Friday, August 16, 2013

Lucia and the Aam Aadmi

Two things I have been following very closely these days are 'Lucia' and 'Aam Aadmi Party'. They are two entirely different ventures, yet have too many things in common. One is a pure commercial venture, trying to address few issues in a small sector. Another one is a pure social venture, trying to address the larger problems of a nation of billion people. Both of them are exceptional ideas started by two brilliant individuals. Not many people think they will really succeed, but it all depends upon how many people will really believe in their idea and ready to take a small part in their venture.

'Lucia' is a kannada film directed by Pawan Kumar, which is funded by the audience itself. The film started last year and will be releasing in August. Here is the story behind the film.

After directing his last successful film 'Lifu ishtene', the director finds it very hard to get the dates for his next film by prominent actors. That wasn't uncommon in our film industry where film heroes are treated like gods. There was a time in the past where the story-line and directors used to control the movies. That era saw the greatest directors like Puttanna Kanagal and also a lot of great movies. But, once the weight shifted towards the actors, everything else started to lose. The stories became the slaves of the actors and movies became a means of quick money. The entire film industry became just like our political system where talent started following the hereditary genes making others hard to enter the field.

Pawan got sick of this attitude from the industry. Instead of going with the flow to have a comfortable life, he decided to go against this mentality decisively. As a result, he came up with the idea(not really new) of raising the money from audience themselves. Within 27 days of his proposal for crowd funding, he got the funding of 51 lakhs for the film. That includes 12 producers, 27 co-producers and 28 assistant produces. On top of that, you can pre-order the film and become as distributor. There are 971 distributors and I am also one of them. By paying Rs2500, I get to see the film and 50% commission from whatever I sell. Doesn't that sound like a good business deal? Probably.

But, I didn't do it for investment. I don't have the time or energy to market this and make some money. I took part in it exactly for the same reason why Pawan started this project in the first place. In his blog post 'Making the enemies', Pawan explains how the remake is ruining the film industry. The 'hero worship' in this country is damaging everything. They are doing it as a family business making it hard for new talents to enter the field. If Pawan's strategy works, it could make a revolution not only in Kannada film industry, but in many other places and sectors having similar issues. He certainly brings some hope to the people who understands that there is a problem. Rs 2500 isn't that big a money for me. 5 people having a good lunch in Bangalore will cost more than that. So, why not use that to support something you believe might bring some change?

But, I felt little bad when Pawan told they don't want people like me to 'support' them. Instead, I should look at this as an investment. Sorry, I have other options for investment. This may get me some money, but I am not 'investing' here for money. This is not my area of interest for making money. Pawan certainly has realized that it didn't go well with many people. So, in a recent mail he acknowledged that people also want to 'support' this in addition to 'investing' in this venture. He also requested everyone to share the information to spread the news by using their blogs. But that is not the main reason why I am writing this blog.

I mentioned earlier that I am also following 'Aam aadmi party' from Arvind Kejriwal fairly closely. I don't need to talk anything about Arvind Kejriwal here. He is undoubtedly the greatest Indian of our life time. The task that he has taken is something that can change the entire image of our country. The bulk of the problems that India is facing today is mainly due to corrupt politics. The corruption has spread in such a way that, it is impossible to clean it unless we shake up the entire political system from the top. In 2012, the CBI told that Indians have $500 billion of illegal funds in foreign countries. The actual figure might certainly be more than that. If you count the illegal money within India, it would be hard to imagine the amount of illegal money that is stashed by corrupt Indians by looting their fellow citizens. In addition to that, they also have got tons of legal money as well. If India is put to sale in an open market, this group will have enough money to purchase the entire India. On the other hand, AAP has collected only Rs 4 crores so far for their election fund. How hard it would be for them to fight such a gigantic beast?

We have close to 5000 elected representatives in India(MPs+MLAs). Let us assume all of them are corrupt. Let us also assume each of the representative will have another 100 political leaders in their area who are also corrupt and made substantial money by corruption. That brings the total corrupt politicians to 5,00,000. Let us also assume there are equal number of business people and others who are also corrupt. If we assume majority of the corrupt money is due to this group, we are still talking about only 10,00,000 people. That is less than 0.1 percent of our population. It is these people luring probably another 0.9 percent to their group via various means. I find it very hard to believe there are even 1 in 100 that wishes to support a corrupt government because they are also getting benefited by this corrupt system. So, in a democratic nation, it isn't really hard for AAP to fight this gigantic beast responsible for majority of the problems of India. But, will they really succeed?

That really depends whether those 99% of the people really want to see the change or they are just complaining because they just love to blame others for the issues of the country. This is as big as the independence movement against British. But it is certainly more easier than the independence struggle to win as the communication has become more easier now. Though our democracy doesn't function properly, we still have some means of democracy and elections. Still, if we fail to win this fight against the corruption, we will permanently lose our right to blame the politicians for our current situation of misery. A lot of pre-election predictions for Delhi assembly elections have already predicted the raising popularity of AAP. They are very likely to emerge as the winning party. That will be a stunning performance by a party which is yet to complete an year. If they can do it in Delhi, it will spread to other parts of the nation as well. So, there is some hope for Indians. Thousands of volunteers are dedicating both their time and money to this noble cause. Thousands have even gave their blood and few their life. So, what are we doing to support this herculean task?

I should definitely not use the word 'support' here. It is more of an investment than support. Let us assume only 50% of the tax payers money is lost due to corruption. Looking at the black money data, I have no doubt more than 80% of the public money is lost due to corruption. Some one having a more accurate data should probably do that calculation. With 50% loss, if you are paying 1lakh per year as tax, you are actually giving 50,000 to these corrupt people. You are losing 50,000 each year for each lakh of tax you are paying. If AAP can minimize that to 10%, they are actually giving back 40,000 to you each year. So, how much should we actually donate them to make them ready for the big fight?

Lets start with a very small plan. Lets decide to contribute only 0.1 to 1% of our wealth to AAP for fighting against corruption over a period of 5 years, based on their performance. If our worth is 10,00,000, we are targeting between 1000 to 10,000. That shouldn't be that big as we are still having more than 99% of our wealth for ourselves. It is not really a charity as it is going to benefit us in the future. If everyone of us can do that, I am sure it will be a huge boost for the people who are ready to sacrifice their time, blood and life for this country. More over, the happiness that brings by doing something as grateful as this one can't be compared with other material things. Tomorrow, if India is able to win against its corrupt politicians, we can only feel guilty for not doing what is required of us today.

That is the intention of this blog. 'Lucia' got 50 lakhs in 27 days. But a cause that could change the entire nation is still trying hard to get the attention of people. I like to support both the causes, but at the same time I am aware which one really deserves more attention today. 'Lifu ishtene' is a very nice movie. Please use this link to watch the movie if you haven't watched it already. I am sure 'Lucia' would have come even better. There are a lot of new talents in that movie. That would be coming some time in August-September and I will post a link in my blog once it is released in the home-talkies. Please watch that as well, if you like good kannada movies. All that I get as a distributor of these two movies will be given to AAP. Think about this calmly for atleast an hour. Do the right thing by being the change to see the change.

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