Akshay Kumar, King Khan V/S Singh and Madhuri Dixit-Nene

Sau sunaar ki, ek lohar ki!
Leaving the 100 crores club behind, Akshay Kumar has become a Rs 2000 crores man and how! I remember the time when his secretary Bali (now no more) pleaded with me to interview him and I met him at Natraj studio. His film was being released and we spoke about his background. He had been a cook in a small hotel in Thailand and wasn’t hiding it. He was a new age hero at that time!
He didn’t consume alcohol – he is still a teetotaler – and had a healthy way of coping up with anger and insomnia.
“If I am angry at someone or something, I just go to gym and work on the punching bag,” he had told me. And sleeping on the sand of any beach, listening to the calming sound of sea waves was his way to combat insomnia. He had said, “I have recorded the sounds and play the cassette in my bedroom if I can’t sleep.”
To come to the rivalry between the Khans and Akshay Kumar, I recall the rivalry between Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar as well as between Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar. To use a politically incorrect expression, the hoi polloi or another equally politically incorrect description (courtesy: Shashi Tharoor) the cattle class (read: mango man) used to treat the rivalry as communal. At the peak of this war, Hindus would be happy to see if Raj Kapoor’s ‘Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai’ did better than ‘Ganga Jamuna’, which Dilip Kumar directed by proxy. Continue reading

On the hanging of Afzal Guru

Whatever else, we have a decisive President in Pranab Mukherjee! Afzal Guru’s is the second hanging that he cleared – the first being Ajmal Kasab.
The earlier President, Pratibha Patil of silk saris and phoren jaunts – and her husband’s murder case as well as several chhota mota controversies, all showing her negatively – was a bad joke. She ‘didn’t have time’ to touch the appeals of those sentenced to death and then, she became an angel of mercy!
She gave Presidential pardon to 30 convicted and waiting to be hanged.
These thirty had barbarically murdered 60 women and children! One of them had brutally killed a child of six. Two others had gang raped and murdered the 10 year old daughter of a jailor on the prison premises! In another case, two persons had killed five members of a family and sexually assaulted the 15-year-old daughter of the family. I have two questions if this was Pratibha Patil just being against capital punishment on principle.
One: Why has she never expressed this view in any article / seminar / speech / interview?
Two: Why did she keep the files undecided for 28 months?
As it is, the legal procedure is very long and in case of capital punishment, longer. And that, in some way, is our strength too.
But the indecisiveness of the Presidents in such vital matters is unpardonable.
It is also clear that, a year before the elections, Congress is jittery.
Steps are being taken to woo the people and to blunt the criticism of the opposition.
Hindu Right Wing organizations and political parties were always demanding the hanging of Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru. Well, that issue is over.
This year will see many more gifts, many promises from UPA.