Sunday, June 26, 2011
The new 'Sush' in town....
Barcelona images! Boats...corridors.... Columbus looking for the new world. Oh... I adore Spain! So much like India, really. Only cleaner..
This appeared in the Sunday Times today...
I'm leaving for Bangalore and SAP-ing it tomorrow. Should be funnnnnnn!
The new ‘Sush’ in town…..
She’s the newly crowned Hottie in B-Town. Errr… ‘B’ as in BJP, not Bollywood. She can sing, she can dance. She shakes her booty with the best of them. And she has countless admirers panting for more. Those who were lucky enough to catch her ‘live’ performance at the ‘ashram sthal (Rajghat) have been oohing and aahing over her deft moves – on and off the dance floor. Kya jhatkas. Kya matkas. Wah, Sush, wah! Like any top heroine, she too has been attracting her share of detractors – mainly jealous rivals who cannot keep up with her seemingly inexhaustible stamina, especially during chart busting ‘item’ numbers that are considered so rocking, news-hungry tv channels can’t get enough of them. With each telecast of those amazing ‘thumkas’, her popularity soars along with her unique sex appeal . This surging wave of acceptance and approval is causing serious heart burn within her own production house – the BJP. No matter. As any leading Bollywood producer will tell you, ‘Boss…paisa vasool.’ If something works big time in a movie,it is important to milk it for all its worth and instantly cash in on the craze . This is when the all-important ‘overflow’ takes place. Remember what happened with ‘Munni’ and ‘Sheila’ (but not to ‘Jalebi’)? The mega success of any Bollywood fillum depends on ‘repeat value’. It is when audiences flock back to cinema halls begging for more that the trade exults and distributors dance in the aisles giving laddoos to all. Success on such a scale has to be skillfully leveraged by everybody who has a stake in it – from the producer-director downwards. That is how a cult is created.
Sushma Swaraj has got it. She is ready to flaunt it. Toh – problem kya hai, bhai? As it is, the BJP sounds like a finely shredded cabbage salad ( minus raisins, at that). Propping up a hirsute yoga –master who runs away from his own big bash dressed in drag, is hardly the best image builder for a headless, formless and confused organization. Bringing in an ageing and portly Uma Bharti ( famously referred to as the Sexy Sanyasin in the good old days) doesn’t sound like a particularly inspired marketing plan. Sure, she has her unabashedly RSS credentials to her credit – or discredit. But, she seems like an anachronism – a faded star from another zamana altogether. It’s a little like dragging poor Asha Parekh out of moth balls and expecting her to headline a Bollywood gig. Not happening. Uma is passé and out of it. At 52, she is still fairly jawan in political terms. But after a six year vanvaas, nobody really remembers or cares about this firebrand’s track record. That she had taken on and vanquished many a foe ( including Digvijay Singh), to become the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh in December 2003. Uma seems strangely out of sync with today’s janata. Whereas , a Sushma Swaraj appears a totally cool person – a woman on top. Since the BJP seems to favour heavyweights ( literally), a singing Nitin Gadkari has not found a mass base so far and seems to have antagonized party bosses by shooting off his mouth and speaking out of turn once too often. That leaves dear Narendra Bhai, who is the Coy Superstar, patiently waiting in the wings , for the teaser trailer to release and give audiences a jhalak of the ‘new, improved’ Modi ( hello! He plays golf! Must be a good chap, then!). Despite strenuous attempts to give the guy a make over, the chattering classes continue to be suspicious of Modi, who will never ever live down Godhra, no matter what he says or does. Arun Jaitley? Ummm…. too cerebral and brash. Too Dilli. Too rich. Too snooty. Difficult for someone as elitist to woo the unwashed masses. That leaves Shivraj Singh Chohan and Sanjay Joshi. Manageable. But strictly no star quality.It’s a little like trying to sell a multi-star blockbuster featuring also-rans. Mogambo definitely not khush!
That takes us to our ‘Sush’. But before her grand elevation and re-positioning, she needs to do two things urgently – lose weight. And discard those peculiar jackets she throws over her sarees. What’s with those shapeless ‘bundis’?The rest of her carefully constructed persona works splendidly – that broad strip of sindhoor in the maang, the low nape bun, the undisguisedly coquettish air, her oratorical skills and eloquence, the seductive body language … sab kuch mast hai! Sushma ki Jawaani ( in spirit, if not in age), could be the BJP’s biggest trump card. That is if mandarins put aside petty differences and ego tussles to focus on the party’s survival and future growth. There isn’t much time left. Baba Ramdev’s flop show has not helped matters, either. Then again, if all that the Congress Party can come up with is Rahul Gandhi, where’s the hitch? In any case, the UPA government is not about to create box office records with its recent poor showing in virtually every arena. Poor Manmohan Singh is looking so ‘thekela’, one feels like borrowing all of Amitabh Bachchan’s snazzy props from his forthcoming movie and handing them over to the Singh who is no longer the King ( or even the chief courtier). Perhaps clad in that hip gear, riding a motorcycle and hiding his sad eyes behind the coolest shades, our sweetheart of a prime minister will be able to join Grandpa Bachchan to belt out a duet that goes : ‘Buddha Terra Baap Hoga.