Good Deed, Eh?

Mohan’s Musings

Good deed, eh?

In school, I was told that as a boy scout, I was expected to do one good deed a day. Hence, I discovered a lot of things that would be considered good deeds.
But what if we didn’t do the good deeds? We could just write imaginary stories in the notebook.
Soon, I learned that many were already doing it. Some of us may have improved our handwriting skills and even ‘creative writing,’ but this certainly was not the way to do the good deed.
I don’t know what happened to my classmates, but as I changed the school, I didn’t remain a scout anymore. I didn’t have to do 365 good deeds in a year compulsorily.
Nowadays, I find a lot of people doing a lot of good deeds. Lesser mortals, celebrities, film stars, and the Richie rich.
They all are doing good deeds.
I too agree that visiting old people is a good deed because you are lonely when you are old. You can be in your home along with half a dozen others, but they become indifferent to you and your needs. A visitor, irrespective of age and gender, can turn that day into a festival. And if you’re in an old age home, a visitor, even if he is the son of the crabby old man, four beds or rooms away can provide some excitement if he/she stops to crack a joke with you.
But if he has come only because he wants to do a good deed and go back feeling nice about it, it is not a good deed.
Ditto for a visit to the cancer survivors, giving alms to beggars, helping a visually impaired person to cross a road, donating notebooks to needy students, visiting orphanages, and giving them breakfast or lunch.
They are all good deeds, but not if you end up feeling that you are a jolly good fellow.
Not when you feel good, take some pictures, and post them on your Facebook wall.
Not if you get a PR freelancer to get coverage in the media.
And this brings me to the wannabes and celebrities. The good deeds remain the same, but the coverage (paid, certainly) is more. I consider this to be the worst kind of good deed.
You open the papers over the morning cup of tea and with a mock surprise to show your wife (or husband) the media coverage that can really be called advertisement and say, “We really got good media coverage!” Now, you cannot proudly tell your spouse that you’ve got good advertisement coverage or that every newspaper has published your advertisements.
If you’re a bigger fish, the arrangement is more discreet. Only your secretary would know why you released an ad for a paper whose demographics don’t suit the product your company manufactures. You can continue to pretend to your spouse over the pictorial report of your good deed.
Good deed?
If you really wanted to do a good deed, you would have transferred your secretary’s ailing mother from a Municipal hospital to Breach Candy or helped her daughter get an admission in the medical college.
But nobody would have been wiser.
It is only when you are a Bollywood star that even a contribution of a lousy Rs five lakh for the family of a stuntman who lost his life as your double, riding a motorcycle at a maniacal 160 kmh would get you a four-column headline.
Why, if you’re still a bigger star with a bad image, you can hire an entire PR agency that would transform your image into that of an angel, the God’s Gift to the world – a great name for a trust and NGO, no? – By writing long articles and ‘news-stories’ about your, mostly imaginary, good deeds.
They would get old women in the wheelchairs or young boys on crutches to your drawing room or if you don’t like it, to your sets. You can have a battery of photographers shoot you with them as you wonder why you are doing all this shit when you can shack up with another starlet.
Let’s not talk about the politicians in the same breath, not even the ministers, who don’t do good deeds. Their signatures are considered good deeds whether they gift you a parcel of land to build a hospital or a school.
Nor are the Indian businessmen doing any good deed when they build temples after their family name or donate to build an entire ward in a hospital and get it named after their mother.
They are not Boy Scouts.
The hospitals and colleges named after industrialists or their parents are not acts of philanthropy. These are business organizations where the aim is to have huge profits.
Let there be chains of hospitals with state of the art equipment that are free to citizens. Let there be groups of schools and colleges (even medical and engineering colleges) with the same quality education that you sell for premium fees and donations for the citizens.
Our Kaamwali wouldn’t have to borrow money from every house she cleans to pay for her daughter’s admission.
This will be a big bloody good deed. You won’t need media coverage for this. Your name will be etched in the memories of the people, the real people.

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The New Woman Has Arrived – Part II

shabana-azmi

New Woman in literature and films


Emancipated women have always figured in films and literature.

The earliest depiction in Hindi films that I saw was in Khwaja Ahmed Abbas’ film “Gyarah Hazar Ladkiyan.” Abbas got the title from the government’s official figure of the working women in Mumbai in 1954. Mala Sinha was one of them.

To me, as a Sindhi boy born after partition; working women were the independent women, as they are neither constrained by the tradition nor restricted by the customs. I had a working mother, and I know it.

I saw a woman like her in a Sindhi short story of Sundri Uttamchandani. The narration that left my eyes moist was about a Sindhi refugee wife who has to live on a limited salary of her husband. Whatever ‘sacrifice’ in the meal; whether mango or butter, would first be quietly from her plate and then she would have a conflict between reducing the nutritious food from the plate of her toiling husband or her growing Son (schooling).

The sacrificing woman decides to work to support her husband; and thus, becomes the second bullock of the cart. To me, this was the real emancipated woman.

She was the result of the changing tough world. But she had also come out of the pages of literature.

This bold woman who could fight the social pressure could be seen in the fiction of Sarat Chandra Chatterjee and Rabindranath Tagore. She was also present in the fiction of Punjabi’s Amrita Pritam.

I saw the glimpses of the woman ready to break the chains around her in The Deal. It was about dowry. Nirupama’s father was unable to pay a dowry of Rs 10,000 but gave Rs 7,000; and as the groom insisted, the marriage took place. But her life was full of torture. Her father managed to bring the rest of the dowry by selling his house. But Nirupama strongly urged him not to give any more money to her father-in-law. This was her moment as a strong woman.

She later died though torture, and her father-in-law arranged another girl with a dowry of Rs 20,000.

Nirupama remains in your mind as a woman who tried to fight the unjust social structure around her.

Tagore’s story: Mahamaya revolved around the ‘Sati’ custom, and she was married off to an old man whom she despised; she later became a widow. She was forced to become Sati. Mahamaya was able to escape the pyre and knock on the door of the man she loved. He was willing to accept her, but she had one more condition that she would remain in purdah. He wouldn’t see her face; otherwise, she would leave him.
One particular night, the anxious man came closer to see her uncovered face and saw a burnt face. He screamed, and she woke up.

Mahamaya left him.

She didn’t want pity. She was a proud woman.

More than Tagore, Sarat Chandra Chatterjee created what I consider ‘the mother of the modern emancipated woman.’ Just think of

Vijaya of Datta, Kiranmayi of Charitraheen, Hemangini of Mejdidi or Kamal of Shesh Prashna.

These were the women with their own mind during the days a patriarchal Bong society only suppressed them.

Like the Nora of Ibsen’s Doll’s House, these women were the original free women.

Not many have realized that the women who figured in the Sindhi and Punjabi folk stories were assertive and fighting women who had rejected the social norms and customs.

Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, the classical poet from Sind, treated them as such and these female characters were described as ‘his brave heroines’ (the term in Sindhi was Soormiyoon). The stories included Sohni Mehar, Sassui Punhoon, Noori Jam Tamachi, Sorath Rai Diyach, and Momal Rano.

Shah and many others wrote verses on these tales, which in turn adds more glamor to these female characters.

To return to Hindi films, one saw a reflection of that woman in Nikah. The climax scene when the former husband (Deepak Prashar) and the current husband (Raj Babbar) of Salma Agha are arguing over her has the twist. Nilofar (Salma) doesn’t return to her first husband.

This emerges the modern and bold woman who speaks her mind and tells the men that they cannot treat her like an object to be exchanged as a token of friendship.

Arth was a milestone, a turning point as far as the portrayal of a woman finding her own identity was concerned.

Pooja (Shabana Azmi) suffers a lot when her husband (Kulbhushan Kharbhanda) leaves her for another woman, an actress (Smita Patil). She soon becomes an independent woman with the help of another young man (Raj Kiran). When her husband returns to her feeling remorseful and apologetic, she refuses to go back to him. There is a strange reality in her portrayal as she refuses to go with the new man, either. She ends up like the modern single, once bitten twice shy, kind of woman.

There is continuity from Abbas’ Mala Sinha to Chopra’s Salma, Mahesh Bhatt’s Shabana, Vikas Behl, Anand Rai’s Kangana, Shoorjit Sircar’s Deepika, Tapasee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, and Andrea Tariang. They are the large hoardings of the growing modern woman’s life calendar.

But the story of the women’s emancipation has yet to climax.

*****

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The New Woman Has Arrived – Part I

wants-right-to-smoke

The New Woman has arrived!

 

Our world has changed. The woman has changed. She was once a closet smoker. She would look stealthily around and light up, take quick drags, and throw the butt away.

But now, she is relaxed whenever she places a cigarette between her lips and strikes a match. The smoke comes out of her nostrils, and she takes another puff.

She doesn’t care if people are watching. It is her life, her choice.

It is the same with alcohol or when she is snorting heroin or smoking hash.

She is equally guilt-free with a one night stand or sleeping with the husband of an office colleague she likes.

It is her life, her choice.

If she is an editor, she ensures that sexism and misogynist words and phrases are out. As a reviewer, her priority is to check whether the characters or the story is regressive; and if yes, to lambast the filmmaker.

If she is directing an ad film, she ensures that the man in her film is a wimp, his wife may order him around, or rather slaps him a couple of times. She is changing the way men are portrayed; she is changing the mindset. She is quietly working to transform the patriarchal setup to a society where the woman has the last word.

She is the new age woman. She has arrived.
She is a feminist who doesn’t need to explain herself for being what she is.

We have Vidya Balan (Ishqiya, Kahaani, Bobby Jasoos), Deepika Padukone (Piku), Anushaka Sharma (NH 10), Kangana Ranaut (Queen and Manu Weds Tanu and its sequel), Radhika Apte (in her bold scenes), and finally the three girls in Pink (Tapasee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, and Andrea Tariang).

Vidya is aggressive and a dominating partner in Bobby Jasoos where Ali Fazal plays second fiddles to her. Not only is this a title role, but she breaks the ceiling by working in a male dominated profession, as a rare female detective, despite belonging to an orthodox Muslim family.

The kind of roles Kangana Ranaut has done have got her to become an icon for the feminists.

However, the three girls in ‘Pink’ have emerged as the ultimate in the portrayal of the feminists. They defy all the social norms, including living alone, going out at night, and drinking with almost strangers; even being sex workers. At least one of them even admits to having asked for money in exchange for sex (though only because she got tired of the hostile and offensive treatment by the Public Prosecutor); but the film doesn’t even have a hint of judgment against them, about their choices. Their lawyer, played by Amitabh Bachchan ensures that the message of the film “No means No” reaches everyone irrespective of what or who the woman is. This is a total acceptance of feminist values.

The real climax and message reaches the audience when Amitabh, despite being their lawyer, asks Taapsee Pannu in open court whether she was a virgin. He questions her till she opens up. Again, she’s guilt free. She admits that she wasn’t a virgin, but she lost it neither under compulsion nor for money. It was her choice!

It conveys the message Deepika Padukone sent some time back in a short message film. What a girl does with her life or with her body is her choice.
If she makes love to a guy she likes and loses her virginity, it is her choice. Her family, her friends, and the society had no say in the matter.

The New Woman is free from all crutches and every restraint, as well as every manacle.

Kangana Ranaut seemed to play a modern and independent woman who didn’t care for the conventions in “Tanu Weds Manu;” but she and her free and independent woman really emerged successfully in Queen. This coming-of-age story is about Rani. Her fiancé (Rajkumar Rao) calls off the wedding because he finds her traditional. She, a North Indian girl from a conservative family, goes on her honeymoon alone. Later, when her fiancé sees another picture of her where she appears modern, he repents and follows her on the honeymoon. He tries to win her back, but she rejects him.

The girl walking alone and laughing carefree has almost become the symbol for the carefree Independent woman.

Even in “Tanu Weds Manu,” Kangana’s tryst with the independent woman who rejects the social constraints, continued.

Deepika Padukone shifted from her traditional glamorous roles to play Piku, the unmarried daughter of an always constipated Amitabh Bachchan. Everything from her lines, her irritation and her concern for her father projected her as an independent woman. She would have ended up being just another sacrificing spinster Raakhi specialized in, but for the nuanced performance and the treatment.

In an interesting party scene, Amitabh reveals to her suitor that she wasn’t a virgin. This is a complicated situation in the story where an utterly selfish father creates obstacles in the marriage of his own daughter.

However, the point is made. Virginity is passé.

Not going further into the story, I can say that with Deepika’s Piku, the depiction of a modern woman became real.

(…Contd Part 2)

 

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Was Gandhi a racist?

 

Was Gandhi a racist? Are we Indians racists?

1700 signatures and copies of Mahatma Gandhi‘s writings where Gandhi described the Black South Africans as Kaffirs (a high offensive racist slur, the way Muslims referred to Hindus) was enough to persuade the Government of Ghana to remove the statue of Gandhi from the University of Ghana.
One of the quotes included a letter Gandhi sent to former Prime Minister of England Neville Chamberlain in May 1899, claiming that Indians were superior to “kaffirs,” an ethnic slur for black South Africans. Ironically, Gandhi was living in South Africa to fight anti-Indian discrimination at the time.
(This once again establishes that Gandhi, #Jawaharlal Nehru and even #Muhammad Ali Jinnah treated themselves as brown sahebs though Gandhi got rid of his western dresses in favour of a lion cloth.)
Ghana government and it’s people didn’t worry about causing annoyance to India and causing a diplomatic row.
In fact the petition by the Professors of the University read, “It is better to stand up for our dignity than to kowtow to the wishes of a burgeoning Eurasian super power”, and quoted passages written by Gandhi which say Indians are “infinitely superior” to black Africans.
I am not surprised!
Indians are racist and there is no doubt about it. The way our people refer to those they consider lesser has an interesting narration.
The North Indians are called Chinki and the girls from this part of India are considered of ‘dubious character’. The story behind is the traffic in Nepali women and the confusion between the Nepali girls (who were, once, described as foreigners!) and the girls from North East.
Police describe the tall Nigerian drug dealers and scamsters as ‘blacks’ with contempt though, at least Mumbai Police is physically no match for the tall and muscular #Nigerians.
Ask yourself: will you ever hire a Nigerian?
We don’t stop there.
Our rigid caste system in existence since before the term ‘Hindu’ was coined to describe all has the civilised world laughing at us. The petition too says, “The caste system in India is among the world’s oldest forms of surviving social stratification. The system divides Hindus into rigid hierarchical groups.”
Our elections are caste-oriented, and the candidates are allotted tickets on caste (or money) basis. We live in ghettos what with Parsis living in their baugs, Muslims in their clusters and Christians in their Gaothans. Why, even Sindhis, who don’t follow the rigid Hindu caste system, have their colonies!
And, as far the color goes, the tales of discriminations are too many to recount.
The fair and lovely gets to be posted in the front offices, get quicker promotions and raises in the salaries but the dark skinned are left behind, in the back offices away from the glares of the visitors.
Yes, we certainly are racists.

*****

On the shutting down of a branch of ‘#Bru’

I was surprised to see the waiters who had served me my cuppa Latte for the last three-four years, packing the furniture.
Bru, Lokhandwalla Branch, downed the shutters.
I liked the coffee and sometimes, when the machine didn’t perform well, they would happily make another cuppa.
I liked the ambience. Inexpensive functional furniture that could be easily moved. The rickety chairs, the sockets to charge the mobiles and laptops – half of them dysfunctional  – and the little loo where the staff changed the uniforms making it difficult for the customers. The a/c didn’t always function.
All just right for the strugglers in Bollywood and some familiar faces from the industry. Every occupied table had energy around it, the energy that comes from positivity and optimism. Films were planned and made here, TV serials were conceived and scripts were written here.
Faces that became familiar to me, people who would greet me and always accommodate me on the same table…
I felt the energy, loved it.
I like strugglers, their optimism and the sparkle in their eyes. I love success oriented people and their drive.
Before Bru, I used to have my coffee at Barista and Cafe Coffee Day. It was the same Bollywood strugglers. Oshiwara has many. They go to the acting schools, get their portfolios made, go for auditions and wait patiently for the calls.
I see a lot happening here.
My last novel ‘Color Me Rich’ is set in Oshiwara and the story develops at Bru. It also has Adarsh Nagar which houses small producers, sound studios, editing rooms and costumes shops. You can get the entire technical support for making a film.
And on the main road in bigger buildings are located the big time producers and even the offices of some of the studios.
I compare Oshiwara with Hollywood. Here too strugglers get jobs as waiters and waitresses till they get a break in films. I don’t really know any waiter who has made it to the big screen. The only name I can recall is Smriti Irani. But I never saw her waiting tables. She worked in McDonalds and I don’t like the atmosphere there. I prefer eating at Indigo. Here you see the familiar faces from the big screen. Oshiwara has more hotels, restaurants and bars than any where else in Mumbai. And if you visit at night you can see a lot of familiar faces from films and TV serials. You’d recognise the film stars by their names and the TV stars with the names of the characters they play. The channels and producers neither give their names on the large hoardings nor in the credits. They don’t want them to become TV stars and have an identity of their own. The cleverer one indulge in brawls, get dragged to Oshiwara Police Station and find their names in the newspapers’ crime pages.
But to return to my cuppa, I’ll have to shift to #StarBucks. I love the Cappuccino of Starbucks whether at Oshiwara or at the Horniman Circle.
Why, I loved the Starbucks in Manhattan and London too, much more than the Starbucks in Mumbai. Mumbai has a way of Indianising everything, even Starbucks coffee.

*****

 

 

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If Narendra Modi was a gora we’d have crawled

Modi and Obama

Had the Prime Minister Narendra Modi been a Caucasian (white skinned man) all of us would have further crawled in front of him!
We are a nation of racists and there is no doubt about it!
Let’s begin with Giriraj Singh‘s statement.
He said, ‘What if Sonia Gandhi was a Nigerian? Would Congress have accepted Sonia as its leader if she weren’t an Italian and instead of African origin.
Amit Shah had rebuked Giriraj for what is being considered a racist remark and even the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has frowned on it. But they are just being politically correct.
Giriraj Singh makes a lot of sense. And he is not the first person to say it.
Journalist-columnist Tavleen Singh who made a career out of moving in the high places and even ‘married’ Aatish Taseer, the slain governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, and had a son from him, has said the same thing in her book about Gandhis.
According to Tavleen, “Sonia Gandhi is revered simply because she is from Italy and is of white skin. She’s not articulate, she is not smart, she isn’t even well-read. In her own Italian surroundings, she might even be considered as “down-market”. But not in Delhi durbars where she can be the center of attraction mainly because of her skin and partly because she is the wife of one of the “princes” of India. People with white skin are considered gods and goddesses by Indians.”
Tavleen even mentions the servility shown by people in South to Sonia Gandhi; they create songs like “you have such white skin, you are a goddess.
I remember seeing the Chief Librarian of Asiatic library taking a gora visitor on the round of the library in a similar servile manner. The visitor wasn’t even holding some office of power!
You see this attitude in restaurants in Colaba (Leopold Cafe, for instance) and at in Goa. The waiters would give the firangis a royal treatment and ignore the locals. This may have to do with the tips they hope to get but not all goras are good tippers and not all Indians are frugal with tips.
It is the same whether you visit and art gallery or a shop.
And to come back to BJP, did you see how our Prime Minister flaunted his non-existing camaraderie with his friend the President of US Barrack Obama and flaunted being on first name terms with him? You can only imagine how he would have behaved if Obama had been a Caucasian!

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The Cop Hates you, lady!

Netizens going hoarse urging the government and the police to ‘prevent’ the incidents of rape (this is what all the checks and bans are all about) should read what the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott has to say about the siege in Sidney. Said Abbott, “Even if this individual, this sick and disturbed individual, had been front and center on our watch list, even if this individual had been monitored 24-hours a day, it’s quite likely, certainly possible, that this incident could have taken place.”
It is truer in India.
Think of the pressures on the police.
Whether there is a complaint when someone violates the limit of noise level, and this can happen anytime anywhere, or there is an offensive post on the FB we involve the cops. Ours cop is over-worked and under-paid – don’t look at the bribes, gifts and tips which are shared up to the highest level – and, like it or not, he resents your fast car, high-end mobile phone and life style.
You want him to be a government servant or at best a helpful friend but he has inherited the culture handed down from the British days, the Moghul days. He believes he is the government. You are the public.
Look at his body language. Watch the ads. Hear his sermon.
He is not with you. The cop in India, like everyone who works in government office, is never on your side.
You chill out, after a period of heavy work, he is jealous. Whether you sit in a group and share a hookah or have a time of your life, the cop hates it.
AND IF YOU ARE A GIRL, HE HATES YOU MORE.
Maybe he thinks you’re giving it to the others, but not to him.
He puts on the cloak of a self-righteous indignation when you light an expensive cigarette.
HE HATES, YOU SLUT!
Girl, you are more alone in Mumbai (or Delhi, or any other Indian city) than in London or New York.
This is why I tell you, girlie –
Don’t let it hang out…
Don’t be alone and vulnerable…
Look after yourself!

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Our letter to the CM of Maharashtra

Devendra Fadnavis
The support is growing!
Thank you friends for signing the petition to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, requesting him to urge the BMC to take over the roads in Upper Oshiwara, Andheri (West). But more support is required. More signature, more campaign…
Going through the feedback I find –
Celebrated Film actor and scriptwriter Rohit Roy supports the petition as, “his Film Writers Association also falls in this area.” Famous glamour Photographer Jayesh Sheth, also located in this area concurs with these thoughts. Scriptwriter Govind Sharma demanding accountability states that, “I pay taxes. I want accountability.” Amod Mehra, a leading film critic endorses the cause, signs it.
Noted publicist Hilla Sethna too endorses her support.
Taking an aggressive stands Malaika Khan of Sussan Roshan House of Design says, “This problem is for common interest of people , who has been harassed by local goons who operates this private roads.
Pratik Khara from Oberoi Springs says, “I am signing because the roads are pathetic and my car expenses have increased tenfold. We pay so much in taxes. Good infrastructure is what we expect first and foremost.”
Tulsidas Bhatia demands the right to have a better life and clean & the neat environment surrounding Oberoi Springs. Rajesh K Parikh signs simply because he lives at Oberoi Springs and has seen the problem the residents are facing. Vikram Thakur says that he believes in the BJP government and this problem needs the immediate attention of the CM.
Kajol Mukherjee goes a step further and alleges that as per her knowledge the road is currently under the grasp of a local goon, who is merrily collecting parking fees and is least bit interested in the upkeep of the road. If BMC takes over, not only can we expect a better surrounding, even the parking fees will contribute to the BMC exchequer.
While Reema Lalwani is clear that BMC should provide basic infrastructure to the public after collecting the huge taxes and on the projects approved by them, Kajal Bhagia gives a word picture, “I live here and the potholes are backbreaking and like moon craters. Something seriously needs to be done as the current owner of roads refuses to repair these.”
I find Shalini Sharma elaborately voicing the issue. Writes the lady, “I reside in this place. My office is also in the same locality. The roads are narrow and congested. Parking is done on both sides of the roads leaving very little maneuverable space for vehicles and parking charges are collected by the private owner… Our society is spending money from its funds to keep basic road in place, but after paying such hefty taxes, we still suffer every day. Mrs. Geeta Dasauni, also residing in the same society raises the issue that has been bothering the Mumbaikar, “Uncleanliness and unmaintained roads become a breeding ground for Mosquitoes leading to fatal diseases like Dengue.”
Rajeev Mittal, who lives in a society that is situated on a private road in Oshiwara since 5 years says, “These roads not being maintained by private road owners, there are no street lights, there is no method to parking and not to mention endless potholes.”
Balwant Dullat sends me a message,“Mohan Deep ji,At this time I am in US(NYC) I ndon’t think it will be proper for me to Sign the Petition with US address. It will be better if it is Signed with Andheri West address. I have Shared it with Ajay Tandon (cameraman), Jagmohan Anand (sound Recordist) Raman Kumar, Javed Siddiqui (writer) Kuldip Singh (Music Director) and 5 other friends who are Living in Andheri West area. I have my flat in Oshiwara and know the Problem.Once I am back will call you.
There are many more.
Virendra Khanna, Ajay Ghisad, Vyomesh Kapasi, Deepa Pau, Thomas Mathew, Kishin Chandiramani, Sangita Sen, Ashok Kumar, Alka G, Mukesh Jagwani, Arpana Jadhwani, Narendr Khandelwaal, Dheerin Motwani and more…
But these signatures won’t be enough. We need more signatures, some volunteers… and e need to turn this into a campaign to make it successful.

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Anurag Basu, Ranbir Kapoor and Kishore Kumar

Anurag_Basu_Ranbir_Kapoor

Somehow I believe Anurag Basu is born for greater things than Barfi, not that Barfi was any lesser. I have seen Life…in a Metro, Gangster and Murder, each, more than once. I saw Barfi in the plane while returning from USA and noticed how Anurag has got the best out of Ranbir Kapoor.
I am looking forward to his movie on the life of Kishore Kumar which will have Ranbir playing the role of the mad-genius Bengali. I think he is the only actor who can play KK with his quick changes of expression, a great sense of humor and a little crazy-fast way of talking.
It is easy for me to visualize Ranbir talking to the plants, like KK used to do or to play a tabla on the bald head of a producer asking for dates without settling the old dues or better still, waiting in his car outside the famous bungalow of Amitabh Bachchan for exactly three minutes, getting sore, return and vow never to lend his voice to the megastar.
Or to see Ranbir bashing up the girl who would play Madhubala, as KK used to do or to woo Yogita Bali, marry her and then divorce because the girl was extravagant or how he married Leena Chandavarkar the widow of Sidharth Bandodkar and many other incidents.
A tidbit: Anurag was to direct my biography of Meena Kumari – Simply Scandalous. It didn’t happen because the producers who were in the process of signing him found that he had hiked his rate after his ‘Murder’ became a hit!
It would have been nice to see a Manisha Koirala humming the lines Meena Kumari wrote:
Ek markaz kii talaash ek bhatakti Khushboo/ Kabhii manz kabhii tamhiid-e-safar hotii hai.
Or to have a Kangana Runout talking to her collection of rocks and referring to each rock with a name!

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#SumitraMahajan ko kabhi gussa nahin aata!

SumitraMahajan1

A TV anchor interviewed the new speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
He asked her about her reputation of ‘never getting angry’. She smiled, grinned happily, turned and twisted with “Main puri koshish karti hoon ke log pyar se samjhen.”
“Ma’am, aap ki reputation hai ke aap kabhi bhi gussa nahin kartein?”
Mahajan answers humbly, “Haan reputation to hai.”
Journo grins.
Lekin aap ko kabhi to gussa aata hoga?”
Nahin, kabhi nahin.
Wider grin.
Apne ghar walon par bhi nahin?”
Apne parivaar ke saath kya jhagda karna. Main unhein pyar karti hoon aur woh mujhe.”
Kabhi padosiyon ke saath koi jhagda?”
Nahin, kabhi nahin. Padosi hi to samay par kaam mein aate hain.”
“School college ke friends ke saath koi anban?”
Bored. “Never, bhai, never. Doston se kya anban. Aap ek hi sawaal baar baar puch rahen hain.”
“Party ke doosre netaaon se koi takraar?”
(A little irritated) “Nahin, woh to party ke sadasya hain. Aap koi aur sawal poochhiye.”
Aur aapki party ke senior members ke saath koi argument?
(Sore) “Phir? Apne seniors ke saath kyon argument karna?”
Ab Congress opposition mein hai, kal ruling mein thi. Kabhi unke saath haathapaai?”
(Trying to control her temper with difficulty) “Politics mein kuch personal nahin hota. Main aapko baar baar kah rahi hoon…”
“Media ke log jab aap ko betuke sawal poochhte hain tab aap ko gussa aata hai?”
Picking up a flower pot to break it on his head Sumitra Mahajan runs after him shouting, “Maine bola na mujhe gussa nahin aata!”

(Inspired by a scene in an old Bollywood film after seeing #RajatSharma interviewing #SumitraMahajan)

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Religion in our caps?

rahul-gandhi_skull-cap

We would wear the skull cap while passing from Muslim localities and shift to the Maharashtrian cap in Hindu areas. Religion was no more in our hearts. It was only in our caps.

During the tense days of Hindu-Muslim riots, we would keep two topis in our pockets. One would be a Maharashtrian cap and the other would be a skull cap. We would wear the skull cap while passing from Muslim localities and shift to the Maharashtrian cap in Hindu areas. Religion was no more in our hearts. It was only in our caps.
There once used to be Hindu paani and Muslim paani on railway platforms. This practiced was discontinued.
I thought those days wouldn’t last. But there is no changing the mind. There is a Hindu mind and there is a Muslim mind?
The young IT graduate Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh who was bludgeoned to death during the protests in Pune over the morphed pictures of Bal Thackeray and Chhatrapati Shivaji had nothing to do with them.
He was killed only because he was a Muslim.
And his killers belong to Hindu Rashtra Sangh led by Dhananjay Desai. He and his organization has been in existence for a decade. They may not have killed a Muslim but they have bullied them, have extorted money, resorted to blackmail and assaulted people.
This must stop!
Announcing Rs 5 lakh as compensation is not the end of the story. First, often it is just an announcement. Money doesn’t reach the victim. Second, this is public money that you’re giving to shift the focus from the failure of governance.
What are you doing to erase this pathetic hatred from the minds, from the Hindu minds and the Muslim minds, from the Sikh minds and the Christian minds?
Blending the good thoughts of all religions, Moghul Emperor Akbar started Din-E-Ilahi. It didn’t work. I’d have told him to banish wearing religion on the head, on the chest.
Your religion is your private commitment to the Almighty. There is no need to flaunt it. There is no need to use it as a pressure group, as a vote bank.

*****

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