Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The hand that became a legend

YouTube grabs of that patriotic Kranti song featuring Bharat Kumar and Hema Malini. Manoj Kumar should sue YouTube because the song is tagged “hindi sexy song kranti”. This YouTube generation, we tell you! No respect, huh? It’s unpatriotic to show Bharat in bad light. The great actor’s contribution to the filmi duniya is
unforgettable. So is his hand. The hand that became a legend. All legally!

Seventies actor Manoj Kumar, who was lovingly called Bharat Kumar for his patriotic films, is furious because ruling superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s film Om Shanti Om pokes fun at him. Part of OSO is based in the Seventies’ Bollywood and takes pot shots at leading men and women of those times. The latter half of the film, based on contemporary Bollywood, pokes fun at present day stars and directors. That no one has taken offence is a healthy sign that we have a pretty good sense of humour. That Manoj Kumar has imploded with indignation shows some people still have skin so thin that a simple finger’s poke may hurt their bone. And you can be sure it won’t be the funny bone, and not having one is legal by the way.
Manoj Kumar is righteously agitated about two scenes: In a 70’s scene in OSO, his young double is beaten by police outside a theatre when he lands up for a premiere. Second, Shah Rukh Khan is shown giving a mock thank you speech in a drunken state and claims to be Manoj Kumar.
“The people of the country gave me the love and mandate to represent the country. I was Bharat and they have insulted Bharat by insulting me,” said Manoj Kumar. Ladies and Gentleman, we can now safely declare Dev Anand as the second runner up in the All-India Vanity Actors Megalomania contest. Manoj Kumar wins hands down. And dear policemen, don’t beat him when he comes to accept the award. It’s criminal to forget that hand — both sides. Not recognising his face, however, is perfectly understandable.
His last successful outing was in Kranti about 33 years ago. Most of us were not born then. Those who were could never be sure what he looked like. Half of his onscreen scenes didn’t show his face and the other half showed only half the face. His hands were handy. When not covered, his eyelids rested with calm as he sleepwalked through the film.
On November 16, 2007, Indians saw Manoj Kumar on TV, his eyes half opening for decent spans of time. He was genuinely hurt: “I am hurt. Shah Rukh Khan has injured my soul. It’s a conspiracy to humiliate and ridicule me. My devotion to filmdom for the last 50 years has been insulted.”
He is right about the devotion part. Harikishen Goswami loved films so much that he changed his name to Manoj Kumar, the character Dilip Kumar played in Shabnam. Later, he became probably the world’s only film actor who didn’t have to face the camera. He preferred to look away. The great actor could bring to life the big hamster who thought he could be an ostrich. “If I do not see the audience, the audience will not see how much the hamster hammed.” Besides the pieces of furniture could emote enough to ignite the fire of patriotism. Manoj Kumar was very entertaining. His films were so patriotic that they were idiotic when not jingoistic, but he was patriotic nevertheless. Then he started believing he was Bharat, who believed patronising is derived from the word patriotism. It was Bharat who taught us the value of Indian culture. His films ridiculed women who wore skirts or smoked or god forbid drank. The Bharatiya Nari must wear a sari and it is impossible to shame the skin-showing culture without shamelessly showing skin.
Those who have seen Kranti will not forget the sheer power of patriotism with the lead actors chained and being tortured on a ship on a very rainy day with the high seas as the background score for the chained melody of Zindagi ki na tute ladii, pyaar kar le ghadi do ghadi. Hema Malini lied on her stomach, hands tied to her back, torrid rain splashing her backless choli, her legs exposed, her bosom pressed on the soggy deck to invent a cleavage that would eclipse her struggle to lipsync Lata Mangeshkar. Bharat of course could be of no help. The script had literally tied Manoj Kumar’s hands, just like Hema’s. It didn’t look vulgar at all. Raj Kapoor wrapped his skin show in lovely layers of spirituality. It was Manoj Kumar who discovered the paper of patriotism, before he joined the BJP, who ditched Bharat for India, pardon, India Shining.
He was the Ambassador of Bharatiya Sanskriti. The new Indians have no respect for the Ambassadors parked in the backyard. Farah Khan prefers the gleaming new Merc SRK just gifted her. It’s time Bharat Kumar sued her for not poking fun at the goras, the West and their culture and blaming them for all that is evil. Bharat Kumar will not tolerate Indians laughing at Indians. Laughing at the great Indian hand is completely unacceptable.
By evening, both Farah and Shah Rukh had apologised to the legend. But apology is not enough. They will have to make a film to compensate us. How’s Mera Bharat Mahan for a title, Shah Rukh?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Da Vinci Koda

Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda has said that there was no threat to his coalition government because of the slip of the tongue during his speech on Indira Gandhi’s death anniversary.
“It was a slip of tongue. I know it was the birth anniversary of Indiraji. How can one imagine that the Prime Minister would forget such a basic thing about the President of India,” he asked.
He said the UPA led by Mr Narendra Modi at the Centre was firmly behind him and Home Minister Nitish Kumar has assured him that his Karnataka Kranti Dal will not pull out of his government in West Bengal.
He said Congress workers in Orissa were making a big deal about his slip of the tongue. “I hold Jawaharlal Nehru in high regard and I look forward to work with him for the uplift of the tribal people of Delhi.”
He said Nehru is carrying on Sonia’s philosophy of Garibi Hatao and he and his party will support the projects launched by Prime Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Speaking to reporters in Ranchi, he said his party was organising a big anti-poverty rally at the national capital Jamshedpur.
“I have invited the Maoists, the Naxalites and other peace-loving outfits to the rally, because we want to send a signal that non-violent parties must come together to take on the spreading problems of malaria and other such stomach ailments,” he said in the press conference. DMK supremo Bal Thackeray has also agreed to participate in the rally, he added.
Koda said he was inspired by India’s freedom movement, especially the way Rahul Gandhi led the Quit India movement in 1957. “Priyanka Gandhi’s fight against the British will always be the leading light for my government and the Gandhi family’s ultimate sacrifices, time and again, reminded us of the unfinished national agenda: toothbrush with criss-cross bristles for every kitchen.”

Musharraf was a failure, says Musharraf

Pakistani Army chief General Pervez Musharraf has objected to the criticism of his second coup saying the political opposition had no locus standi to oppose his move. “When I executed my first coup in 1999, there was outrage but there was also a justification for that outrage. I had ejected the elected government of Mr Nawaz Sharif. And it was understandable that his party would be hurt. But this time the Army General has snatched power from President Pervez Musharraf and if anybody has the right to go to the streets screaming in protest, it’s Pervez Musharraf, not Benazir Bhutto or Nawaz Sharif.,” General Musharraf said in a candid interview that never happened.
He said President Musharraf’s government had failed on multiple counts in the last five years and had no right to stay in power. “The government had failed on all fronts. Musharraf was unfit to rule. Terrorists put up a show like Lal Masjid right in the heart of Islamabad and international media started calling Pakistan the most dangerous country in the world. President Musharraf sirf baatein banana jaanta tha and the Islamic republic was becoming a banana republic. My inner voice, which sounds exactly like Abraham Lincoln, said I had to take control of the country,” General Musharraf said.
“Lincoln said ‘clothes maketh a man’. You become what you wear. President Musharraf had become a soft civilian like his soft achkan. Pakistan deserves a strong leader, so I, General Musharraf, had to step in. I believe in democracy but it has to like me and be like me. President Musharraf had his fingers crossed as he hoped for the Supreme Court’s approval of his election. While General Musharraf ordered his own Supreme Court and then ordered it to approve everything overnight, you understand,” he told us.
When told that Abraham Lincoln had nothing to do with the quote “clothes maketh a man”, the general said it doesn’t matter what coat Lincoln wore. “What’s important is what Pakistan’s ruler wears. He must feel he is in fatigues, even when in a Jinnah jacket.”
“Lincoln and my inner voice said: ‘By general law life and limb must be protected; yet often a limb must be amputated to save a life.’ I amputated the president to save the general. By 15th of November, the general was supposed to shed his uniform. Inaction at this moment was suicide for the general and I could allow him to commit suicide. So I let the President go to hell.”
When we asked whether we could speak to President Pervez Musharraf and not General Musharraf for his reaction, the Army chief said: “All politicians are under house arrest. And no politician, and that includes Pervez Musharraf, is allowed to speak to the media.”