A Blazing Torch

Suman K Sharma
A biopic is a tricky affair. Such films deal with facts of a person’s life and would not allow of any flights of fancy that might be permissible in feature films. Yet, a biopic cannot be a sapless narration of facts. Here you are presenting not just an historical event or a natural phenomenon but the life of a flesh and blood human being,a celebrity for that matter. Teleman Film’s Prof ChamanLal Gupta – A Blazing Torch is a biopic that wins on both the scores. It is factual and it is engaging.
Prof Gupta is man of stature. He has been a RSS stalwart,the face of BJP in J&K and a Union minister as well. He fought all through his life for the distinct identity of Jammu vis a vis that of Kashmir and has been a strong votary of abrogation of Article 370. It would have been understandable; therefore, if those associated with the making of the film had adopted an adulatory tone in the film.
On the contrary, the treatment of the subject remains factual. That adds to the credibility and charm of the film. In about 68 minutes, the viewers come face to face with a man who was born in 1934 to a family of modest means in a remote village of Akhnoor near Jammu, but who, because of the fire in his belly and a strong streak of patriotism, raised a maelstrom in the murky waters of the politics of Jammu and Kashmir. Here is the saga of an avowed member of the SanghParivar who stuck undeterred to his convictions, despite all the trials and tribulations, not to say the ordeals that he and his family had to face during the Emergency.
The Blazing Torch has been nicely put together. In it there is dramatization, there are interviews of those who have been in close proximity with Prof Gupta and there isalso a judicious splattering of archival material. Notable in the film is the use of segments of a rousing rendition of the RSS anthem,
Jananijanambhoomishch, which sets the tone of the film. The all-binding fabric of the narration has been spun so smoothly that it is difficult to set it apart from other elements of the narrative. The editing is meticulous – nowhere in the film is there a drag or an unwanted jump.
The biopic took over two years in making. Late Shiv Dutt of the Lakeer fame, who wrote the screen-play and was also directing the film, suffered a fatal heart attack in May 2018, while shooting in Jammu’s old palace complex.
The credit of completing the project goes to his son, Himanshu Dutt Sharma and his team. Young Himanshu shows great promise in following the footsteps of his illustrious father, who was a pioneer film-maker of the State.
The film was released on YouTube a few weeks ago.


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