Selma and the Crying

Selma – what a powerful movie………such movies (in the league of Gandhi movie) create tensions and passions hitherto unknown to most ordinary people everywhere in the world. Such movies also generate grief and anger at gross injustice meted out to poor Black people, or coloured people as in Gandhi.

Crying – yes, I was driven to crying at several points in the movie. I need to give credit to powerful story-telling by the Director of Selma – Ms. Ava DuVernay. What an incredible impact that the movie delivers to people who are not even part of the American History, and people who might not have ever encountered such injustice.

I was simply amazed that the U.S. Voting Rights Act was passed only in 1965, some 346 years after the first enslaved Blacks arrived in America. Even today, America is besieged with cruelty to Blacks being inflicted across the country. So, America does have a problem with race, to say the least, and has been unable to correct the injustice fully as per law.

Of course, one can argue that the American Democracy has also been the most mature in the world, with the ability to elect a Black to the highest post of the President of the United States. While that accomplishment is truly commendable, what is more important is what happens to ordinary Blacks in the towns of America. We have not seen good images of that in the recent atrocities against Blacks, in Ferguson, Baltimore, et al.

Coming back to Selma, the portrayal of Dr King and his close advisors has been almost impeccable. The chosen cast of actors delivers with credibility and poise, as well as grace. I felt a relationship with the events as shown in the movie, because Gandhi has had a bid impact on the non-violent character of Dr King’s movement.

I am sure the movie will positively as well as negatively impact any viewer. Positive because people can learn a lot from such historical movies. Negative because of the emotions stirred in oneself which forces one to reconsider the justice system, and the political machinations which drive decisions not compatible with ground realities.

I am not reviewing the movie as such, I believe that Selma is a great movie to be seen by all, especially by teenagers of impressionable age. They can then realize the great troubles and sacrifices of mankind to get justice denied to them for long and achieve equality of sorts – though not complete as recent events have demonstrated.


Vijay Srinivasan

9th May 2015


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