Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Dream Cabinet - Jokingly Yours

My dream cabinet on the occasion of Navratri and Durga Puja festive season is as follows:

# PM : has to be our honourable MMS (Dr Maun Mohan Singh) – silence is truly golden

# Minister for Jehad Affairs: After his bloodbath remarks, Salman Khurshid will be a natural choice

# Minister for Hit-and-Run in Corrupt practices: No marks for guessing – its Arvind Kejriwal

# Minister for Wrong Publicity: After stiff competition with Jairam Ramesh, Digvijaya Singh would get the honour.

# Minister for Toilet: Natural choice is Jairam Ramesh and on his mother’s special petition he is also given additional charge of Temple Affairs

# Minister-in-waiting: Rahul Gandhi --- Will be given status of ‘prime minister from 10 Janpath

# NAC (National Advisory Council for Family and of Family) chairperson will be of course, Italian madam, Sonia

--- Deputy chairman : Son-in-Law Matters : Robert Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

# Minister for National Sympathy: after the waves of sympathy for 'social enterprise', the portfolio will go to Nitin Gadkari

I am still thinking about portfolios for the likes of Sharad Pawar, Supriya Suley, Arun Jaitley, Mohan Bhagwat

Pls feel free to suggest…. (No caste politics will be encouraged ha ha--- PS: ‘national joke’)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Amitabh: Hero of disillusionment of young angry Indian

He will be best known as someone who defined and redefined stardom.
With a brooding look, fire in eyes and ire practically emerging out of his soul, his masterpiece roles in films like 'Zanzeer', 'Deewar' and 'Trishul' mirrored the disillusionment of young Indian of that time reeling under controlled economy vices – the joblessness, antagonized family life, corruption and price rise.

It was not without reason when one film writer rightly wrote once, one look at him on the screen and you knew: there was nothing much in life to sing and dance about.
Dissatisfaction, they say is very strong element in the life of a
middle class citizen and Amitabh's films will keep giving in
refreshing memories to Indians about the the roles he played – umpteen
times as Vijay – much befittingly portrayed every Indian's desire of
the time that man always feels that he could have achieved more – done
more good to himself and his society.
Born on October 11, 1942 to the family of noted Hindi poet, Harivansh Rai Bachchan and socialite mother Teji, he grew up with best of both the upbringing culture – western lifestyle from mother and the oriental values from his father.
Amitabh in later years once recalled his father saying, "If you don't
enter a gate, just jump over the wall". This is precisely what he did to
achieve the stardom, and of course retained it even at the ripe age of 60 plus with a finesse not mastered by many in the world of entertainment.
When romantic films and chocolate cream images of screen heroes were
going strong, it was swinging against the stream when he signed for a
role as inspector ‘Vijay Khanna’ in Prakash Mehra's 'Zanzeer' in 1973 to
record his first milestone performance. The role came to him only after
Dharmendra had rejected it. Grapevine was that with past failures, prior to Zanzeer, Amitabh was almost planning to quit Mumbai for good!

Zanzeer was his first film as the leading protagonist to achieve box office
success that earned him a Filmfare Nomination for Best Actor. The same year, he married Jaya on June 3 and around this time they appeared in several films together, not only in Zanjeer but in films such as Abhimaan which was released only a month after their ceremony. Later Bachchan played the role of an industrialist’s son Vikram in the film Namak Haraam, a social drama directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee and scripted by Biresh Chatterjee addressing themes of friendship. His supporting role opposite Rajesh Khanna and Rekha was praised as his angst dialogue delivery and maneerism won him the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award – spelling a tough competition for Rajesh Khanna ahead.
Subsequently 'Anand' made Amitabh and probably unmade Rajesh Khanna.
In 1975 he starred in a variety of film genres from the comedy Chupke
Chupke, the crime drama Faraar to the romantic drama Mili. However,
1975 was the year when he appeared in two films which are regarded as
important in Hindi cinematic history. He starred in the Yash Chopra
directed film ‘Deewar’ opposite Shashi Kapoor, Nirupa Roy, and Neetu
Singh which earned him a Filmfare Nomination for Best Actor.

The film became a major hit at the box office in 1975. He did not look back since then. Released on August 15, 1975 was Sholay (meaning Fire) which became the highest grossing film of all time in India earning Rs. 2,36,45,00,000 equivalent to US$ 60 million, was another film that made his position practically invincible.

Although with angry young man image, Bachchan cemented his status as Bollywood's pre-eminent action hero, the Big B, as he came to be known later, illustrated that he was flexible in other roles, successfully playing the romantic lead, in films such as Kabhie Kabhie (1976) and comic timing in comedies such as Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) and of course earlier in Chupke Chupke (1975) .

In 1979 for the first time, a multi-facet quality of his came to light when Amitabh was required to use his singing voice for the film Mr Natwarlal which he starred in alongside Rekha. His performance in the film saw him nominated for both the Filmfare Best Actor Award and the Filmfare Best Male Playback Awards.

In 1979 he also received Best Actor nomination for Kaala Patthar (1979) and then went on to be nominated again in 1980 for the Raj Khosla directed film Dostana in which he starred opposite Shatrughan Sinha and Zeenat Aman. In 1981 he starred in Yash Chopra's melodrama Silsila where he starred alongside his wife Jaya and rumoured flame Rekha. Other films of this period include Ram Balram (1980), Shaan (1980), Lawaaris (1981), and Shakti (1982) which pitted him against legendary actor Dilip Kumar.

Bachchan has won numerous awards in his career, including three National Film Awards and 12 Filmfare Awards and also holds the record for most number of Best Actor nominations at the Filmfare Awards.

In addition to acting, he has had a flair of politics as he was elected member of the Lok Sabha from the prestigious Allahabad constituency in 1984. He hold on to the seat till 1987 when controversy regarding Bofors gun deal and his friendship with the then Prime Minister left a sore experience of body politics in him.

Bachchan’s splendid career too has been marked by off-screen controversies like his on and off affairs with fellow actress Rekha, and Amitabh-Rekha pair by far remains one of the leading couple hits till today. He was also dragged into controversy by another actress, the late Parveen Babi, who had charged the megastar with ditching him. However, the allegation never stuck and was dismissed as utterances of a frustrated woman, disillusioned with life.

Again Amitabh’s surprising success came when he ventured into small screen thorugh reality quiz game show, ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’. This redfined his career and also the history of Indian television. Since then Bachchan has tasted success in many films including the award winning ‘Chini Kum’, ‘Black’ and ‘Khaki’. Importantly, opening a new vista film scripts were began to be written keeping in mind as the main protagonist.
His first English language film Rituparno Ghosh’s ‘The Last Year’ premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival on Septeember 9, 2007.
His fans will remember him passionately no doubt.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Now The Arvind Kejriwal Spring : A Tale of two sons-in-law

The wikipedia describes Robert Vadra as an Indian businessman, husband of Priyanka Vadra and a “member” of the Nehru-Gandhi family by marriage.

It also says about Feroze Gandhi that in 1942, ironically the Quit India Movement year, he had married Indira Nehru and thus became part of the Nehru dynasty.

The similarity ends at that.

On this backdrop, one is really tempted, to employ a time tested maxim – nothing is permanent except change. The changes have taken place in the country’s first political family.

And the statement is a serious challenge to another well-worn saying, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The irony is not lost. While Feroze Gandhi had taken up a cudgel against the corruption and probably had embarrassed the Family, this time round, Robert Vadra is at the receiving end of the charge of gross impropriety and has embarrassed his mother-in-law braving her ill-health and a typical bad season for any ruling establishment.

My paper, The Statesman, rightly titled the story: ‘Robert Vadra in eye of storm’.
Thanks to Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi’s husband had been charged with acquiring at least 31 properties worth several hundred crores in and around the national capital, thanks to huge favours from real estate major DLF.

In contrast, Feroz Gandhi in December 1955 had tried to expose how Ram Kishan Dalmia, as chairman of a bank and an insurance company, had allegedly sought to takeover of Bennett and Coleman and started transferring money illegally from publicly held companies for personal benefit.

In 1958, Feroze had again raised the Haridas Mundhra scandal involving the government controlled LIC insurance company. “This was a huge embarrassment to the clean image of Nehru's government”, says Wikipedia.

The take away from the Robert Vadra story is that the Law holds no fear for the new generation son-in-law. Rather he systematically bulldozed his way and influenced the decisions – probably in return forcing his mother-in-law’s ‘chamchas’ to dole out continuous and undue favor to the DLF, a key player in real estate.

The brazen manner Congress ministers and party spokespersons tried to undo each other and defend ‘madam’s son in law’ talks for itself that Mr Vadra is no private individual as otherwise an attempt is being made to build an argument on that line – that the deals if at all were between DLF and Robert, so Congress regimes across the north India’s states – including a ‘very efficient’ Sheila Dikshit regime – had nothing to do.

Even the purported pro-Congress television channels could not sing the other way round on Friday evening – as essential questions raised by Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan beg convincing answers. Even the anchors who get excited to paint pro-Congress slant to any developments under the sky, were surprisingly pleasant and blatant to ask Salman Khurshied and Jayanti Natrajan: "why you are defending an individual called Robert Vadra?"

In my initial reactions to the charges against Vadra, on Facebook posting, I lauded Kejriwal as a gutsy fellow – a ‘fidayen’- who took up the matter concerning country’s most sacred son-in-law about whom people were only talking among fiends and in close doors.

Of course, during the height of Anna Movement in 2011, Youtube
and other social networking sites had lot many postings and video clippings against the First family.

What Kejriwal and his team has tried to say is not something unknown. Believe me or not, just few minutes before Kejriwal spoke against Vadra on October 5 evening; one journalist friend from a 'reputed to be pro-Congress newspaper' had joked (I think!) what will happen, if Arvind names Robert Vadra.

Now, Arvind Kejriwal might not be the ‘dhud ke dhuley hue’; but Kejriwal has set for himself a unique preamble for his yet to be named political party.

He will be also a dangerous element to handle with by any political party and leader as he has been displaying a unique synthesis of good timing, doing a good homework on his own and showing a desi bravado.

It is true, he has been stealing away the thunder from opposition parties including the BJP on the issue of corruption. But it is not without good reason. 'The Economic Times' is apt in summing up the man: “He knows he can't win by fighting along the traditional matrix of caste, money and muscle power.”

And hence, his methods might not be right, he could be ‘wrong’ himself --- but he is different!