Sunday, September 4, 2011

I am Salman,You are Salman,We are all Salman!

This is the 'Jhoola' picture , shot by the late Mitter Bedi, that hangs in one of the large Celebrity Windows in the corridor of the Taj Mahal Hotel. I am very proud of it... it is an honour to be included with the likes of international greats - Pandit Ravi Shanker,Sunil Gavaskar, Amitabh Bachchan, The Beatles, Richard Branson, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Sports Stars, Movie Stars,Kings and Queens.You like???
This appeared in the Sunday Times, but for some inexplicable reason, the people in charge of making the page changed the headline to a less naughty one : New Supermen of the Besotted Masses. BORRRRRIIIIINGGGG!
Khair, it's their prerogative. Just like it is Naseer Hussain's prerogative to call our cricketers 'Donkeys'. Harsha Bhogle.... really!!! How could you take that lying down?
I am in a feisty mood this drippy sunday. Must be the modaks I had at lunch. Our home experiment wasn't too successful... but the effort was sincere. Am kicking myself for not having asked my mother for the exact recipe when she was alive.
Today is the last day of the Society Collections. I am tempted to go back for the third time and pick up some more Diwali decorations.
However, I did very well at Reena Bodani's Design Quest ( it's her virgin show at Design One, which starts on the 8th ). I love Reena's design sensibilities and splurged on her elegant stationery ( she's happy to personalise it for customers).
I also enjoyed shooting for Ahlan's Special Issue, India's Hot Hundred, with my daughter Avantikka and grand-daughter Anasuya Devi.Once we were done with the shoot in the Rajput Suite of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (imagine! it was in the same suite that my iconic 'Jhoola' picture was shot, 40 years ago!), we went down to the Sea Lounge and celebrated Anasuya's premiere visit to our favourite hotel. A tiny chocolate cake sent across to the table, marked the occasion. Such a 'Taj' touch!
How did we mark the end of Shravan? Well, Arundhati, who observes it with me, was away in Leh on a camping trip, and broke hers at an altitude of 15,000 feet. I was at Avantikka's home and raised a glass of sparkling wine!Alas, at sea level.But that single glass made me feel I was at 30,000 feet. That's what I call a real 'high'.
Now for our annual darshan of the magnificent Lalbaugh Chha Raja!

I am Salman,You are Salman,We are all Salman…

Feel the punch.Feel the heat.Feel the kick.Feel the powerrrrr!
Feel it? If you just did, it’s called the Salman Hangover.And those are lyrics from the title track of Salman Khan’s latest release ‘Bodyguard’, which has smashed all box office records on the first day of its perfectly timed Eid release. Incidentally,it is a monumentally ridiculous film.Does that matter? Salman’s myriad admirers are on a high.So are Anna’s (even after ‘pack up’ was called at the now deserted Ramlila grounds).These men do not have fans, they have devotees. After two consecutive superhits, Salman’s producers were hoping for a hat trick with ‘Bodyguard’. Their only worry was the stupendous success of an earlier production that was running to a packed house and had virtually captured every available sub-continental eyeball watching television, 24x7. The script of that particular production changed by the hour and was compelling enough to keep a billion Indians riveted for close to a fortnight. It was a unique and original script, though a few ‘khadoos’ critics insisted it was a remake of Richard Attenborough’s ‘Gandhi’. So what? ‘Bodyguard’ is a re-make , too. Audiences don’t care, so long as they get their money’s worth. The Ramlila verion of ‘Gandhi’ guaranteed ‘houseful’ shows and was fully paisa vasool. Its canny producers ( Team Anna) realizing its potential as a national and possibly, an international blockbuster,had gone flat out to leverage its popularity, with marketing gimmicks that generated shock and awe. Caps, flags, placards and soundbytes were neatly in place, as were pre-booked slots on popular tv programmes including a reality show that enjoys high ratings. The positioning and placement of the ‘product’ ( Jan Lokpal Bill) was shrewdly calibrated to appeal to the target audience ( same as ‘Bodyguard’s’). If Katrina Kaif was sweet enough to help out good friend Salman with an item number ( feel the heat, you guys!), Team Anna was fortunate enough to have Kiran Bedi dancing a daily jig on the dais ( could have done with better choreography, though). The music of both productions was mediocre, though Team Anna scored with live performances, a few of which drew top stars like the other Khan – Aamir.
But just like Salman devotees don’t really bother with the side shows and are there solely for Salman, Team Anna’s core group understood it was Anna who attracted those mammoth crowds – just Anna.That’s what real superstardom is all about. It knows no logic and there’s nothing remotely rational about the hysteria it triggers off. The Wave is everything – and professionals know exactly how to time it, ride it…. just like competitive surfers. But no matter how cold bloodedly minders try and manufacture the magic or capitalize on a craze, at the heart of such madness lies something entirely ephemeral. It is called love. And that cannot be manufactured. People love Salman and Anna. Unconditionally, at that.It would appear these two men have absolutely nothing in common. One is a 41- year-old, pumped up movie actor whose specialization lies in the many and highly innovative ways of removing his shirt on screen( a water hose does the job in ‘Bodyguard’).The other is a bird- like 74- year- old who may have never worn a shirt ( except in the army).But both men are seen as avatars of ‘Superman’ by besotted followers.One performs unbelievable physical feats on screen ( Salman single handedly slays no less than fifty baddies in ‘Bodyguard’), the other does so in real life (fasts for 13 days without a single sign of fatigue).. Their stupendous success defies the odds. Their undeniable charisma sees them through life’s most daunting tests. Salman plays a simpleton in ‘Bodyguard’ – an innocent, trusting person called Lovely Singh ( you read that right!). Anna is such a person in real life. Both men are single, though Salman is ever ready to mingle. India is their extended family. And such is the fanaticism of their followers, one word spoken or written about either, generates an avalanche of abuse. Clearly there’s zero tolerance for criticism.Allegiance is everything and camps are closed to ‘outsiders’. Interestingly enough, Salman’s last hit, ‘Dabbang’ was launched at a time when his only rival was Baba Ramdev (I had written a column on their similarities in this space). Ramdev’s fortunes went downhill right after. Today, it’s Anna Hazare, and he is still going strong. But it is Salman Khan who leads a charmed life and seems indestructible.
It’s got to be that shirt trick!


Chintan said...

I love the photo Shobhaa :) now I need to read the post...

Chintan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chintan said...

ah! loved the article, i think we are following herd mentality a bit too seriously these days, earlier besharmi morcha, then anna movement and salman is salman! i must confess i loved Dabbang...and i was looking forward to bodyguard too but well my friends on facebook/twitter said it's not a good about herd mentality and social network ;)

goodluck said...

Is that really you? I thought it is the picture of some filmstar in the Nanda era.

First Anna. Now Salman. Next what? If someone calls Indian fielders as donkeys, others may call us sheep for our herd mentality.

Anonymous said...

Ha Bhai Ha - I am talking about The 'Jhoola' picture.

Re.: Leh

Re.: Bodyguard/Dabbang
Masala movies with the touch of technology - The success mantra.
Good to watch HOUSEFULL at single theaters after long long time. "Ghajini" was the start maybe. Thanks to Aamir.

चंद्रमौलेश्वर प्रसाद said...

`monumentally ridiculous film.'
The more the ridiculous, the more the box-office success. :(

The photo is fantastic and ageless. Saree has eclipsed the Jhoola. Three cheers for the photographer and the model :) :) :)

obssesor said...

Sheer Elegance

NAT said...

Now we know why you were chosen Miss India...

Majority of us Indians want to live life king size. If not in reality, then why not for those 2 to 3 hrs. in the movies.


Faith said...

You look classically beautiful in the snap

Mona said...

Loved the analogy of salman & Anna!

That photo reminds me of my late husband's jhoola picture taken with another model for the Bangalore Ashoka hotel brochure...

Tsomo85 said...

Word to chintan! I was going to do the same thing but then I changed my mind & managed to wait myself to compliment your sophisticated picture! Classic & pleasant looking! Fun read too, luckily I picked up to work for someone this weekend & ditched my girlfriends on Bodyguard! My impression on film was same as Kambakt Ishiq! Waiting for Rockstar!!!

glimpses said...

yes we like too much - such beauty you were are!

Desi Babu said...

Dear Mrs. De,

It is a beautiful photograph! Black and white photos are always a delight to look at. And one must agree that there is significant confusion on which is prettier - the photograph, or the subject?

Aren't you glad we left you alone after the controversial posts on Anna Hazare? I have to agree on one thing though -- you spoke your mind, and didn't give in to popular pressure. My hats (or shall I say pugree?) off to you for that!

I liked your post on Amir Khan too -- about his public posturing on Anna Hazare. Sometimes, it is important for movie stars to stand by the things they believe in. Without our beliefs -- we don't exist.

I recently wrote a similar post on Jodie Foster, the Hollywood star. Hope you like it: Jodie and the Little Green Men


*Aham* said...

im sorry but i am disappointed.
very very very very disapointed.

I visit your blog to primarily read your views...

how can people read what you have written when you put such a beautiful picture on top.

P.S. : "me making the sushmita sen "AWWWWWW" expression"

ankita said...

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Pooja Rathore said...

the picture is beautiful,black and white photo unique, different.
i liked your post on salman.

Cheryllyne said...

You look sooooo fabulous!

Do you remember what type of a sari you were wearing? Is it a Benarasi (yes, I would love to know in your next post... please indulge me)?

I love how the light glints of the zari work and the silk.

I love the way your hair is styled.

And I love the composition.

You are ageless!!!!

Theyoginme said...

I cant help but pass that window every time I stay at the Taj and your picture always stands out.

Sushma Harish said...

Every where Sallu Bhai indeed. I just popped into the office and a Colleague asks me "naya movie dekha...Salmaan...."

Anonymous said...

Isn't this comparison pathetic? Salman - who is known to have links with the crime world, and for his egregious behaviour in public, is being compared with a sadhu social activist who fights for the right cause. Why always take these "good for nothing" cine stars for comparison??

Anil Kumar said...

It raises serious questions on the state of her mind. I think she is used to do these cheap comparisons and she has done it before for Baba Ramdev also. My feeling is that when a person loses logical argument, his/her ego comes in play and they will do these kind of cheap stuff to discredit someone.

I would suggest her to eat blue-berries which is considered brain food and helps both young and old people.

Jyostna said...

Firstly the picture is an ageless classic. I wld luv to hav one :)

The post seems as if u r so obsessed with Anna more than his devotees..u keep mentioning him so many times :P

venk@t said...

You look absolutely gorgeous in that shoot. so vintage. why did u ever stop modeling?

anyway here is my body guard review, tell me what you think:

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rutuja said...

great blog :)

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