Hirak Rajar Deshe(The Kingdom Of Diamonds) by Satyajit Ray is a 1980 sequel of his 1969 movie Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha). It is a timeless classic Bengali movie. The film revolves around hard-hitting facts with respect to real socio-political issues of Bengal and India at that time, during Indira Gandhi’s rule. This movie is still relevant now concerning the stratification of power in society. It will continue resonating with the world till ruthless people carry on enjoying powerful societal positions.
The class struggle between the powerful and the powerless is the entire crux of this classic. These are subjects not much portrayed in films, however, Satyajit Ray dared to take up the burning political issues. He presented it in front of the masses like a layered satire against state oppression, disguised as a children’s movie. He was a master in mirroring power politics of state fascism very skillfully in his films. Ray through his movies highlighted the injustice and oppression faced by socio-economically weaker people in the society by the higher class people.
It’s a fable of excellence. A story of a totalitarian state, including themes like power play, resistance, science fiction, and comic fantasy. The movie inspires people to revolt against oppression and sheds light on the power of knowledge and education. It is one of the best satirical films ever made in Indian cinema, which was much ahead of its time. The dialogues and the songs all create a powerful impact on the audience to whom the concept reaches loud and clear.
Main Characters of Hirak Rajar Deshe Movie
In the film, Hirak Raja (Utpal Dutt) stands for an evil, corrupt, heartless king, who cares for the welfare of none of his subjects. He is a narcissistic, greedy, manipulative leader who only wants his people and ministers to follow his orders without a question. Furthermore, he is the self-proclaimed God of his kingdom. Anyone who dares to voice against him is harshly punished or is brainwashed using a magic machine. Hirak Raja symbolizes the modern-day dictator/ political leader who believes in a tyrannical rule and works for his own selfish motives.
No harm in eating less, more food only increases flesh.Hirak Raja, in Hirak Rajar Deshe (1980)
Above all, Hirak Raja fears the power of education, knowledge, freedom, and development, so he is against them. Also, he tries to hide any signs of poverty and hunger in his empire by ordering to destroy all slums before the anniversary celebrations. He basically wants puppets whom he can control based on his wishes and demands.
The more they study, the more they get to know, and the less they tend to obey.Hirak Raja, in Hirak Rajar Deshe (1980)
Master Udayan (Soumitra Chatterjee) is a fiery, rebellious, honest personality who pledges to overthrow the fascist rule of the king. He along with Goopy (Tapen Chatterjee) and Bagha (Rabi Ghosh) decides to dethrone the evil king using the latters’ magical powers. He teaches his students the right values and gives them the courage to resist despotism. Another remarkable attribute of him is that only he doesn’t speak in rhyme. This indicates Udayan of being a different ethical person, unlike the people of the Hirak kingdom.
Hirak Rajar Deshe movie brilliantly showcases the concept of power play at several levels. Power of – an evil ruler, caste, class, knowledge, technology, and resistance, intertwines with each other in this film. Moreover, it highlights the moral that power isn’t something fixed, rather it shifts from one section of the society to another. The cruel king uses power as a tool of domination, whereas the young master exercises power as a tool of resistance. The movie also depicts how the younger generation plays a powerful instrument of revolt.
The school will open again. I will open it.Udayan, in Hirak Rajar Deshe (1980)
The farmers in the empire are poor, starved, overburdened, and heavy tax is collected from them unethically. Also, the miners are whipped, and don’t get enough wages. They work inhumanely in exhausting conditions. Despite their hue and cry, the merciless king pays no heed to their words. In the movie, the king’s workers and subjects are the powerless ones against imperialist, violent, and exploitative forces. It is Udayan who takes a stand against the king, encourages people to unite and rebel.
The court poet’s task is to spread lies about the glory of the king and his kingdom. He makes the subjects follow Hirak Raja’s order through rhyming statements. This character symbolizes the attempt of actual political leaders to deceive the citizens into believing that they are honest and dedicated workers of the state. An insightful perspective of money is also present in the movie. It shows how Udayan, Goopy, and Bagha are using diamonds to bribe the soldiers and the scientist of the king who help them to capture and brainwash the latter at last. The power of money can buy people and make them change their stand.
Hence, Hirak Rajar Deshe is not just a fantasy movie for children. The film ends as the power shifts from the hands of the tyrant king to the economically and socially disadvantaged. Several aspects and perceptions of power politics between humans are present in this masterpiece. It is a powerful work of art foregrounding the deteriorated condition of state administration and the welfare of the people in this nation. Ray through this movie passes important messages to the children. The film beautifully portrays the importance of rebellion against injustice and the difference between right and wrong. It shows that if required, to stop oppression common masses can rise to power and turn the tables. Pulling down the king’s statue at the end symbolizes the destruction of exploitation, basically, it’s a mockery of the state power.
The king is only concerned about his benefit and pride. On the other hand, Udayan believes in working for the benefit of the country and its people. The film cleverly tries to ignite the fire within the younger generations. It encourages them to stand up for their rights and free themselves from the exploitation and corruption prevailing in the state. The plot urges them to overthrow the atrocious political leaders, thus leading a path towards an egalitarian state. This film shows that indeed choosing the wrong path is sometimes necessary in order to defeat a greater evil. In the end, Udayan succeeds in giving the king a taste of his own medicine. Therefore, the power politics depicted in the movie is one of a kind.