Monday, June 15, 2009

Dhoni ki dhulayi ho gayee

This appeared in Bombay Times this morning :

Don’t Mess with the Press….

Media as Monster?? Take two recent high profile cases. Sheetal Mafatlal’s and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s. Till very recently, both were the absolute darlings of fawning journos who behaved like greedy puppies in their presence. Suddenly, the two of them have dropped from grace and are being pilloried by the same presswallas who had propped them up in the first place. I am more interested in tracking the Dhoni saga, since Dhoni is a national figure with an international fan following running into millions. Sheetal remains a local celeb. A Mumbai society girl, who makes great pics ( in and out of jail). All it took for Dhoni’s halo to lose its sheen, was one unguarded remark, a glare, and a sharp rebuke when questioned about Sehwag’s shoulder injury. I watched that particular press conference carefully, and could anticipate what would follow. Dhoni’s body language was aggressive, and his standard post-match charm was totally missing. Instaed, he chose to be belligerent and defensive by turn, and ended up putting both feet into his mouth. Mar gayaa, I said to myself. The guy’s had it.
Sure enough, the press came down on him like a ton of bricks…. And I guarantee you, no amount of damage control can help after that single outburst. Whether or not Dhoni covers himself with untold glory from this point on, whether or not we clinch the T20 ( at the time of writing, we had still to make the semis), Dhoni is a marked man. Unfortunately, this is how the cookie crumbles. The press can be particularly harsh and unforgiving towards idols they themselves have created. Dhoni gave himself away when he briefly lost it and challenged the press (“ You are accusing me of leaking news ?”). At that point there was no such accusation…. but he inadvertently gave the game away. Huge mistake. Countless tv debates followed with several experts voicing their two bits’ worth on whether or not Dhoni should have said what he did. The consensus was that Dhoni should have kept his trap shut. Bishen Singh Bedi put it in the right context when he said, “ A captain must always maintain his cool.” Others agreed and added that it is imperative for a captain to remain in control at all times – particularly so during a crisis. I agree. But Dhoni is a young, hot- blooded athlete, not a paunchy, seasoned politician. He is human, he too can get provoked, and surely we can make some concessions for a sportsman who has otherwise conducted himself admirably?? Apparently not!!

Which brings me to Sheetal. Let me state it bluntly – I am on her side. Not her personally or specifically. I would have been on anybody’s side who had been singled out for an offence that others have waltzed away from after paying a fine. Sheetal is no spring chicken. She is a businesswoman and she, more than most people, must know the rules. Ignorance is no defence. Even so… why detain and jail her?? That seemed a pretty vicious thing to do, vindictive, too. And perhaps it was an over- zealous interpretation of the law. Unless the authorities know something we don’t. And they plan to go public with the damaging information\evidence at a later date. As of now, Sheetal stands accused of flouting gold import rules. In the past, even the Bachchans have been detained for non-declaration of dutiable luxury items to the tune of one crore of rupees and more. They weren’t marched off to jail. They were fined. I can think of several others – Adar Poonawala, Suresh Hiranandani etc. So,why was Sheetal targeted for this extra special treatment?? Who was out to fix her? Mind you, I have no sympathy for her kind who often allow their arrogance to get the better of good sense and believe they are above and beyond the law. Sheetal will now get entangled in complex court proceedings, and chances are, her professional credentials as a brand ambassador for an international fashion house, will be damaged permanently. All for a few pieces of gold ( not even 24 –carat, as it emerges). Once again, it was the rottweiler –style mediawallas she ran foul of. Moral of the story?? Don’t mess with the press. Or else…right Dhoni??
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I am in a state of shock! Shiney? And rape?? I have always been a Shiney Ahuja fan. The guy is a far better actor than most of the duds hanging around. Better looking, too. Why would he rape an 18 year-old -maid working in his home as a temp? He has a lovely wife, a cute daughter... but then again, who knows what beast lurks beneath the veneer of a gentleman? His wife insists the man is being framed. The police say he has 'confessed'. The maid has added that he threatened to kill her. The story gets murkier by the minute. Chances are Bollywood biggies will turn their backs on Shiney. In their eyes he is a nobody. Shiney isn't a star son. Nor does he belong to any known camp. He hasn't sucked up to any of the Khans or Bachchans either. If anything, his co-stars have accused him of being distant and unfriendly. He has always stayed away from those typical filmi set ups - no partying-shartying, no groupies, no punch ups, no courting presswallas. That's why I liked the chap. Found him attractively aloof... a brooder. Troubled and intense. Our very own James Dean. And now this mess! Am hoping against hope the maid is a conniving b**** and not a helpless sexual victim of a star's passing fancy. Shiney is certainly not the first 'star rapist' in Bollywood. Let's see how many dirty secrets tumble out now that the Pandora's Box has been opened.

32 comments:

kala said...

One bad game and one bad press conference will not make Dhoni a bad captain. But his decisions like selecting certain players for certain tasks will ultimately prove detrimental. Afterall it is only a game. Sheetal made all the others more careful. When a celebrity is punished, it sends a very strong message across. No celebrity will ever be kept in jail or judicial custody for more than a day or two except someone unfortunate like Parle Rajan. It is the poor and the ordinary people who are locked up for years without trial. Shiney and the maid. It may be a case of blackmail by the maid or Shiney might have actually committed the crime. Will the truth ever come out?

varry said...

As for Shiney's case --- the question is will the truth be out? Be it Salmaan khan;s case or sanjay dutt's. At the end they all go scot free. Why shud Shiney be an exception ? Yes he might need to shell out some cash, I think this is precisely what the maid must hav asked him to do. But unfortunately , Shiney will have to do tat after the damage is done.

krish said...

hy de....

" conniving bitch" to stong dear.....hold yr emotions ....end of the day if we are talking abt RAPE or to presume if it was an act of passion with consent .......tell how many men go sleeping with their maids......i find it amusing for women to be conniving..... for sex/men .(Rightly put one more story for the media which wud make or break many lives......end of the day shiney wud still shine after a few years in jail (lets not forget sanju baba)......wht abt the " conniving maid" ......

Luv

Kris

krish said...

and before i forget .......am being a feminist like u......why cast a shadow over the girl.....just bec she is frm a diffnt background ????????

luv u

gb said...

why don't u stop discussing people? u should put up your own experiences of life and the places u visit. discussing individuals threadbare is not good at all. i am a great fan of yours and love your books and articles but this part of your character i don't appreciate. I prefer Mr.Bachan's blog who always is with himself and puts forth his own emotions to his EFs. He tells about the places he visits, the people he meets, the shows that he attends etc.etc. but he does not operate the characters of people. i suggest u to stop operating people's character and image. make your writings more thoughful, motivational and ground to earth.
g.b.pathak

kala said...

The facts are coming out. The maid may be the victim. Just because the actor is goodlooking and talented does not make him automatically Framed. You are a woman and yet how can you be so harsh towards that maid? Is it reverse discrimination on your part? We all hope that Shiney is not the rapist. Even if it is done with consent, it does not speak well of a much married man and that too with his own staff.

pooja raathore said...

Dear SD,
I too feel the same about shiney Ahuja very good actor i was shocked to hear the news... let see what happens...let truth come out whatever it is.

numerounity said...

That was a bad defeat...

In today's news the coach blamed it all on the fatigue rate of players who are still recovering from the IPL adventure!!!

Shiney Ahuja story is sad...BUt unlike u, i am not feeling if the maid is wrong. I guess she has been wronged.

Sheetal Mooh-fat-laal may loose her assignments and definitely a lot has been planted to bring her to hyper treatment but the actual fault is hers...Now don't tell she didn't knew the custom ka customs...sigh!!!

VIVEK said...

Dhoni...the poor chap is paying the price for not being media-friendly... Media has grown to such heights that it can easily take one to the top of the world and send him down even faster. A couple of bad matches and all fingers are pointing at Dhoni. He has even apologized!! If the gambles you took had worked out, then the so called "experts" would have hailed Dhoni...Now questions would be raised at his batting, captaincy, endorsements etc etc....It reminds me of the hard days Sourav Ganguly had to face.

Zeba Talkhani said...

Bechara Dhoni.

And I just found out about shiney ahuja thingy. Very sad actually. I was under the impression that he was the first to be accused of raping. Police found proof apparently.

anamika said...

Sheetal Mooh-fat-laal case is surely over hyped but I heard one of her close relative complained of her smuggling gold which led to a bigger destruction rather then cheating custom authorities.
As far as Dhoni is concerned since the beginning of IPL i was noticing Dhoni being overburdened with his captain responsibility.Guy always believed that only he can make him team win.This was proved by his and sehwag altercation episode.Dhoni believe in his own capability more then his team.He was over expecting from himself,confused and heated up as things were not going his way.Guy really needs to re introspect now as now whole media is analyzing his fault.

Shiney is a big surprise and now as he has confessed having consensual sex then it really appalled me. An actor who can easily get girl outside why on earth he will resort to this thing that too in his home.
Either maid was so attractive that he lost complete control that really seems surprising to me.

omsherryom said...

if Dhoni is hounded by presswalahs then it is the media that is at fault, not dhoni. Dhoni is the only player who stood all challenges boldly and with humility....a defeat is a part of game....double standard journos (now u are sounding like that too)luves these situations. U quoted Bishen Bedi the most fincky of cricketers who put his foot in his mouth everytime he speaks. Media desrves what Dhoni said to them. What Big B usually do to them. These media persons who create hooop=hallah are the ones who r in media as they are not fit for anyother job. They are in media b'cause of mazbooori and not for the bettrment of 4th pillar of democracy.

tejasonnet said...

I am regular reader of your blog. I am little surprised that still not any reply from you on "Surat Shameful gang rape." Waiting for your view on this shameful event

Christine said...

Hi Shobhaa,
The Shiney sage is quite shocking.I agree with you and hope the maid's lying through her teeth for publicity or whatever.But, "breaking news" reports online state that the rape kit's come back positive.
If this is proved true, it would just show that you can never really judge a person's character- him of all people.. just never seemed that way.

*Aham* said...

Dhoni...Sheetal

These are fashionable names. And its even more fashionable to always blame the media. No id not blame the media completely. yes, there are certain sections of the media that are funny. But i feel its more to do with the whole system than the media alone.


Sheetal, im with her too. Even if she did frisk away with all that heera and sona... she must have because this would be a commonality.

-----------------------------------
Ohh About "Shiney Being BaiSexual "

there is a chance that this guy is duped, agreed. but still, even if there is an iota of truth in what the Bai says. Im with her and so will you be I know.

Now that things are unclear, id trust the Bai more. I feel men with their libido, are capable of anything. And everything at times. Shiney would definitely walk off, dust himself and move forward. Irrespective of what the truth is.

Shiney, i believe has starry tantrums and antics too.

or let me put it this way, Id not stand against Shiney, but for the bai.

A lot of my friends have confessed in my growing up years that they have given a lot of Bai-Chara to do things with them. its a commonality. To have illicit relationships with Bai's.

Vee said...

Well, I am no Shiney fan but I don't hate him either. I am just indifferent to him. But the reasons you have produced to call the maid a b**** are so flimsy. Just cuz he is all that you have mentioned makes the girl a b****. I am aghast at your reasoning. I am not favoring her or not making sides like you. One of them is lying and I wonder if we ever will get to know that; but how can some one of your stature could take a side without any concrete results.

Secondly, why did you say just cuz others were left off with a fine, Sheetal should have been too? What kind of statement is that? Its as good as sucking upto it.. She is not wrongly detained but once again your reasoning fails.

Roshni said...

Dear Mrs De,
Even I was surprised to find out you taking the side of shiney ahuja......what if the maid' version is really the truth....Shiney is no God and he might have committed the rape....is it fair to be prejudgemental?

mystiquedew said...

Sheetal shud not be accused? quite condescending!

As for calling the girl a bit**. Gawd! she is barely 18.

Sidhusaaheb said...

Well, coming to think of it, Dhoni might actually lose an endorsement or two on account of recent occurrences. Beyond that, I don't see him or his career suffer any permanent damage on account of the negative press, provided he continues to attain cricketing success.

As for Ms. Mafatlal, it was unlucky for her that she had to be the one who had to be made an example of, but as you have written, the fines were not really enough of a deterrent to the rich and famous who choose to be smugglers as well.

In Shiney's case, forensic evidence, including but not limited to DNA tests, may help establish whether intercourse took place. However, if it did, there is no way to find out whether it was consensual or not and Shiney may be declared guilty solely on the basis of the maid's statement, irrespective of whether it is true or false.

Riaz-NJ said...

May be another wrong judgement here, "maid is a conniving b****" !!!! what does the dna evidence say ? Oops... may be then THEY complain that enough number of women are not represented yet... (high time to go on another vacation...!!!)

Balvinder Singh said...

Frankly speaking, i don't think that any single, unarmed man can rape a fully concious, able bodied female. He can molest but not rape in the real sense of the term. They say that a man is very weak when he is hard. So what stops the victim to hit him squarely in his ba..s when he is in the act.

Having watched Dhoni talking tough to the media during his press conference, i had concluded that he was going to have it from them for next couple of days. I think the safest words during any media questioning these days is "NO COMMENTS PLEASE".

Nandini said...
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Mystique said...

u hope the maid is a conniving bitch?? why just because he is a good actor. I am sure there are plenty of good actors who have committed crimes..
rape is a serious crime and if shiney is guilty he should be punished (though of course rich people can get out of anything so i don't think he'll be punished). I mean ya its possible that he didn't actually rape her and just had consensual sex with her but the guy could get any girl why is he sleeping around with the maid..
I am actually hoping Shiney gets busted i am tired of watching celebrities go free everytime..

athi said...

I actually like shiney, the actor and the person, cos he isnt very much everywhere like everyone else. Probably a very self-involved person. I was shocked with the way shiney was dragged by the police. If he is wronged, I really hope he comes out unscathed. But I guess the harm is already done.

athi said...

Another thing I would like to bring to the notice of everyone here whos cribbing is that this blog is independently shobhas. If you find it partial, you can choose not to read. And I think I would rather read what one has to say about others rather than a self-involved self-promoting commercialized blog.

smooth and rippled.... said...

hellow..im an ardent reader of ur posts n articles..
but i have to admit i'm rather surprised at ur reaction to the whole shiney incident..
having been an admirer of the actor myself, i was sickened to know that an actor like him who is educated and married, did something as heinous as what he did to his 'helpless' maid.. i admire her courage to speak out against a star.. probably this is a beginning to justice finally percolating to the lower strata of the society..

darklordreturns said...

This is my first time here.. I came across your blog and I was like.. 'Is this really SHOBHAA DE writing'?! And I must say, the blog certainly didn't dissapoint.. Like your books, they are just as witty, smooth and politically incorrect! The "signature" SD style! Very, very charming..

kala said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kala said...

Shobhaa is not always politically incorrect. She usually gives support to right causes like writing against attacks by Rama Sene on Mangalorean pub going girls, Australean race attacks, supporting wholeheartedly pink chaddie campaign, Mallika sarabhai and other such causes and people. She even criticised Sanjay dutt when he wanted to contest the elections. This time she was overcome by extreme emotion. It may be in our mindset. Maids are generally treated condescendingly like some necessary evil and celebrities are treated like demi gods who make mistakes which should be forgiven because they entertain us. And the saddest part is maids can be bought with lots of money and everything is forgotten and forgiven. As time passes every incident gets blurred and Shiney may shine in films or in politics. And most Indians cannot do without maids. From a family which earns a few thousand rupees to a family which earns crores, we cant do without maids. It is strange that even with all the modern gadgetry we still require maids and servants to take care of us, our homes, our children and elders sometimes with disastrous consequences.

Jogeshwar said...

Good to know you are on my side as well, don't even think I have commited any offence. I was thrown out of my sport by my coach, that too after my Father passed away, she backed this with a lie, weak and a pathetic reason. I still wonder why?

It is a harsh reality in sports, as long as you performing well in sports people sing praises for you like anything, when you slip a little they think you are finished, you will never hit the peak again.
Lance Armstrong met with similar fate, when he had cancer he was written off by his team Cofidis, after his recovery he won tour de france seven times in a row. My point is that we must have faith in our sportsmen.

curtainz_fire said...

I wonder why people are making a big issue outta it. He should be seen as others be done. deducting celebrity part he s just a human like us. So in a way to punish,criticize or any damn thing he should be treated like an ordinary chap!

Mona said...
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