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Film / Indian

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-"What you have committed is no ordinary crime, it is treason. When you accept a bribe, everyone under you accepts a bribe. And because of that, the state, the services, the treasury, departments of agriculture, energy, healthcare, education, police, the courts have all been corrupted and forever destroyed our country's ability to develop. The goods are bad, the food is unclean, the water is impure, the air is polluted Our vast great country has been turned into a beggar while small islands the world over have become rich. Why is it this way? You think bribery doesn’t exist there? Bribery exists there too. But over there, bribes are accepted for dereliction of duty. Over here, bribes are required for performing your duty. Bribes for ration cards! Bribes for admitting children into schools! Bribes for railway tickets! Bribes for getting seeds to grow crops! Everything from cradle to grave is now infested with bribery, bribery and more bribery!! By accepting it as normal and ubiquitous, corruption has spread like a cancer throughout this country and is destroying it. Accepting bribes is wrong! Paying bribes is wrong! And to get that point across, your sentence is death!!"
The Indian

Indian is a 1996 Tamil film starring Kamal Hassan in a dual role playing both father and son. Their stories are told in parallel, with one story focusing on "Indian" a senior citizen vigilante who has been going around murdering corrupt government officials and a federal cop's attempt to catch him. The second story focuses on Chandru, a bureaucrat working at a DMV office, who is trying to get into the boss' good graces and become a road worthiness inspector. Their stories diverge based on a tragic event, but then their fates converge again with tragic results.


This movie provides examples of:

  • Adult Fear: Kasturi's fate. First she gets set on fire by a combination of a leaky gas stove and an electric spark. Her callous treatment by hospital staff and the local doctor, sending Senapathy on a bureaucratic run around is even more gut wrenching. The bus crash that kills 40 children also counts.
  • Affectionate Nickname/Named After Somebody Famous : Chandru, short for Subhash Chandra Bose, the revolutionary leader that Senapathy followed during the Indian independence struggle.
  • The Alleged Bus: A bus that Chandru is asked to inspect is in such disrepair that kicking a tire causes part of the brake to fall off. It is also leaving a trail of leaking brake fluid.
  • All for Nothing: A woman widowed by an indiscriminate use of rubber bullets by riot police to disperse a crowd, which unfortunately caught some innocent roadside vendors in the crossfire, goes to a government office to collect monetary compensation promised to her. She is forced to pay an ever escalating series of “fees” to various admin clerks to ensure her case progresses. However, when sent to the chief administrator, he demands a huge bribe. More than the money promised to her. The poor old woman can’t pay, so she is denied her compensation and she is forcibly ejected, with none of the fees refunded.
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  • Bus Full of Innocents: There is one filled with kids. It crashes, killing all on board.
  • Betty and Veronica/Light Feminine Dark Feminine : Sapna played by Urmilla Matontkar is the dark feminine Veronica. She is just using Chandru for (non-sexual) favors, since he is attempting to gain influence with her father to get a job as a vehicle safety inspector. Aishwarya is the more down to earth Betty, who genuinely loves Chandru and is a dedicated animal loving veterinarian. Sapna dresses fashionably, while Aishwarya dresses conservatively. Sapna doesn't mind Chandru's moral relativism, while Aishwarya commonly butts heads with Chandru over it. Aishwarya finally gets him before Chandru is killed by his father.
  • Bribe Backfire: The Doctor who refused to treat Senapathy’s daughter, tries to bribe Senapathy when cornered. This act sets off Senapathy even further.
  • By-the-Book Cop: The CBI officer Krishnaswamy who arrests Senapathy is one. He says that as a sworn law enforcement officer, he will not shirk from his duty to pursue Senapathy. Senapathy commends him for not being a corrupt douche like most other government officials he had previously met.
  • Call to Agriculture: After India gains independence, Senapathy takes up farming in a Tamil Nadu village. Unfortunately, Kasturi’s death due to corruption forces him to go back to being a violent insurgent.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The woman who was denied monetary compensation for police accidentally killing her husband, because she refused to pay any more bribes, just loses it. She bawls loudly, collapses to the ground and starts pathetically throwing sand at the government office building.
  • Every Vehicle is a Pinto: Subverted for the bus that crashes, as it doesn't burst into flames. Played straight however, with the airliner that Senapathy Rams with a baggage tractor to fake his own death, as it explodes into flames upon being struck.
  • Every Man Has His Price: Chandru lives and dies by adhering to this principle.
  • Expy: Senapathy is based off real life ex-soldier in the Indian Army and anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare.
  • Granola Girl: Aishwarya is an Indian equivalent.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: Chandru wasn't exactly a paragon of virtue to begin with, willing to offer and solicit bribes to get by. After the bus crash that killed 40 children, it looks like he might see the error of his ways. But then he becomes irredeemable when he bribes a police inspector and a coroner to state that the bus driver's intoxication was the cause of the crash, then tries to inject alcohol into the driver's corpse.
  • Hero Antagonist: Senapathy the "Indian".
  • Heroic BSoD: Senapathy goes through an extended one while trying to get treatment for Kasturi. He goes through one again at her funeral when his son berates him.
  • Honor Before Reason: Senapathy had enough money to pay the ever increasing set of bribes that the hospital orderlies and the doctor was demanding. He refuses to do so, on the grounds that they are at a government run hospital, which was supposed to provide treatment at no cost. He also alienates his son initially because he refuses to give Chandru money to bribe an official in the local employment exchange to bump himself up on a waiting list. Chandru pleads with him that everyone has to bribe officials to get ahead, but Senapathy admonishes him for trying to game the system. Senapathy had also refused to use his freedom fighter status to get his son a reserved admission into an engineering college or medical school, because he believed that the children of poor freedom fighters deserved them more than his own well off son with ordinary grades.
  • Identical Son: Chandru looks like Senapathy because they are both played by Kamal Hassan.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Senapathy gets his first kill by inflicting this on a British squaddie.
  • Knife Nut: Senapathy.
  • Motive Rant: See the page quote for the one Senapathy delivers to the doctor who let his daughter die.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The movie is filled with these kinds of people, getting their comeuppance. Chandru becomes one, forcing people to bribe him in order to get a driving permit.
  • Offing the Offspring: The bad seed variety.
  • Please Spare Him, My Liege!: Aishwarya begs for Chandru to be spared.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Chandru delivers one to Senapathy during Kasturi's funeral, in which he blames Senapathy's Honor Before Reason moral code for her death. Senapathy delivers an epic one, captured in the page quote to the doctor who caused his daughter's death. Senapathy finally delivers one to Chandru when he catches him injecting alcohol into a corpse to shift the blame and cover up mechanical failure that he was supposed to catch as a vehicle inspector.
  • Shameful Strip: Senapathy’s wife was forced to endure this by a British police officer during the freedom struggle.
  • Vigilante Man: Senapathy.
  • Villain Protagonist: Chandru ultimately.
  • Villain Wants Mercy: The Doctor who caused Kasturi’s death tries begging for his life. When that fails, he tries bribery. That too doesn’t work. Chandru pleads for his life, even reminding his father how they tried for fifteen years to conceive him. It doesn’t work for him either.