Thursday, 09 July 2020

Shyamal Sarkar

THE SPECTRE of Rambo continues to haunt the Myanmar military junta. Astounding, as it may seem a search is on in the entire country to  seize VCDs and DVDs of Rambo 4 a film based on Myanmar. The regime has pulled all stops to ensure that people in the country do not watch the film where a muscle flexing, though aging Hollywood superstar Sylvester Stallone, a Vietnam war veteran surfaces from retirement on the Thailand-Myanmar border to free a group of Christian missionaries taken captive by Myanmar Army troops in the  jungles of eastern Myanmar.

In the film the Christian missionaries are rounded up while they were distributing relief material to ethnic Karen people.

Coincidentally the film comes at a time when the Myanmar Army has been launching offensives against the Karen people forcing them to flee to the jungles making them internally displaced persons.
The junta does not want people to see the movie because of its political content and theme besides the aggressive role of Rambo in dealing with infamous Myanmar soldiers. John Rambo takes on the bloodthirsty troops of the Myanmar Army and the obvious happens. Rambo vanquishes the army. The movie has generated widespread interest in Myanmar with people glad to see Stallone teach the repressive Myanmar Army a lesson, such is the level of hatred for the regime.
With the release of the film, it took some time for the junta to swing into action to ensure that countrymen did not view the humiliation of its army. The police in Myanmar went around former capital Yangon and other major towns in the country and warned video vending shops not to stock VCDs and DVDs of the film. Flouting the order would bring in its wake dire consequences like a seven-year stint in prison or worse.

Despite the ban, Rambo 4 is an absolute hit in Myanmar with people desperate to get hold of a copy. Pirated copies of the movie were initially widely available with people talking about yearning to see the film. The catch line of the movie 'Live for nothing, die for something it's your choice' has caught the imagination of the people fed up and frustrated with 45 years of military rule. It is now the most sought after DVD in Myanmar. Such is the hatred for the Myanmar junta and its soldiers that anti-junta people all over the country are revelling in Rambo indulging in fierce blood letting of Myanmar soldiers.

Interestingly despite people being arrested for watching the movie, there is no let up in the demand. Some have tried to download it from the Internet.

Such is the military junta's distaste for the film, where it felt that its army has been denigrated, that it has let loose not only the police but the Myanmar Military Security Force (known as Sa Ya Pha) to ferret out the CDs. They have been jointly raiding computer shops and establishments of vendors dealing in VCDs and DVDs all over the country. The idea is to root out all copies of the
movie in compact discs.

Surprise raids on VCD rental shops are on in shops across the country following the regime's ban on the screening and possession of these VCDs. With the heat on, people keen on viewing the film are doing so secretly. For instance if one avid viewer gets holds of it, he is passing on to his circle of friends and relatives. Vendors are receiving several inquiries a day but dare not sell even of they have it. Some are, however, buying pirated CDs from small shops  secretly and after viewing it and throwing it away - such is the  fear of the authorities.

Source: 26 March 2008 Merinews