"A Don by any other name...."
Let’s face it, Shakespeare can never be wrong. When he poetically stated, ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…’ he couldn’t possibly have imagined the impact of those few words on the world. Today, we happily misquote and misrepresent the Bard as and when it suits us.Like I am about to do right now! What is all the current fuss being made over the word ‘Don’? Call the man by any other name – social worker, do gooder, Robinhood, businessman,politician. It doesn’t change a thing. In today’s times, the word ‘Don’ has gone glam - and I shudder to say this – become almost respectable. I read a recent press report which said that newly formed gangs from Govandi were terrorising residents by imitating their favourite filmi dons, down to the stylized costumes and tapori dialogues. A case of life imitating art! Not that the elderly in Govandi are amused. Cases have been filed against four of these goons under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. Perhaps their families don’t think of their boys as badmaashes. Maybe they prefer to think of them as Boy Scouts on an adventure.
It is true that Bollywood has always had a strange fascination for members of the underworld.It is a love-hate relationship going back to the bad old days when the most important mehmaan at a mahurat was often a notorious gangster with a big stake in the movie.It was only after things soured and the love affair between the two ended abruptly, that the death threats and blackmail began in earnest. Audacious attacks on prominent Bollywood personalities, eventually led to the insane wall of tight security that protects present day megastars. But back then, it was a bloody free for all. One midnight call was all it took for Bollywood to pay up. Or else – goli maro bhejey mein.
Recreating the mesmerizing magic of that era is a huge thrill for any film maker. Who can resist picturising dramatic scenes between a sultry temptress in fishnet stockings and her tormentor in a gaudy shirt ? Or cinematically unraveling dirty deals between ruthless land sharks and venal politicos as they battle over India’s prime real estate - Mumbai? It was happening then. It is happening now. So what has really changed? I can understand Ekta Kapoor’s fascination for the ‘70s perfectly. After all, her father Jumping Jack Jeetendra( guess who coined that name?) was a big star at the time. And the ‘70s were a deliriously dangerous decade. Did she see something …. hear something… that aroused her creative curiosity as a child? And continues to haunt her till today?
Now that’s a story!! Must ask Ekta when I meet her next…
P.S. I read in a city tabloid this morning that Mastaan's 'adopted' son is planning to sue me for defaming his late father, Mumbai's great 'social worker', in my blog.
About the pictures. The one of me was clicked by Arundhati after I had waded through neck deep water and was getting ready to wade back to shore after a splendid lunch at 'Taprobane' ( travel writers justifiably go gaga over the uniqueness of the experience). The other pics are of the handsome and polite attendant posted outside one of the world's most artistic homestores called Paradise Road. He is wearing the store's trademark batik sarongs - aren't they gorgeous? The black-and-white bungalow you see was designed by Sri Lanka's legendary architect Geoffrey Bawa, and is now run by Shanth ( the undisputed emperor of style and elegance ) as a charming boutique hotel in Bentota. One of the other pics gives you an idea of just how much water visitors have to navigate to reach the island-hotel I'd mentioned earlier. There is also a pic of the Bodh tree in the temple complex I visited ( Arundhati and I watered it, as per tradition). And the last pic is of Shanth's courtyard - part of another Bawa property ( this is where the architect used to live). Shanth has changed it around and it now houses the smart Gallery Cafe and an art gallery\souvenir shop.
Guys.... I have more pics!! Should I keep them coming?
Am off to watch 'Khata Meetha'.
Am still reeling from 'Inception'. It has stolen all my dreams - past, present and future!! Spooky!