The Common Man Speaks

15Jul/183

Why the usage of the word ‘Mardaangi’ is worrying

Mardangi movie

In a country like India, wrong notions are spread easily through generations. People blindly believe and accept whatever their elders believed in, without realizing the changing times. This also includes the educated lot, including myself (at one point of time).

Patriarchy is so deep-rooted in Indian society that it appeared fine or normal to me all these years. It is only since a decade or so that I realized its toxic nature. One such characteristic of patriarchy that is considered normal even in today is the usage of the word ‘Mardaangi,’ which translates to masculinity or manliness, and its context.

The real meaning of the word might not be dangerous. But in India, the word is generally used to describe qualities like:

Strength (physical and mental)

Bravery

Courage

Hence, using the word ‘mardaangi’ in the context of having the aforementioned qualities is very problematic. Why? Because it affirms the belief that only men possess such qualities.

Mardangi movie

Ask yourself, don’t you know a single woman or girl in your life who regularly displays qualities like strength, bravery and courage? I am sure you can put down a list.

That’s not all though. For some reason, the practice of drinking liquor is also considered a by-product of mardaangi. Just recently I came across a person who indirectly expressed his bravery of discussing about hard drinks with a man in the presence of few women. Little did he know that I know quite a few women from the group who drink.

I have seen people blame our films and television serials for this. In the popular serial Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, women are never even seen having soda. Only the men residing in the Gokuldham Society gather around at night to have soda.

But cinema or any piece of art is a reflection of the society. Such beliefs about mardaangi are accepted even in 2018 and that is exactly why I am forced to write this. And if you think only older people belonging to previous generations hold such beliefs, you are grossly mistaken.

Holding such beliefs is detrimental towards men as well because it is assumed that they can never afford to appear weak in any way. And if by any chance a man is seen weeping, he is not considered mard enough. Dialogues like ‘Mard ko dard nahin hota’ being uttered even today make it worse.

So, next time you hear the word ‘mardaangi’ used in this context, give it some thought before accepting it normally.

By: Keyur Seta

30Jun/181

Sanju Review: Rajkumar Hirani’s weakest film, yet not a bad film

Sanju poster

Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanju is said to be a biopic on veteran actor Sanjay Dutt. As is the case with Indian biopics, this one too is more like an effort to glorify someone. But even if you watch the film as a work of fiction, it only turns out to be a one-time watch, which is surely not what you expect from a Hirani movie.

It is clearly his weakest film till date, although it’s not a bad film.

Sanju is a fictionalized account of actor Sanjay Dutt’s life. The film concentrates on his early days with drugs, struggle to come out of the addiction and, most importantly, his involvement in the illegal arms case related to the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts.

It is a pipedream to make a real biopic in a country like India. To be fair to the film, Dutt’s dark period with drugs is shown unabashedly in the first half. His struggle to come out of it gives a strong anti-drug message without preaching. But apart from this aspect, the film largely concentrates on making the actor look like a truly innocent human being.

Even in the scene where he grossly misbehaves with someone after being high on drugs, the victim volunteers to take the blame on herself, which is weird to say the least.

Dutt’s involvement with illegal arms and his links with the underworld and the surrounding incidents are presented like jokes. For example, along with AK-56 rifles and bullets, hand grenades were also procured by the actor, as per official records. However, the film doesn’t show him possessing grenades because that would make him look too bad no?

Hence, the blame of his fate is put on the media. There’s no denying that Dutt has been a victim of unethical reporting. But to show that the biggest villain in his life has been the media while the actor just can’t do anything wrong is outrageous, even by Indian biopics’ standards. If this wasn’t enough, there is also a song on media’s malpractices.

Sanju poster

So, the only way to enjoy this film is to watch it as a work of fiction (which is exceedingly difficult, mind you). Like Hirani’s brand of cinema, Sanju has a fast moving screenplay and appealing dialogues, which ensures that one is glued throughout the duration of 161 minutes.

But this surely isn’t enough to ensure that you leave the hall satisfied for two reasons. Firstly, the second half suffers from lack of proper conflict and flow. This ensures a half-baked climax, which comes as a rude surprise for a Hirani movie. Adding fiction in the all-important moment when Dutt is released makes it worse.

Secondly, the character of the author is shown to be too dumb. She believes everything she hears without giving it a second thought, leave alone cross checking. By the way, there’s another character who doesn’t notice a question mark in the headline of an article he has been carrying with him since more than a decade.

The acting arena is the biggest plus point of Sanju. Ranbir Kapoor has given the performance of his lifetime. His task was cut out as he couldn’t have afforded to just mimic Dutt. The actor succeeds in living different facets of Dutt’s life brilliantly.

Paresh Rawal too comes up with one of the best performances of his life. You feel for him every time he comes up on screen. The biggest surprise is Vicky Kaushal who is phenomenal as Dutt's best friend Kailash. This act will become the turning point of his career.

Manisha Koirala doesn’t have a lengthy role but she manages to leave behind a solid impact. Anushka Sharma too has shown her talent but her aforementioned characterization doesn’t help her cause. Dia Mirza and Jim Sarbh are above average while the actress playing Dutt’s sister, Priya Dutt doesn’t get to do anything except smiling continuously.

Overall: Sanju is an entertaining saga with great performances. But it is more like an image cleaning PR exercise than a biopic. The film has opened to excellent numbers at the box office but it won’t be a huge success.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Rajkumar Hirani

Producers: Rajkumar Hirani Films and Vinod Chopra Films

Writers: Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Vicky Kaushal, Anushka Sharma, Dia Mirza

Music: A R Rahman, Rohan Rohan and Vikram Montrose

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 161 minutes

16Jun/183

The incest angle in Race 3 (SPOILERS Alert!)

Race 3 poster

Director Remo D’Souza’s Race 3 is trending since its release yesterday, although not for the good reasons. The film is bashed left, right and centre by audience and critics alike. But while a lot has been said about the content or the lack of it, many of us seem to have missed a subtle incest angle in the film.

SPOILERS Ahead

Yes, you read it right. This is how it is. We are shown from the start that Bobby Deol’s character Yash works for Shamsher (Anil Kapoor). He is so loyal that he is as good as a family member. Shamsher is father to Sanjana (Daisy Shah), Suraj (Saqib Saleem) and Sikander (Salman Khan), who is his step-son.

Race 3 is full of twists, although not convincing. Deol is shown to be the love interest of Jessica (Jacqueline Fernandez). But later we are told that he actually shares a romantic relationship with Daisy’s character.

Race 3 poster

Now, here is where the fun begins. Just before the climax it is revealed that Deol is actually Kapoor’s son. So, this makes Deol and Daisy siblings!

A clean action entertainer that has the word ‘family’ included in the dialogues every now and then dared to show something as bold (not overtly though) as incest.

It might also be that the film has so many unnecessary twists that the writers or the director themselves didn’t realize this. And like a large majority of the audience, our sanskari CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification), popularly known as the Censor Board, missed it too.

In this way, Race 3 becomes the second film of 2018 to explore the incest angle after Arjun Mukherjee’s 3 Storeys.

By: Keyur Seta

10Jun/180

Kaala: Rajinikanth makes his dislike for Hindutva politics loud and clear

Rajinikanth

Superstar Rajinikanth announced his entry into politics on 31 December 2017 but has so far kept mum about which side he belongs to. There is no name for his party yet, so similarly there is no party flag or colour either. But through his latest release Kaala, he has made his dislike for Right Wing and Hindutva politics loud and clear, which proves that his party’s colour is surely not Saffron. So much so that it is not mere a subtext.

SPOILERS ALERT

The Pa Ranjith directorial makes no qualms throughout the film about its severe dislike for the Saffron brigade and portraying them as villains. So, we have Nana Patekar as Hari Prasad who is the head honcho of a Saffron-clad party, thereby hinting towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He wants to build towers in Dharavi and doesn’t care a damn about its residents.

He is so self-obsessed that he makes sure his face appears everywhere and anywhere in Mumbai. He keeps making references from epics like Ramayana. He promotes initiatives like ‘Pure Mumbai’ and ‘Digital Dharavi.’ Now, you don’t need to be even close to a political expert to know whom they are indicating at.

Rajinikanth

Rajinikanth in Kaala

The builders who are hell bent in redeveloping Dharavi for their own good are called Manu Realty. Another clear criticism of the most hated ancient text, Manusmriti. A shop in Dharavi is seen selling beef, which is something the Right Wing considers blasphemous.

‘Epic’ comparison

Kaala even goes to the extent of reversing the Ramayana, called the Hindu epic. Patekar is shown as Ram, who has nicknamed Rajinikanth as Raavan. Evil elements committing atrocities against the downtrodden is, over here, Ram teaching a lesson to Raavan. Rajini’s men coming up one after the other in a fight scene are described as different heads of Raavan. And, of course, Dharavi is a symbol for Lanka.

But that’s not all as far as Hindu Gods are concerned. The evil doer is called Hari and his subordinate Vishnu. Ideally, it should be the other way round since Krishna was Vishnu’s avatar. But Kaala is a reverse journey, so that’s purely intentional. It’s Kalyug, so the avatar is more powerful than the creator and Ram is not noble.

Dalit angle

Rajini’s character is shown to be as a messiah of Dalits (I hate labeling anyone on the basis of their caste but it’s needed here for understanding). Gautam Buddha’s temple and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s picture are shown around him quite a few times and his locality is called Bhim Nagar.

Nana Patekar in Kaala

Nana Patekar in Kaala

In fact, during a confrontational scene with Hari Prasad, Kaala declares, ‘I am ready to fight even ‘your’ God.’ This line subtly indicates the renouncement of Hinduism and embracing of Buddism by Dalits.

There is an article where Rajini’s die-hard fans are urging people to take Kaala as just another fictional film. But it surely won’t make any sense if Rajinikanth wholeheartedly bashes Saffron politics in a movie and supports the same in real life. As we all know, onscreen image of superstars is taken so seriously in India.

Maybe Kaala is more like a push for Rajini’s political career and his own way of revealing his political side.

P.S: Earlier in the year, Kamaal Hassan had said that it is unlikely that he would align with Rajinikanth if his political colour is Saffron. So are we in for something big?

By: Keyur Seta

3Jun/180

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero: A film that forced me to go down memory lane

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero

How I found director Vikramaditya Motwane’s Bhavesh Joshi Superhero is not the aim of this article (still if you are too curious, you can scroll down for the snippet review). More importantly, the Harshvardhan Kapoor starrer created a deep, personal connect with me, which rarely happens.

The base of the film’s story is social activist Anna Hazare’s India Against Corruption (IAC) movement of 2011 for the passing of Jan Lokpal Bill. It compels the characters of Kapoor and Priyanshu Painyuli, his best friend, to start their own movement against injustice through the medium of a YouTube channel called Insaaf TV.

They go around stopping people against wrongdoings like urinating in public, not following traffic rules, etc. The issues might sound petty but they mean a lot to them. It was their selfless contribution towards, what was then considered, India’s biggest fight against corruption or any kind of wrongdoings.

The movement is one of the biggest events in my life. Never even in the wildest of my dreams did I ever imagine lakhs of ordinary people selflessly taking on the streets waving Indian flags while demanding change (not chhutta or khulla paisa, please), which would also include me. The long march in heavy rains from Bandra station to Juhu circle still feels like last week.

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero

I remember few people whom I had acquainted then confidently predicting that the country is in for a major change now and this is in a way the second Independence movement. I thought this is far-fetched but still felt like agreeing with them. After all, the scenes looked like flashback portions from India’s freedom struggle.

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero also touches upon the diminishing impact of the movement during the second phase in December 2011. Just like the two characters, I and many others were standing disappointed, wondering how it all fizzled out so soon.

The film characters continued their fight, which saw dangerous percussions including death. This doesn’t deter Kapoor’s character. In fact, the death of his friend makes him a superhero of a kind who unmasks the corrupt while wearing a mask. Without giving away the climax, I would just add that the hero’s fight wasn’t like any other Hindi film where he would win against all odds.

This is where my path diverted from the film’s characters’. I didn’t venture out to be a superhero against such powerful villains because I am not a film character. I am a ‘normal’ human being who doesn’t fake being fearless of being hunted down and probably killed.

Anna Hazare movement

During the long march from Bandra station to Juhu circle.

In other words, my contribution towards the fight against corruption, if it can be called one, ended with the fizzling out of the Jan Lokpal Movement.

However, the movement did help me personally as I started taking a keen interest in the political atmosphere of the country. It increased my knowledge on politics, although I don’t have much right now. Before 2011, I didn’t even know the meaning of an MP and MLA.

It was also because this movement that I started writing on the current socio-political issues on my blog, which was earlier almost limited to just film related stuff.

In between I also heard from a lot of learned people that it is important to better yourself before you think of bettering the world. Samaaj ko behtar banane chale hain, pehle khud ko toh behtar banao. These words had a profound impact on me and I started making efforts in being a better version of myself, although I am not sure if I have succeeded.

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero doesn’t leave you in a hopeless state. It shows that there is still hope. Even though little but hope nevertheless. This is exactly what I would like to believe too…

(I never believe in writing so much about myself. But this movie just forced me to. Still I am not sure if this was relevant to you.)

About the film:

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero is a decent film that could have been better if the flaws in the second half were taken care of. It is still an important film that makes you think in addition to providing some thrills.

By: Keyur Seta

20May/180

Race 3 box office prediction

The box office prediction of Race 3 will be the talk of the town as the film is now nearing its release. It’s another Salman Khan movie that will be releasing on the festival of Eid. Will the actor strike gold yet again at the box office?

A hardcore commercial film starring Salman is naturally expected to become a blockbuster. The same was the case with Race 3 until its trailer was released last week.

To put it simply, the promo hasn’t gone down well with the audience at all. In fact, no other trailer of a Hindi film has been trolled this much on social media. It has been five days since it was out but we are continuing to see funny memes (especially of Daisy Shah’s ‘business’) made on it despite other important event like Karnataka Floor Test taking place.

The song ‘Heeriye,’ which was released a couple of days ago, hasn’t helped the cause either. Hence, the trailer and song have wronged all the predictions that were made earlier about the film.

Race 3 poster

But, although the film is trolled heavily, we can’t deny that it is getting all the buzz. Any publicity is good publicity these days. Race 3 is talked about continuously, which will ensure that more people will go to watch it in the opening weekend.

Hence, Race 3 will enjoy good weekend numbers at the box office. It will at least earn Rs 55- to Rs 65 crore in the first three days. It is releasing on a Friday since Eid is on that day. This means that it won’t have a long extended weekend like other festival releases.

After the weekend, it will all depend on how the film has been received by the audience. If the content receives thumbs up, it will go onto earn well. If not then we are staring at another Tubelight (2017) or Jai Ho (2014), the only two Salman films that didn’t click much at the box office and are considered flops.

But Race 3 will surely reach the Rs 100 crore mark even if it gets a negative response, which the aforementioned films also did. But will this be enough? Certainly not since the film’s budget is very high, considering Salman and other actors’ fees and the huge scale on which it is shot in foreign locations. Plus, it has numerous action and stunt sequences.

So, the bottom line is that Race 3 needs to impress with its content or face defeat.

P.S: Race 3 has only two weeks to earn as Rajkumar Hirani's Ranbir Kapoor starrer Sanju is releasing on 29 June. The buzz for the film is very positive. Plus, it will be publiziced and marketed heavily next month which might eat into Race 3's buzz.

By: Keyur Seta

5May/180

102 Not Out Review

In India, it is believed that films for youngsters should have young actors playing modern characters along with other ingredients like romance and songs and dance. Without these elements, a film doesn’t get acceptance from the youth.

But rarely we see a film like Umesh Shukla’s 102 Not Out, which transcends age groups. The fun element and the emotional message ensure that it’s worth watching more than once.

102 Not Out is about Dattatrey Wakharia (Amitabh Bachchan) who is 102 years old man staying in Mumbai. He is energetic and full of life despite his age. But his 75-year-old son Babulal (Rishi Kapoor) is his complete opposite. He is tired of life and has ‘accepted’ his old age.

Dattatrey tries a trick to ensure his son starts living life in a jovial way. He gets the timely help from Dhiru (Jimit Trivedi), a guy working in a neighbourhood shop. Will they succeed in changing Babulal’s perception towards life?

Rajkumar Hirani had once said that he follows a theory that a scene should either make the audience laugh or move them emotionally and this is how he structures his entire film. This is seen in 102 Not Out as well. A large majority of the film is filled with moments that get you in splits regularly.

102 Not Out

At the same time, it keeps providing emotional doses. Mind you, this is not an tear-jerker in any way. There is a sequence pre-interval where a character goes down memory lane and enjoys the simple joys of life that he used to cherish at one point. This is one of the most delightful moments you would see in a long time. In fact, this part can even be seen separately as a short film.

More importantly, the person going through it might be aged. But it is appealing for anyone having a heart, irrespective of his or her age.

The story of Shukla’s much appreciated OMG! Oh My God (2012) changed track in the second half. The narrative does the same in 102 Not Out as well. But like the previous film, it doesn’t turn out to be a problem due to the message and the brilliant climax.

On the flipside, there should have been more insight into Bachchan’s character. The melodrama in a pre-climax scene should have been reduced. The main conflict constantly reminds you of Bachchan’s own Baghban (2003).

There is not much scope for music. But ‘Bachche Ki Jaan Lega Kya’ turns out to be impressive. The production designer deserves accolades.

102 Not Out has only three main characters and they all rise up to the task. Amitabh Bachchan effortlessly switches between humour and seriousness while showcasing his immense acting prowess. On few occasions though, it seems he tries hard to bring out the specific tone needed for his character.

Rishi Kapoor doesn’t get overshadowed by him in any way because of the depth of his character and, of course, his excellent performance. This one has to be one of his best acts. Amidst such powerful performers, Jimit Trivedi leaves behind a terrific impact despite being a debutant. He succeeds in building a rapport with both characters.

Overall: 102 Not Out is a delightfully moving saga that is worth experiencing for people of all ages.

Rating: 4/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Umesh Shukla

Producers: Treetop Entertainment, Sony Pictures and Benchmark Pictures

Writers: Saumya Joshi and Vishal V Patil

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Jimit Trivedi

Music: Salim-Sulaiman

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 102 minutes

22Apr/182

Sachin Tendulkar the bowler: 8 best bowling performances

Sachin Tendulkar, as we all know, is the greatest batsmen of our times. So, obviously, there have been innumerable articles written on his great performances with the bat. However, the Master Blaster’s contribution to the Indian team isn’t limited to his batting. He has a list of good bowling performances, about which nothing much is spoken.

Sachin Tendulkar bowling

Tendulkar has had two 5 wicket and two 4 wicket hauls along with a number of other useful spells. He has 46 test and 154 ODI wickets to his credit (along with one T20 wicket). To achieve this while consistently performing with the bat is a huge achievement. In fact, I seriously feel he was grossly underbowled in his career.

As Tendulkar’s 45th birthday is almost here, let’s have a look at some of his finest bowling performances (listed chronologically).

4 for 34 vs West Indies at Sharjah in 1991

This was Tendulkar’s first triumph with the ball which is his least known bowling achievement. India fielded first and Mohammad Azharuddin brought him first change, even ahead of full-fledged bowlers like Anil Kumble and Venkatapathy Raju. The gamble paid huge dividends as Tendulkar singlehandedly broke the morale of West Indies batsmen. They were all out for just 145 and India won comprehensively. (No video of this match is available)

Final over in the Hero Cup Semi Final at Kolkata in 1993

Tendulkar didn't take any wickets in this match and bowled only one over. Yet this match is still known for his bowling performance. He showed immense courage to ask for the ball when South Africa needed 6 runs off 6 balls and won the match for India. This one over turned out to be one of most memorable moments in India's cricket history.

3 for 36 vs West Indies at Chennai in 1994

Tendulkar repeated what he did to the West Indies in 1991. They were going all guns blazing with Brian Lara and Carl Hooper putting in more than 100 runs for the third wicket. Once again Azaharuddin threw the ball to Tendulkar and he responded yet again by getting the great Lara out. He then got Jimmy Adams and Sherwin Campbell too. After being 176 for 2, the West Indians were bowled out for 221. India won by four wickets. (No video of this match is available)

5 for 32 vs Australia in 1998

It is rare to see a legendary batsman taking a 5 wicket haul and that too against a strong opposition. Tendulkar didn't do much with the bat in this match. But he more than made up for it by making some fine Australian batsmen victims of his quality leg spin and googlies. The turn he got to dismiss Tom Moody was exemplary. It was after this match that people started taking him seriously as a bowler.

4 for 38 vs Australia at Dhaka in 1998

Surprisingly, not much is spoken about Tendulkar's huge contribution in this knock out match in the first edition of ICC Champions Trophy (also known as Mini World Cup then). Once again, Australians looked set to achieve a big score set by India when the Master Blaster unsettled them with 4 important wickets.

Tendulkar also scored a quality 100 in the match and rescued India when they were in trouble at 8 for 2. This was one of the finest all round performances in ODIs.

3 for 10 vs South Africa at Mumbai in 2000

This is yet another bowling achievement by Tendulkar which hardly received fame. In this test match, South Africans were cruising towards India’s score of 225 as they were 90 for 0. As all frontline bowlers weren’t able to take a wicket, captain Sachin brought himself on and he got three quick wickets for just 10 runs. He had also scored 97 with the bat. India lost the match but they were back in the game because of Sachin’s spell.

3 for 31 vs Australia at Kolkata in 2001

This match is famous for V V S Laxman and Rahul Dravid's out-of-the-world batting display. They brought India back when an innings defeat looked imminent. But Tendulkar's 3 quick wickets at the end played a big role in ensuring India's win. His googly to get the legendary leg spinner Shane Warne out deserves special mention.

5 for 50 vs Pakistan in 2005

This was yet another match where Tendulkar couldn’t do much with the bat but still emerged victorious by taking another five wicket haul. Interestingly, this was another fifer at the same Kochi ground. He destroyed the Pakistani middle order with his leg spinners and occasional medium pace and ensured an easy victory for India. However, we have to admit that he was helped by some bad shots by the batsmen.

Honorary mentions: Tendulkar’s googly to get out Moin Khan in the 2004 Multan Test and his medium fast to clean bowl Brian Lara in the Hero Cup Final in 1993.

By: Keyur Seta

15Apr/180

Why rapes in Kathua & Unnao are gaining so much attention?

The rapes in Kathua in Jammu and Unnao in Uttar Pradesh (UP) have, understandably, shaken us to the core. We would have been deeply affected even if such incidents had happened in a fictitious movie. So, after reading the details of what happened in real, especially in the Kathua case, one is definitely expected to feel for it life-long.

But I can see a lot of people asking as to why only these two rapes have received such widespread coverage and subsequent condemnation. According to them, rapes are a regular occurrence in India. So, why only trend these two cases?

Well, they have a point. As shameful as it may sound, rapes, even of minor girls, keep happening in India. And a lot of them have been disturbingly violent too.

Kathua RapeBut, apart from the fact that the incident happened in a sacred spot like a temple, it is the shocking reactions and actions of both state governments and people involved in the governments that have ensured such massive coverage and trending of these two cases.

For those not in the know, a group called Hindu Ekta Manch openly protested in favour of the people allegedly involved in the disturbingly gruesome rape of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua and that too by waving the tricolor! Worse, they were joined by the two BJP ministers Chaudhary Lal Singh and Chander Parkash Ganga from the state. (Read more HERE)

As far as the Unnao rape is concerned, no action was taken on the accused Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who is a BJP legislator from the state, for more than a year. Worse, when the victim’s father carried out a peaceful protest, he was arrested by the police and he soon died in police custody due to torture. (Read more HERE)

The accused was arrested but only after the High Court literally slammed the UP Government for not taking any action and the victim threatened to commit suicide outside the Chief Minister’s home. (Read more HERE)

When did we last hear about a rally being taken out in support of rape accused with a tricolor which is also attended by those who are supposed to govern us? When did you last year of a situation where instead of arresting the accused, the father of the victim was not only arrested but also beaten to death?

These factors make these two cases more serious and worrying.

By: Keyur Seta

8Apr/180

Salman Khan’s welcome reminds us of the horrors of hero worship

After getting released on bail yesterday, Salman Khan got a heroic welcome in his hometown Mumbai. Such was the delight in the hearts of his fans that a large amount of crackers were busted in celebration. A person alien to the entire Black Buck case would feel that the actor must have done some noble deed to have received such a reception.

Little would he or she know that Salman is actually found guilty of killing endangered species and has only received bail; he is not acquitted of the crime. On top of that, the judge who convicted him is transferred (co-incidence?).

Welcoming a convict by busting crackers is surely shocking. But after a while, it didn’t come as a surprise for me. The reason for this is simple. The same person has been let off of a much serious crime of killing one and injuring four in the 2002 hit-and-run case.

Anybody who has followed this case would know how he was let off. The silliest giveaway was Salman’s driver taking the blame on him all of a sudden 13 years after the crime.

Salman KhanBut the manner in which the prime witness, constable Ravindra Patil, was physically and mentally tortured to death not only points to foul play but also gets you disturbed. (Read Patil’s full story HERE and HERE.)

This point alone is enough to question the mindsets of those who can turn a blind eye to the above incidents and welcome the actor as if he carried out a noble deed for the nation. Unfortunately, a good section of the media is behaving the same way. It is shuddering to think that they are the custodians of the fourth pillar of democracy.

This is the extent to which the disease of hero worship has spread in India.

The usual excuse we get from these blind fans is that Salman has been doing a lot of charity. Now, which law states that a person should be excused from charges of such magnanimous nature if he or she indulges in charity work? For the uninitiated, his charitable trust Being Human was started in 2007, much after he got involved in such crimes.

Watch the fireworks and how Salman asks his robotic fans to sleep:

It is obvious that such bhakts won’t question as to how Salman received bail in just 48 hours when Dr Kafeel Khan is in prison since six months and that too for saving the lives of children during the horrific episode of lack of oxygen in Gorakhpur’s hospital.

I don’t think many of them might even be aware of the incident (read about it HERE, if you are one of them). In fact, there are lakhs of undertrial prisoners who are not even convicted but are still loitering in jails since months and years simply because their name is not Salman Khan.

And yet, the blind fans keep giving the laughable argument that Salman is targeted for being a celebrity when it’s the other way round. If he wasn’t a celebrity, he would have been one of the lakhs of undertrials.

The hero worship disease is not just limited to the fans of actors. It goes for politicians as well. So much so that their ghastly crimes are forgotten just because they possess the quality of uttering scripted lines with style and punches. If they say something you love listening to in their usual heroic way, you are clean bowled!

To think of it, this shows how the job of actors and politicians is the same. Both act in front of the audience and mouth scripted lines. The only difference is that actors admit to acting, although not while being off screen.

But the masses won’t realize this since this disease makes you disconnected with logic. One gets so madly attracted to some quality or style of a celebrity that thinking and reasoning is out of question. It makes you fight or even end relations with your near and dear ones just because they don’t agree with your blind worship.

All this for a person who is not even aware about your existence in the first place.

By: Keyur Seta