The thing you can not take away from Maharashtra’s politicians is their sense of humour. Unlike their dour brethren up north or down south, Deccan politicos pepper their speeches with biting wit and devastating mimicry.
And true to his ilk, Maharashtra’s Chhagan Bhujbal has delivered what must easily be one of the best Modi spoofs for Zee TV recently. From the famous deadpan stare to the histrionics in delivery, to his grandiose claims of development in Gujarat (like planes landing in railways stations), the portly minister has more or less nailed it.
And we’re not the only ones who say so. When we asked our favourite comic artist, Kunal Vijaykar, what he thought of the performance, he said, “Suddenly, I feel insecure after watching Chhagan Bhujbal do a stand-up of NaMo.
If Bhujbal wins the Yeola seat in Nashik, the Lok Sabha could do with some humour and talent, albeit acting talent! If he doesn’t, he has an open offer from me to act on The Week That Wasn’t,” said the famous actor, adding, “Free of cost, of course!”
Well, given the common perception that all those who mock Modi will be behind bars post the elections, Bhujbal has an alternate career for sure!
Oops, how we goofed
What a terrible mistake to make. We mistook the tribute to Bobby Singh at the start of Queen as one for Bobby Chawla, Juhi’s brother who recently passed away. The person in the clip, in fact, was Bobby Singh, the 38-year-old cinematographer of the movie, who had passed away tragically and suddenly in Goa a few months ago.
Sincere apologies to both sets of families. There was no intent to hurt their feelings obviously.
And thanks to the reader who pointed this out.
Don’t be disheartened
Amidst all the feel-good wisdom that’s floating around on the Net, we found the ‘10 rejection letters to famous people that prove you should never give up on your dreams’ by Averi Clements most inspiring . Feel bad that your film project was turned down by the studio; your book rejected by a publisher; your proposal deferred by the board? Take strength from the fact that no less than the likes of U2 were rejected by RSO Records (they later went on to sell 150 million records and win 22 Grammy Awards!); that bestselling author Kurt Vonnegut was deemed unfit for The Atlantic Monthly; and that the MOMA turned down artist Andy Warhol. (It now holds 168 of his original works, which it bought for stratospheric prices).
And to these, Salman Rushdie, one of the most celebrated writers of his time, posted his own inspiring tale on Facebook.
“The first reader’s report for Midnight’s Children said, “The novel is a fat ramble through Indian Rushdie’s mind. The author shows signs of promise, but should concentrate on short stories until he has mastered the novel form,” said the writer. “Fortunately, the British publishers commissioned a second, more positive reader’s report and ended up buying the book. Phew.”
And for all of us for whom Midnight’s Children turned on a big switch, we say: ‘Double Phew.’
And so all ends well between India Today and Anurag Kashyap. Apparently, the culprit who’d attached the cynical intro to Kalki Koechlin’s striking monologue wasn’t India Today at all, but CNN-IBN, as one of their senior editorial staff pointed out.
And sure enough, Kashyap amended his rant to: “It’s pathetic what IBN has done, Kalki’s brilliant piece on women empowerment was made into gossip by one headline etc etc.”
Bend it like Gurinder
Good to hear that The New York Indian Film Festival will honour director Gurinder Chadha with a retrospective of her documentaries on the 20th anniversary of her “Bhaji on the Beach,” a story about Indian immigrants in the UK, who take a day trip to Blackpool. We’ve always felt Gurinder Chadha’s not had the success a talent like hers truly deserves.
Remember, she’d more or less led the UK Asian explosion of talent with her nuanced and delightful take on what it was like to grow up as an Indian in England. “Gurinder Chadha is one of three ‘Bhanji Brigade’ superstar diaspora women filmmakers — the other two being Mira Nair and Deepa Mehta — all three of whom have been honoured for their talent by NYIFF in years past,” Aroon Shivdasani, exec director of the Indo-American Arts Council, which organises the festival said to Variety on Wednesday. Meanwhile, word is that Chadha is collaborating with Dreamworks and AR Rahman on its first musical in India, Monkeys of Bollywood (said to be based on the Ramayana), and a sequel to her hit Bend it Like Beckham.
A selfie with Kejriwal
“He walked into the compound of Bajaj Bhavan absolutely drenched in sweat,” says prominent ‘SoBoker’ and former editor of Elle, Neerja Shah, of her encounter with Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday. “I said ‘Sir, sir! Can I take a selfie with you? And he just smiled and stood still,” laughs Shah, who, along with a huge swathe of people, has been swept off her feet by the charismatic leader. “He speaks a language we understand, he inspires hope and enthusiasm,” she said. “And all the people I respect, who have no vested interest to support the status quo, are joining him.”
Neerja Shah and Arvind Kejriwal
And how did the closed-door tête-à-tête (allegedly organised by Motilal Oswal) between the former Delhi CM and India Inc go, we asked Shah. “Well, most of those present were from the top echelons of India Inc. And many had come prepared to rile him, as they were Modi supporters. But, he responded with such clarity and honesty that by the end of the meet, you could hear people say, there’s something about this guy…” And what about the scenes of chaos and anarchy at the station? “It’s all a media conspiracy, as he threatens too many people,” said Shah.
(Note: Here, for the first time we’ve introduced our very own and originally composed sobriquet ‘SoBoker’, to describe a resident of Mumbai’s southern tip: The SoBo is for South Mumbai, and the ‘ker’ is so that however much they resist, they never forget that they are yoked to the mothership!)
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