The Common Man Speaks

25Feb/180

RIP Sridevi ji: My first and last experience with her

At around 12:30 am today, a couple of chat screenshots were shared in a media What’s App group. It spoke about the death of veteran actress Sridevi. Thanks to the era of hoaxes and the casual tone of the chat, we didn’t take it seriously. It also made me recall how just last week, the death hoax of Sylvester Stallone had made the rounds. Hence, I went to sleep.

All hell broke loose when I was woken up by my brother’s voice announcing the death of Sridevi. Can’t remember the last time I was woken up with such a shock, which was soon overcome by sadness.

But not being in a fully awake state didn’t stop me from recalling that afternoon of July 2, 2017 when I and my brother had the opportunity to interview her (for different publications), although in a group, for her soon-to-be-released Mom. Suddenly it seemed as if it was just recently that we had met her.

People, obviously, dread working on a Sunday. And that day it was pouring badly; monsoon had settled in Mumbai. But who gets a chance to meet such legends again and again? So, I just took off all excited!

Sridevi Generally these interviews happen in hotels. But this one was at Sridevi’s residence. This was another reason to look forward to it. Quite expectedly, her apartment is luxurious. But it wasn’t the kind of modernly furnished home that provide a lifeless feeling despite being rich. I realized it provided a homely feeling as we waited in the drawing room. Her domestic help had welcomed us with respect.

The feel good factor in the home coupled with the high interest to meet Sridevi didn’t make me feel impatient despite waiting for more than a couple of hours. Finally, she walked in. We didn’t expect ‘the’ Sridevi to be wearing such simple attire although her agelessness was clearly visible. It seemed as if nothing much had changed from Mr India to Mom. Her thick-framed glasses added to her beauty.

As soon as she entered, she heartily apologized for keeping us waiting for long. She reasoned that she was caught up elsewhere. This is something you hardly see from big stars… The moment was worth already.

The question and answer session began in a usual way with the actress speaking about her upcoming film with a lot of interest. This is what generally happens in interviews. But this moment was special, not because the interviewee was Sridevi. It was because she is known for hardly speaking anything in the interviews. She has never been comfortable with it.

But that day we saw a changed Sridevi who gave proper long answers. I had sat in the Hindi media group. So, I also got the opportunity to listen to her Hindi. Apart from speaking about Mom and her co-stars, she also went down memory lane and recalled her stint as a child actor when her mother would always accompany her on shoots.

The close-to-25-minutes were spent in a jiffy. Needless to say, it was mandatory to click a picture with her. There was some pleasant surprise in store for us here too. Many a times, big stars prefer giving one group picture. But Sridevi didn’t show any qualms in posing separately with all of us.

Sridevi’s newly developed openness in speaking along with her humility already made me look forward to meeting her in the future. Her fitness level and acting form indicated that she would surely do many more films and would subsequently talk to the media regularly.

But the initial few seconds after I woke up today told me that it was my first and last experience with her.

By: Keyur Seta

READ THE INTERVIEW HERE.

18Feb/182

Gulabjaam (Marathi Movie) Review

Sachin Kundalkar is known for narrating modern stories rooted in traditionalism. He has, especially, maintained this balance in his last three efforts, Happy Journey (2014), Rajwade And Sons (2015) and Vazandar (2016).

He has done the same with Gulabjaam. But this time, he has also bettered his own recipe (which was already pretty good) several notches higher resulting in one of the most delicious dishes one would taste in a long time.

Gulabjaam is about Aditya Naik’s (Siddharth Chandekar) struggle to learn Marathi cuisine in order to open a restaurant in London, where he is settled. He quits his high paying job and secretly visits Pune for his mission. After tasting food from a lunch box, especially gulabjaam, he deeply gets reminded of the food cooked by his mother.

After learning that the lunch box was prepared by Radha Agarkar (Sonali Kulkarni), he instantly decides to learn cooking from her. However, he realizes that the lady is not only a recluse but also rude who doesn’t like anybody’s presence around her. Will Aditya succeed in his mission? Why is Radha the way she is?

Gulabjaam posterIt is rare to see food or cooking being a catalyst to connect two characters in an Indian film.  But it is one of the most unusual and complex relationship to deal with for the writer and director. This is not just because Radha and Aditya are from different age groups and worlds. Their personal journey and diverse natures makes it all the more unlikely for them to form a bond.

To achieve this convincingly and that too with constant humour is the biggest masterstroke here. Plus, throughout the film their relationship remains undefined, which makes it more charming. We don’t often get to see strong and deep relationships that are kept unnamed.

Like Kundalkar’s previous works, Gulabjaam is more like a smooth journey rather than merely a story. You don’t realize when a quirky encounter of two diverse human beings transforms into a tale of deep personal sufferings inspite of the funny and light-hearted mood. The climax might not be ideal for some. But it is certainly garnished with the hope of inner wounds getting healed someday.

The only flaw is the incident of Radha realizing that Aditya has stealthily sneaked into her house and stolen food. One would expect her to scream but she doesn’t. However, the effect of the consequence of this scene makes you ignore it.

Kundalkar has also continued his legacy of getting the technical aspects right. There are numerous moments where one can notice cinematographer Milind Jog’s craft. The background score is unconventional and effective. It follows the important rule of not making the audience realize about its arrival and departure in a scene. The editing also deserves similar praise.

The nature of Radha’s character demanded her home to appear as if it is stuck in a period long gone by. This is achieved perfectly by the art director Poorva Pandit Bhujbal. It would be unfair not to mention food stylists Sayali Rajadhyaksha and Shweta Bapat for their work plays a big role in adding visual quality to the subject.

Sonali Kulkarni and Siddharth Chandekar’s characters are deep and vulnerable, which makes them realistic. But they appear deeply relatable only because of their respective performances. Kulkarni’s act can only be called masterful. She gets the diverse facets like agony and homour with utmost perfection.

With her constant presence, Chandekar might not appear as impressive. But he certainly gets his act of a boyish man constantly trying to move out of his trapped world quite right. Madhura Deshpande, the actors playing Popat and the old lady also impress in the opportunity they get.

Rating: 4.5/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Sachin Kundalkar

Writers: Sachin Kundalkar and Tejas Modak

Producers: Zee Studios and Golden Gate Motion Pictures

Cast: Sonali Kulkarni, Siddharth Chandekar

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 126 minutes

Release date: 16 February 2018

5Feb/180

Photos: Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2018

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is back in 2018! Mumbai might be the only place in the world that waits for the start of February so that the art lovers in the city feel a unique high through this festival. Like every year, the entire street where the festival takes place is full of art structures that speak a lot.

The theme this year is 'Go Green,.' Hence, one will find a number of artworks that remind us of the dangers of global warming and climate change. The most powerful piece is the one where a lot of houses are shown to be built on a tree. Thus reminding us of how we have captured nature and carried out destruction in the name of development.

Here are the pictures from this year's (2018) Kala Ghoda Arts Festival:

(Clicked by Keyur Seta)


 

 

 

 

26Jan/180

Padmaavat Review: Ranveer Singh walks away with glory

Over the years, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has evolved into another genre in itself. Big stars, grand costumes and sets, heavy use of colours, drama, songs and dances are some characteristics of his brand of cinema.

But despite such pleasing factors, there have been times when his films haven’t reached the pinnacle of cinematic satisfaction that it aims. Padmaavat (earlier titled Padmavati and later Padmavat) also falls in this list, unfortunately.

Padmaavat is based on the legendary poem by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi. It tells the story of Rawal Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor), the ruler of Chittorgarh, who, while on an expedition down south, meets the stunning Padmavati (Deepika Padukone). He falls for her and makes her his second wife.

Meanwhile, Aluddin Khilji, ruler of the Khilji dynasty, has acquired the throne of Delhi after murdering his uncle Jalauddin Khilji (Raza Murad). He gets to know about the splendid beauty of Padmavati and heads towards Chittorgarh to set his eyes on her.

Padmaavat DeepikaPadmaavat is one of the most visually stunning films to have come from Hindi cinema. Bhansali’s obsession with minute details is visible throughout. His peculiar use of fire, which is seen in his earlier films, is at the optimum here.

Nitin Chandrakant Desai’s opulent production design too deserves huge amount of credit in recreating different areas of the subcontinent. Like Bhansali’s previous films, he has created a different world for every region. But at the same time, every region is believable.

Bhansali has also displayed his speciality in creating drama, which is ably supported by the background score. But it is Sudeep Chatterjee’s fine camerawork that stands out as far as the technical department is concerned. It adds to the visual quality. The veteran stunt director Sham Kaushal too makes his presence felt. The fight sequence between Rawal Ratan Singh and Khilji deserves mention.

But unlike the filmmaker’s most of the films, the music isn’t as impressive. Songs like ‘Ghoomar’ and ‘Ek Dil Ek Jaan’ fall in the average category. The second one becomes an obstacle in the narrative. ‘Khali Bali’ is an energetic number and the best of the lot. But the weird dance steps don’t let you look beyond. It makes Bajirao’s ‘Malhari’ appear simple and subtle.

Spoilers ahead!

The negative points in Padmaavat are such that they cannot be highlighted without giving away spoilers. Some of Bhansali’s previous films have been guilty of being self-indulgent. The treatment overtakes the main plot, which ensures you don’t feel much for the characters.

Padmaavat Shahid KapoorBut in Padmaavat, character sketches of Khilji and Padmavati and Bhansali’s idea of staying true neither to history nor the epic poem hampers the film the most. There’s nothing wrong with this if the end result is satisfying. It is not in this case.

Going by the historical texts available, Khilji, although villainous, was a ruler with a sharp mind. But Bhansali’s Khilji is an animalistic and impulsive moron who is absolutely incapable of thinking logically. He leaves his kingdom in Delhi and waits outside the vicinity of the Chittorgarh palace just to catch a glimpse of a woman he hasn’t seen ever and that too for months in the heat of Rajasthan!

This certainly doesn’t make him look like a ruler of a kingdom as important as Delhi whatsoever. In other words, Khilji’s portrayal in the film is exactly what Right Wing supporters would love, especially the fringe Rajput groups.

More so, because we are regularly given doses of Rajput valour through dialogues that become redundant an ineffective after a point. Ironically, people claiming to represent them are the ones who have turned violent against the film without even watching it.

The bigger flaw here is the glorification of suicide (even though it is sugarcoated as ‘jauhar’) and the regressive idea of a woman losing her ‘honour’ if held captive or touched by the enemy. It is questionable to see such ideas being dished out at a time when there is constant struggle to free the nation from such dangerous beliefs.

Moreover, the jauhar over here doesn’t go with the character of Padmavati. She is shown to be a warrior who even rescues her husband from the clutches of the enemy. So, to see such a bravehearted person commit suicide without even trying to fight is disheartening and disappointing.

Padmaavat Ranveer SinghPerformances:

Bhansali is known for extracting quality performances from his actors and this holds true for this film too. Ranveer Singh is simply outstanding! He stuns with his dedication to bring alive an animalistic creature every time he appears. Needless to say, his acting graph goes higher with this film.

Deepika Padukone has given one of her best performances, if not the best. It was necessary for her to be the soul of the film and she manages that. She also ensures that the aforementioned flaw in the character remains hidden to some extent. Shahid Kapoor too rises to the occasion and gives a strong picture of a brave ruler. He is clearly the underdog here.

Jim Sarbh also makes an announcement of his supreme talent. His homosexual behavior is so subtle, yet effective. Aditi Rao Hydari and Anupriya Goenka also chip in with decent support. The latter, who plays Ratan’s first wife, should have got more opportunity.

Rating: 2.5/5

Review by: Keyur Seta

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Producers: Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures

Writers: Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Prakash Kapadia

Cast: Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

Music: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

22Jan/180

We have forgotten how this group did worse than Karni Sena just 5 months ago

As we are all aware how the Rajput Karni Sena is violently dictating terms while putting forth their demand to ban Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padamaavat. The protests began in Rajasthan last year but have now spread to various parts of the countries. In fact, there have been continuous reports of violence over the last few days.

Needless to say, they are being allowed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led governments in some states and center to dictate terms. There has been no strict action taken despite the goons creating havoc uncontrollably.

If violence wasn’t enough, threats are being given by Karni Sena women to commit jauhar (self-immolation). The group is led by men and the violence is also created by them but they wish to be safe. How heroic!

However, although the spineless attitude of the governments is sickening, it is certainly not surprising. This is simply because they had made their intentions clear as far as appeasing fringe groups is concerned just five months ago. Strangely, I have not heard anyone recalling this disturbing incident despite its massive similarity with the ongoing Karni Sena crisis.

Karni Sena Padmavati

Picture: Hindustan Times

Self-styled Godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, known for his roles in and as MSG, was convicted of raping two girls in August last year by the Punjab and Haryana Court. Following this, his huge number of followers went on a violent rampage by randomly destroying public and state properties by either vandalizing or setting them ablaze.

What made it even worse was that 30 people were reported dead in the entire chaos by the supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda chief. See the entire timeline of events HERE.

Manohar Lal Khattar, the Chief Minister of Haryana (the same person who has given some shockingly chauvinistic statements and has taken the recent rapes lightly and labeled some as ‘fake’) came under severe fire for allowing thousands of Dera supporters to gather outside the court premises despite knowing their gruesomely violent nature.

You don’t even need to be half intelligent to predict how his mad supporters would react once their hero is pronounced guilty of such heinous crimes. Not just that, Ram Rahim was allowed an entourage of 200 cars while going to the court! The state acted only after severe damage to lives and property took place. The Dera chief is close to the BJP and his supporters are a big vote bank for them.

In fact, the party spokespersons were not even ready to speak against Ram Rahim on news chat shows that night despite him being convicted of rape (the charges against him are far worse, including mass castration). These are the same people who are ready to bash the opposition even for a tweet.

Similarly, right now they are not ready to condemn Karni Sena’s goons, leave alone take action. After all, Rajputs form a large vote bank in the northern and central areas of India.

So, those who are aware of the five-month old history shouldn’t be surprised to see it being repeated.

By: Keyur Seta

14Jan/180

Spielberg’s ‘The Post’ is a loud reminder of the state of media in India currently

Spoilers alert!

The basic message in Steven Spielberg’s The Post comes right at the end when a character says, “The free press is to serve the governed, not the governors.” The sentence provides an overwhelming effect for it summaries the excellent efforts of the film to showcase the true meaning of a free press.

But being an Indian citizen who has been following the media scenario in India over the last decade or so, it also reminded me about the rapid deterioration of the freedom of the press in the country.

The Post is based on a newspaper’s brave efforts in the early 1970s in obtaining and publishing classified documents that reveal how the US had been lying to its people with respect to the Vietnam War. The team of journalists is taken to the court by the government but, astonishingly, the media wins the case. In other words, they are allowed to point out their government's grave offence against the people.

Taking nothing away from the film and the fearlessness shown by the journalists of that era, I feel the challenges faced by the Indian media today are many notches higher (I am talking about true, genuine journalists).

The PostCan you even imagine news of such a humongous nature being reported by a mainstream newspaper or a news channel today? Well, leave alone that, one can’t even print a report about the possibility of corruption by a citizen who happens to be the son of the party head of the ruling party. On the contrary, the publication gets sued for defamation (by the way, the complainant hasn’t been able to prove the charges).

Just recently, an FIR was filed against the reporter of a well-known publication for carrying out an investigative report showing severe security lapse in the entire Aadhaar scheme.

But if you think this is bad, wait for the next. Few years back, a film journalist lost his job for reporting true box office collections of a well-known movie. He spoiled the party of the makers who were circulating fake collections through various mediums.

So, at a time when even film related news gets you sacked, what are the possibilities of our media being allowed to carry out something as earth-shattering as shown in The Post?

Unofficially government-run media:

Government crackdown on the media isn’t the only major hurdle that today. Over the last few years, the concept of unofficially owned news channels has cropped up. Those having watched such channels even for a few days would realize that their main motto is to show the government in good light even when they have been messing things up up left, right and center.

Their loud-mouthed anchors disguising as saviors of the nation would scream out lies till they start appearing like the truth. If a report of such magnitude gets published, these anchors would label the team of reporters as criminals. Anurag Kashyap’s recently released Mukkabaaz has a line which translates to, “Truth isn’t something you know. It’s something people believe to be true.” In fact, anyone having a contrary view is shouted down and labeled anti-national, naxalite, leftist; depending on their mood.

Being an era of internet and social media, the role of government run trolls also cannot be ignored. Its paid troll army would be up in arms and instantly manufacture fictitious links of their reporters with some criminal, terrorist or the opposition parties (opposition = criminals, by the way.) And if a reporter would have been a female, it gets worse.

The Post is a loud reminder of the sorry state of affairs with respect to the freedom of the press currently in India.

By: Keyur Seta

24Dec/171

2017 Mein Meri Yeh Dasha Hui

Ek zamana tha jab mera kad (height) ooncha tha. Lambe kadam chalne mein ek adbhut anand milta tha. Lekin safar ke darmyan dheere dheere mujhe sandeh hua ki kahin mera kad chhota toh nahin ho raha. Agle kuchh varshon mein mera shaq yakeen mein badalta gaya. Aur dekhte hi dekhte is saal mera kad aur bhi chhota ho gaya.

2017 yearKabhi mere kad ko kisi Facebook post ke liye chhota kiya gaya toh kabhi kisi haanirahit (harmless) film ke liye.

Pehle toh jab koi naami vyakti mera istamaal karte the tab mera kad chhota hota tha. Aaj toh aam aadmi bhi agar mera istamaal karen toh agle din mera kad aur chhota ho jata hai. Phir dheere dheere main samaj gaya ki sahi baat kehne par mera kad chhota hote rahega.

Ashcharya ki baat yeh hai ki naak aur gala kaatne waale log bhi mera istamaal karne lage hain, jab ki mera unse koi nata nahin.

Mera kad chhota ho jane ke baavjood main naye varsh ki taraf badh raha hoon. Aaj ki sthiti dekhte hue lagta hai ki 2018 mein mera kad aur bhi chhota ho jayega. Meri lambaai kaatne ke liye naye saal mein bhi log tatpar honge.

Ab main zameen ke star par gir jaaun uske pehle mujhe bacha lijiye. Warna meri anupasthiti mein aapka moolya kisi vastu se zyada na hoga.

Aapki,

Abhivyakti Swatantrata

10Dec/170

Short story: The Kashmiri girl who waited for her father to return

The newspaper vendor at the corner of a quite road in a town in Kashmir was disappointed with not many customers turning up to buy the papers that November morning. He wasn’t surprised though. Who would pay to read the same set of news taking place in the valley?

24 hours ago

Nazia was sitting by the window of their wooden house as dusk neared. The cute 7-year-old was anxiously waiting for her father to return home. At times she would venture out of the house and gaze at the long road ahead. His return would determine whether she would be able to go to school the next day. The principal had given a final warning to Nazia’s parents, who have been unable to pay her fees for that year.

KashmirThe thought itself of not having the company of her friends next day onwards was too depressing for her. Her school was situated right in the middle of few picturesque hills. In fact, the entire town was an epitome of natural beauty. The greenery laden hills turned white during winter after snowfall. The flowerbeds, on the other side, provided perfect compliment.

Kashmir was nicknamed jannat (paradise) for a reason.

Bu the lives of the people from the lower strata of the society, like Nazia’s, didn’t resemble a paradise by any means. With most of the town folk struggling to make ends meet, their inner feeling was complete contrast to the beauty of the town. Just like Nazia’s father, who relied on odd jobs for his family’s survival.

It was a result of the tense political situation in the valley, which can be felt in the air. Clashes between extremists and army had become frequent. ‘Stone pelting’ had lately become the new keyword with regards to the valley.

What made life even tougher was that currently it was the ‘off season.’ November is the time when tourist footfalls decline by a great deal. As a large number of men worked as guides, the off season was no less than hell. So, when they would spot a group of tourists, they would literally hound them. But they can’t be blamed as they have stomachs to fill.

KashmirNazia started getting worried as the sun was about to set. Sundown happens here sometimes even before 5 pm. As she was staring onto the mountain behind which the sun would set any moment, her father emerged in his usual slow walk.

He would always flaunt his red muffler around his neck. His body language and smile told Nazia that his father had managed to get the sum for her school fees. This was confirmed when he happily broke the news after entering the house.

The next day Nazia cheerfully walked to her school. She passed through the newspaper vendor who was disappointed with hardly any newspapers being sold that day. To kill his boredom, he picked up a paper and glanced just to pass his time.

The front page splashed the news of a stone pelting incident that happened in their town the previous day to oppose a political leader’s visit. The picture showed a group of people aggressively pelting stones at a government building. A man standing at the front had a red muffler around his neck.

By: Keyur Seta

Kashmir mountains

3Dec/172

Photos: Shikara ride and Houseboats in Dal Lake, Srinagar

Think about Srinagar and the first thing that comes to your mind is Dal Lake. The capital city of Jammu and Kashmir is completely based around the iconic lake. And once you think about Dal Lake, you automatically see the visuals of the beautiful little Shikaras (boats).

In fact, Dal Lake without Shikara is like body without soul. One can find a large number of them going around the lake in their sweet, own pace. Just like an antithesis to the fast moving world we all are used to. The boats are in different colours, each offering a new dimension to the waters below.

Shikara

The Shikara ride is a soothing experience in itself. The man riding the boat will show no inclination of hurrying up whatsoever, which adds to the serenity. To see other pretty boats passing around you offers a childlike pleasure. Most of the times, the men riding the boat nearby you will offer a smile.

Despite it being a hand ridden boat, the Shikara offers very comfortable seating. There are cushion seats on both sides, with one side offering the luxury of almost lying down while feasting on the view.

A man selling vegetables on his Shikara.

At times, you won’t feel as if you are in the middle of a lake because of the frequent vendors that would pop up regularly. They sell varied range of items like saffron, clothes, dry fruits and vegetables while you will also find professional photographers.

A floating canteen or fast food corner took us by pleasant surprise. To sip Kahwa in the Shikara was quite something. The guy also sells snacks like Maggi, pakodas, Chinese, Pasta and some beverages.

Fast food stall

Fast food stall

The problem area is that the vendors can get too pestering if you refuse to buy. This is seen not only in Dal Lake but in other areas of Kashmir too. The other minus point is that the water of the lake has become quite dirty. But the efforts of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) can be seen in cleaning up the lake daily.

The market

The market

Some distance away at the far end lies a market selling textile and show piece items. There are proper shops, so one is required to alight from the boat to pay a visit.

The green vegetation might appear as if it is floating but the area is actually hard ground. And it is not a wasteland or weed. They grow vegetables in and beneath it.

The vegetation

The vegetation

The Dal Lake also has hundreds of houseboats lined up.  They are proper hotel rooms with all the facilities one would expect. Staying and, most importantly, sleeping in rooms inside a lake is quite an experience. These houseboats don’t float like they do in Kerala.

Houseboats

Houseboats

The Hindi film Mission Kashmir was shot in one of the houseboats here. Being a film buff, the very mention of Kashmir makes me recall the Hrithik Roshan and Preity Zinta starrer. This was the film that enlightened many in the country about Kahwa.

Few more houseboats

Few more

A passing Shikara

A passing Shikara

Pictures and write up: Keyur Seta

19Nov/170

Disclaimer: This short story has nothing to do with Padmavati controversy

The bright and sunny day at the little but picturesque village of Shantigram became all the more delightful for Ramcharan and his team. At the end of the final rehearsals, they all heaved a sigh of relief. Now they were convinced that their puppet show would indeed turn out to be a success.

Ramcharan’s troupe has been working day in and day out to tell an important story from their old folklore. It was the saga of valour of their ancestors that they were eager to show to the people of today’s generation. Abundant wealth and hard work had been put in. But they were sure it will all be worth.

But a rude twist awaited them just a week before their first performance. It came in the form of a team of blood-hungry goons who vowed to make sure the act will never take place. Led by Rankesh, they were infamous for their hooligan methods against those who they felt insulted their culture, tradition, pride and what not. In fact, they don’t even show qualms in killing their ‘enemies.’

Puppet show

Photo courtesy: Griefhealed.com

Rankesh and his pals just assumed that Ramcharan’s team has distorted history in their performance and portrayed their ancestors in ‘bad light.’ The artists tried explaining that they haven’t shown anything of that sort. But Rankesh was adamant. He just won’t let the performance happen.

At night, Ramcharan and his group members went to the village Sarpanch. He and his team were chosen unanimously by the villagers few years back as they expected terrific governance from them. This is what they had promised when they were selected and had even proven it through some of their welfare works.

The Sarpanch couldn’t meet them as he was occupied with something. But he sent a message through his second in command that everything will be taken care of. Ramcharan and others heaved a sigh of relief. That night they slept peacefully after days. Two days to go for the performance now.

Next morning, while they were just about to reach the area of rehearsals, where the stage was already built, they could see Rankesh and his men were already present. They were standing few steps besides the stage brandishing an array of weapons and a smirk on their faces. Ramcharan and the rest could feel their mouths drying up. Will they be the next victims?

Just like clouds suddenly dispersing making way for the sun, the artists saw Sarpanch’s best men charging to the area where the goons stood. What brought Ramcharan and others more confidence was the fact that they too were carrying a wide range of weapons.

The axes, bamboos and spears did a lot of work as the Sarpanch’s men attacked in full force and enthusiasm. However, despite such brutal use of force by Sarpanch’s comrades, Rankesh and his men didn’t even get a scratch.

Seconds later, standing opposite each other, both the parties had a hearty laugh as the stage remained demolished besides them.

Disclaimer: As said in the headline, this story has nothing to do with the Padmavati controversy.

By: Keyur Seta