The Common Man Speaks

14Jan/191

Hardik Pandya comments: We are channelizing our anger in the wrong direction

Let me get this straight. The motto of this article is not to defend Hardik Pandya or the comments made by him on Koffee With Karan. I personally found them not only disgusting but also worrying; thinking how many more people would be out there with such cheap mindset towards women.

But there are few things that I find too weird, which hardly have been pointed out ever since the controversy erupted.

1. K L Rahul is needlessly punished for no fault of his. It was Pandya who made all the misogynistic comments on the show. Rahul is no way responsible for what his partner on the show said. On a lighter note, he has become the Fardeen Khan of No Entry (2005).

2. If it is bad to make such comments, it should also be equally offensive to laugh and enjoy them. This is exactly what Karan Johar did as a host. But nobody is lashing out against him. How enjoying such comments is not offensive but just being a co-guest is?

3. Most importantly, some of our politicians and people from the government have openly verbally attacked women through the most disgusting statements you can come across. However, they are spared of such 24/7 hatred and innumerable articles.

Hardik Pandya on Koffee With Karan episode

Actually, they should receive more backslash since they have been given the responsibility to govern and protect us. How people don’t get so offended or worried when an elected representative makes such statements is beyond me.

Have a look at the following statements and decide for yourself:

“I am also a goonda. I will shoot you guys if a Trinamool Congress worker is ever attacked. If you have the guts, then stop me. If you insult the mothers and daughters of Trinamool workers, I won't spare you. I will let loose my boys in your homes and they will commit rape.” – TMC leader Tapas Pal slamming the CPI.

“If they (girls) want freedom, why don’t they just roam around naked?” – Haryana Chief Minister from BJP Manohar Lal Khattar

“Boys are boys. Mistakes happen.” – Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on increasing number of rapes

“She is 100% ‘tunch maal.’” – Congress leader Digvijay Singh on a female party member

“Have you ever seen a girlfriend worth Rs 50 crore?”- India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi while describing the late Sunanda Pushkar

“These days it has become a fashion to have a girlfriend or boyfriend. A girl should go out only with her brother or husband.” – Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi  

Ask yourself, was there even 20% of outrage for any of these comments like it has been for Pandya’s? Are a cricketer's comments more worrying or the ones made by people who are responsible for women safety?

By: Keyur Seta

13Jan/190

The Accidental Prime Minister Review: Propaganda is not the problem here

Debutant director Vijay Ratnakar Gutte’s The Accidental Prime Minister is based on the book of the same name by Sanjaya Baru. The author was the media adviser of Dr Manmohan Singh, India’s former Prime Minister.

The film mainly focuses on how Singh (played by Anupam Kher) was ‘remote controlled’ by the then Congress party President Sonia Gandhi during his tenure as the PM from 2004 to 2014.

The big question before and after the release is not whether the film does justice to the book. The curiosity is about whether the film is a propaganda machine against the Congress and in favour of the ruling BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party).

There is absolutely no doubt that it is indeed that, as suggested by the trailers. But this is not the problem with the film. I personally believe that anyone has a right to make a film on any subject while advocating any ideology. It should be left to the audience to decide what to accept and what not to.

The problem with The Accidental Prime Minister is that it makes the propaganda look too obvious and in-your-face throughout.

Even if the creative minds behind the film hate people like Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, they should do justice with the characters. Even the cruellest of villains deserves to be portrayed in a believable way.

Over here Sonia (Suzanne Bernert) and Rahul (Arjun Mathur) are nothing more than caricatures. The former, especially, reminds you of the amateurish performances seen in stand-up comedy shows. Surprisingly, even BJP leaders Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Ram Avtar), India’s ex-Prime Minister, Lal Krishna Advani are not spared from being caricaturish. Priyanka Gandhi (Aahana Kumra) is the only believable real character.

The other motto of The Accidental Prime Minister was to show Singh as a pawn and a victim of party politics. Kher does fairly well but tries too hard to present Singh as a bechara, both in terms of the physical attributes and the voice. His manner of moving his hands while walking is a put off.

The Accidental Prime Minister poster

During one of the interviews for the film, the director said that they have ‘added’ scenes to link one incident from the book to another in situations where Baru couldn’t have been present. But some conversations in these scenes are difficult to believe.

For example, once Rahul speaks to Sonia in Italian in front of their senior party members. This instantly reminds you of the old ‘Italian’ jibe at the mother-son duo by BJP leaders. And why will be do that in front of others? Similarly, Kapil Sibal’s press conference where he denies the Coalgate scam appears unintentionally hilarious.  

The disclaimer at the start states that the film is made purely to entertain. However, the aforementioned points ensure that even if you wish to look at the film just as a film you can’t because the makers have gone overboard in advocating their political narrative. Featuring heroic real speeches of India’s current Prime Minister Narendra Modi doesn’t help either.

This is where Madhur Bhandarkar’s Indu Sarkar (2017) differed. It made its stand clear against the Congress party but didn’t go overboard in proving the same.

The Accidental Prime Minister does have something for those who are deeply knowledgeable in the politics of that period. But this remains mostly in the first half. The post-interval portion suffers from a disjointed screenplay. As a viewer, at times you don’t realize which year is going on.

Amid all this, the only silver lining is Akshaye Khanna’s performance as Sanjaya Baru. He comes up with one of his finest acts while playing a character that offers a lot of scope. He ensures that your interest is maintained even when The Accidental Prime Minister keeps meeting with accidents.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Vijay Ratnakar Gutte

Producers: Pen Movies and Bohra Brothers

Writers: Mayank Tewaari, Vijay Ratnakar Gutte, Karl Dunner and Aditya Sinha

Cast: Anupam Kher, Akshaye Khanna, Suzanne Bernert, Arjun Mathur

Genre: Political Drama

Runtime: 150 minutes

6Jan/191

Bhaai: Vyakti Ki Valli Review – Delightful biopic on P L Deshpande

The end of last year saw an impressive biopic on Marathi theatre’s superstar Kashinath Ghanekar in the form of Ani… Dr Kashinath Ghanekar (2018). Less than two months later, the life of Purushottam Laxman Deshpande, one of Maharashtra’s most loved personalities, is portrayed on screen through Mahesh Manjrekar’s Bhaai: Vyakti Ki Valli.

Although both films are about the life of a yesteryear artist from Maharashtra, they are hugely different simply because of the vast dissimilarities between the two personalities.

Bhaai: Vyakti Ki Valli is the first of the two part films that traces the life of Purushottam Laxman Deshpande aka Pu La Deshpande aka Bhaai. Born in 1919, he (Sagar Deshmukh) was a multi-talented personality. Although he was mostly known as a legendary humourist, he also excelled as a music composer, singer, theatre and film actor and script writer. Despite becoming a lawyer, Deshpande was always inclined towards music, theatre and literature.

He marries Sundar (Mrunmayee Deshpande) as his late father (Sachin Khedekar) had promised her father of the same. Unfortunately, she dies just a week after their marriage. He then finds love in the school teacher Sunita Thakur (Iravati Harshe) while being employed in the same school. How Deshpande follows his dreams with Sunita’s support forms the rest of the film.

Bhaai focuses on Pu La’s personal life (maybe the second part will feature more on his career). It follows a light-hearted and humorous method of storytelling, which is a reflection of Pu La’s character and literary works. His real-life incidents are interesting enough to be told in a movie form in 119 minutes.

During this duration, important personalities and incidents are recreated albeit with creative liberty. It is a delight to see the likes of Bhimsen Joshi (Ajay Purkar), G D Madgulkar (Sagar Talshikar), Kumar Gandharva (Swanand Kirkire) and Vasantrao Deshpande (Padmanabh Bind) together with Deshpande in the golden era. But one appearance that takes you by pleasant surprise is the child version of Bal Thackeray.

Bhai P L Deshpande biopic

This is a film where there is a lot of onus on the writing. Ganesh Matkari’s screenplay is fast paced and well-knitted. You get no time to think. Ratnakar Matkari has ensured that the dialogues are not only humorous but they play a role in making the character of Pu La believable.

Bhaai is very much in the Harishchandrachi Factory (2010) zone. That film was also a light-hearted affair about a late celebrated artist (Dadasaheb Phalke). The major difference is that the 2010 movie only focussed on Phalke’s work-related goal (to make India’s first motion picture), which also provided with conflict.  

This clearly isn’t the case with Bhaai. In fact, it won’t be wrong to state that the film challenges conventional storytelling by not aiming at any specific goal of the protagonist and not relying on any major conflict (although there are a few conflict elements) to keep you hooked. The effect of the content is ably complemented by Manjrekar’s presentation, which is way different from his other films.

However, the simplistic mood should have been done away during the climax. It would have been better if the first part had ended with some dramatic moment instead of a song. Nevertheless the incredible track ‘Kanada Raja Pandharicha’ does ensure that you move out with a smile.

Despite the content, a lot relied on Sagar Deshmukh’s performance as Pu La in creating the overall effect. To put it simply, he has literally lived the happy-go-lucky character of the late great. He makes sure that he appears likeable even when he acts being immature or a bit irresponsible.

Iravati Harshe has been giving commendable performances in the last few years. She has continued her good work here too by fitting in perfectly as an independent woman. The film has quality supporting acts and cameos from a lot list of actors including Ashwini Giri, Purkar, Talshikar, Bind, Kirkire, Sachin Khedekar, Hrishikesh Joshi, Mrunmayee Deshpande and others.

Overall: Bhaai: Vyakti Ki Valli Purvardh (Part 1) is a biopic that will leave you delighted even in case you don’t know anything about Pu La Deshpande.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Mahesh Manjrekar

Producers: Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Mahesh Manjrekar Movies

Writers: Ganesh Matkari and Ratnakar Matkari

Cast: Sagar Deshmukh, Iravati Harshe, Ashwini Giri

Music: Ajit Parab

Genre: Biopic/ Drama

Duration: 119 minutes

30Dec/180

Simmba Dialogues

Rohit Shetty's Simmba has succeeded in entertaining the audience. The Ranveer Singh starrer has proved to be a perfect single screen entertainer. Apart from Shetty and Ranveer, the dialogues also played a big part in it.

Writer Farhad Samji has once again been able to tickle the audience's funny bone. So, it's really worth revisiting some of the funny moments from Simmba in the form of its dialogues.

Here are some of the best dialogues from Simmba uttered by Ranveer (feel free to add more in comments):

- Je mala mahit naahi te sanga. Tell me something I don't know.

- Mind eej blowing.

- Chand pe paani aur barf ka pata lag gaya hai. Ab sirf wahan daaru le jana baaki hai.

- Mera koi bhai nahin hai. Lekin woh toh tera bhi nahin hai.

- Yeh mera style kahan hai? Yeh Bajirao Singham ka style hai.

- Mohile, Mohile, Tere bina main kaise piyun?

- Yeh Kalyug hai. Yahan sab sirf ek hi matlab ke liye jeete hain. Apne matlab ke liye.

- Main policewala bana paise kamane ko. Robinhood banke doosre ko madat karne ke liye nahin.

21Dec/180

Zero Review – The film stays true to its title

Director Aanand L Rai is known for making light-hearted entertainers based in small north Indian towns. His latest and much talked about Zero is also an entertainer revolving around a character based in a small town up north.

But the difference this time around is that his protagonist is a star like Shah Rukh Khan. With the presence of a well-known actor, the film is also much larger-than-life than what Rai’s films have been so far. Unfortunately, the film’s scale is inversely proportional to what it offers.

Zero is the story of 38-year-old Bauua Singh (Shah Rukh Khan). He forms a large group of commoners of Meerut but his life is far from regular. As he is a dwarf, he is unable to get married. On top of that, he is a careless individual who loiters around with his best friend (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub). This is enough for Bauua’s father (Tigmanshu Dhulia) to hate him.

His life takes a turn when he meets Aafia (Anushka Sharma). She is a brilliant mind but is wheelchair bound since she is suffering from cerebral palsy. But later on, the superstar actress Babita (Katrina Kaif) also enters the life of Bauua. Where is his life heading?

Zero starts on a fairly positive note. The introduction of Bauua Singh and his world gives rise to some hilarious situations and conversations. It is SRK’s presence and charm that wins you over not only during these moments but the entire film. His act is a mixture of absolute dedication and hard-work, be it during some street smart funny moments or scenes where he gets depressed.

Rai has also extracted quality performances from Anushka Sharma, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub and Tigmanshu Dhulia. Sharma overcomes the challenges of playing a specially challenged character, although a lot of creative liberty has been taken.

Zero movie poster

Ayub has played the protagonist’s friend in quite a few films in recent years, but he brings in something different every time. He has achieved the same here. Katrina Kaif isn’t as bad as a lot of her past films. But her character lacks the right amount of depth and conviction.

The music of Zero rides on the moving romantic number ‘Mere Naam Tu’ and the enjoyable ‘Ishqbaazi’ (which features Salman Khan). The rest of the songs too are decent.

However, the performances and songs are no way enough for the large number of negatives. It would be apt to say that Zero has 0 logic. If Bauua wasn’t so much in love with Aafia, why did he spend more than a bomb on her to impress her? By the way, Bauua belongs to a strictly middle class family but spends money like water. How? Nobody knows.

Despite such flaws, the first half is still decent. But Zero suffers a bigger blow when Babita’s character enters the scene. Whatever happens from here on can is too dumb and mindless [not revealing further to avoid spoilers] even by the standards of typical masala entertainers. The ending moments do offer some thrill but the damage has been already done.

It is very important in films with such storylines to generate at least some empathy for the protagonist. But over here you feel for Bauua only because of Khan’s performance. The VFX team has done a decent job with respect to making SRK look like a dwarf, barring few moments here and there.

Overall: Zero makes you wonder as to how SRK agreed to be a part of the project as an actor as well as a producer when he badly needs a successful film riding on impressive content. This film might get a good opening in the first weekend but will struggle after that at the box office.

Rating: 2/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Aanand L Rai

Producers: Red Chillies Entertainment and Colour Yellow Productions

Writers: Himanshu Sharma

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma, Katrina Kaif, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub, Tigmanshu Dhulia

Music: Ajay-Atul

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 159 minutes

11Dec/180

When BJP leaders were so against EVMs that they wrote books on its ‘dangers’

The state election results in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Chattisgarh have come as a blow to the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). The party has suffered heavy defeat in the three states much against its run of play with the results in MP too not being in their favour. This has ensured that jokes and memes about the EVMs are being shared online.

The rivals of the BJP, especially the Congress party, has been vocal a number of times about their doubts in the EVM (Electronic Voting Machines) used in India’s elections whenever they have lost to the BJP in last few years. But all their doubts about the ‘dangers’ of EVMs have evaporated after they have won handsomely today in the three of the four states. Not a word against the EVMs now.

While it is hypocritical to change stand on the issue once you win the election, it would be wrong to assume that only BJP’s rivals have been crying the EVM song after defeats in elections. Not many would know that BJP itself was highly against the use of EVMs when they lost the Lok Sabha Elections in 2009.

BJP logo EVMs

In fact, two of its leaders also went about writing books harping the ‘dangers’ of EVMs.

BJP’s spokesperson G V L Narsimha Rao came up with a book against the EVM titled ‘Democracy At Risk! Can We Trust Our Electronic Voting Machines?’ in 2010. In the book he has gone onto explain how one shouldn’t trust the EVMs.

Here are the contents of the book:

An excerpt from the book read, “Holland and Ireland too have abandoned EVMs and have gone back to paper ballots. And developed and technologically advanced countries in our region like Japan and Singapore have so far stuck to paper ballot voting, owing to their simplicity, verifiability and voter confidence in the system. Today, reliability of Electronic Voting Machines and the integrity of electoral verdicts is a subject of intense political debate and media scrutiny across the world.”

Another significant excerpt read, “In our system of representative democracy, elections provide the only occasion when the people directly exercise their sovereign power. Immediately thereafter this power is ceded to the elected representatives. If this sacred power is vitiated by a voting system of dubious integrity open to insidious fraud, it is evident that our democracy is seriously endangered.”

In chapter four, Rao has explained how on numerous occasions the EVMs have malfunctioned and misbehaved. During the launch of the book, Rao gave a statement as strong as, “It is a blatant lie that EVMs are tamper-proof. I think the use of EVMs on a national scale is illegal.”

Veteran BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani aka L K Advani had not only launched the book but also wrote a foreword to it.

 

The PDF copy of the whole book can be found HERE.

 

In the same year, another senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy (who was then the chief of Janata Party), along with author S Kalyanaraman, also came out with another book against the EVMs with a strong title ‘Electronic Voting Machines: Unconstitutional And Tamperable.’ The title gives a clear idea of the contents of the book.

While any online or PDF copy of the book is not available, its description on Amazon reads, “EVMs have already been banned in many countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and Italy, and the list is getting longer. Thus, there is a growing lack of confidence in EVMs the world over. Why should India persist with a failed system that has been abandoned worldwide? The risk of wholesale rigging inherent in EVMs, howsoever small, cannot be accepted in a democracy where the stakes in winning elections are so high.”

Both books are still available for buying HERE and HERE.

Surprisingly, the two books and BJPs strong stand against EVMs isn’t known much. It can be attributed to weak public memory or the lesser reach of the social media back then or both.

By: Keyur Seta

5Dec/180

Mumbai Pune Mumbai 3 box office: How much will Swapnil-Mukta starrer earn?

The Marathi movie Mumbai Pune Mumbai 3 is expected to earn well at the box office. Directed by Satish Rajwade, this is the third film in the franchise starring Swapnil Joshi and Mukta Barve. It is slated to release on 7 December.

Mumbai Pune Mumbai (2010) became a runaway hit and the jodi of Swapnil and Mukta became one of the most loved in Marathi cinema. Naturally, the second film Mumbai Pune Mumbai 2 (2015) was made.

The film not only clashed with Salman Khan’s biggie Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015) on Diwali but also with another multistarrer Marathi film Katyar Kaljat Ghusli (2015). But despite that, it became a hit, along with the other two films as well. It was a rare occasion when three big films became successful at the box office despite each other's presence.

The success of the first two films speaks volumes about the brand Mumbai Pune Mumbai. Needless to say, there is immense excitement for Mumbai Pune Mumbai 3. The film is surely expected to get a big opening at the box office in the first weekend, irrespective of the content.

Mumbai Pune Mumbai 3 poster

If the content receives thumbs up from the audience, nothing will be able to stop the film from being a superhit. God forbid if the content doesn’t live up to the expectations, MPM 3 will still have a fair chance of becoming a hit.

Also read: Did Ani... Dr Kashinath Ghanekar succeed only because Thugs Of Hindostan failed?

It is difficult to predict the exact number Mumbai Pune Mumbai 3 will earn at the box office. But roughly it is expected to make around Rs 15 crore at the box office in the first 10 days provided the film doesn’t receive a thumbs down for its content.

The good thing for the film is that the next big Hindi film Zero will be releasing on 21 December. Riteish Deshmukh starrer Mauli will be releasing on 14 December. This might pose some challenge to MPM 3.

If everything does fall in place for MPM 3, it will be another success for Marathi cinema in this year in a short duration after Ani... Dr Kashinath Ghanekar, Naal and Mulshi Pattern.

2Dec/180

5 reasons why the villain of 2.0 is the hero we need (Spoilers Alert!)

2.0 Akshay Kumar

During the digital poster launch of S Shankar’s 2.0, Rajinikanth had said that Akshay Kumar’s character in the film is way interesting than his. “I am telling you the truth. The hero of 2.0 is not Rajinikanth. Akshay Kumar is the hero. If I would have been given a choice, I would have selected that (Akshay’s) character,” he had said.

“It’s a brilliant character; brilliant role. I am telling you, the whole country will applaud Akshay after the release of this picture,” added Rajinikanth.

Spoilers ahead

At that time I felt that Rajini is just being large-hearted and generous. But after watching the film, I completely agree with him. Rajini has a double role in the film and he lives up to the expectations of his fans. But I can’t stop being in awe of the character Pakshi Rajan that Akshay played.

There have been reports that the character of Pakshi Rajan is inspired from the real birdman of India Salim Ali. Read more about him here.

2.0 Akshay Kumar

Pakshi Rajan is the villain of 2.0. However, he is no lesser than a hero. In fact, he is the hero we need today. Here are five reasons why:

(Note: These are his qualities while he was alive.)

Peace loving: You will hardly see a character as peace loving as Pakshi Rajan. The sight of a bird in pain would melt his heart like a mother. Healing it becomes his biggest motto. This, obviously, means that he is strictly against any form of violence.

Selfless: Pakshi Rajan spent his life for the welfare of birds. He became an ornithologist and professor to spread their knowledge and importance. He also went onto take the pain of writing books about different kind of birds.

Nature before everything: How many of us even think of the problems caused by mobile towers and mobile phone radiations on birds? Pakshi Rajan not only thought of that but refused to use mobile phone just because it harms the nature, including birds.

Pakshi Rajan

Fearless fighter: The character played by Akshay showed the guts of protesting against mobile companies and the government, even if it meant protesting alone. People would consider him mad but he would never give up. In fact, Pakshi Rajan even went to the extent of admonishing the Telecom Minister literally on his face inside his office.

Age-defying: Pakshi Rajan carried out the aforementioned tasks even after being in his 70s or so. Age was just a number for him.

Now, why would I consider him a villain here? Of course, he became evil after his death and went onto kill innocents, including officers from the Indian Army. However, neither these acts nor his menacing post-death VFX avatar are enough to wipe out the memories of his noble character while he was alive.

By: Keyur Seta

2Dec/180

Piano For Sale (Marathi Play) Review

Piano For Sale play

Director Aashish Kulkarni’s Marathi play Piano For Sale features veteran actresses Kishori Shahane Vij and Varsha Usgaonkar. They were two big names and contemporaries in Marathi cinema of the 1990s.

This is the first occasion where Shahane and Usgaonkar have shared the stage together. As the play has no other characters apart from them, there is no need to say that one would get to see their jugalbandi on stage.

But for a play or any piece of performing art for that matter it is the end product that needs to be impressive. The cast comes later. Let’s find out if Piano For Sale manages that.

The play is the Marathi adaptation of playwright Meher Pestonji’s English play of the same name. Sheila (Shahane) stays alone in the middle-class Byculla area of Mumbai. She is a dance teacher for mute and deaf students. She is quite content with her simple lifestyle, although she does experience feelings of loneliness here and there.

Anita (Usgaonkar) is the opposite of Sheila. She is married and has a daughter. They belong to the upper class and she is proud of her status.

Piano For Sale playSheila wants to sell off her old piano, for which she gives an advertisement. Anita gets interested in buying it and calls Sheila. While hanging up the call, Anita reveals her full name. This stuns Sheila since she and Anita have had a past and not a pleasant one at that.

Going by its interesting storyline, it is not surprising to see the reason for adapting the play from another language. Just when you think that the story will continue based on the conflict that was established early on, it takes you by surprise through a twist in the second act (post interval).

The end result turns out to be moving as it compels you to think on the idea of winners and losers in matters of love and life.

Needless to say, when the entire play is only about conversation between two characters, the script needs to be engaging and this is what happens for the majority of the duration. The dialogues and the subtle dark humour are enough to keep you engaged.

It is only on few occasions that the transition from one topic to another isn’t entirely smooth though. Also, the massive transformation of one character later on is a bit questionable.

A lot of thought has gone into the rich set designing. The interiors of both the houses – of Sheila and Anita – are realistic. Coming to the lights, it was a smart idea to dim the brightness whenever the conversation became intense and conflicting. The sounds of piano go well with the subject and the title.

Needless to say, the play demanded both Shahane and Usgaonkar to be on top of their games. The two actresses have complemented each other well and, in doing so, have provided convincing performances.

Overall: Piano For Sale is an interesting and thought-provoking play.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director and English adaptation: Aashish Kulkarni

Original playwright: Meher Pestonji

Producers: Digital Detoxx

Cast: Kishori Shahane Vij and Varsha Usgaonkar

Varsha Usgaonkar, Kishori Shahane Vij

25Nov/180

Short story: Under the shade in the rainy evening in Bharatpur

The sun had set in Bharatpur that evening but it wasn’t dark at the market road. The workers of the Jan Raksha Party (JRP) were burning effigies of a leader from the ruling Lok Seva Party (LSP) after he allegedly made a derogatory remark against their leader.

The JRP workers were sweating in their pink T-shirt bearing the abbreviation of their party in the already humid town but they didn’t care. How dare he insult their beloved leader?

Their victorious reverie was broken when a group of supporters of LSP started raising slogans against the said JRP leader. They felt their leader did the right thing. They too were oblivious to their sweaty purple T-shirts bearing the abbreviation of their respective parties. But both parties were united in not caring for the general office going population that was having difficulty while going home after a long and tiring day at work.

Such was the state of affairs in Bharatpur these days. The town was divided between LSP and JRP; between pink and purple. Earlier it was only their supporters who were at loggerheads. But slowly, common people too clinged onto any one side and developed enmity against those who were on the ‘other’ side. So what if they have been their close friends or even family members all these years?

The colleges regularly saw tussles and arguments between both set of supporters. But since recent times, even offices saw heated conversations between those who were otherwise well-educated and mature.

The scene was the same even in the virtual world of social media and What’s App. More than the IT cells of these parties, the common people were energetically creating posts to bash and insult the other side. Both parties were saving a lot of money since the common people were ready to publicize them and their agendas for free.

Mumbai Monsoon

When the general public felt such enmity for people from the ‘other’ side, one can just imagine the hatred between the official party workers of both parties. They literally couldn’t see eye to eye.

The mobs of both groups were showing no signs of stopping. Hence, it took some divine intervention in the form of unseasonal December rain. What started as a drizzle soon transformed into heavy rain and storm-like situation. To make matters worse, the electricity went off.

The general public, which was running helter skelter, was now confused. Ajit, a man in his mid-20s, ushered inside the entrance of a shop that was shut. As he was moved inside the roof properly to escape the rain water, his body his someone. It was a man in his 50s who too was there as he had to save himself from the rain and it was too dark to try going home.

After an awkward moment, they spoke and soon introduced themselves. The man in his 50s was Rameshchandra. The two were glad to have each other’s company to combat this difficult situation. Ajit realized that Rameshchandra was feeling uneasy.

When Ajit caringly prodded further, he revealed that he is diabetic and needed water. Ajit promptly handed him a bottle from his bag in the dark. Rameshchandra thanked him. He then he noticed that Ajit was limping a bit. Now it was Rameshchandra’s turn to caringly prod him about his uneasiness.

Ajit explained how his leg got hit to the street lamp pole in the dark while he was hurriedly getting under the roof. Rameshchandra handed him a little bottle of a balm which he always carried for his headache. He said the balm works even for the kind of injury Ajit suffered. Then Ajit remembered the slogan of the balm’s advertisement, ‘Ek balm, teen kaam’ and they had a hearty laugh.

There was massive age gap between the two of them but they didn’t feel it. Difficult circumstances can even bring two people from different age groups together in a human way. Both decided in their minds that they would like to keep in touch. They were no longer thinking about the uneasiness caused by their wet T-shirts.

Just then the electricity returned and the road lights were on. They were glad but as soon as their eyes fell on each other, they were stunned. They were wearing pink and purple T-shirts respectively.

By: Keyur Seta