchained is so politically incorrect that you will end up loving it. ‘Why don't they kill us?’ asks Calvin Candie. He wants to know why his slaves do not rise in revolt after all the misery he inflicts on them. He puts out the answer himself. It lies in the science of phrenology. In niggers, Candie explains, the enlarged area in the cranium is associated with ‘submissiveness’! Believe it or shoot him down.

It's poetic justice then that such inhumanity should be answered by a gun-wielding, smooth-talking nigger on a horse who goes around shooting white men. In an Indian context, it would be akin to forcing Kumbh mela sadhus to turn manual scavengers in order to right historic wrongs on Dalits!

After one of his first kills, as an old white torturer drops dead, Django says, ‘I love the way you die, boy!’ After the film, all we can say to Mr Tarantiono is: Love the way you shoot, boy!
Daipayan Halder

Daipayan Halder

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