Producer and actor Kamal Haasan dealt with the burning issue of corruption in his movie Hindustani (1996) which was originally made in Tamil as Indian (and also released in Telugu under the title - Bhaaratheeyudu.
Hindustani (Indian) is the story of an aged Indian freedom fighter - Senapati (Kamal Haasan) who has shed his perspiration and blood for the motherland during the struggle fro freedom from the British rule, remained a soldier in the Indian National Army led by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and married a girl (Sukanya) by saving her honour. Now in free India, he is peacefully living with his daughter (Kasturi) and son (Kamal Haasan's double role). The thing which changed the course of his life is the corruption rampant in the Indian system of governance. His daughter passed away for want of medical aid because he refused to pay bribes to the doctors, the cops and the people holding chairs in the system and not ready to move a finger till their pockets are warmed. The loss of his beloved daughter got followed up by the separation of his son named as Chandru who feels that his father is sticking to his outdated ideals and not moulding with time and that only resulted in the death of his beloved sister.
Chandru becomes a corrupt person by all means and grabs a creamy (from corruption viewpoint) job in the Regional Transport Office, warming his pocket through bribes. On the other hand, Senapati gets a mission for the remaining part of his life. And that mission is a crusade against the corrupt who rule the roost in India, rendering agony and injustice to the innocent commoners every day, every hour, every minute. Now the lone crusader Senapati starts ruthlessly killing the corrupt government servants and thus sending a message far and wide that any corrupt government servant won't be able to survive his attack. This mysterious killer is now trailed by a dedicated cop (Nedumudi Venu). Chandru amidst his romances with Aishwarya (Manisha Koiraala) and Sapna (Urmila Maatondkar) is going ahead with his corruption-soaked life till a lethal accident takes place leading to death of many children. Now Senapati comes to know that his own blood is no better than the other corrupt people sucking the blood of the masses in every nook and corner of India. Can he spare Chandru just because he is his son ?
Hindustani is a movie whose story comes straight from the heart of a person who has devoted his heart and soul to his motherland but found that post-independence, all the ideals and values that he had fought for, have been thrown by his countrymen into the Indian Ocean. No regard is left for truth, no regard for justice, no regard for honesty, no regard for humanity and sensitivity. Greed for corrupt wealth has turned the Indians into stone-hearted fellows for whom money supersedes over everything noble, just and human. The Indian offices are studded by parasites more, human-beings less. And the collusion of the corrupt reigns from the bottom of the hierarchy to the top of it. Freedom fighters leave for their heavenly abodes one after another as their age takes over them. And the surviving ones keep on weeping at the abasement of the nation and more so of the people those populate it. We did not fight for the freedom of our motherland and hence the pinch is felt relatively less by us, we get used to the corruption and degeneration of values and adjust with the same. But how can a person soaked in the ideals of patriotism and truthfulness tolerate it and if he can, to which extent ? And thus the freedom-fighter of this story raises arm to launch another freedom struggle in which the adversaries are his compatriots only.
Director Shankar has directed his own story very well but only to the extent it shows Senapati (both young and old) and his activities. When it comes to the activities of Senapati's young son Chandru, the movie appears to be no better than a regular Masaala movie made in India. Songs, dances, romance, comedy; everything is unnecessarily imposed on the main story which is sensible and sensitive. It's a digression from the main track which could have been and should have been avoided. Either you make a hard-hitting movie or you make a Masaala entertainer. When you make a two-in-one of them, you do nothing but dilute the quality of your product, reducing it from excellent to good. And that's where the director - Shankar has disappointed.
Performance wise talkiing, Kamal Haasan takes the cake. He has done an excellent job especially as the old Senapati and quite sensibly has donned the wrinkled face to bring perfection to the persona being presented on the screen. He has done well as the young son of also but the image that remains in the heart after the movie is that of the aged father only, the lone crusader against corruption.
With my highest regards to the fictional Senapati of this movie, I will support every such person who undertake such a mission to eliminate the corrupt. However at the same time, I also underscore that killing eliminates the corrupt individual and not the corrupt mentality which has spread across the length and width of our country like poison dissolved in a pond. The permanent and long lasting solution is something else - inculcate moral values and ethics in our young ones and go for character building of the generation next.