Spit take Society

Bollywood bails out Bapu

It is quite simple to see why our movie stars have been given this noble task — they epitomise Gandhian values

It is quite simple to see why our movie stars have been given this noble task — they epitomise Gandhian values   | Photo Credit: Sreejith R Kumar

It is quite simple to see why our movie stars have been given this noble task — they epitomise Gandhian values

Oh, Bapu, where art thou? That was my lament till a few days ago. With those selfish, greedy, monopolistic Nehru-Khan-Market fellows co-opting him for 70 years, totally distorting his image, and contaminating his legacy, I wondered if there was any hope for Gandhiji.

But, hurray, Bapu is safe now. He has been handed over to the willing, altruistic hands of Bollywood.

How fortunate we are! As citizens, we keep on presenting problems, relentlessly, thoughtlessly, to the leadership, and every single time, we are presented with an easy-to-execute, totally indigenous, masterstroke of a solution.

Thank you, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Imtiaz Ali, Ekta Kapoor, Kapil Sharma and above all, Kangana ‘Bharat Mata’ Ranaut and Raju ‘Munnatma’ Hirani. Eternally grateful to you all for agreeing to take time off from busy schedules to resurrect the tarnished identity and soiled memory of the former (Trump said so, okay!) Father of the Nation or, if you prefer, the newly-anointed Son of the Nation.

I was a tad disappointed, though, that Akshay Kumar wasn’t there. His absence felt inauspicious, like sending out a spacecraft without hanging lemon and chillies from its nose. Or conducting a frog wedding during rahu kaalam.

But I guess Akki-bhai was busy being Gandhian and conducting satyagrahas for Housefull 4. Totally understandable.

I think a golden opportunity was missed here, though. Imagine if Anupam Kher, in Gandhiji’s get-up, had been made to walk around at the function, blessing everyone. I have goosebumps just thinking about it. Maybe the next time. Maybe January 30. But what if there’s a re-enactment? Oopsie, maybe not, then.

It is quite simple to see why you, our Bollywood bhais and bens, have been petitioned for this noble task. You epitomise the Mahatma’s values.

‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world,’ Gandhiji said.

Airport look, gym look, sombre white-and-white funeral look, meeting-world-leaders-statesman look, saving-the-environment-grave look, playing-drums-with-ethnic-cultures look, exotic-headgear look, bow-and-arrow look, fighting-crocodiles-outdoorsy look, South look, North look, lungi look – the list goes on – who better than you to exemplify the Gandhian ideal of ‘change’. Looks, outfits, get-ups, moods, tongues, moral positions, facial features: constant, effortless change is second nature to you.

Bollywood has already been truly Gandhian without even trying. And I’m not even talking of Hirani here.

Let me give you a couple of examples.

Take Hrithik Roshan’s (sorry, Mata Kangana) two biggest hits, both thoughtfully released with great love, sacrifice and devotion on Gandhi Jayantis five years apart: Bang Bang and War. Can you find titles that better embody Bapu’s values?

What about SRK’s Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge? It is pretty much the story of Mahatma Gandhi and our freedom struggle, if you think about it. Raj wins Simran back from Chaudhry Baldev Singh using non-violence. Get it? SRK is Gandhi. Kajol is our nation and Amrish Puri is the evil British Empire.

Just rehash the film with a new title: Satyagrahi Swarajya Le Aayenge. Retain the songs. Super hit!

Among all the folks at this get-together, I can somehow visualise Imtiaz Ali’s forthcoming films: Jab Mohan Met Ba, featuring Gandhiji and his beloved wife, and Non-Violence Aaj Kal about the life of Gandhian cowboys in present-day India.

I’m looking forward to Ekta Kapoor’s ventures, too. If you ask me, she should go with Kyon Ki India Bhi Kabhi Bharat Thi first. It has got blockbuster written all over it. Followed by Kya Kool Hai Karamchand.

The Mahatma may be no Elvis, but we should still do what we can.

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is a satirist. He has written four books and edited an anthology.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 12:49:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/bollywood-bails-out-bapu/article29797082.ece

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