Cinema has always played an important role in influencing the public. Through some exceptional creations, it has also inspired citizens to contribute to the process of nation building. On Engineers day, let us recall some amazing examples of Hindi cinema which gave meaning to the profession.
At a time when the nation is dealing with the natural calamity in Jammu and Kashmir, whose impact will be felt for years to come, the occasion has also brought in a sense of urgency for rebuilding the state in particular and building the whole nation in general. There would not be a more appropriate day to commit to the ethos than Engineers Day which is celebrated all over the country. No wonder, the Prime Minister has raised the bar and asked each of the ministries to enhance their targets by 10%. If the targets that are being talked about get translated into actuality, the nation indeed would take the monumental leap forward that it has been waiting for for quite a long time.
Septemeber 15th is celebrated as Engineers day every year in memory of Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, a prominent engineer of India who was responsible for the construction of the Krishna Raja Sagara dam in Mandya, Karnataka. He was a recipient of the Indian Republic’s highest honour, the Bharat Ratna. He invented ‘automatic sluice gates’ and ‘block irrigation system’ which are still considered to be marvels in engineering. Read more about 14 amazing Indian scientists like Visvesvarya.
Cinema has been in one way or the other a catalyst in bringing out the significant roles of engineers in inspiring citizens to contribute to the process of nation building. Here then are four Indian films that are a tribute to all the engineers of India, through the inspirational characters that they have etched on the silver screen:
The role of an engineer in the nation building process and the addendum of corruption associated with it was brought out in a very succinct manner by Dharmendra and Sanjiv Kumar in this Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s creation. For a civil engineer at the cusp of his career, to choose the option of nation building, there would not be a better inspiration than Satyakaam.
Directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar and produced by UTV and Ronnie Screwala, Swades emerged as an inspirational film for the engineers of the diaspora as here was the story of an engineer coming back to his home in India during his holidays, and trying to solve problems of his village by drawing on his global experience. Shah Rukh Khan, in one of the most underplayed roles of his career, did a marvelous job. Such was the impact of this movie that the producer Ronnie Screwvala created a foundation by the same name, Swades, that aims to empower rural India.
3. 3 IDIOTS
Never has a stream of study gone under the scalpel in such a detailed manner and never has a threadbare analysis of a profession been made as it was done in this Raj Kumar Hirani film. The underlining theme – if you enter the rat race, in the end you will be a rat – indeed is the bane of what is happening around the country today. The film emphasizes the message that if even 20 percent of those who are studying in an engineering stream could let their hearts dominate their heads, more than 70 percent of the problems of the country would be solved in a jiffy.
This movie presented the flip side of being obsessed with technology and the itch of the human to play with the machine by carving humanoids, perhaps thinking that this way he could play God. The dual role of Rajinikanth clearly brought home the fact that while machines do have an important role to play in our lives, the element of human control should not be eliminated, otherwise the sheer excess of mechanics would make all things redundant.
Engineers indeed have an essential role to play and it could be argued that this is not as big a bucket list of successful engineer characters as it should have been. But this perhaps points to the fact that this stream has not been focused upon in the desired way it ought to have been. We do hope a lot more importance is given to the unmistakable role engineering plays in changing the fate of a nation.