Monday, March 1, 2010

Like the Interim Budget...an Interim column!

Guys... stupid, super-conscientious me!! We were taking a flight to Bhuvaneshwar at the crack of dawn on the 27th. And there I was keying in this column at close to midnight on the 26th.. Today is Holi - not my favourite festival - I refer to it as ''legitimised leching." Yesterday, We were in a totally different zone, reliving the enchantment of looking at a jumbo sized full moon rising above the magnificent Jagannath Temple at Puri. Just a few hours earlier, I had addressed 10,000 tribal children in a school a few kilometres away from the city centre at B'War. It is the only such school in Asia, and is run by an extraordinary individual called Dr. Achyuta Samanta. These children from the poorest of poor areas of Orissa will never be the same again - their lives have been transformed forever. Would you believe it, thanks to the intervention of an enthusiastic rugby coach from England who came to B'War to teach the game to these kids , they now play rugby across the world - and hold your breath, have won the under-14 world championship! I met the respective captains of the Boys' and Girls' teams. Their body language said it all! Confident, upright, ready to take on the world. These kids live on a fantastic campus and the entire funding for their education is taken care of by Dr. Samanta's incredible revenue model. If you want to find out more about the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), you can log onto www.kissorissa.orgn

I desperately want Dr. Samanta's highly inspirational story ( from penury to creating two outstanding institutions KISS and the impressive KIIT University) to be made into a film by someone like Vidhu Vinod Chopra. I had sent all the material on him to Vidhu's wife Anu, a few weeks ago. But this is when divine signs kick in - last night at Anil and Tina Ambani's glittering function to announce BIG Films ( studded with BIG stars - Mr. B with his parivar, SRK, Rekha, Sridevi .....)I ran into Vidhu and Anu again. I spoke to them about what I had seen and experienced at KISS first hand the previous day. They looked impressed... and interested. The rest is in Lord Jagannath's hands.

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Pranabda – Superstar!

Amazing how rapidly perceptions change about people in power. People like Pranabda who is the reigning Superstar of the Financial Box Office right now. India was going gaga over just two individuals last week – Sachin and Pranab – in that order. Sachin created cricket history, while Pranab knocked the socks off corporate India with a Budget that was universally ( if one can overlook that unnecessary walkout by the Opposition) dubbed progressive and pro-growth. The India story is suddenly looking pretty good, thanks to these two men. In a strange way, both their respective achievements are very much for the ‘aam janata’ and their constituencies are the same . Brand Sachin has no equal. It is extraordinary how fine- tuned that brand is. Unlike others striving to get into the elite list of top brand ambassadors, Sachin has picked his ads meticulously, even brilliantly. Not a single endorsement is out of sync with what he stands for in the minds of a billion plus Indians. I cannot think of anybody who would dare challenge Sachin’s supremacy in his chosen field. As a sports’ star he has no equal.Ditto for his private life. With his squeaky clean reputation, all he now needs is a halo.
In Sachin, one can see the perfect balance between tradition and modernity. This was on my mind as I had participated in a lively debate on the subject in Bangalore, and shared views with Karan Johar, along with other eminent people. Take Karan. Another wonderful example of someone who has managed to marry tradition and modernity in his films and life. He has taken several startling and bold decisions, when he could have stuck to a safe and lucrative trajectory, making mushy romances his loyal audiences adored. But something within him changed all of that and he put his money where his heart is by making films like MNIK and KANK. I was fascinated with the narrative, since we took the same flight back to Mumbai, and managed to cover a lot of ground, most of it about the perplexing but entirely enticing world of movies. During the panel discussion, Karan had candidly and transparently admitted that his earlier films embarrassed him as they were rather ‘silly’ and ‘illogical’. It takes confidence and guts to say so in public. He also said he took criticism in his stride, which is one hell of a bonus in an industry filled with thin skinned people, suffering from delusions of grandeur. I watched as he willingly signed autographs at the airport and posed with complete strangers who gushed and cooed about how much they admired him and how they’d adored MINK. At one point, he turned to me and grinned , “ See….. this is why we make movies.” If he is aware of his considerable star value, he doesn’t show it.Significantly, he remains on great terms with practically everybody in Bollywood, with not a harsh thing to say about anyone. His insights into people, especially Bollywood’s leading ladies (I’m not telling!) are sharp and incisive, but never malicious. This is a fine art and Karan has mastered it instinctively. He confessed he was nervous about his latest avatar – Karan has just turned into a B.T. columnist ( welcome to the club, honey!) . Nervous and Karan?? I half-believed him! When Karan takes on something, you bet he has thought it through. I told him he’d be great at it, given that he is essentially a writer – a bloody good one, at that. But he was wondering about an entirely different problem - would he be able to keep it up, week after week after week?? Sustain a column and hold his readers’ interest, the way he does his viewers’? Aaaah – now there’s a challenge for you KJO. Tell me about it five years down the line. Then we’ll talk!

31 comments:

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Karan-naturally best with words And i.e., a personality to watch to listen.
Film-maker - current generation one of the best.
Re.: writing columns
As long as he is happy it is good but I guess He is the best with subjects related to silver-screen And he should concentrate/focus on that only. If scripts - better. He selects good writings I guess. And maybe He will write good too.
And more than that it seems He is having a heart. Few weeks back I saw him along with Amit ji on a show having tears within eyes And that was touching.
Karan,
Whats your next upcoming movie?
Waiting...

Anonymous said...

Oh I met you there !!! And I was lucky enough to get an autograph.By the way Happy Belated M. Anniversary.I would like to highlight one of the disgusting facet of 'That "Starry" Evening'. The way you were addressed by the dean was shit embarrassing. "SHOBHNAA DE". WTF !!! Even the basic protocol of a function was not maintained. Hell !!!

My journey said...

Hiy Shobha Mam, Great to know that they liked the story of Orissa's poor kids. Hope they make movie and spread the love for their poor child!!bw Happy Holi ;)

sunil golcha said...

hi shobha
good to hear something positive happening in a state like orissa but the trouble in india is there are no takers / sponsors for sports like rugby indians will remain obsessed with cricket only

Madhu said...

Ms De, I always wondered what is stopping you from writing a book on all the wonderful instances you come across on a regular basis? No, I am not talking about the books like you had written after you turned 50. Take this tribal kids example; I am sure they would have inspired you in some way and you might (perhaps) look back, or shall we say, fall back to these examples in times of weakness. Ordinary people, yet extraordinary in many ways...I hope you know what I mean.

Making a film and all is great but nothing beats a book and a first hand experience. I am really looking forward a book from you, where in some of the most ordinary moments have brought in a comfort/lesson which stayed with you even now.

P.S: I still didn't read Sandhya's Secret. I wonder why you don't let your books release in Canada! I wish you did. None of my friends are able to get hold of this book here in Canada.

PS said...

I have gradually developed respect for KJo, I hated KKHH and K3G but stated loving his story telling with KANK. For me KANK is his best creation so far. He handled MNIK very well, message was good and everything but last 30 mins ruined all the fun for me.
As somebody already mentioned, Karan is great with words, at times politically TOO correct but that's another point, he is capable of writing a great column. But as you said Shobha real challenge is consistently delivering the best. Let's see.

bindu said...

I've always admired KJo for his gift of rhetoric.I've yet to see a
movie of his as I'm not a hindi film buff.Am looking forward to reading his coloumns when I come to
Mumbai.

RAJ47 said...

Great post.
Great service to the nation by Dr Samanta and ofcourse you!
The link is .org .

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no signal said...

Budgets themselves were very dangerous thing. Now these UPA fellas commin up with two of them every year. :/

*Aham* said...

Vidhu Vinod Chopra is a damn skilled director/ producer... his films parinda and 1942- a love story were way ahead of its time in terms of technical finesse. and real like character always inspired him. All his characters are very real... hope he keeps it up.

***********************************

Sachin is a real brand. And i too love the way he manages himself. to be one of India's biggest stars and also to come across as some one very approachable... is a very difficult thing to achieve.

**********************************
Karan, yes, it takes real guts to rubbish your own work. But we can trust Karan for that.

Hope we will get to read masaledaar gossip in his columns... fingers crossed.


recently was asked about SRK and his relationship ... he replied... He is like bade Bhaiyya ( o that rhymes with Saiyaan??? doesnt it? ) )

Surya Gune said...

Respected Mam,
I am Surya Gune, B.Tech student from college of Engineering,Pune. I am Debating group secretary of our college. Every year, in our college gathering, the debating group organizes a speech by an eminent inspiring personality as an inaugural program. We would like to invite you for the same program as a Chief guest to inaugurate the gathering. It would be our pleasure to welcome personality like you in the college campus. We expect a positive reply from you Shobhaji.
Our gathering inaug program is scheduled on 17th March 2010. It will be at 11am in the college auditorium. Can you please give me a contact number of urs? so that I will be able to talk to you and give you the details. Please reply.
--
Surya Gune
Debate Group Secretary,
College of Engineering, Pune.
Maharashtra

Abhinav Anand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abhinav Anand said...

Hallo Mam,

I really feel proud that KIIT group of institutions and KISS got recognition on your blog. Its really worth mentioning especially when it is the only one of its kind and a successful one .

I am a final year student from KIIT university and would just request you to please edit the name which is written as KITT when actually it is "KIIT".......and the website link is www.kissorissa.org

Sidhusaaheb said...

Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS)... http://www.kissorissa.org/... The homepage says, "Creating a conducive environment has always been an important focus of KISS education and livelihood programme."

Smoochy education...huh?

:D

Nirbhay said...

@Shobha
Blog madey maja naahey.Current affairs var leha.
Karan Johar ani SRK var lehenya sarka faar nahhey.tech tech pictures ani teech teech acting.

Kahi Tari vegla Leha.

ms said...

mz de, your fervour in espousing causes will do wonders. about VVC being the right choice to present the story on celluloid? only time will tell. i am only a little concerned by the pranabmania sweeping the country. will all the 100 affected people ever recover? is the nation's "reeko-worry" from recession now a reality? KJ is now gonna be a writer. is it a diabolical plan of the govt to divert our attention from its failures? save me, mz de, before i metamorph into a conspiracy theorist!
ps: mz de, our nation is now finally all grown up. we can see tv ads which show the superior and inferior brands of detergent openly and still continue to function normally.

SUBHASIS said...

KISS is certainly a novel effort for the tribal children in Orissa btu wut is so gr8 abt KIIT. it's a bloody money making institute and there are plenty such institutes in Orissa which has demeaned engineering badly and has done some serious damage to the reputation of engineers.

wordsmith said...

Would love to hear your take on M F Hussain and his citizenship

Alky said...

I think KISS is doing a job, a mighty good one, and is able to continue to do so due to one major factor that it is unheard of. Indians, excuse me for generalizing, do tend to falter the moment they come into limelight. This institute being remotely unconnected with remaining world is driving ahead with zeal, unaware of any influences from our good society ( oh! thank god for that) they play with passion, win and come back to ground zero. The same applies to Sachin. He might be the only player to still have his head on shoulder after being termed cricket god .. and maybe vice versa too .. maybe he became god in cricket because he never thought of anything but cricket. I read in newspaper a few days ago, he got up in sleep, shouted at a player to stop the ball and went back to sleep. That is devotion, at 37 , that makes his unequal. As far as Karan goes, I believe he is just being diplomatic. What do you suggest ??

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Vega said...

Sachin surely is the greatest batsman this world has ever seen. He is not only best cricketer but also a very good person. It's difficuilt to find a flaw in him. He is just perfect.

Jess Sikand said...

You truly are a Socialite! Reminiscent of the fast-talking, bold, opinionated woman iconized in the b&w hollywood movies. Only the cigarette is missing.

Fun writing style....like a dialogue, except we don't have a chance to interject...

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Manjiri Kale said...

Dear Ma De,

Eagerly waiting for ur new n fresh blog.......!

Vinay. said...

Hi Shobhaa, we are missing you. hope you are fine.it is rather unusual to find you quiet for so long.

Alex Engwete said...

I'll do some shameless chamchagiri totally unrelated to the subject because I'm a shameless chamcha of Madame! I just got my copy of Superstar India (ordered from Barnes and Nobles, and delivered at my doorstep by UPS) this Saturday and I'm already on page 15. Checked out quickly the "Glossary" to pick up the two words used above, BTW... At first I thought it was a novel, but I now realize it's about you, the superpeople of India! Lovely... Talking of lovely, it's a lie to claim you don't buy a book by its cover! The cover of this book is terrific and, may I say this, sensual! Madame, you need to personally thank one day the two geniuses who crafted this cover design... And thanks a lot for giving me this vista into India...

nipun said...

i can see tht u r very natural and feel an ease wid wrds..good expressing pwr :)nare u frm orrisa?? kina guessed it .. :)

gb said...

please write blog daily like big B. U r really genius and i love to read your articles v.much. compile all your articles in form of book for the benefit of your readers.

Pooja said...

Maa De,
you are listed as most trusted Indian in readers digest 100 most trusted Indians wow!you are deserving what i like most about you is that you never compromise on principles and values iam feeling good that someone i admire and respect has been listed as most trusted Indian.

PP said...

Hi , today happenned to see you with M F Hussain & his sports car in Bombay Times.

Good to see that.

But I have strange feeling that we are giving lots of importance to a person who has already made a choice.
He is not that innocent either.

Love your writing.