“Peace is a subjective hypothesis.” A leader in Anek
Anek, a Netflix film from India, dramatizes the complex nature of Indian geopolitics that moves gingerly among socio politics and bloody action. It illuminates Northeast India’s struggles between independence and abiding nationalism, the latter triumphant but not before blood and egos practically stomp out honor from even the most honorable citizens.
Aido (Andrea Kevichusa) is a female boxer who wants to fight for the honor of India whilst others want her to win for the Northeast in a battle for independence, or not. The region has been in conflict over its identity and its nationalism for decades. The usual jingoism of Hindi cinema such as Bollywood musicals is gone in this multifaceted thriller that plays between the factions without favoring either or painting over each’s imperfections.
Unlike the extremists on either side, Aido can represent the state or the country. In the end, she represents both, a tribute to director Anubhav Sinha and several writers whose ambivalence shows in an amalgam of allegiances befitting a diverse country. Anek can get down with its gunfighting skirmishes, redolent of parochial interests and factional passions, but most of it is interested in personal motives and uninformed allegiances.
Although India as a whole is the winner for generally showing good intentions, Anek (translated as many or more than one) does a sympathetic job showing how varying patriotic interests affect the nation as a whole. Showing a smart understanding of many points of view, Anek is hidden among other worthy films on Netflix; give it a cultural try.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts NPR’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics as well as podcasts Back Talk and Double Take out of WCBE 90.5 FM. Contact him at JohnDeSando52@gmail.com