The Common Man Speaks

14Oct/180

Why MeToo can be a long term solution for both genders across industries

Me Too

Tanushree Dutta’s sexual misconduct allegations against Nana Patekar last month made headlines for days and continue to do so. But we didn’t expect it to be the starting point of a major MeToo movement across India that would empower women to speak up against sexual harassment or rape they were subjected to by people in power.

It is, obviously, not logical to take sides in the Tanushree and Patekar case because we were not present at the spot where the incident allegedly took place. But we can’t deny that this allegation is solely responsible for starting the #MeToo movement.

Nothing is proved in the Tanushree’s case but there have been a number of instances since more than a week where the culprits have accepted their guilt and apologized. There are a couple of major recent cases where neither the allegations are proven nor the accused have accepted their guilt. But going by the inside information I have received, it is not possible to be neutral against them. However, that’s a different story.

It is astonishing how regularly allegations are coming up these days. In fact, in the last week we were on high alert as multiple allegations were popping up after, literally, every few hours.

The effect of the victims speaking up has been so strong that director Sajid Khan and Patekar had to step down from their ambitious project Housefull 4. It also compelled one of the biggest stars of India, Akshay Kumar, to take a stand and cancel the shoot of the film. In a latest update, Khan has been removed from the film and replaced by Farhad Samji.

MeToo

This is the extent to which the #MeToo has sent shockwaves across the film industry. This means that the predators would now think 10 or more times before committing any such acts. Who knows when their screenshots, pictures or videos would be out and their reputation tarnished.

The victims were able to speak up because of the effect of social media. Going by this and the fact that the victims have finally found the courage to speak up, it is not going to stop them from naming and shaming the perpetrators from here on. Social media also provides an option of exposing someone by being anonymous, as we have seen in recent cases. Hence, if the naming and shaming continues, it might change the scenario drastically.

#MeToo can also be used in incidents like casting couch. Asking sexual favours in return for a role is also sexual exploitation. A friend of mine, who was once a struggling actress in regional cinema, was told by a director on chat, “I can give you the role if you become my girlfriend for some time.” If the victims in such cases start sharing screenshots of such chats, it might well create fear in the minds of those who indulge in casting couch.

God forbid if the moment dies down in the coming weeks, there will always be this danger for the perpetrators of someone exposing their misdeeds any time in the future. After all, social media is here to stay.

The word ‘me’ is gender neutral. So, it can be used by men too who often get harassed or exploited. Also, it is not at all necessary for the movement to be restricted to the film industry alone. Harassment happens across industries and is not just limited to sexual. A boss targeting his subordinate by making him/ her work extra hours or verbally abusing him/ her also comes under harassment.

There is a lot that can come under #MeToo.

However, like many other things in the world, this initiative also has a flipside. One thing that can severely damage the movement is fake accusations; either to take some sort of a revenge or for any other reason. Fake claims can destroy whatever good the movement has done so far.

The last thing we need is political stooges using #MeToo to gain brownie points over their political opponents.

By: Keyur Seta

6Oct/180

Andhadhun Review

The very first scene of Andhadhun is about a rabbit trying to save his life from a hunter. The film then moves onto the main story while you wonder about the relevance of the first shot. It is brought in later during a crucial moment. This scene and several others are enough to guess that this is a Sriram Raghavan movie.

Andhadhun takes place in Pune where Akash (Ayushmann Khurrana) lives a simple life as a blind piano player. He ‘accidentally’ meets a bubbly young girl Sophie (Radhika Apte). They become close and she gets him employed at a bar as a musician-cum-singer. The place is owned by retired actor Pramod Sinha (Anil Dhawan), who was a star during his heydays.

Sinha requests Akash to do a private concert at his residence for him and his wife Simi (Tabu). Akash’s single visit at Sinha’s residence changes his life forever.

Mainstream Hindi cinema is guilty of using loud background sounds to provide thrill. This largely happens when the script lacks thrill. But like most of his films, Raghavan just lets the subtle unfolding of the story provide natural thrill. The background score, which is smart over here, is only a by-product.

Andhadhun posterThe first half of Andhadhun is full of mysterious moments. The twists and turns stun as well as provide laughter. Although the humour is dark, it never gets into the depressing zone. It is not often that the proceedings bring out different emotions at the same time. For example, the situation of Akash is helpless but it provides thrill as well as humour at the same time.

Andhadhun is also one rare film which could be understood even by those who don’t know Hindi. Very few Hindi films let the visuals narrate the story in such an effective manner.

After such an exciting first half, one would, naturally, expect the same experience later. However, the thriller quotient reduces a bit post-interval and a couple of events appear questionable. Thankfully, the climax makes up for it. The very last shot is a masterstroke.

I personally feel all of Raghavan’s films fall in the James Hadley Chase zone, excluding Agent Vinod (2012), in terms of the story, narrative and characters. Andhadhun also lies right there.

The technical aspects are top notch. K U Mohanan’s edgy camerawork adds to the thrill. A lot of the background music is piano sounds as it goes with the subject. The scene where a serious crime is taking place while soft piano sounds are played in the background brings back memories of how the romantic song ‘Kuchh Toh Hai Tujhse Raabta’ is played out during a shootout scene in Agent Vinod.

The songs are decent you don’t really care about the music in such films. The promotional title song is impressive and catchy but it isn’t used in the film and rightly so. It wouldn’t have suited the end credits.

The actors have lived up to what was expected of them. Ayushmann Khurrana is thoroughly believable as a mysterious artist. This wasn’t an easy performance by any means but he is up to the task. Radhika Apte is effective as a fiery young girl.

Tabu has a much bigger role, which required her expertise. Her act will be talked about for long. Anil Dhawan, who makes a comeback, leaves behind a terrific impact despite the short length of his role. He provides unintentional laughter too, which was intentional. Manav Vij lives his evil character and speaks through expressions.

Other supporting actors like Zakir Hussain and Chhaya Kadam also chip in with mature performances.

Overall: Andhadhun is an exciting thriller that has a stamp of Sriram Raghavan’s genius all over. The film hasn't opened to a good number at the box office. But its collections should rise in the days to come.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Sriram Raghavan

Producers: Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Matchbox Pictures

Writers: Sriram Raghavan, Arijit Biswas, Pooja Ladha Surti, Yogesh Chandekar and Hemant Rao

Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Radhika Apte, Tabu, Anil Dhawan, Manav Vij

Music: Amit Trivedi, Raftaar and Girish Nakod

Genre: Thriller

Runtime: 138 minutes

22Sep/180

Manto released in the week when freedom of expression succumbed to a new low

Nandita Das’ Manto, which is a biopic on the literary genius Saadat Hasan Manto, is based in the late 1940s and early 1950s. But after watching the Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Rasika Dugal starrer, it doesn’t come across as a period film.

No, this is not a criticism towards the production design or any creative side about the film. The situation of the protagonist wherein he is made to look like a criminal for merely showing the mirror to the society reminds us of the current times. This is unfortunate as it reflects how little has changed in these 70 years after Independence.

This is not the only aspect about the film that portrays today’s era in the imaginary parallel screen inside your mind. There is a moment when the editor of a newspaper advises Manto on writing something halka-phulka (light-hearted) this time around because truth hurts.

In one scene, Manto tries making an audience understand how past invaders are blamed every time we question the authorities about the current pressing issues. This appears right out of the silly comments made by quite a few ‘leaders’ who blame the Mughals, British or Pandit Nehru for the current mess they have created.

Manto elaborates his point by passionately telling the people, “Sab peechhe dekh rahe hain, lekin aaj ke kaatil lahu aur lohe se tareekh likhte ja rahe hain.”

But the audience doesn’t take him seriously. They symbolize those who have become puppets in the hands of loud-mouthed ‘news’ anchors who can create enemies of the nation at their will in order to hide the dark acts of some people.

Manto poster

Apart from the content, the time of the release of Manto turned out to be the most ironical one could imagine. The film arrived just in the week when suppression of freedom of expression succumbed to a new low.

Earlier this week, Salman Khan changed the name of his upcoming production from Loveratri to Loveyatri after a lawyer and fringe organizations objected to it for allegedly hurting ‘religious’ sentiments.

Soon after, the producers of Manmarziyaan made three cuts in the film because some Sikh organizations objected to it. As per the director of the film Anurag Kashyap, he was not even informed about it.

Abhishek Bachchan, who plays one of the leads in Manmarziyaan, justified the cuts yesterday at an event and went onto say that he has no problems with it (read more about it HERE).

What has come as a rude surprise is that the producers of both films readily agreed to the demands without trying to defend their rights as artists, leave alone showing any fight. More importantly, there were hardly any serious protests; nowhere near to what happened with Udta Punjab (2016) and Padmaavat (2018).

If the big names of the industry are ready to succumb even in front of minor protests, spare a thought for a low budget independent filmmaker who can be victimized even for an actor’s hairstyle. To say that they have set a dangerous precedent is a mild way of putting it.

They have ensured that Manto shall,  unfortunately, remain relevant even 70 years from now.

By: Keyur Seta

2Sep/180

10 Years of A Wednesday: A film that gave an identity to me and this blog

When I went to see Neeraj Pandey’s directorial debut A Wednesday in 2008 in Dadar’s Chitra Theatre, I was expecting to see a thriller about a terrorist’s plot of carrying out multiple blasts in Mumbai being foiled by a bunch of good guys. I expected it to be a regular formula thriller, but it turned out to be the experience of a lifetime personally.

The film, which starred Naseeruddin Shah, Anupam Kher, Jimmy Shergill, Aamir Bashir and Chetan Pandit starrer, completes 10 years on September 5, 2018.

During the interval point, I was convinced that I am in for some thrill. I was crazy for action or dramatic thrillers back then and used to watch every film in that genre including Acid Factory [2009] and Woodstock Villa [2008] (don’t judge me).

But when Shah’s character revealed his true intentions and identity as the 'Stupid Common Man,' I was not only thrilled but also pleasantly shocked and blown away. His long monologue with hard-hitting and moving dialogues mesmerized me like anything (I still watch that scene regularly).

There must be very few occasions when I must have rooted this much for any fictional character to survive. I heaved a sigh of relief when Kher’s character lets him go. There is no denying that apart from the brilliance of the film, the subject struck an emotional chord for the Indian or Mumbaikar in me.

A Wednesday poster

I also respect A Wednesday for subtly rubbishing religious and other such identities by not revealing the name of Shah’s character. “Insaan naam ke saath mazhab jod leta hai,” is what is said.

As a person, I have always been comfortable living a simple life and enjoying the simplest of joys without caring or needing any sort of luxuries. There has also been this desire to bring a change in the society, which I hardly ever express. But I didn’t know how to describe myself for following such an ideology. Well, A Wednesday helped me out with that. The Common Man it was!

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

Of course, it was the great R K Laxman that brought out the concept through his iconic cartoons. I was introduced to it much before I saw A Wednesday. But somehow it took this movie for me to latch onto the title. Maybe the power of the audio-visual medium turned out to be higher than cartoons.

Less than a year later, when I started this blog, its name came extremely easy to me.

But apart from giving me and my blog an identity, A Wednesday also made me realize the power of an ordinary man (read: humans). Normally one would expect a good looking, strong ‘hero’ with muscles to carry out the task of killing terrorists. But here was a man in his old age managing that even after his plan going haywire in between.

Not that I have been able to realize any such power till now. Maybe someday I might.

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

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

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