Oscar turns Entertainer

Either I don’t understand movies or there is terribly wrong with the movie per se.

Since morning I have been referring various news reports and yet I am not able to digest the fact that Slumdog has grabbed 8 Oscars.

A month back, I watched this low budget British movie shot in Mumbai’s slum. Two friends, whom I had accompanied, left the cinema hall in between, as they had to rush for news coverage. Sulking in the thought that I have to now pick up PMT bus to reach home, I paid little attention to the last part of the movie.

Days later we had a Slumdog DVD at home. Brother, me and sister-in-law started watching it. But hardly it could move ahead, both of them, yawned, resorted to sleep, leaving the movie half finished.

This time I watched it carefully, only to reach to the conclusion that I have wasted few bucks.

I liked the movie, but not as much as to spend time and money watching it twice. I liked the non-escapists story, but thought it would have been better, had it been little lighter- this would have made the story more realistic. Rehman has delivered his best. But he often does it- and sometime he has done better than best. Overall I didn’t find it remarkably great that will last for many years on my memory disk.

The film critics say, “The film’s freshness lies not just in how the West sees India but how Indian see themselves”. This is just far from reality.

So how far the 8 academy awards to SM are justified.

I think Economist gets it right:

“Within Hollywood, of course, the Academy Awards still matter a great deal. Prestige and acclaim are hard currency in the film business, in many ways more valuable than money. The danger is that Hollywood’s taste in its own products is becoming as removed from public opinion as its political views are outside the American mainstream. What viewers will see on Sunday night is an industry talking to itself”.

Perhaps I didn't understand the film well, but I have realised that Oscars are not supposed to reward popularity, nor does it any longer reward quality.

Advani In Forward Gear

Not really sure but I suspect, if not L K Advani, his team must have been reading my blog.

Otherwise why has Advani decided not to recount flashbacks – his famous predisposition during the public speeches? In my post I had stated: … the blog has given Advani a forum to go nostalgic. This is especially when many of his colleagues (and journalists who keep whining when he is at his best) don’t like him always recounting past on public forums.

Now HT story says: “Party colleagues believe flashbacks to 50s and 60s are lost on youngsters, they find it alienating. Advani has paid heed. There are fewer bouts of nostalgia in his speeches now”.

Great. Advaniji you will learn more such things provided you follow my blog.

Arun Shourie's Indignation

Has Arun Shourie become Arundhati Roy of the right, as sans serif put it ?

After this from Shourie, who says,

“India is still a passive country when it comes to taking a stand against terrorism. It should, in fact, take an extremist stance and must prove that it can also create a Kashmir-like situation in Pakistan”

…I have begun to believe that Shourie has replaced Bal Thackeray.

One wonder, if this is the time to create instability in Pakistan or bring the neighboring country out of the instability.

The answer is if we want to save India, we need to save Pakistan.

A less serious post

Few hours from now Sene chief Pramod Muthalik will start receiving pink innerwears. And when he actually gets one, one thing, I guess, that would top his mind is how to deal with it.

I have done few stories and a profile on Muthalik. I got to know that besides being a freak, a rabble-rouser Muthalik adores two persons most Vinayak Savarkar and Nathuram Godse.

A Brahmin by birth, Muthalik too believes in Godse’s one-nation theory and to keep Gandhi assassin’s views alive, he never misses to attend Godse’s remembrance function in Pune on every November 15. Last year, he stunned everyone when he actually printed a pocket calendar bearing Godse’s picture, an image of which is displayed in this post. Similarly he claims to be a Savarkarwadi.

So, will Muthalik play Savarkar, who had organised bonfire of foreign clothes on Pune’s Karve road in 1905 to fight British raj. The only difference this time around is the clothes are desi while those who wear them, according to Sene brigade, are of western mindset. I am sure, politically, he will score many brownie points against his rivals.

Er, I have actually provided Muthalik a great idea to fight back pink-Chaddiwallah’s onslaught. He now owes me another good story through doing or publishing something more stunning.

But before that he should also read Savarkar’s essay:

English Women and Hindusthani men

Savarkar writes, “If a nation has political freedom, it leads to progress in many other areas. And one thing leads to another. A good example is found in the present agitation of English women.

England was ruled by Romans for some 500 years and after they left came various monarchs. Later, since the days of Magna Carta in 1215, the King’s powers were curtailed by the Barons. Centuries later, the rich businessmen got representation in Parliament. Now women are demanding a say in the running of their country. We have to learn quite a lot from their movement. I therefore give the details of the movement…”.

Image is one front side of pocket calender, that bear picture of Nathuram Godse (left) and Vinayak Savarkar (right). Source: A nonymous worker of Muthalik.

Safeguaring Indian ethos

Much has been said already and little is left now to add value to it.

But one point, I see, is missing everywhere. And therefore here is my take on the great Manglore pub saga.

A group of 30/40 youngsters bashing boys and girls in pub at Manglore. As I saw this on my TV set, I promptly recalled an year old instance of women from Satara district blackening the faces of desi-liquor daddies, thrashing the customers and converging in huge number to shut the wine shops.

I found many similarities between the two instances except for the way these incidences were received.

By and large both the cases were about ‘safeguarding Indian ethos' and 'establishing supremacy'. In the first case, it was men who heckled girls while the second case saw women beating their village-men.

But the response to both the events was conspicuously different. For avant-gardes, the first instance was a topic to lash out country’s moral police. For media and its commentators, the incident was a ready-made weapon to lash political parties and their offshoot wings full of hoodlums. For the various chief ministers, the incident came in handy as to give their reaction and put their side before voters.

For the main perpetrator Sriram sena and its chief Pramod Muthalik, the relentless coverage of the incident through media could not have been at a better time especially when the outfit is fighting for reckoning.

In the second case however, the incidence was reported only in the region, barring few examples like my stories in HT Mumbai. And since media was lackluster in their coverage no single voice could be heard from the forward-thinking class of Pune-Mumbai or any chief minister.

Whatever I saw, read and reported myself was all about appreciating Satara’s firebrand women fearlessly fighting to correct the local politics. Their fight against powerful liquor-daddies were termed as 'movement'.

Why is so discriminatory response to two events which were more or less dealing with same issue?

A typical case of class allegiance, that often leads the media to reach hyperbole during their coverage.

And when media goes berserk, reaction are bound to follow.

Here elitist will accuse me of being socialist or conveniently choosing to ignore the facts to drive the point home.

But I for one is neither a socialist nor see any other “facts” to ignore. I am not even a saffronist to defend Sriram sena or carrying purpose to malign the Satara's firebrand women.

What I am trying is to bring out the contradictions.

(Photocaption: A file photo of a group of women pelting stones at a shop in Karad taluka of Satara district)