First day , second show. I am a total sucker for garbagy hindi films. I looovvvvve watching them on the big screen, mainly to check how low they can get, and how high our tolerance level is. In the case of 'Housefull', I was slightly disappointed that the gags and humour didn't descend to the bottom of the pit nor create as much of a stink as I had hoped for. Of course, there were abominably gauche comments ( the reference to a Black or British African baby as a 'daamar ka tukda' - a piece of tar), and other similar horrors. There were also super tacky sequences about 'Homos' ( how crude and offensive Bollywood can get - surprising given that the film industry is dominated by gays). There was Riteish D once again camping it up ( it does come so naturally to him - why does he bother to play straight roles??). And then there was the saving grace of this dumb script - Akshay Kumar, whose timing is faultless and whose presence lifts the dumbest scene from self -destructing. Arjun Rampal is beyond eye candy yumminess as an entirely unconvincing 'Anna', but who cares? He looks and talks great. That leaves the pin up girls - their super hot bikini bods make up for any and every lapse. Jiah and Jacqueline age the other two lovelies - Lara and Deepika. But when all the male and female hotties burn it up in an item song - does anything else really count?
The lampooning of the Queen of England was hysterical, especially her declaring, 'Jai Maharashtra!"
And since we are on the subject of Maharashtra, here's my column from BT on monday....
When I saw Uddhav Thackeray’s trendy photograph on the cover of BT on Maharashtra Day, I blinked and blinked again. I took in the international look – cool leather jacket, the famous checked shirt, hip shades that Dhoni might lust after…. in fact, Uddhav was sporting all the accoutrements required for a man on the go - a today’s guy, a dude! Could this broadly grinning gentleman with a naughty twinkle in his eyes truly be Uddhav? ‘The’ Uddhav? Feared and disliked, dismissed and scorned by the city’s elite? Gone was the prominent vermillion tikka on the forehead, gone, too the orange kurta, and even the studiedly solemn expression on his face, which once conveyed a single message – ‘Don’t mess with me or my party.” Was Mumbai seeing a ‘new’, ‘improved’ Thackeray?Oh well… after all this was Uddhav’s virgin front page debut in the glam press, and I guess he didn’t want to send out the wrong message to the Page 3 crowd.Which is smart thinking, considering the ‘cover boy’s’ outing was strictly non-political, and the interview ably conducted by the BT editor, Mark Manuel, focused on Uddhav the aerial photographer, rather than Uddhav the Shiv Sena neta.
That’s what set me thinking… if more politicians decided to highlight their ‘other’ selves, perhaps their critics would be slightly more forgiving. This is not to say creative pursuits and unusual hobbies make up for various sins of omissions and commissions ( Hitler was a talented water colourist, remember?). But just imagine the good it might do in terms of positive positioning, especially if the person has battled with ‘image issues’ all along. Let’s face it, all the Thackerays have had major problems with the English press, especially in Mumbai. So deeply entrenched is the mutual antagonism, there is virtually no meeting ground left for a meaningful dialogue. Which makes this interview significant. Take a controversial politician…throw in a passion that humanizes the person and see the difference it makes. Atal Bihari Vajpayee had several enemies, but everyone loved his poetry. More recently, Kapil Sibal’s admirers love him for better or ‘verse’ - his poetic adventures have found several takers. I for one, am all for politicos presenting their soft side and letting the audience decide on the merits of their work. Aerial photography is a highly specialized field - what Uddhav has attempted is not for the faint hearted – I would call it seriously hazardous. Think about hanging precariously from the door of a helicopter that’s hovering over the edge of a precipice, or circling the mouth of a dormant volcano. It ain’t easy! But the guy’s done it. And the results are there for all to see between the covers of a glossy, well designed coffee table book (a cheaper janata edition is available as well).Worth checking out for some spectacular vistas of Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra.
With Uddhav in the limelight, can cousin Raj be left behind? Raj Thackeray’s cartooning skills are as good as his uncle Balasaheb’s. Raj is a superb caricaturist and satirist, but I wonder if he has the time these days to pursue his art with as much zeal as it deserves. All the Thackeray men have a great sense of humour and can keep you in splits with their clever puns and smart repartees. Imagine if guys like these three were to reserve a generous chunk of their time following their hearts (and de-stressing while they were at it), their politics would be different. Qualitatively so. Perhaps less buses would be torched!!! Music and art are capable of taming the beast in all of us. More cartoons and more photographs, gentlemen. We are desperately looking for a kinder, gentler Maharashtra .
I’ll be out of town when the Qasab judgement is read out later today.
It is impossible to second guess what it’s likely to be.
But if there is one thing his trial has proved to the world – and to Pakistan in particular, it is that here in India, at least a few key democratic principles still count. Qasab was given a fair trial. Our investigating officers, and all those associated with this unique case ( where a terrorist is caught and tried) deserve our support and gratitude for a difficult job, competently and smoothly seen to its logical conclusion. Well done!