Guest post by ANIRBAN GUPTA-NIGAM – A Preview of SHAUNAK SEN’S film ‘Cities of Sleep‘
A few days ago, on its Facebook page, Business Insider India shared a series of images of Bollywood stars who had gone—plainly speaking—from “zeroes to heroes”. The yardstick for what constitutes success is another matter (Mithun Chakraborty, for example, is celebrated because he progressed from being a ‘Naxalite’ to ‘India’s highest tax payer’), but accompanying the post were the following words: ‘Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world’. In another words, dare to dream and you shall become all you want to be.
This simple, inspiring message is possibly more complex than it first appears to be. It contains within it a contradiction that might well be worth attending to. Specifically, the images implicitly demand that we ask who (or what) is a ‘dreamer’ today.
The famous comedian George Carlin once said that ‘they call it the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it’. A problem of a similar order is posed by the images in question here. Taken at face value, the mantra ‘every great dream begins with a dreamer’ not only propagates an all too familiar narrative of entrepreneurial success. It also comes with a qualifier—every great dream begins with a dreamer. Which is to say, not all dreams qualify for this honor. Continue reading ‘Cities of Sleep’: Anirban Gupta-Nigam