The 'other' India in literature and film: Mohan Dās in Uday Prakaś’s story and in Mazhar Kamran’s film
Mohandas is a 2009 Hindi drama film directed by Mazhar Kamran, based on the story Mohan Dās by noted Hindi writer Uday Prakaś, who also wrote screenplay and dialogue for the film. Mazhar Kamran is at his debut film as director. The film stars Sonali Kulkarni, Nakul Vaid, Sushant Singh, Uttam Halder, Sarbani Mukherjee, and Aditya Srivastava, and is produced by Abha Sonakia. The story is hard-hitting, and it has a willingness to engage; the film dares to raise uncomfortable questions that feel-good Bollywood generally prefers to ignore, and can be enjoyable for people who appreciate the parallel cinema of the 1980s. In this paper I introduce Mohan Dās/Mohandas as a counter-narrative on Dalitism, a multi-layered story of resistance and a critique of representational democracy. It is a story of marginality, featuring a young Dalit resisting against the oppression of the hegemonic society. Dalit oppression has been going on for ages but Mohan Dās’s story is the product of a distinct modernity (or post-modernity?). I also draw a comparison between the literary and the cinematic version of the story and try to highlight the specificity of the movie, also in the context of recent Hindi cinematic production.