Thanks to our common blogdost and my special friend, Aparna, I have been able to share some of the 'Shobhaa at Sixty' coverage in this space.
This appeared in the Asian Age on Saturday
Who’s afraid of Pamela’s boobs….?
Poor Pamela Anderson. Imagine the woman’s plight…her entire identity is located in her mammary glands. The world largely knows her for the size of her breasts. It is as if the rest of her doesn’t exist… doesn’t really count. Pam is a woman attached to the world’s most talked about boobs. And most people talk to her chest. Good sport that she obviously is, this famous Playboy Bunny is not complaining. She admitted candidly to a Mumbai reporter, “My assets get me in the door.” That’s truthful. But that’s also smart. Here’s a woman who has made a small fortune flaunting her twin peaks. Her cup size is what has taken her places. She is not embarrassed to admit as much. If anything, her bouncies are her best friends. The ‘Baywatch’ star is finally in the land of the Kamasutra… clad in a clingy, diaphanous white saree, Pam richly deserves the nearly 1 crore of rupees a day she’ll be earning as a participant in a much watched reality show. With her entry, all the other Bigg Boss bombshells ( past and present) appear totally pheeka…. under developed. Perhaps, it is the arrival of Bazooka Pam that prompted the Indian government to suddenly wake up to the ‘X- Rated’ content of some shows and clamp a few meaningless restrictions on them. By pushing back the slots of shows that beam ‘objectional and vulgar’ content to 11pm, some prudish babus must be patting themselves on the back for saving the country from moral degradation.Give us a break, fellas. The I & B ministry officials should get a few basics in place first. Bared breasts and crude abuses no longer send shock waves across the nation. We in India are used to the sight of uncovered bosoms ( women happily breast feed their babies in crowded train compartments) and the gaalis Raakhi Sawant spouts on her show are mild compared to what one hears from politicians and members of parliament in public. Balasaheb Thackeray spares nobody when he decides to lash out – his abuses cover generations and involve animals, sisters, mothers, brothers, friends and enemies. So what? Does that lead to rioting on the streets? If this silly directive is designed to protect our children, someone please tell those fellows, desi children rarely sleep before midnight. We are not British. Our kids are seen and heard. Annoying but true. In which middle class Indian family are the bachchas packed off to bed at 7pm after supper at 6pm? Television time largely remains unmonitored and unrestricted. It is considered bonding time. Families that watch heaving bosoms and hectic pelvic thrusts together, stay together. Big deal. What kids watch (or aren’t supposed to) ought to be the parents’ and not the government’s responsibility. Going by this new ‘Adults Only’ ruling, what about commercial Hindi films that feature the most provocative ‘item songs’ and are peppered with abuses with actors screaming ‘Bastard’ routinely? Kids watch those and worse… so why the double standards? One set of rules for television programming, another for cinema?
Our society is schizophrenic and confused. News bulletins carry detailed reports about a villainous cop called S.P.S. Rathore, who molested Ruchika Girhotra, a teenager, but are not allowed to carry clips from reality shows that are deemed offensive. What could be worse or more obscene than the smug smile of a sexual predator whose defenceless victim ( Ruchika) committed suicide? There are rapist cops on the loose in nearly every city of India. The tv reportage of such cases is anything but coy, restrained or discreet. Sensationalising news while focusing on the gory aspects of crime has become the rule, given the unhealthy TRP wars being fought fiercely by the big players. So called ‘talent hunts’ on television, featuring precocious kids indulging in the most risqué dance moves, remain unmonitored and accessible to any and everybody. In any case, what’s the internet for if not to surf? How many parents check what their precious bachchalog watch obsessively for hours on end?
This new government diktat is meaningless and unfair. All reality shows are phoney , most are fixed. This is the space in which appalling taste meets eager eyeballs. So be it. The ultimate power remains in the hands of viewers. The person who holds the remote control, is the sole decision maker as to what is acceptable viewing and what isn’t. Indians are not sheep. Let us , the viewers, be the ones to take a call on whether or not we wish to ogle Ms. Anderson’s ample assets or clean our ears after Ms. Sawant is done with her raving and ranting on camera. Whether it is the bleeped out cuss words on ‘Emotional Atyachaar’ or the aggro attitude displayed by Roadies on a rampage – this is the 21st century, folks. Anything goes! So long as it sells. Before the government gets into the act and dictates what our kids can watch and when, how about a thorough scrutiny of what constitutes actual pornography in today’s transparent times – like the live telecast of parliamentary proceedings? That is perhaps the only time concerned parents feel like shielding the eyes and plugging the ears of impressionable kids. Pamela’s boobs harm nobody. But the atrocious behaviour of some of our netas definitely damages the delicate psyches of India’s youth. Pamela will pick up her pay packet and jet off to Malibu to be with her two sons Dylan, 13 and Brandon, 14. We, in India, will be left panting for more. Unless , of course, those amazingly canny tv bosses locate an international has- been with even bigger body parts, or a local starlet with a filthier vocabulary than our Raakhi’s.
Toba! Toba! What will those moralistic masterjis in the I & B ministry do then? 3.30 a.m may become the new slot for prime time viewing. Even at that ghastly hour , our pesky kids will be wide awake and watching.Bottoms up, everyone.
Dekho, na? A compromised judiciary, a compromised army, a compromised political system, a compromised police force.... and now, a compromised media! What remains???
I know : Rajni!!