So, we Indians have been brainwashed into believing the British stole much from us (I mean they did give us the English language, locomotive networks, and law courts), but by and large they looted, and left us independent of a lot of our treasures — diamonds, statues, artefacts, swords and Freddie Mercury. Plus, there’s the Kohinoor heera. I always thought it was an act of chori. But now the government coolly announces that we gifted it to them.
Illustration/ Uday Mohite
Huh? Means what? When it comes to modern politics, we all know what ‘gifting’ means. So, I’m thoda sceptical, ok? Also, after so many years, why this revelation?
And then, I’m saying, if we seek to get the Kohinoor diamond back, I want that other gem, the Kingfisher ‘jewel’ returned from London. Along with those Rs 9,000 crore.
Talking about foreigners coming to India, there’s the other issue of brand ambassadorship, for ‘Incredible India’ — Aamir Khan, lost his ‘mascot-ship’ after his intolerance comment. Though he is now brand ambassador for ‘Drought-free Maharashtra’ (it was a toss up between him and Pankaja Munde, but that ‘offensive selfie’ lost it for her). So, what exactly is the brand ambassasor for this sort of natural calamity meant to do, I’m wondering.
One Incredible India spokesman told me, “Aamirji will go to all the villages wearing his Lagaan outfit and will be singing, ‘Ghanana ghanan ghir ghir aaye badera’. Then, we are confident, that rain will come.”
They’re having second thoughts about Amitabh Bachchan, as brand spokesperson, with the Panama Papers chakkar. Salman obviously will be bypassed, considering he has American bakeries and black bucks behind him. Hrithik insulted the Pope, so 100 per cent that’s a no no. Akshay Kumar could at the most be Brand Ambassador of Gurugram.
Of course just when I thought ‘Incredible Chauvinist India’ will never select a lady, I hear Priyanka Chopra is in the running. And, definitely, now that she’s one of Time Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’. See, here’s my two paise worth — PeeCee is a fine Hindi film actress, but it’s all gone pear shaped since she went westwards. And if she can’t convince me that she is a CIA agent, rooting out Middle Eastern sleeper cells — how will she convince tourists to come to a holiday destination like India?
And of course, there’s SRK. With the amount of locations he’s shot in over the years, I’d say he’d be better suited for brand ambassadorship of Incredible Switzerland, or Incredible Drubovnik.
So, my second bout of two paise worth — I’ve never been a fan of SRK, though I think it’s remarkable that he’s a had a 25-year run in Bollywood. But Ra.One, Dilwale and now Fan, you kind of sense he’s out of form, so to speak. Critics, commentators, the common man, no one has the chutzpah to tell him, ‘Boss you’re done with this avatar of the quivering mouth and six emotions. Either gracefully retire, or stop serenading girls young enough to be your daughter or just play older roles’ — man, if in cricket, the world and his mother are recommending that MS Dhoni retire, then why not the Badshah from films? I mean, how many more ‘Fans’ can the fans accept.
If cricketers can retire, then why not cine stars — maybe even retire from Bollywood and become Brand Ambassadors of Incredible India.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org