Over to You, Mr Raj
Robert Frost said, “In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.” And earlier last week, perhaps the most telling example was dished out from, where else, the world of politics. Uddhav Thackeray in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece extended the proverbial olive branch and hinted at an alliance with Raj Thackeray led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. Since he is now out on drought visit, nothing further to report except that political analysts, who were all expecting this sooner or later, are a little surprised at how soon it happened after late Bal Thackeray’s demise in November 2012. It’s all about loving your family, as K Jo told us ages ago.
That apart, Mumbai, pretty much like the rest of country exploded in anguish over stalling of Vishwaroop and cases against Ashish Nandy. Must say, we are pleasantly surprised by Bollywood’s all out support for Kamal Haasan (including Salman Khan hosting the premier in Mumbai) considering we are not known for taking political stands. Vandana Khare, who staged Marathi version of Vagina Monologues, told Outlook, “Cultural terrorism is an apt term for what happened. I do not have a problem with the fact that some fools feel Muslims have been depicted badly but they are not representative of entire Muslim population. If you don’t like something, don’t watch. Make a film to counter that perspective if you wish. Culture is not some one person’s custody. Culture, like water, needs to flow and not remain stagnant.”
Shyam Benegal, too was scathing. “Is this how democracy supposed to work? The government is supposed to serve the people and protect the filmmaker in a manner that is approved by the central government. Eventually they can’t stop the release but who will pay for the losses? The government has abdicated itself. It should be made accountable for the losses as well.” Haasan who has just managed to reach a compromise must be hoping for recovering whatever he can. The film has apparently opened well in other parts and has had a good weekend.
Spoilt for Choice
However, this week it must be hard for any film to do well. It seems like an explosion at the box office with Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children, Haasan’s Vishwaroop, Bejoy Nambiar’s David, Mai in which Asha Bhosale makes her debut as an actor, Mani Ratnam’s Kadal, a modern urban mature love story titled Premachi Goshta starring one of the finest actors from Maharashtra, Atul Kulkarni. And amidst all is the come back of the Chamko couple, Farooque Shaikh and Deepti Naval in Listen…Amaya.
And that is not all. Alyque Padamsee returned to the stage with Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. The play remains as gut wrenching as ever, with Padamsee and Sabira Merchant making it only more powerful and painful at the same time. Padamsee in the introduction said, “This drama is set in a time of recession very much like ours today. The iron grip of reality has an uncanny way of crushing dreams. But Miller says a salesman’s got to dream. It comes with the territory.”