'Newton's' success isn't going down too well with some, it seems

Sep 27, 2017, 14:47 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

The famous Indian crab mentality notwithstanding, we have never quite got our heads around to the extent that schadenfreude exists in our collective psyches

The famous Indian crab mentality notwithstanding, we have never quite got our heads around to the extent that schadenfreude exists in our collective psyches. No sooner has a thing or person achieved some measure of success (the crab reaching to the top of the heap), when our claws are out ready to tear them down. When we read about the attempts at creating a spurious controversy about 'Newton' being allegedly plagiarised from an Iranian film, it sounded spurious even to our ears, despite not having viewed either film.

Rajkummar Rao in Newton and Anurag Kashyap
Rajkummar Rao in Newton and Anurag Kashyap

"The crabs with their claws are at it again," is what we thought. Must be a slow news day. So kudos to Anurag Kashyap for going to the lengths he did to establish that the makers of 'The Secret Ballot,' that Newton was allegedly plagiarised from, had themselves declared there was no copying.

Mind you, Kashyap has done this completely altruistically. This is not his film, he was in no way connected to it, and God knows if it does indeed win the Oscar it's said to so rightly deserve, he's certainly not going to be making an acceptance speech. What Kashyap has demonstrated is something rare today. An act of altruism, to support an artistic endeavour, which he believes is larger than the individuals behind it.

So very different from the crab mentality. "It enrages me that we Indians are such crabs that when we see something, anything good, our first instinct is to discredit it. We go to any lengths to find some actual, mostly vague similarities, and tear it apart. Social media and our clickbait journos have made it worse. Everyone loves to see people fall, no one champions anything except hate. And we totally miss the point," said Kashyap.

"On another note, I loved Newton and I admire what it is trying to do, and as a filmmaker, I know how difficult it is to make that film in current circumstances. It's a film no one would make or release if it was up to them. Its success is a game changer. And I can promise you that more than 70% of all those accusing it of being a copy have neither seen Newton nor Secret Ballot. They are only comparing trailers. I have seen both, and everyone who has seen both thinks otherwise. And I had access to the filmmakers, so I sent them the link to the film ... and rest is their opinion," he added.

Which brings me to the way Kashyap's own film, Bombay Velvet, was clawed at so mercilessly. Yes, it might not have lived up to everyone's expectations, but to butcher it with such venom? The crab mentality. Takes one's breath away...

Sheer nostalgia
For those who'd like to know what the fashion world was before hashtags, selfies and photo walls took over, we would urge a viewing of a clip that's been doing the rounds recently on social media (we chanced upon it on the timeline of Rohit Bal).

Sandeep Khosla and Abu Jani
Sandeep Khosla and Abu Jani

Published by Wilderness Films India Ltd. (described as the largest collection of HD imagery from South Asia), it features the pioneer and founding father of the fashion world, the late Rohit Khosla himself in all his endearing exuberance, along with today's emperors of haute couture Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla as two delicate young newbies, just taking their first steps with their label Jashan.

Rohit Khosla
Rohit Khosla

How innocent, how creative, and how very beautiful was the flower when it had just started to bud. No fashion weeks, no front-row shenanigans and, above all, no preening, pouting 'fashionistas' back then. Nice!

A small ray of sunshine
He may have written an anguished letter to members of the RWITC on his recent resignation following the election results, but even those arraigned against former RWITC chairman Vivek Jain are saying that yesterday's breathtaking victory for the beleaguered club in its case against Gallops restaurant is largely due to his efforts.

Vivek Jain
Vivek Jain

The arbitrators' order in May, which confirmed that BJR (which runs Gallops) is not a tenant, paved the way for yesterday's order in favour of the RWITC, resulting in a huge compensation: Gallops has to pay the entire backlog of dues which amount to approximately R35 crore plus interest, but also the future rentals, as per agreement, till they hand over possession (said to amount to a staggering Rs 6 crore per annum as against the earlier Rs 3.5 crore). "It's a huge victory on grounds of principle, and though I'm no more on the committee, I surely feel vindicated, having fronted the process for so many years," said an emotional Jain.

As everyone knows, with its recent struggle for its very existence (the BMC has not renewed its lease) and the double whammy of demonetisation and GST, not to forget the recent election wrangles and fallout, that's a silver lining in RWITC's cloud for now.

What's cooking, Rahul?
Restaurateur Rahul Akerkar's imminent restaurant plans are beginning to read like an ongoing saga. Around April this year, he had announced his new company Bob and Daughters' Restaurants LLP, in place of DeGustibus Hospitality, which he had sold.

Rahul Akerkar
Rahul Akerkar

After completion of his non-competition clause, Akerkar was expected to launch a phalanx of new ventures, but even as the industry waited, no news was forthcoming. What's more, the grapevine is intrigued by the recent update on his LinkedIn profile.

Akerkar is listed as the founder and managing director of 'Qualia Hospitality'. Is that going to fructify into some new venture? "They're both my companies," said Akerkar, when we asked him about both new entities. "Neither does anything now. Just setting up," he said. Forks and knives to the ready.

The chosen few
A few weeks ago we'd teased our old friend and former editor Dr Sanjaya Baru, secretary general of FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry), about when he would be appointed finance minister.

Dr Sanjaya Baru
Dr Sanjaya Baru

This was because Baru, who'd once served as press secretary of former PM Dr Manmohan Singh, and had subsequently written the bestselling 'The Accidental PM,' was stepping into the shoes of Amit Mitra, current Finance Minister of West Bengal. Our tease as it turns out was not so far-fetched.

The office of FICCI appears to be one of Narendra Modi's favourite recruitment grounds. Not only has another of its SG's, Rajiv Kumar, become the head of the all-important NITI Aayog, but now, its ex-economic advisor Bibek Debroy has just been appointed as chairman of the PM's economic advisory council!

Does this mean Baru will once again find himself working for gormint soon? Just sayin'.

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