Category Archives: Personalities

DEEPIKA PADUKONE & THE “IT’S MY CHOICE” VIDEO: MISFIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS!

“Vogue” roped in Homi Adjania & Deepika Padukone for its Vogue Empower video on women’s empowerment in India. A seemingly fantastic mix of editorial, production and marketing choices indeed, which were bound to spur skywards the prospects of all involved. But after 22 million hits on You Tube, strangely, none of them is sure if that happened. So what went wrong?

Vogue India decided to celebrate their 7th anniversary by launching a social awareness initiative, #VogueEmpower, with the aim of drawing attention to women’s empowerment issues which (as per the Vogue website) “touch and impact the lives of both urban and rural women”. As part of the campaign Vogue India planned to include features in the magazine, get its ambassadors to espouse causes, to tie up with Give India to fundraise for various women focused organistations and to finally be a “conduit of change and champion of women’s rights to empowerment of mind, body, thought and action.” The chosen medium were the magazine, social media, multimedia, digital and off line activities with a simple message “It starts with you.”

To reach out to the social media, Vogue made its first video on the theme on the issue of women’s safety, titled Going Home, a film by Vikas Behl, it featured Alia Bhatt and received wide acclaim and was an inferno on the social media.

Emboldened by the response the next video was boldly titled “Its My Choice” and was about a woman’s ability or inability to freely exercise her choices. It’s a slick 2min:35 sec video with a catchy back ground score which had a montage of Deepika Padukone and 98 other women, in various expressions from joy to anger, with Deepika providing the voice over. The art in the video is predominantly black, for greater impact and to also go with the aggressive theme.

The opening lines go along fine when it talks about letting women wear clothes they want to and whether they want to be size zero or 15, because after all these actually are personal choices.Few controversial issues follow such as whether the woman wants to marry or not, whether she wants to have sex before marriage, outside of marriage or not at all, and whether she wants to love temporarily or lust forever, or if she wants to not to love or love a boy or girl- and in all of this Deepika says -it’s her choice. And her (woman’s)choice alone!!! And when adulterous behavior is simplified as a mere matter of mere choice, devoid of sensitivity , then the video would naturally lose appeal.After all havent the men been accused of the same callous attitude?Then how is the same behaviour a sign of empowerment for the fairer sex?Something doesn’t quite click, isn’t it?

The confrontational and “me versus you” undertones become OVERtones when Deepika says “you are my choice, I am not your privilege”. The apparaent trivialisation of the male hardly wins the video support from the “oppressors”, ironically, this is what the video set out to achieve.Instead of thoughtful reflection most men would easily,and damagingly, end up construing that “women’s empowerment = women’s supremacy” !When the reality is just the opposite.

Deepika reveals naivete when she associates empowerment with freedom to return home late and the offensive tone bars the father, brother or partner from even being concerned !The best (or the worst) is saved for the last when Deepika says it’s “her choice”  (alone) whether she wants to have “your” baby or not, and if the male wants it then he is being “cocky” (pun intended?).Now what kind of logic is this??Since when has having a baby been an individual’s choice alone?Isnt it a collective decision?

Finally,Deepika delivers the coup de grace by stating that the women’s songs, order or virtues are essentially a man’s noise, anarchy and sins respectively !Mercifully,the video ends soon after and all that lingers is the scent of controversy.

This Amul ad / topical on the Its My Choice video shows the Amul Girl depicting the montage of Deepika Padukone with open and windblown hair from the video itself. Designed against a black backdrop it is consonance with the black setting in the video too.

deepika padukone

The Tag Line …Its My Choice… is a play on the theme of the #VogueEmpower video.The all yellow “O” is a take on the traditional “bindi” which has been chosen by Vogue as its symbol of women empowered.

The Punch Line … To Use a Butter Knife or to Use My Fingers… is a witty play on the theme of the video while playfully endorsing the inviting and delicious taste of the Amul Butter.

So why did the video not click with the audience?

Vogue went off target right from the start. It chose mostly bourgeois topics to raise awareness. It totally panned to its upwardly mobile clientele and overlooked issues such as equal rights to education, health, support for seeking employment, more representation in public services, work – life balance, dowry, domestic violence, safety and security and respect in public places. So what was covered was essentially the peripherals to the debate.It seems someone at Vogue did his or her studies on women’s empowerment from IIN and goofed it up royally!

Next, the meaning of empowerment is mutual understanding, trust and respect which should lead to equality between the sexes. Whereas the video reduced mutual coexistence between the sexes to the realm of imagination.It alienated its target audience and was rejected across the sexes for being offensive, insensitive, missing the point and portraying an untrue and incomplete dimension of the espoused cause.Instead of a “me and you” approach the video embarked on a “me versus you” trajectory.

The above was exemplified by the controversy over the two most contentious issuse in the video – adultery and child bearing.

The entire agenda got hijacked when the video was seen to endorse adultery – “sex outside of marriage”- as a matter of choice for a woman.The men ofcourse turned around and asked if it was open season for them as well, with no questions asked?Is this what Deepika had in mind when she says “my virtues, your sins”?

The line adopted on the issue bearing a child was another sticking point which exposed the flawed logic and the misplaced sense of empowerment being espoused by Deepika and Co.And here she rings the death knell for the compassion sought to be generated.Women’s empowerment cannot happen without mutual undestanding and factoring in of each others sensitivity.

 As is obvious, the arguments were vacuous and the lines hollow and this undoubtedly damaged the espoused cause substantially.

In the aftermath, the men now, gleefully, demanded that they be not judged when they exercise absolute freedom of choice to love temporarily, lust permannently, to be adulterous and to consider everything about a relationship temporary. This retort and the line of argument by the men not only turned the logic of the video on its head but also exposed its hollowness completely. Seriously, I think Rahul Gandhi did more for women’s empowerment in his disastrous interview with Arnab Goswamy, than this video. At least in his case there wasn’t any hostility associated with the concept! Only hilarity.

The lines on returning home at 4am totally obfuscated the intent behind the video. It was as if the woman was saying that I will do whatever and you, the guy, can neither question (still understandable) nor have the right to be worried. And this in a country where crimes against women are committed on the streets, in the by lanes, homes, neighbourhood, trains, buses, fields, public parks and of all the places – Police Stations! So is being genuinely worried about a woman mutually exclusive with her sense of freedom??? If yes, then for me this is – #VagueEmpower!

The topics spoken about in the video are hardly mirroring rural concerns. Was there any mention of female infanticide (it happens in urban India too) or of the necessity to provide proper ablutions to the women or about the atrocities of the Khap Panchayats? If not then Vogue failed in its stated intent as mentioned in the beginning of the Post.

If it’s about absolute freedom, then let everybody do what they want. Let rapists run riot, let murders be committed, let eve teasing be the norm, let wife beating and marital rape not be cognizable offences, then don’t drag boys to court on charges of rape when they walk out of relationships – as in all these cases it was all about “their” choices and they exercised it. So, whats wrong with it?

Everything.

There is a fine line between freedom of choice and absolute freedom. The latter will lead to chaos and anarchy. Choices have consequences and the ones who make them have to be accountable for it, as these always impact lives of those affected by these choices. Even the universe, which Deepika has alluded to, conforms to rules to maintain order and eschews chaos.

The utter gibberish dished out by Vogue led to numerous spoofs. The best amongst them was the one titled #DogueEmpower, where the cute little canine politely tells us about “his/her” choices. And believe me, the canine’s assertions for exercising “his/ her” choices are far more convincing than those of Deepika Padukone. The video has thus far received over a 100000 hits.

For her part in this charade, Deepika Padukone of course has proven that she is competing with Aliya Bhat for the “new blonde in town” title. She comes across as comfortably dumb, to have not realized the implications of the hollow lines she was parroting. And she can’t seek refuge in the fact that here she was merely in her “on screen” avatar. Doesn’t she add value to her dialogues and roles, in a movie, by sharing inputs with her director? Then we expect her to have exercised her discretion in this case too. Thus she is equally responsible for the fiasco and is also a poor choice as a feminist poster girl.She speaks of the uncaged female spirit and the expanding universe but then in reality does everything that signifies enslavement of a woman’s mind, body and spirit – just to stay on top of in the film industry, which happens to be the most exploitative of the women who are part of it ! Ironical, isnt it?

Padukone’s association with the #VogueEmpower campaign is extremely hypocritical as she is herself endorsing figure slimming cereals and skin lightening creams and perpetuating myths and stereotypes about the way women should be seen rather than want to be seen (choice.. Remember?) So, Deepika, see if you can differentiate between “real” and “fake” feminism!

As for Homi Adjania – “yeh hi hai wrong choice baby”. In the Bollywood flick “Cocktail” he has trashed the freewheeling “snowflake” (girl), in favour of the nice “snowflake” who is the exact antithesis of the “coming-home-at-4am-sex before marriage-sex outside of marriage” type endorsed by him as the poster girl for women’s empowerment. So, Mr Adjania, what do you have to say about this? After all, a director’s work also mirrors his beliefs.And yours appear as hollow as the video you dished out !

The in-congruence of the video also lay in the choice of the 99 women. Though successful in their own right, they are all from privileged backgrounds where they would have hardly ever experienced the denial of a choice. Vogue had hoped to carry out a marketing blitz and cash in on the latest big thing – Indian Feminism. And the fact that the video was a result of a marketing ploy rather than a reflection of the realities of women empowerment explains why it did not resonate even with the mere 30% percent (english speakng) of the population that it targetted.It also suffered due to the poor credibility levels of fashion and life style magazines as they are known to perpetuate trends and stereotypes which are totally against their professed stand on issues such as empowerment !

The video was an utter failure and i really wonder how much #VogueEmpower can do for women’s issues especially when the campaign is floundering and misfiring on all cylinders!

In the end, my heart goes out to Jiten Ram Majhi, who was pilloried when he endorsed the extra marital affair of his son as a consensual relationship. But here , #VogueEmpower wants us to believe that it is a sign of women’s empowerment.If this video would have happened a few months back Majhi could have cited it in his support.

Its never too late though.Makes for good copy and some more juicy controversy !

THE ADVENTURES OF JITAN RAM MANJHI: WHERE GOOFY AND GAFFES GO HAND IN HAND !

In politics neither are there permanent foes nor permanent friends. Those who follow this to the “t” form a league of extraordinary gentlemen excelling in the art of survival. Lalu Prasad Yadav was an icon of this league and Jitan Ram Manjhi, a seemingly daft and ridiculous politician, who shares the ex CM tag with Lalu is now carrying his legacy forward. And that too in style.

The advent of “Modi Sarkar” spelt doom for the Nitish Kumar dispensation in Bihar and Janata Dal (United) – JD (U)- faced rapid erosion of its support base. To assuage the disenchanted electorate, Nitish then played a “mastercard” and stepped down as CM and instead anointed Jitan Ram Manjhi , from the Mahadalit community, as his successor. The decision assured Nitish of the “sacrifice” tag and also underscored his credentials as a champion of the downtrodden.

The unremarkable and unassuming Manjhi, a party hopper from the Cong (I), to the RJD and then the JD (U) had helped draw the backward class votes for the JD (U). Nitish obviously considered Manjhi trustworthy enough otherwise a politician can only trust his wife to keep his “seat” safe as Rabri Devi did for Lalu (else a Chandra Babu Naidu is always lurking around the corner). It was also assumed that Manhji would be fed instructions by Nitish Kumar to do his bidding and be suitable “remote controlled”.

The new CM started his innings so slow, that the only thing slower than that was an Akash Chopra innings. He was the quintessential “ever-so-grateful-I-am-so-indebted” type of second rung leader who made the right noises about his political mentor. But he had a strange penchant for the foot in mouth syndrome.

Manjhi once, controversially, quoted a minister travelling with him to a Temple that the idol and the temple were washed clean after his visit, hinting at untouchability being inflicted upon him.He was later contradicted by the minister himself. Manjhi angered his own colleagues when he likened the upper castes to foreigners, implying they were essentially exploitative ! Coming close on the heels of this was the warning to the doctors in the state that if they denied or delayed help to the poor, Manjhi would “chop their hands off”! When informed of people in flood hit areas eating rats he retorted that in his childhood he had eaten rats many a times and they were very nutritious!! He then went on to admit that he had paid bribe to get his electricity bills reduced and that he had accepted commissions from engineers/ contractors and to underscore this he even suggested that small time traders can go about black marketing and it won’t be considered a crime !He controversially exhorted Dalit youth to marry out of their castes to perpetuate greater power.Eventually his family too contributed, his son was involved in a sex scandal which was defended by Manjhi and his son-in-law came in for undue attention when Manjhi appointed him his personal assistant, flouting government regulations.

By now Manjhi had developed a reputation for being a buffoon, bumbling along in the corridors of power. When a week passed without a controversy, JD (U) leaders probably felt underemployed as they weren’t defending Manjhi’s utterances ! The controversies created a negative image for the JD (U) and threatened to reduce the CM’s office to a caricature. He was fast becoming a liability for the party as well as Nitish. Rumblings for Manjhi’s removal grew stronger but it wasn’t easy to replace him as it would have sent negative political signals to the disparate but 30 percent strong backward class electorate.And also cause severe embarrassment to Nitish for the comical turn of events.

But the wheels of fortune were turning and for Nitish they turned for the worst.

Manjhi started coming into his own. He cited his bribe giving as an example of how corruption was rampant in the State in spite of the efforts of Nitish Kumar. He also blamed “powerful” politicians and “well connected”bureaucrats of stifling him when he tried to chart an independent course. The hint was strong and not-so-subtle and eventually he and Nitish drifted apart. The alarm bells sounded when Manjhi started taking action against bureaucrats and officials (known to be close to Nitish) for a stampede in Patna. Not only was this in complete contrast to Nitish’s way of functioning as he had seemingly shielded officials in spite of previous stampedes (chhath puja, Nov 12) and bomb blasts (Narendra Modi’s “Hunkar” rally, Gaya) but also signaled Manjhi’s inclination to dump the “remote control”.

Hereon, Manjhi took off.

He declared his ambitions to be PM one day and pushed aggressively for Dalit, Mahadalit, EBC unity to be powerful stakeholders in the State. He also claimed to have done more in an year for the poor,sociaaly backward amd against corruption than Nitish had done in his 10 years as CM. Manjhi was now eroding Nitish’s credibility and standing faster and more effectively than the BJP ever could. Manjhi had now gained political traction by posturing himself close to Nitish’s bete noire, Narendra Modi , and foe turned friend, Lalu Yadav.

Finally after months of dithering Nitish belled the cat and Manjhi was asked to resign ad CM. He refused. The JD (U) then became the first party to expel its own CM!Nitish was made the leader of the legislature party but Manjhi managed a stay order on Nitish’s election and both of them approached the Governor to be allowed to prove their majority.

The political narrative gradually transcended from the ridiculous to the sublime. The JD (U) now demanded the status of the Leader of the Opposition (?) to demonstrate its distance from Manjhi while it was still the ruling party its members would also sit on the treasury benches!!! JD(U) –united- stood disunited and Nitish who had once borne Prime Ministerial ambitions was now struggling to even be CM and the undisputed leader within his own Party!

Bihar plunged into political turmoil with the status of the CM and his administration being reduced to mockery. When Manjhi recommended dissolution of the Assembly and fresh elections an unprecedented two thirds of his Cabinet colleagues resigned in protest! Manjhi then pushed for a secret ballot during the no-confidence vote banking on the BJP’s support plus a substantial chunk of MLAs breaking away from Nitish. 

This Amul ad/ topical on Jitan Ram Manjhi came out at the height of his exploits and shows two caricatures depicting Nitish Kumar and Manjhi involved in a tussel. Nitish is shown trying to wrest the CM’s seat while Manjhi is shown desperately holding on while the Amul Girl watches in bewilderment. The strip shows Manjhi and Nitish in their trademark attires and also captures the disgusting spectacle of power hungry politicians squabbling in public.

majhi

The Tag Line…O, Manjhi re,Kaun Hoga Paar?…. describes the uncertain political situation and literally translates into asking the boatman who would manage to cross over to the bank from a rocking boat in the midst of the river.Manjhi is also hindi for a boatman.

The Punch Line… Utterly-Biharterrly Delicious… is a play on the famous Amul ad line as well as indicating the state of affiars in Bihar politics.

Eventually, the secret ballot wasn’t allowed and even more fortuitously for Nitish, the BJP lost the Delhi elections.To prevent further damage to its imageBJP drew its hand from openly supporting a split in the JD (U) and did not want to be seen as the ones rocking the boat. Devoid of his backers,Manjhi resigned without taking a floor test and in his own inimitable style announced thay he did so under rhreat to his and the lives of his supporters. Nitish Kumar was once again sworn in as the CM after 8 months of chaos.

Nitish had read Manjhi wrong just like Nawaz Sharif had read Musharraf wrong. Born in 1944 to homestead workers, Manjhi had learnt his political lessons way back in the 70s.While securing votes for others he realized he could do it for himself and did just that when he won his first elections in 1980.He simply applied the same theory when made the CM.A six time MLA and having always been with the party in power Manjhi wasn’t as pliant as he seemed. After all Clark Kent is seemingly harmless too!

Manjhi proved a deft judge of the political scenario.He correctly identified that to defeat the BJP the RJD, Cong (I) and the JD (U) will need the backward class votes.He being from the Mahadalit community (Musahar) could become the rallying point of this grand alliance in case he was able to posture himself as the undisputed leader of the downtrodden. This made his removal difficult as both Lalu and Nitish did not want to be seen as anti-backward classes. And his dalliances with the BJP should surprise none as Manjhi’s son is already a BJP member and way back in 1991 Manjhi had garnered the BJP workers support in his bid to win in the Gaya Parliamentary by elections. The BJP saw in him an opportunity to engineer elections in Bihar and to capitalize on the chaos in the JD (U). Manjhi too saw a great chance to be the CM in case the BJP backed him outrightly.

But for Arvind Kejriwal, Manjhi was almost home !

Manjhi in his brief tenure emerged stronger and his actions to increase quota for SC/ST in government contracts, appointing 45000 safai karamcharis, increasing land allocation for the landless from 3 to 5 decimals and hiking of government subsidies upto 80 percent for SC/ST farmers clearly presented himself as the last, best and only hope for the reinvigorated backward classes. His seemingly gibberish utterances were after all well thought out and had a subtle and telling effect.It is he who is the victim now and has survived his mentor. Clever indeed. After all, survivors are thinkers too.

In the end, Nitish Kumar emerged weaker and lost political capital. Lalu as lost as ever. Rahul Gandhi and the Congress totally marginalized (they may well consider joining Manjhi’s newly floated Hindustani Awami Morcha). BJP emerged devious but stands to benefit by this split in the backward class votes.

Whatever happened in Bihar shows us the ugly side of India’s caste based politics which trivializes development and governance at the altar of caste based politics. It’s always about vote bank. After all that’s why Manjhi could shout down protestors by saying that it’s not their votes that make him win. Simply means, if you matter you get benefitted otherwise languish right where you are and suffer goofy and gaffe prone clowns. Kashmiri Pandits and the victims of the Bhopal Gas tragedy are a case in point.

For those who want to be remote controls let me share an updated list compiled by a columnist, of those who defied the gadget,dumped their “controlling hands” and successfully charted their own political course – Pervez Musharraf, Suresh Prabhu, John Major and now Jitan Ram Manjhi.

Feom the chaos in Bihar what I have learnt is that politicians and diapers need to be changed frequently.

They stink.

POST SCRIPT  

11 March 15; Nitish Kumar expectedly and comfortably won the Confidence/Trust Vote in the Bihar Assembly when he garnered 140 votes.There was slight but predictable drama with the BJP staging a walkout and Jitan Ram Manjhi stay in away from the proceedings.

Manjhi had earlier sat on a dharna at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna to protest the revocation of 39 of his administrative orders by the present Bihar CM. Manjhi claimed that had Nitish persisted with the policy decisions they had the potential to rid Bihar of all its ills.

Mr Manjhi, pardon my ignorance but does this include politicians too ?

IPL SPOT FIXING SAGA: INDIAN CRICKET’S “WATERGATE” MOMENT !

Cricketer Sreesanth’s use of towels to spot fix during the Indian Premier League season 6 (I8PL 6) led to the biggest scandal that rocked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as well as the IPL. Its flames engulfed Sreesanth and eventually the BCCI too. Finally, it was left to the the Supreme Court of India (SC) to resurrect the game of cricket in India. Ranbir Kapoor knows that a towel can make a career but now, BCCI President N Srinivasan’s and Sreesanth both know that it can mar careers too.

Spot fixing should have never surprised us Indians as we have been throwing hankies to reserve seats in buses and local trains, yet the IPL spot fixing incident became a major controversy and opened a Pandora’s Box for many others.

Gurunath Meiyappan, son in law of N Srinivasan and Team Principal of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) was arrested for betting and so was Raj Kundra, co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals (RR). BCCI appointed an enquiry committee but its ability to conduct a fair probe was always suspect till such time Srinivasan continued to don his twin hats as BCCI President and co-owner at CSK. Expectedly, retired judges Chowta and Subramaniam found nothing against anyone! The findings were challenged by the “unrecognized” Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) in the the Bombay High Court which annulled the enquiry findings. BCCI contested this in the SC but the latter disagreed and instead instituted its own enquiry – the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee.

And this was the turning point.

Mudgal Committee indicted Meiyappan and Kundra for betting and revealed involvement of some players too whose names were withheld. It was critical of IPL CEO, Sundar Raman for frequently communicating with a bookie. And suggested that Srinivasan be further investigated for his role in the entire matter ranging from fixing to attempted cover up. In light of the new facts the SC empowered the same committee to further investigate the matter.

The final Mudgal Committee Report was submitted in November 2014 and confirmed its findings against Meiyappan, Kundra and Sunder Raman. Meiyappan who was earlier termed as a mere “cricket enthusiast” (for enthusiastically sharing information with bookies !!!) by India cements to insulate CSK from possible termination from the IPL was confirmed to be a team official of the CSK. Srinivasan was exonerated of betting and fixing charges but not of attempted “cover up”. Some names were again withheld. Indian Captain MS Dhoni was speculatively dragged in as the mysterious Individual No 2 in the report, whom Individual No 1 (Meiyappan) frequently met to discuss team strategy of CSK and later passed the same details to betting syndicates.

A previous Amul ad on the Mudgal Committee shows a caricature depicting Justice Mudgal and the Amul Girl (as a lawyer) conferring while a player in whites is crying and holding his head in shame, which probably represents the game of cricket.

IMG-20141128-WA0018

The Tag Line , “Muh Khol Mudgal”, translates to “open your mouth” and in the light of the controversy exhorts the committee to come out in the open with all its findings. The Punch Line, subtly hints at the importance of the report as also of Amul Butter.

To take matters further, Srinivasan clearly had a conflict of interest while being BCCI President and took refuge under the BCCI’s amended rule 6.2.4 which allowed administrators running the game to have commercial interests in it as well. BCCI subsequently defended this clause unabashedly in the SC. The crude attempts to alter the status of Meiyappan to “enthusiast” and the alleged role of Dhoni and Srinivasan to support this fallacious claim exposed the entrenched interests. BCCI was also shown to be incapable and unwilling to introduce internal censure and probity and shamefully, contested the powers of the court to constitute an independent enquiry. Most glaringly, BCCI claimed immunity from the courts on the premise that it was a private society and not a public body hence its governing rules were not under the law of the land!

N Srinivasan was exposed as a megalomaniac intent on protecting his interests. Repulsively, Srinivasan wanted to investigate CSK, Meiyappan and others as BCCI President itself when he had such obvious conflict of interest. He fought tooth and nail to prove that he had none and with each assertion exposed himself further.

In spite of the SC’s suggestion, Srinivasan refused to step down as BCCI President to allow for a fair probe. This disgusting scenario presented the bookies with “windfall gains” as they were now betting on Srinivasan’s “would he, wont he” until the SC forced him out. It seems Srinivasan had imbibed the properties of the product being sold by his company India Cements. Luckily it doesn’t sell adhesives like Araldite or Fevicol in addition to the cement!!!

The AGM of the BCCI to elect new office bearers was also postponed by the SC beyond the present term which ended in September 2014, as it felt that the findings of the Mudgal Committee needed to be taken to their logical conclusion. Nauseatingly, Srinivasan still sought reinstatement as BCCI President, much after his official term had already expired. BCCI insisted that it will constitute its own “ethics commission” to implement remedial measures against those found indicted! This was but a vacuous claim which found no favour with SC. To accentuate the competing interests in the India’s cricket administration set up, ex IPL czar Lalit Modi admitted financing the “unrecognized” CAB (all cricket enthusiasts) in its fight against the BCCI and Srinivasan.

Consequent to the filing of the final report, marathon hearings were conducted in the SC during November / December 2014 in which the issue of conflict of interest haunted Srinivasan.Finally, in its January 2015 verdict, the SC endorsed the Mudgal Committees findings against Meiyappan, Kundra and Sunder Rajan. It found CSK and RR guilty of misconduct on the basis of the actions of its officials and owners. It exonerated Srinivasan of “cover up” charges but only for lack of evidence. And most importantly ruled that he had a conflict of interest and struck down the pernicious and contentious clause 6.2.4 of the BCCI. It also barred individuals with commercial interest in cricket from holding a position in the BCCI. And directed that if Srinivasan wanted to contest elections he would have to give up his stake in CSK.

The SC also set up a separate panel under retired CJI, RS Lodha to introduce transparency and accountability in the functioning of the BCCI to help it to gain “institutional integrity”. It will formulate rules to streamline issues of conflict of interest, to stipulate guidelines for the conduct of elections and for any other measure deemed fit for the functioning of the BCCI. It shall also finalise the punishment for the guilty in the entire IPL spot fixing fiasco.The recommendations of the panel shall be binding on the BCCI.

By this the SC has settled the insidious claim that BCCI wasn’t under the jurisdiction of the courts for once and for all. It’s shameful that it fell upon the SC to clean up the BCCI’s mess and to restore the public’s faith in the game. Hopefully this hiding will transform the moral landscape of the hitherto fore opaque and unscrupulous functioning of the BCCI.

This Amul ad profiles the post SC verdict scenario facing N Srinivasan. A caricature depicting him,replete with his trademark red teeka,  is weighing his options with a white flanelled cricketer representing Indian Cricket ,probably Virat Kohli and a yellow flannelled cricketer representing CSK,probably MS Dhoni, forming two sides of a balance.The Amul girl is missing from this piece.

amul-hits-1983

The Tag Line... Board? Cement? Chennai? India?  ..with initial capitals in red is a play on the Hobson’s choice imposed on Srinivasan regarding contesting elections to the BCCI.He will have to choose and choose he must.

The Punch Line Chairman of Butters endorses the Amul product line and is a veiled hint at the President’s job at stake in the BCCI.

This strip is rightly about N Srinivasan, as eventually it was he who stood between the BCCI and efforts to restore faith and probity in the game.

The verdict of the SC has triggered the fall of the most powerful BCCI President ever, just like it happened for Richard Nixon in the Watergate Scandal, and even that started with a cover up of sorts which was never proven! Like Watergate, it is proven that no one is above the law. Power could neither save President Nixon nor Srinivasan. And lastly, akin to Watergate, sports administrators will now value judicious conduct and avoid being brazen and arrogant

But what a paradox that all the trouble was taken to investigate betting in cricket, a game which commences with betting itself – the toss of the coin.

And btw you can make a career without a towel too. Ask Sunny Leone!

28th February 15;N Srinivasan has tendered unconditional apology to the SC for presiding over the working committee meet of the BCCI in spite of the apex court order of 22 Jan 15 ,specifically barring him from doing so.Srinivasan has expressed regret by saying that he misunderstood the order and “went by its letter and not spirit”.

Accepting the apology the SC allowed Srinivasan to attend the AGM meeting of the BCCI on 2nd Mar 15 and cast the vote as the representative of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association  (TNCA) for the election of the BCCI President.Had Srinivasan not apologised he would have lost stake in the crucial elections.Though barred from any administrative appointment in the BCCI he has substantial interests in BCCI and the IPL and would like to have retain de facto influence over the cash rich cricket body.

2nd March 15; Jagmohan Dalmiya made a remarkable comeback as the BCCI President,ten years after he was banished from the organisation over embezzlement charges.He had sensed an opportunity when Srinivasan was barred from contesting by the SC and went on to successfully lobby for himself as the consensus candidate of all factions including the Sharad Pawar and the Srinivasan group.

This speaks volumes about Dalmiya’s propensity for manoeuvre as also the lure of the post as all factions now have managed to protect their interests and secure their slice of the pie by having a common candidate .

Dalmiya’s comeback is remarkable as he was.once a pariah and today the same organisation has elected him unopposed.This also sends signals about the fact that the satraps in the BCCI have no intention of letting their grip loosen over its affairs as also that they will try every  trick in the trade to protect and perpetuate their interests.Election of a 74 year old corruption tainted well entrenched man doesn’t bode well for the future of cricket administration especially when the BCCI considers itself above the law of the land.

Power…money…politics…

It’s in this backdrop that the Justice Lodha commission has to suggest measures for reforms in  the BCCI.And the work of this committee now becomes ever more crucial.

“FREEZER “, “KISSING” & “TUNNU” BABAS – GODMEN GALORE AND THEIR TEMPLES OF DOOM !

In a country where a black cat can do what a traffic light can’t and where time is auspicious and not precious it’s natural to have your very own “customized” “Godman”, promising you salvation,and mercifully at cheap rates too. But with cheap rates – sleaze, avarice and crime also come cheap;sadly at the expense of the hapless victims of this Ungodly Man!

In late November, Satlok Ashram (hermitage) of self-styled “Godman” Sant Rampal, witnessed a pitched battle between his “private” army (Army of God? Mujahideen?) and the Police. Rampal, an erstwhile engineer, calls himself the “avatar” or reincarnation of a mystic poet Kabir. His stand off with the Police took place as he had been defying court orders to appear in relation to a case of inciting violence and murder ,dating back to 2006.

Rampal used 15000 disciples as “human shields” and caused the death of six people before finaly being arrested. Search revealed ostentatious opulence, sex literature, porn CDs and pregnancy kits from the “Godman’s” personal chamber and records of transfer of funds running into crores of rupees while the standoff was in progress. Rampal now stands accused of treason and sedition also . Definitely a first for a God!

There are others too in this Roll of “Honour”.

Asaram “Bapu” (father), preached the “existence of one supreme conscious”, but stood accused of murder and sex crimes while creating a Rupees 5000 crore empire. He and son Narayan Sai were arrested on charges of rape based on the complaint by a former disciple.The Police had to conduct a paternity test on the septugenarian “Godman” to get the charges to stick.Asaram passed with flying colours and the duo are still behind bars.

Please welcome Nirmal Baba- a failed businessman, who prescribes bizarre solutions for ushering in “kripa” (blessings),such as changing the “lal chutney” (red dip) for the “hari chutney” (green dip) while partaking the Indian snack “samosa” (???) and promises uninterrupted blessings for as less as Rupees 2000 (USD 30) to those who are gullible enough to believe him.He is presently facing charges of fraud leveled by some of his “now enlightened” followers.

“Freezer” Baba or Ashutosh Maharaj of the Divya Jyoti Jagran Samiti died on 29 January 14 but his body is still kept in a deep freezer by his disciples as they say he will awake again from “spiritual Samadhi”! His death is shrouded in mystery owing to land and wealth related issues.

“Kissing Baba” who hugged and kissed his devotees to remove their afflictions and problems, was recently arrested in Kaddapa.

We also had “Godman” Chandraswami who could supposedly “read minds” but was “famously” accused of gun running  and of being involved in Rajiv Gandhi’s murder. And Swami Premanand who produced “lingams” (male phallus) for select devotees (??), but only until he was arrested and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for raping 13 girls!!

But its Sant Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ek Insaan-spiritual head of the Dera Sachcha Sauda takes the cake. He drives a Range Rover, wears rockstar clothes, has Z plus security status and is a “spiritual Mika” who has crooned Punjabi pop numbers such as “Love Charger” and “Atom Bomb” ! He is making his directorial and acting debut in the film MSG-The Messenger of God in which amongst other stunts he plays rugby to save the world! To round up the impressive CV, Rahim is accused of blasphemy, two rapes and two murders also!

The movie -MSG-The Messenger of God,starring Sant Gurmeet Ram Rahim has run into serious trouble in Punjabi and has stoked communal embers  as it portrays him as an apostle of God. And also God himself!. It’s release is being opposed vehemently by the predominantly upper caste Sikhs and the ruling  Akali Dal.The Censor Board chief ,Leela Samson resigned citing political interference in by the ruling dispensation in according clearances to the movie which the board had denied on grounds of communal harmony.The matter went to the tribunal and is presently subjudice with the movie yet to be released.Meanwhile the opposing camps have only been becoming more belligerent and threatening violence against each other..all in the name of God.

The Amul ad on the movie MSG-The Messenger of God captures  the controversy regarding the Censor board certification.It shows a caricature depicting Ram Rahim in a costume worn by him in the movie and looking surprised at the cuts made by the Censor Board.It also shows a caricature depicting Leela Samson angrily walking out and a pen thrown on the ground showcasing the fiasco surrounding her sudden resignation . .The Amul Girl is witness to it all while a raging fire depicts the violence that has erupted because of  the controversial movie.

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The Tag Line…Sab  Godmal Hai. ..is a play on the Hindi word “golmaal” implying that everything is murky about the incident and also hints at the entire controversy being in the name of God – and in this case the Godman  of Dera Sachcha  Sauda.

The Punch Line..Messenger of Taste..is a play on  the name of the controversial movie and suggests that Amul is spreading a simpler message unlike others around us.

Getting back to the main theme.

The Amul Ad on Sant Rampal depicts the  carnage and fiasco at Satlok Ashram. It shows Rampal with his trademark hand gesture being nabbed by the Police. The battle gear of the Police, an upturned ashram and shadowy figures of the trapped disciples round off the scene,with the Amul Girl shown as a bystander.

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The Tag Line…Sharampal Baba?….is a take on the name “Rampal” and the urdu word “Sharam” meaning shame. It asks the simple question that isn’t this “Godman” ashamed of all that he has indulged in?

The Punch Line…Spread Amity and Amulity…is a message for these “Godmen” as also the society to spread peace and amity and a subtle play on the name Amul.

Religion in India is characterised by elitist rituals,schisms,exclusivity and “Godmen”  who have held sway over the minds of the excluded as well as the so called “privileged” groups.The “Deras” are a result of the former where the excluded classes have found a semblance of acceptability and also a sense of strength in numbers.Even the, affluent and the privileged get sucked into this whirlpool of religiosity.Since our childhood we are fed on a staple of “miracles” by saints and Gods we get drawn to modern day “super healers” and “Godmen”.These then conjure fake miracles and prey on our need to lean on a superior power.

Once the “Godman” has sufficient following he is then a mascot for the politicians who intend exploiting the crowd pulling power of these “saints” for their electoral gains. And the “Godman” then perpetuates more power and wealth. A self-sustaining cycle is thus in place and includes the most demeaning aspect of sexual exploitation of the disciples.

The misdeeds and ungodly conduct of the “Godmen” are well documented yet we allow this charade to continue.It is because of the “disciples”; they are the biggest perpetrators of this misery.Seeking redemption and solace these mindless herds flock in thousands to any new wonder magician claiming to be the reincarnation of any deity under the sun.These disciples allow themselves to be fooled and start believing in their “Gods” and their machinations and contribute to the perpetuation of various myths surrounding the “Godman”; the most common being some wonder “vibhuthi” (holy ash) or concoction or potion which cures all ils except superstition !

Superstition and lack of rationality perpetuate undying loyalty to the chosen “Godman”.Its an amazingly successful “business model” and all that is required is to master a  few scriptures, voice modulation,a PR agency,handful of congregations and a sleight of hand for tricks packaged as miracles.Of course a pliant section of the media too.Then in 2 to 3 years anyone can become a “Godman” and then carry on with his legacy and whence the politco-religious nexus is complete he can unleash his perversion on the hapless yet culpable devotees.

Why is this phenomenon successful in India?Well, when the mere ability to sign ones name is considered a benchmark for literacy then true knowledge and rationality will surely give way to robed charlatans and their antics. QED!

The negative manifestations of the “Godman phenomenon” are also and undeniable result of the mixing up of politics, religion and democracy and its exploitation by the politicians. This prevents our government of the day from taking resolute action against frauds and charlatans and encourages them to inflict misery and  chicanery on the hapless (yet culpable) disciples.

To round up, I suggest that the next “Godman” should name himself “Frauddy Baba” as the name itself would be a disclaimer and he could then indulge in all that he desires!

POST SCRIPT

Related to the subject is the recently released Raj Kumar Hirani directed and Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma starrer “PK” which is a satire on the business of “Godmen”.The movie has become the highest grossing Bollywood flick but has run into serious trouble with right wing Hindu organisations protesting the supposed denigration of the religion in the movie.

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A previous Amul ad on “PK” depicted a controversial nude poster of Aamir Khan for the promotion of the movie and the Amul Girl is shown wearing an attire which was worn by Aamir Khan in one of the scenes of the movie. The tag line and the punch line are a play on the name of the movie and the fact that Aamir bared all in this venture.

The protests against the movie inspired another Amul ad.The ad shows a  caricature depicting Aamir Khan as PK and borrows from a scene in the movie wherein PK shows the contents of his briefcase to his friend Jaggu, played by Anushka Sharma. Here Amul butter blocks are shown in the briefcase with the Amul girl depicting Jaggu in a similar attire as in the movie.

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The Tag Line Don’t Bhaste It,Taste it…has borrowed the word “bhaste” from a song in the movie which is but a demented pronunciation of the word “waste”.It subtly implores people to watch the movie and not to ruin it by baying for its banning.

The Punch Line… Tarray it ,Please…is an oblique exhortation to the public to try the Amul butter as also a clever play on the heavily accented eastern dialect of the central character PK and it obliquely exhorts the people to at least watch the movie and to give it a try before dismissing it out rightly.

The controversy was needless and most on ground were protesting without having watched the movie itself.And if there was anything to be protested about then it was he blatant misuse of a gullible man’s faith to perpetuate practices and superstitions as highlighted in the movie.

NOW SERVING – SHAKESPEAREAN OMELETTE WITH INDIAN CHUTZPAH !

A successful director, a yet-to-prove-himself actor & a Kashmiri journalist as the script writer along with generous support from Shakespeare, have combined to create a critically acclaimed but controversial Bollywood flick – “Haider”.

“Haider” is an adaptation of the Shakespearean classic- Hamlet. Set in the militancy ridden Kashmir of the 1990s the plot has betrayal, love and revenge intricately woven together. Adapting it to Kashmir in a particular period is a challenge well met. Revolving around the revenge that the wronged son seeks for his father’s betrayal and death, from his uncle, the lead characters Shahid Kapoor (Hamlet), Tabu (Queen Gertrude), KK Menon (Uncle Claudius), Irrfan Khan (Ghost), Shraddha Kapoor (Ophelia) have rendered power packed and committed performances. The ability of Vishal Bharadwaj,the Director, to get the best out of the cast is amply showcased as well.

It’s a satisfying finale for Bharadwaj, as with “Haider”, he has successfully (commercially as well) completed his Triology on Shakespearean plays – Maqbool (Macbeth) & Omkara (Othello) being the other two.

“Haider” portrays the rigours of daily life in a strife torn Kashmir way back in the 90s.Its setting and the depiction of the Indian Army’s (IA) role in the conflict in light of the sequence of the destruction of the house while smoking out militants, alleged custodial disappearances as also the supposed torture methods has tended to portray the Army in a negative and controversial shade by the script writer,Basharat Peer.

Some have even lamented that the Indian government “imposed 41 cuts” on “Haider”, through the censor board. Well, 35 of those have been imposed by Bharadwaj himself for getting the length right!

I think the next project that these India baiters and conscience keepers should take up can be a flick on the strife torn areas under the Islamic State (IS), where they will be filming as embedded journalists (without bullet proof jackets- BPJs) and depicting the barbaric nature of the IS fighters and their excesses. The IS has kindly consented not to cut the film short through its censor board (unlike the Indian government!). Instead they have decided to cut a head from the production unit each time they find something objectionable. So, Basharat, Vishal & Shahid would you like to take this on? No censor board.Liberal enough, right?

And why no BPJs? Because the IS made up its own deficiency – so to hell with the film unit!

Okay I made a difficult offer. Why not film in Swat on the dangerous liaison between the ISI and the Taliban. An issue worth taking up( like the supposed excesses of the IA). FYI, Geo TV tried this and their license was withdrawn and offices ransacked ! So, game for it? No?…..Why? After all no censor board, just the Taliban and the ISI…AND YOUR LUCK!

By the way a word about the Pakistan Censor Board. They banned Ranjhana as it showed a love story between a Muslim girl and a Hindu boy (?)! Then they banned Khiladi 786 as the use of the number could hurt religious sentiments (??). Banned Chennai Express as it was against the business interests of the Pakistani film industry (???). And also Agent Vinod because…wait…well that wasn’t way off the target and their Indian counterparts should have done it for the sheer torture it inflicted on the audience!!!

I have a few themes in mind too.

To begin with, an Indianised Charlies Angels as “Subramaniam Swamy’s Angels” starring Jaylalita, “Madame ” Gandhi and our very own Mr Kejriwal.

Then “The Wolf of Raisina Hill” directed by Kapil Sibal designed to expose the guile and cunning of one man who has jettisoned the Grand Old Party into outer space.

Adaptation of “Hum aapke hain kaun” to have a climax in which the dog (as in the original) entrusted with handing over the letter of support from the Shiv Sena (Madhuri Dixit) to the BJP (Salman Khan) mistakenly hands it over to the NCP (Monish Behl).Unlike the original there would be no union between Madhuri & Salman but Monish will do all he can to keep Salman away …oops..confusion…to keep the Shiv Sena away!!!

Not too sure if these will pass the Censor scrutiny though.

The Amul ad/ topical on the movie Haider depicts a scene from the movie with a caricature depicting Shahid Kapoor’s character sitting in the snow with the Amul Girl filling in for Shraddha Kapoor’s character. The detailing is good with the protagonists being shown in the same attire as in the movie complete with the chequered kurtas ,the pink scarf, the umbrella and the facial resemblance.

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The Tag Line….Try with Haider Bread or Rotiis clever play on the ubiquitous acceptability of the Amul butter with any kind of bread or roti (flat bread)as well as on the name of the movie itself.

The Punch Line.. A Modern Day Classicis a subtle way of showcasing the quality of the Amul butter by using the expression that can best describe the cinematic effort that went into creating a critically acclaimed movie.

Lastly, to those who have felt aggrieved at the negative depiction of the IA, be rest assured it’s an institution with intrinsic strength and cannot be swayed by its depiction in a movie. The IA’s actions are there to speak for itself. It is one of the few armies which has not hesitated in taking the harshest actions against its own in order to right a wrong. In a conflict there are many situations when shades of grey emerge, but over time the IA has been able to discern through these too and made sure that its impartial and just image and ethics are upheld at all times.

By the way, the Lion King too was an adaptation of the “Hamlet” (Simba=Hamlet & Scar = evil uncle) and Lion King II…an adaptation of “Romeo & Juliet“!

Shakespearean omelettes always taste good and to make them better add some Chutzpah…yes you can..in India.Other places?Well…they may shoot first and that too to kill !!!

POST SCRIPT

3rd February 2015;In the recently announced 60th Filmfare Awards 2015 winners list saw the Bollywood movies ‘Queen’ and ‘Haider’ sweeping the field with a whopping six and five awards respectivley.

The Amul ad/topical on the Filmfare Awards shows the Amul Girl with the runaway winners of this year’s edition.It shows two caricatures depicting Shahid Kapoor in a tuxedo as he wore on the awards night and Kangana Ranaut in her famous “girl-next-door” attire in the movie “Queen”.They are both shown holding the “black lady” which they have won for the Best Actor and Best Actress roles respectively.

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The Tag Line is in the form of call out boxes with the Amul Girl making an overt attempt to let the readers know about the identity of winners in terms of the movies and the actors themselves.They translate into “Haider-tea is here” and “Kangana-have a bun”.

The Punch Line…Always in a Leading Roleis a take on the awards won by Shaid and Kangana for their leading rooles in the two movies  discussed above and once again subtly promotes the leading status of Amul Butter and the brand in general.

Queen is a 2014 Bollywood comedy-drama starring Kangana Ranaut and Lisa Haydon and Rajkumar Rao in supporting roles. It is directed by Vikas Bahl and produced by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane.

The plot revolves around Kangana playing the lead role as Rani, an under-confident girl who suffers as her fiancee calls off the wedding at the last moment.Shocked and hurt,Rani decides to proceed alone on her pre-arranged honeymoon.Here she rediscovers herself in the company of staranger.She eventually returns with her fears conquered and inner demons exorcised for good.The fiancee ,Vijay, also learns his lessons when he attempts to make amends.

The movie premiered at the Busan International Film Festival,had received wide critical acclaim for its unique story line,writing,direction and Kangana’s performance.Produced at a cost of Rs 12.5 crores it earned Rs 98 crores at the box office.Previously nominated in 13 categories at the Screen Awards it won three of them including Best Film and Best Director.At the Filmafare Awards 2015 the movie won six including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress for Kangana Ranaut,Best Editing, Best Cinematography and Best Background Score.

‘Haider’ was a close second with five awards including Best Actor for Shahid Kapoor , Best Actor in Supporting Role (Female) for Tabu, Best Actor in Supporting Role (Male) for KK Menon and also for Best Costume and Best Production Design.

The Filmfare Awards are the Oscar Awards equivalent for Bollywood and have had its share of controversies and ups and downs.These have been attacked for their poor or biased choices in the past but off late have been able to make justified choices more often than not.

BILAWAL BHUTTO; FANCY SLOGANS & STUPID NOTIONS !

Bokata-Bokata! Buzdil Khan!Tsunami ka soolab (?)!Lawange…Pakistan ka (?) Kashmir Laawange!These are but just a few of the pearls of wisdom shared by Bilawal Bhutto in his inaugural days as the “gen next” of Pakistani politics & his Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).Sounds eerily familiar to a similar coronation a few months back in India.Its deja vu and seems “har shaakh pe Pappu baitha hai”!

Touted as the biggest thing to happen to Pakistan in the last 20 years (after Gullu Butt?), Bilawal has left no stone unturned to be the butt of all jokes.Foreign accent, poor Urdu , effeminate mannerisms & a bungling persona make him an easy target in the machoistic politics of Pakistan.While delivering “bulldog dialogues” (as per Hasan Nisar) he is unable to look up from the script & indulges in mock anger & ridiculous voice modulations – like being locked in a room with the grunts of Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova & Serena Williams to keep you company!

Trying to imitate Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s firebrand style & the mindless rantings of Benazir Bhutto, Bilawal is ending up making a caricature of himself.His conduct during speeches has been farcical & immature. (Sherry Rehman are you listening?)

He drives himself into a misplaced frenzy by frequently alluding to being the “nawasa” of ZA Bhutto & the son of “shaheed” Benazir to gain sympathy & establish a connect with the famous title – “Bhutto” & repeatedly shouts “may Bhutto hoon” (may—phonetic expression of Bilawal’s dialect).The more he shout the more the “Zardari” in the name gets accentuated.

Bilawal showcased his terrific hold on Urdu when he coined the term “Tsunami ka soolab (?)” (its “sailaab”) and this has got Faiz,Iqbal & Ghalib turning & loading their guns in their graves.To cement credentials he opened the Sind Cultural Festival by delivering a speech in English, wearing a Superman t-shirt!!!! (Clark Kent was from Sind ?) Then he came up with a phrase “desi-donkey-derby”…what does this mean??????Can any Sindhi please explain this?For me it implies that the guy is definitely a “desi donkey” with pretentions to compete in a “derby”.

Compounding his troubles is the issue of Bilawal’s genes. Father Asif Ali Zardari tried to be a leader but ended up being a “dealer”.Not much of an intelligence to fall back on Bilawal becomes insolent & crass in his speeches.He calls Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister, a “cat having milk from (Joe) Biden’s cup”, Imran Khan – “buzdil (coward) Khan”, Shahbaz Sharif -a progeny of Zia-ul-Haq & Altaf Hussain is threatened with personal vendetta by the chocolate faced disaster -in-waiting himself!

His reference to the Indian Mars mission as “frivolous” smacks of envy & mental bankruptcy.And this time China cant help- their orbiter is sleeping peacefully in the Pacific!!!!

He even got the concept of the “External Affairs” ministry wrong & reportedly had an affair with the incumbent minister ,Hina Rabbani Khar. True love.com?(as per the Weekly Blitz,Bangladesh)

Now when this unintelligent man wants to get entire Kashmir back from India but does he realise he will have to give “10 percent ” to his dad! Old habits die hard, isnt it Mr Zardari?

Pakistan is most welcome to compete & better India in every aspect.But why did they have to develop their own Pappu (call him “Billu” to avoid patent issues)?

Its evident that son’s dont really inherit the political mantle of their father/ mother – for eg Rahul “Pappu” Gandhi, Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah & poor Mulayam Singh Yadav doesnt know which buffalo to blame for the “specimen” called Akhilesh Yadav. Talking of “kapoot ka soolab” – Abhishek Bachchan- but for him Amitabh Bachchan wouldnt search for work at age 72!!!

Thankfully ,as yet, Rehman Malik & Digvijay Singh are not intending to unleash their genes on the hapless millions in the two countries!!!

But the same isnt true for the girls.Indira Gandhi,Benazir Bhutto,Sheikh Haseena,Khaleda Zia & Chandrika Kumaratunga are all stellar torchbearers of the legacy of their fathers or husbands.Why dont we convince “Billu” & “Pappu” to undergo sex change and may be then….Billo Rani & Ragini MMS can be their new names too!

This Amul Ad/ topical on Bilawal Bhutto came up after Bilawal’s unrealistic call to arms for getting entire Kashmir to be a part of Pakistan.A caricature depicting Bilawal Bhutto is shown alighting from a car with a security guard in tow & pointing a finger at the Amul Girl to not to stop his path.The Amul Girl has stopped his car from moving ahead-probably on a confrontational path on Kashmir.

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The Tag LineBilawal Phutto is a take on the protagonists name & Phutto is play on the hindi word “phuto” implying -get lost (or to go away & not lay eyes on Kashmir)

The Punch LineMakes You Fighting Fit…extols the virtues of the Amul Butter as also subtly hints at fighting back any designs of inimical forces on the integrity of India.

Lack of political ideology & corruption has forced the political parties in the sub continent to rely on personality based politics.Practically resulting in dynastic rule-less the Monarchy. Mostly the “heir apparent” is good for nothing & is foisted upon the people.They tend to start believing their hypocritical portrayals & make life miserable for the hapless electorate.Its time to shun this brand of politics. Otherwise we shall have no one to blame, as after all WE GET THE GOVERNMENT WE DESERVE!

In 1969, angels representing the people of India & Pakistan had assembled in heaven to discuss the fate of the two countries.Disgusted with the way things were going they decided to give 50 years to the two peoples to improve their lot.Failing which they decided to unleash disaster & havoc by ensuring the ascendancy of incompetent leaders.If we dont improve the way we run our affairs then Pappu & Billu shall be Prime Ministers in 2018/2019! Qayamat duur nahin hai…God gave us a 50 year lease..5 of those are still left- or “Bokata,bokata” (term used to declare victory in kite flying) will be a joke directed upon us by these buffoons!

 26 October 14 – London; While leading the “million march” on Kashmir,Bilawal Bhutto was pelted with tomatoes,shoes & rotten eggs by his fellow countrymen! Bokata !

OSCAR “HOUDINI” PISTORIUS: ON THE BLADES OF INFAMY!

At 3 AM in the wee hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013, Oscar Pistorius,27, – the only double amputee Paralympic and Olympic athlete in the world- had just shot his 29 year old girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his Pretoria home. Pistorius was subsequently arrested on murder charges.This Amul strip showcases the court trial in this tragic tale of a love gone awry.

Oscar maintains that he shot Reeva mistaking her for an intruder.He says that waking from his sleep he had gone out to move the fan in and the room being pitch dark did not realise that Reeva had ,moved into the lavatory.He heard the washroom window open and challenged the “intruder” and then shot four times through the lavatory door.When he broke open the door he saw Reeva lying in a pool of blood in the brutal aftermath of his actions.

The defence has tried its best to make a fight out of a hopeless situation & even attempting to trumpet Oscar’s willingness to conform to authority-contrary to his earlier run ins with law and his image as a flamboyant playboy who was found obscenely socialising even in the period preceding the trial.         

Pistorius was also presented as having generalised anxiety disorder, which combined with his physical vulnerability – could have affected his actions on the fateful and left him incapable of realising the wrongfulness of his actions. 

Prosecution lawyer , Gerrie Nel is seeking a conviction on premeditated murder.He contends that Pistorius killed Reeva in a fit of rage after a heated argument with her.His irresponsible actions in the past – accidentally discharging a friend’s fire arm in a restaurant and firing on a traffic light after an argument with a cop – lent credence to the notion.Pistorius also lost credibility in court and emerged as a  – “deceitful, appalling and a poor witness” and his show of remorse and grief during the trial was termed staged and fake.

However Thokozile Masipa, the judge, ripped the prosecution claims and said that it had been unable to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Pistorius murdered Reeva with an intent.Instead she found him guilty of Culpable Homicide.Pistorius had already been tried by the media and assumed guilty of murder and seemingly had no case to defend and the “Not Guilty of Murder” verdict came as a shock.

Defence lawyer,Barry Roux had achieved what he set out to and Oscar Pistorius had done a “Houdini” and escaped a life term – for now.Sentencing is due on 12 October 14.

Pistorius is an exceptional athlete who overcame extreme disability and competed with able bodied counterparts in the London Olympics in 2012.For his achievements he had had the honour of being hosted by Nelson Mandela (Madiba).His triumph over adversity was acknowledged globally and in distant India too an Amul ad commemorated his historical participation in the London Olympics.

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Then came the fall.And it was hard and devastating.

Moving on to some bizarre and fascinating facts that i came across while researching on the subject.

Police Investigators were like rampaging pachyderms at the crime scene.One of the “tuskers” even made off with a luxury watch belonging to Pistorius (probably hung around the trunk)! Shockingly enough, the watch was never found!

Fearing a repeat, the chief investigator then ordered removing the door of the lavatory cubicle (a key piece of evidence) to his office (???) as he felt that they “already had the experience of the missing watch, so we decided to take the door,” lest someone walked away with it as well!Who walks away with a blood splattered door???What good would it serve once removed from the crime scene?Interestingly the guy who ordered this,Van Rensberg, has since retired and become a sports coach (??!!!???) in a school.

Chew this now – .Photographs of the crime scene- a 4 m x 4m washroom- were taken by two Police photographers simultaneously.And they had different representations (!!) and the photographers do not even remember seeing each other!!! X Men for sure.!!!!!

Lastly, when tested in court for observation skills they could not spot the difference between two sets of their own Police tape.These dim wit cops have earned the right to be show cased in any future remake of Peter Seller’s “Pink Panther”  movies.

With Policemen of this calibre the prosecution still managed a conviction is a miracle indeed.

Judge Masipa seems to be straight out of comedy nights with Kapil.She believed a sobbing Pistorius when he said he did not think he would kill when he fired! Not her fault- after all when someone fires on a suspected intruder he does it thinking that that the weapon will “shoot” lollipops and not kill anyone!!! For this singular act of stupidity Masipa be rechristened as “Maha – Siyappa” (Grand Fiasco)!

The defence lawyer has done a good job but it could have been better.I am trying to get him to exchange notes with the defence team of a certain Lalu Prasad Yadav – accused of depriving the bovine specie of fodder (no he didnt consume it but simply duplicated receipts)- which managed to delay the verdict for 16 years and in the intervening years convinced prime witnesses and approvers to depart for their heavenly abodes!

Pistorius also lacked in his team a Shayan Munshi type “hostile witness”.Munshi has however coached Lalu’s victims – the cows- and they are soon arriving in South Africa ,as star “hostile witnesses”,in aid of the beleaguered defence team!

Coming to the Amul Ad/ topical on Oscar Pistorius.It depicts a contrite and remorseful Pistorius receiving the verdict from Masipa.The detailing is excellent as the black suit and Oscar’s body language during the trial has been amazingly captured.The Amul Girl is there ,in all proability,as the defence lawyer.Judge Masipa is depicted in her red gown.

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 The Tag line Mysterious Pistorius Verdictis a take on the verdict finding him Not Guilty of murder in the face of compelling evidence as well as seemingly erroneous logic of the Judge.The verdict was much awaited and its anti climatic announcement has been depicted very well indeed.

The Punch lineThe Final Word..is a well crafted aside on the disputed finality of the verdict and endorses the status of the Amul butter and brand as the final word when it comes to dairy products.

The truth of the fateful night is only known to Pistorius. And I am left shaking my head at the sad transformation of the “Blade Runner” in to a “Blade Gunner”.

This fracas had an unintended victim-Nike.The sports gear provider was forced to rethink on its “Just do it” slogan’.Why?Because three of its brand ambassadors -Tiger Woods,Lance Armstrong and Pistorius have stretched it a little too far- “Just do it…to hell with the consequences!” .

And a suggestion for all couples likely to argue- put a signboard outside your washrooms-“Using Toilet-Don’t Shoot” !!!

R.I.P Reeva Steenkamp (19 August 1983 – 14 February 2013).

21 October 14; Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to 5 years in prison for culpable homicide and to 3 years for negligent discharge of a fire arm.The latter stands suspended.

The prosecution is undecided on an appeal.