This appeared in Asian Age...
Maha Khiladi Kejriwal conquers the box office!
An important swearing in ceremony takes place today. I would have called it historic. But I shall reserve that for what happens next. Arvind Kejriwal has been the biggest game changer 0f 2013. Bigger than RaGa and NaMo put together. His win couldn’t have been better scripted. And I am adopting filmi terminology in his case with utmost deliberation. Kejriwal has smoothly displaced the original Angry Young Man – Mr. Amitabh Bachchan himself – in young India’s collective imagination. ‘Deewar’ and ‘Zanjeer’ suddenly look dated and so yesterday. The Superstar of 2013 is, without a doubt the Anonymous Aam Aadmi. A person who has come into his own after being marginalized, ignored, neglected and abused for 66 years. Armed with nothing more dangerous or lethal than a ‘jhaadu’ the Aam Aadmi is firmly and confidently ruling India’s box office. So far, the collections are pretty impressive. And the soundtrack has smashed a few records. The ‘Ram Lila’ grounds can’t be topped as a dramatic set for a dramatic occasion. The art direction can’t be faulted either. As far as costumes are concerned, Kejriwal has set a new trend with the unusual pallu-drape of his shawl, topped with the trademark topi.The dialogue department has also scored big time with the audiences across India. So… let’s see… what’s missing in this production. Well, there’s no heroine so far. Arvind’s wife has suddenly popped up on the scene. She seems more than ready to play a parallel role as Chief Minister ki biwi. There are two kids in place to complete the family portrait. Supporting cast? Arvind isn’t looking for it. He is the sole hero of this blockbuster. And wants the country to know it. Fortunately, there’s no dearth of villains – take your pick. There’s a vamp or two as well. Action sequences, alas, are a bit too slow for the Dhoom-3 generation. And ever since Kiran Bedi exited the cast, there is space for an item girl ( remember Bedi’s ghungat dance during Anna’s fast?).
Delhi has become an all time favourite location for Bolllywood producers. This is good news for Kejriwal and his supporters. Soon, Arvind will need to get an asli multi-star cast together, if he wants collections to go up. He will also need to get a pan-India profile for himself. This won’t be difficult at all. Every major hero has a defining moment in his career. This is Arvind’s. All eyes will be on him as he takes over the Capital of India and announces his arrival as a maha khiladi on the national scene. Kejriwal must know how fickle audiences are these days. Attention spans have shrunk and people are looking for fresh thrills. Gimmicks need to be original, innovative and convincing. Right now, the story line is somewhat far fetched. There are too many credibility gaps to take care of. Let’s list a few. The hero starts off by saying he isn’t interested in power. When he gets it unexpectedly… his attitude instantly alters, and he grabs it. He also loses his audience when he promptly decides to sleep with the enemy ( Congress ) - one doesn’t get under the sheets with people one has publicly trashed – right? Then there are those promises! Absurd promises! Hazaar promises! Promises that sounded great during the tenuous courtship. But now that the marriage is on… and the honeymoon has begun on a high note, audiences will definitely wait for the final consummation. Fixing bijlee-paani issues will require a magic wand – not a jhaadu. Once audienes discover these are non-deliverables, disappointment and disillusionment will set in. Audiences hate being short changed .Besides, they had not backed a politician, They had voted for a messiah.A modern day Vivekananda, who would inspire and save them. Netas had become the most despised people in India. Kejriwal’s Fan Club was built on hope and respect. Kejriwal was the catalyst for change.It now looks like he sold out, seduced by the power of the box office – the wah- wahs and taalis that are the oxygen of movie stars. It happens to the best of them. India was keeping its fingers crossed it wouldn’t happen to Kejriwal. Let’s see what happens once he occupies that glamourous gaddi. The new actors in his life will be the Babus of Delhi. His life will be more about files and less about ideals.
But since every New Year must start on an optimistic note, here’s wishing India’s favourite hero a great run at the box office. This is the magnum opus we have been waiting for.We, the billion-plus people of India, are its producers. It’s an investment we will aggressively guard. 2014 is likely to be a landmark year in our history. Arvind is the Great Brown Hope we have been looking for. He has what it takes to make it to the top of the heap. Like several super successful stars in Bollywood, Arvind has kicked off his career with a dream debut.Now all he needs is to stay in the game, focus on his work, not get distracted, and DELIVER what he promised. We are a sentimental people. We like winners. We celebrate those who stand for something in public life. We admire those with spunk and spines. Arvind Kejriwal can indeed become the Amitabh Bachchan of politics – a man capable of staying on top for forty years. Here’s wishing him a great and glorious run at the biggest box office on earth – India.
Happy New Year, readers!