Posted by: Anu | April 20, 2011

Rango and The Lavasa Corporation


Once upon a time there was a chameleon named Lars (Johnny Depp). He lived in a comfortably urban terrarium (a dry version of aquarium) until one day he got stranded somewhere in the Mojave Desert (an extreme West region of the US of A).

After an indicative tryst with an armadillo named Roadkill and after being chased to almost death by a hawk, the hero, Lars the chameleon finally meets Beans (Isla Fisher). She is a desert iguana, and a rancher’s daughter and yeah, the girl of his destiny.

This girl, Beans takes him to the town of Dirt. Now Lars is free, as he has never been before, to build a new identity, to create his niche in this new world. And gorgeous chameleon form of Depp takes the opportunity to boast and introduces himself as RANGO, the spirit of west! With some animation twists of luck, he manages to kill the predator Hawk, and earns the badge of sheriff of the town of Dirt, from the mayor (Ned Beatty).

So far the story looks normal….perky screenplay, Wild West music, and cowboy hats….with the desert setting….this super animation world looks too real to be animation. The viewer can comfortably chew on popcorn so far.

And now the real story starts. The lead lady, Beans finds out that there are threats more severe than the shadows of killer hawk.  The water reserve at the dirt Bank is too low to sustain the town even for a week. The usual weekly supply of water has mysteriously dried out. She demands sheriff Rango to investigate the source of water problem.

One night, Rango comes across few mole robbers and unknowingly provides them the location of the bank and tools to break in. The limited water in the bank vault is stolen and sheriff Rango must arrange a posse to chase the robbers. They find the bank manager, Mr. Merrymack, mysteriously dead on their way. Eventually when the posse confronts the robbers, it is found that the water tank they stole was already emptied.

Rango and Beans figure out that Mayor has been buying all the land around the town of dirt, by will or force. Rango also remembers the mayor telling him how controlling water means controlling everything. It is evident that the mayor is behind this mysterious water crunch. The mayor is building a modern city on his purchased land. (Please try not to remember Mr. Sharad Pawar and his Lavasa Corporation.) As the mayor sees Rango getting closer to expose his political game, he calls for the gunslinger rattlesnake Jake (Bill Nighy) to get rid of Rango.

Jake with his Gatling gun tail fires shots after shots, but worse than that, he paints Rango as a fake and irresponsible sheriff, by exposing his lies about being the spirit of west.  Rango, broken and ashamed wanders away from the town of Dirt, and meets the real spirit of west (Timothy Olyphant) in a dreamlike situation.  He inspires Rango as “No man can walk out on his own story.”

Rango eventually figures out that the real source of water for the town of Dirt, comes from Las Vegas and has been smartly closed shut by the mayor, to create a pseudo water crunch.  The closed lines are opened and Rango returns to Dirt, with water.

A typical climax fight takes place, involving lady Beans being held ransom, Mayor trying to kill the rattlesnake and Rango saving all of them! So now there is no villain, abundant water and a town superhero to celebrate!

Happy endings!

And now let’s come to the point. The story is actually about a real issue that we can locally connect with. Forget the frills, but political powers controlling water and hence the social structure, are not new to us. It is ancient reality that the one, who controls water, controls everything else.

In Maharashtra, Mr. Ajit Pawar controls water. Lavasa, the first hill city of Independent India is cuddled by the media as the ‘glorious vision of our honorable Union Agriculture minister, Sharad Pawar’. So obviously, Lavasa Corporation is entitled to be given unrestricted freedom to change every town planning regulation. In case any activist tries to play Rango, the politician-developers lobby has nurtured rattlesnakes of gangsters, ready to crush the resistance.

In a movie, Rango has one great advantage of animation powered luck! In reality we are already sold to the will of politicians. They can buy each one of us if they wish to do so. Lavasa is eating up 7% of Pune’s water supply, in its eight check dams in the catchment area of Varasgaon backwaters. In last 5 years many state level town planning regulations are mysteriously changed to suit the need of Lavasa developers. But we are not Rango of course, we cannot fight. We let Environment minister, Jairam Ramesh fight. We let activist Medha Patkar fight.

All we need to remember is, Rango can rise only if the townsfolk of Dirt come together to fight for their existence.  Without the town, there is no Rango…. And we are the town, you and me, together.

For more information about Lavasa case please read, down to earth, April issue.

http://www.downtoearth.org.in/search/node/lavasa

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Responses

  1. Nice analogy…but have you visited Lavasa? if not, I think you should…

    …since you have mentioned “In case any activist tries to play Rango…ready to crush the resistance.”…I think your post is completely influenced by the meaningless rag “down to earth”…i think its high time people get objective in their thinking and also read and share a real story too…I highly recommend you read these two links

    http://ibnlive.in.com/blogs/rakshashetty/9/62181/lavasa-no-takers-for-big-ideas.html

    http://www.manushi.in/articles.php?articleId=1495

    Read it and then let me know what you have to say…

    • thanks for the detailed comment. Both the links you provided were worth the read (though Manushi’s site I had visited earlier).
      Besides I have seen Lavasa and am fully aware of the overwhelming effect it produces on the visitor. It is indeed a well-polished product on sale.
      Whatever you may think from my writing, I assure you that I am not a five year old, to be influenced by what the ‘rag’ journalists write. If it was so, I could have been influenced equally by the other side of the argument as well.
      It is possible in journalism to interview selective people and prove that entire public opinion is biased. What you think is ‘real story’ may just be an opinion of some journalists. Finally what matters is what YOUR analysis says. And I respect your opinion, though not agree with you.
      In fact, when I first heard of Lavasa like project, I actually had great hopes of a fresh new start of De-centralized town-planning. But with passage of time it is evidently seen that Lavasa did not turn out to be an earth-bound, environment friendly hill habitation at all.
      A great number of expert architectural fraternity has opposed the planning and execution of Lavasa, long before the environment minister stepped into arena. For a long time nobody had a chance to publicly stand against the makers of Lavasa. And everyone knows how issues are hushed up unless some famous activist or the environment minister himself does not interfere. Mr Jairam Ramesh has shown a hint of his just and unbiased problem solving attitude before. And his objections on the project are completely justified. right from the land acquisition to amendments in town-planning regulations Lavasa corp has used all means to mint more money out of the precious piece of land. It is all so beautifully gift wrapped that your ‘real story’ will never match with mine….
      nevertheless, what matters from now on is how the ecosystem can be restored and saved from further damage.

  2. I did not doubt your age. A person who can draw an analogy with a ficticious character, definitely is at least on the cusp of adolecense. And I must admit, I admire your vivid imagination.

    The opinion makers, and the so called intellectuals you refer to in your response (expert architectural fraternity…) are primarily desktop researchers, harbouring “sour grapes” feelings…and given that Indian media rags have a penchant to jump the gun, depending heavily on “sources based” stories, I am not surprised that they have strongly influenced your young and gullible mind. And not just you, the majority, especially in Pune, have fallen for this propaganda…

    You may also look at the larger picture for a change… click on the link below for an article by a Pulitzer Award winner from Washington Post. Will help, especially if you are aiming for a similar recognition yourself.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/indias-future-is-in-cities-that-are-yet-to-be-built/2011/04/05/AFUhKJ9C_story.html

    On your great faith in the green warrior, Jairam Ramesh, who you take as a knight in shining armour on environment issues, I suggest you read the link below…and this is an old article…

    http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/cnbc-tv18-comments/ramesh-overrules-forest-panel-allows-sail-to-mine-chiria_525317.html

    …BTW, if you are not aware, he has already given a green signal to Posco today, destroying over 2000 hectares of lush green forests and which will impact over 75000 forest dwellers…

    Not sure how you interpret my constructive feedback, but I feel you have a potential and will go a long way if you can learn to question the rhetoric…

  3. Thanks for all that reading links you provide, it definitely helps to understand the other side of issue.
    But as I said earlier, it all depends on how you analyze the facts and not what all different people say. So the analysis that you shared is just one piece of opinion. Even that is not the real picture as you claim.
    I write to put up my opinion and am open to share yours. But claiming that only I know the real picture and everyone else is a gullible mind influenced by eccentric media, would be very eccentric too!
    one more thing, I do not write to gain any recognition from anyone, so I do not care about awards, as long as the author has got a real point to share.
    It is a fashion these days to bring out darker side of everyone who tries to do some good. So Jairam Ramesh would be no exception. Its only natural that people will find flaws with his way of work, when he actually does some!
    Please do share the links and everything that you know about the issue, its good to know the other end of eccentricity. It may help to draw a balanced conclusion to those who are interested.

  4. As you feel the information I have shared are individual opinions and you would rather believe in facts read the link below…and these are facts as stated by the enviornment committee immediately post their visit to Lavasa…surprisingly once they landed in Delhi, the entire viewpoint change…no prize for guessing why…read on…

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-01-08/india/28352549_1_moef-committee-chairman-naresh-dayal-pune-s-lavasa

    Anyway, it was good exchanging viewpoints…you are smart enough to read between the lines and make an informed decision…all the best

    • thanks Karan.
      🙂

  5. Nice article Anoo, I like the style.


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