Has `Sarkar’ made the Tamil Nadu sarkar the new censor board?

By T S Sudhir

Vijay announces himself as a “corporate criminal” in `Sarkar’. However, the real sarkar (government) in Tamil Nadu saw him as a political aspirant, calling his latest release an act of “sedition”.
It was a day of high drama on Thursday. Two senior ministers threatened the actor with legal action and on cue, the AIADMK cadre went on the offensive in different towns of Tamil Nadu, forcing theatres to cancel shows. A team of Chennai police landed up at the residence of director AR Murugadoss late at night and Sun TV (whose group company Sun Pictures is the producer of `Sarkar’) put out a tweet saying `Police reach AR Murugadoss residence to arrest him’. The Chennai police was to later clarify that they had gone to Murugadoss’ residence to provide security. The underlying message of intimidation was not lost on anyone.
The makers of `Sarkar’ have reportedly agreed to two changes in the movie. First, mute the name `Komalavalli’ of the female antagonist since it is the original name of J Jayalalithaa. Two, delete the scene where freebies like mixie are shown being flung into the fire by the public. The freebies were introduced by Jayalalithaa in 2011 and the portrayal was seen as insulting her memory. Law minister CV Shanmugam went a step further and said the scene would incite people to indulge in violence. It is a different matter that four days since the release of `Sarkar’, no one has thrown his/her mixie and wet grinder into the fire.
Of course, as pointed in my blog yesterday, the AIADMK smelt a political conspiracy since Kalanidhi Maran, the grand nephew of the late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi is bankrolling `Sarkar’. Two, P Karuppaiah, a former MLA of the AIADMK from Harbour constituency in Chennai, plays the role of the chief minister in the movie. Karuppaiah was expelled from the party by Jayalalithaa in January 2016 for indulging in anti-party activities. Karuppaiah subsequently accused the AIADMK of indulging in corruption. 
Now that the filmmakers have agreed to voluntary cuts, should we treat `Sarkar’ as a closed chapter or was there always more than what meets the eye? I feel this was a charade that was played out, intended to benefit certain individuals. The AIADMK used it as an opportunity to send a stern message across and those involved with `Sarkar’ would gain from being in the news.
Three questions for director Murugadoss. Did he and the production team not know that the AIADMK will see red when he named his antagonist as Komalavalli? Did they think the ruling party will keep quiet when their principal electoral card was  critiqued? Did they believe the AIADMK will then not connect the content to Maran and Karuppiah? 
Vijay’s movies have a history of creating a controversy. Whether it was Thalaivaa, Mersal or Kaththi, real-life controversies have provided it with the oxygen generating more box office interest. A movie like Mersal that otherwise may have been an also-ran, was targeted by the BJP for a dialogue criticising GST. The producers raked in the moolah. 
Incidentally, earlier this year two films `TamizhPadam2′ and `NOTA’ were released and both were far more scathing indictments of the ruling party’s politics of Tamil Nadu. The government did not think of slapping charges of sedition on them or brand them as terrorists. 
Why? Is it because both did not star a big draw like Vijay who has political ambitions and could emerge as a threat to the AIADMK in the future. In fact, CS Amudhan, the director of `TamizhPadam2′ nailed it in his tweet when he said tongue-in-cheek : “I strongly object to the fact that we were not given similar publicity, we also tried our best. This is totally partisan behaviour.” 
sarkar 1
It is also deeply ironic that a party that rode on cinema as a medium to spread its message is now frowning upon the use of 70mm to make a point. Perhaps the present deglamourised leadership of the AIADMK knows the power of cine glamour better than anyone else and would like to ensure against any more Kollywood imports making it big in politics. 
But was the AIADMK all wrong in objecting to the depiction of the AIADMK in the name of freedom of expression? To be fair, the Film certification board looks closely at how women, children, disabled, animals etc have been portrayed in a film. The rules do not look at whether any scenes could offend a political outfit. The manner in which the AIADMK objected, using raw power to browbeat was not correct but the flip side is whether a legal remedy with its inordinate delays would have helped its cause. 

So `Sarkar’ has resulted in a more intolerant Sarkar. On Friday, Revenue minister RB Udhayakumar emerged as the super censor in Tamil Nadu, laying out ground rules for Tamil films. He said controversial scenes with political motives should be avoided. “No one has the right to criticise Amma government’s welfare schemes,” he declared.

The worry is the rather casual manner in which the sedition law is sought to be used. Under Jayalalithaa, sedition charges were slapped against folk singer Kovan for criticising the liquor policy of the AIADMK regime. The Edappadi Palaniswami government perhaps wants to show it is truly Amma’s government when it comes to being authoritarian. 

Why the AIADMK sarkar is angry with `Sarkar’

By T S Sudhir

For Tamil actor Vijay, it would be a sense of deja vu. Last year’s Deepavali release `Mersal’ ran into a spot of bother with the BJP objecting to a dialogue in the film that was critical of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and a reference to the Gorakhpur hospital tragedy in which several infants died. The state unit of the BJP ran a campaign against Vijay, asking for the dialogue’s removal from the film. It ended up having the unintended effect of converting the movie into a superhit, with the curiosity factor driving the audience into the theatres. 
The controversy did not help the BJP’s image in Tamil Nadu with Vijay’s vast support base trending #MersalvsModi, dragging in the Prime minister into an issue he had nothing to do with.
A year later, Vijay’s `Sarkar’ has offended the Sarkar in Tamil Nadu. The AIADMK government is miffed at a song (Oruviral Puratchi) in the movie where people are shown throwing freebie items like mixies and grinders into the fire. `The Indian Express’ reports that film director AR Murugadoss himself makes a cameo appearance in the song. The welfare agenda and giving things for free to enlist their vote is part of the electoral culture in Tamil Nadu and the AIADMK sees Vijay as mocking both the party and the people. 
“It is not good for an upcoming actor like Vijay,” Information minister K Raju held out a veiled threat to Vijay. Law minister CV Shanmugam while speaking in favour of healthy criticism, said the film incited violence which was a “grave offence”. He even used the term `terrorists’ for those associated with the movie, warning of legal action against them.
sarkar 1
There is good reason for the AIADMK to feel upset over `Sarkar’. It is an intensely political film and that Vijay has political ambitions, is the worst kept secret in Chennai. There is no reason why the AIADMK will allow Vijay to build his political capital by using the ruling party for target practise. The AIADMK is convinced that Vijay’s insinuations are deliberate. The antagonist played by Varalakshmi is called Komalavalli, which was J Jayalalithaa’s original name (JJ’s grandmother was called Komalavalli).
There is another reason why the AIADMK believes the insult is a political conspiracy. The movie is produced by Sun Pictures, whose promoter Kalanidhi Maran is the grand nephew of the late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi.
On paper, `Sarkar’ has been cleared by the certification board and therefore the AIADMK government does not have a leg to stand on, when it comes to opposing the movie. Moreover, there is no point in having a CBFC if the government is going to act as the Big Brother, having the final say on what offends it and what does not. You cannot have a democracy where the party in power clamps down on criticism of any sort.
But then that is not exactly the way things work in India. And many in the Tamil film industry know it only too well. Ask Kamal Haasan who has for long held the view that opposition to his `Vishwaroopam’ in 2013 by Muslim groups was an orchestrated effort.
Vijay himself has faced the brunt in the past. His 2013 release `Thalaivaa’ had the tag line of `Time to Lead’ and according to news reports of that time, it did not go down well with the powers that be in Tamil Nadu. The film was released after a delay of two weeks only after the tag was removed from all promotional material.
Since Sun Pictures has bankrolled the film, expect the standoff to adopt political overtones. The producers may not mind the controversy either since `Sarkar’ may end up going the `Mersal’ way. 
Did the AIADMK do the wrong thing by acting as a super censor? The argument is that if they turned a blind eye to the freebie culture encouraged by their late leader, Kollywood productions may become a fertile area for filmmakers to mock and criticise the party. Moreover, Vijay has a huge appeal among the youth and the family audience and such messaging could adversely affect the AIADMK. With Lok Sabha elections and bypolls to 20 assembly constituencies due in six months, that is hardly something the AIADMK can afford. 

Innocent in the world of politics

ts with innocent

By T S Sudhir in Chalakudy


In Malayalam film `Oru Indian Pranayakatha’ that released in December 2013, popular actor and comedian Innocent Thekkethala plays a politician who hops from one TV channel studio to another, obsessive about how he looks on camera and wearing the right kind of make-up.

Cut from reel to real life in April 2014. With the number of cameras, including one from the Election Commission, tailing him on his campaign trail in Chalakudy, Innocent could well have mistaken it for a film shoot. Playing true to character, even in his real avatar as a politician, Innocent ensures his make-up is in place. 


66-year-old Innocent is the Left Democratic Front (LDF)-backed Independent candidate from Chalakudy Lok Sabha constituency in central Kerala. This summer, the veteran of over 500 Malayalam films is aiming to find a place under the sun by becoming the first filmstar to be elected an MP from Kerala.


Innocent who campaigns on a Mahindra jeep customised to look like a poor man’s rath, waves to bemused onlookers on both sides of the road, ensuring they do not miss his trademark expression of make-believe joy. The women, clearly a large part of his fan following, react more enthusiastically than the men, many of them gesturing to him that they will vote for him on April 10. Having entertained Malayalees for close to three decades, Innocent thinks he will strike the proverbial pot of gold (read votes), the mud `pot’ being his election symbol.


“In their home, when they switch on the TV, they see me. It has been so for the last 28 years. They cannot vote for anyone else,” says Innocent, in the Thrissur accent that makes him such a lovable actor on screen. Having added the fun element to many a Mammootty and Mohanlal starrer as a much-sought after comedian, Innocent reckons he is the frontrunner to laugh his way to the Lok Sabha from Chalakudy.


Contesting as an Independent means Innocent does not get saddled with the criticism that will be served at the Left’s doorstep. Starting with a clean slate, the Congress will find it tough to attack this cancer survivor. Innocent has often expressed his gratitude to the thousands of fans who prayed for him when he was fighting a battle against cancer in 2012-13. Also the Congress is saddled with problems of its own. Its candidate, 67-year-old P C Chacko (who headed the JPC into the 2G scam) shifted from his constituency Thrissur to Chalakudy, following opposition to him from a faction of the Congress. A peeved Chalakudy MP, K P Dhanapalan is now contesting from Thrissur.


“Chacko obviously does not have much to show in terms of work in Thrissur that is why he moved out. If he had indeed done good work, would he have changed his constituency,” asks Innocent.


But Innocent’s entry into the poll scene has not been without its share of controversy. CPI(M) has backed five Independents out of the 15 Kerala seats allotted to it as part of the LDF, instead of putting up its own candidates. The party has been accused of selling away its seats to outsiders and Innocent is one of those who is charged with buying the Chalakudy ticket. “I also have heard this rumour,” says Innocent, as he pleads innocence armed with that bewildered look that has been his staple expression in many a comic scene. 


“That is because those people do not know Innocent,” laughs Jose Thettayil, JD(S) MLA from Angamaly who served as Transport minister in the V S Achuthanandan cabinet till 2011. “Innocent is not a person to spend a single paisa to get a seat. Last time also we were after him to contest from Irinjalakuda and he did not.”


But the suspicion has refused to go away. “It would be uncharitable to accuse CPM of collecting money to give tickets. But that criticism is there mainly because people and party workers did not get a convincing answer to how these men became our candidates,” says former MP Sebastian Paul. On the street, the Reds are being accused of running away from battle. That impression is not helping Innocent’s cause, as he is being labelled an also-ran in this contest.


“It is not seen as a serious election. They are going through the motions. You win or lose, it does not make a difference,” says Jose Dominic, Managing Director of CGH Earth, a responsible tourism venture in Kerala. Business houses in the five constituencies where the Independents are contesting aren’t complaining. They reveal with glee that this time, the CPM did not badger them for funds, like they do every election season.


Innocent’s image as a comedian is acting as a double-edged sword. While many look at him more kindly than they would at a politician, it is also going against him in a highly literate state that takes its politics very seriously. Union minister of state for civil supplies K V Thomas, who is the Congress candidate from Ernakulam confesses to being a huge Innocent fan but reckons it is impossible for him to win. “He is a good actor but in politics it is tough. It is about whether you are with the people” says Thomas.


“It is their acting that I like. I like Mohanlal, I like Mammootty. It does not mean that if one day, they stand for a party, I will vote for them,” says Aditya, a law student in Thiruvanthapuram.


Which is perhaps why in sharp contrast to film actors making the cut in the political theatre in Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh, Kerala frowns upon a mid-career change. The state’s most popular hero Prem Nazir had joined the Congress in 1987 but never contested elections, unsure how the voters will react. Actor Murali lost the 1999 Lok Sabha polls from Alappuzha as a LDF candidate. Two years later, character actor Devan tried his luck as an Independent in the Kerala assembly election but failed to get entry into the Vidhana Sabha.


Innocent on his part, is harping on his father’s communist background and his own stint as a municipal councillor in Irinjalakuda in Thrissur district in 1979. But Innocent’s effort to emphasise his Leftist leanings is blunted by Chacko who dismisses him as a “non-party man” who will find it difficult in Chalakudy (Mukundapuram before delimitation in 2008), that has more often than not, returned an UDF candidate.



When asked what happens if he does not win, Innocent displaying his deadpan wit, replies, “If I do not win, it means I lost.” Will there be a retake in the next election if he loses? Innocent says he has not given it a thought. “I have no intention of giving up on my acting career. Even if I am elected, I will continue to act. Politics cannot be a full time job for me. Everyone should have a job. I will fulfil my work and in my free time, do my job as MP,” he says.


In 1991, Innocent brought the house down in the role of Yeshwant Sahai, a politician from north India, in `Sandhesam’, a film that is considered a landmark in Malayalam cinema apart from being a huge box-office hit. Now Chalakudy’s 11.38 lakh voters will decide whether to make Innocent’s latest offering an EVM hit. 

Why Salman Khan is not `Wanted’ by the Owaisis

By T S Sudhir
Move over Salman Rushdie, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) has a new Salman to practise darts on. Salman Khan aka Sallu Bhai.
Ever since Salman Khan kept his commitment to indulge in kite-flying with Narendra Modi and what’s worse, called him a “good man”, the party from Hyderabad has been seething with anger. Little surprise considering Modi is all negative for the Owaisi brothers – Asaduddin and Akbaruddin.
But what’s surprising is that the MIM has chosen to risk asking its followers not to watch `Jai Ho’ that releases this Friday, considering Salman is like God to many youth from the Old city area, who copy his physique, mannerisms and hairstyle. MIM now wants them to change their approach to Salman Khan – from `Maine Pyar Kiya’ to `Maine Pyaar kyon kiya’.
At a public meeting four days back, party president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi was all fire and brimstone. Targeting the actor with choice expletives, Owaisi dismissed him as a mere “nachle gaane wala actor”. Asking the audience not to watch his “behudapana”, Owaisi said, “Naam Salman rakhne se koyi Salman nahi ban jaata, Salman to Rushdie bhi hai.”
The BJP’s Venkaiah Naidu has dismissed Owaisi’s outburst as a matter of no consequence, accusing him of suffering from Modi-phobia. It indeed does seem surprising that the Owaisis would get so perturbed and worked up over a mere endorsement of Modi by an actor. Are the Owaisis so insecure in their citadel of the Old city area of Hyderabad that they think that a certificate from Salman Khan to Modi would be enough for the BJP to make significant inroads? 
It was also surprising to see the elder Owaisi borrow a leaf out of his younger brother Akbaruddin’s book, in terms of style and rhetoric. Remember, a year ago, Owaisi junior had got into trouble with his alleged communal remarks that were seen as damaging communal harmony. For someone who otherwise stresses on development agenda in his constituency, Asaduddin Owaisi’s vitriol seemed out of sync.
That Salman did not bother to temper his positive remarks about Modi has irked the MIM leaders even more. He made the point in a TV interview that if Modi has been acquitted by the courts, why should he say sorry. That’s a position unacceptable to the MIM. The party decided subsequently that it will not speak on the issue, since that will be akin to giving Salman Khan more publicity, something its leaders decided he did not deserve.
Asaduddin Owaisi explained that even if it had been any other actor, he would have reacted the same way, since Modi is anathema. “It did not have to do with his being a Muslim,” he said. Owaisi described Modi as a “kaatil” and “zaalim” in his speech, an attempt clearly to polarise the Muslim vote in Hyderabad against the BJP’s Hindutva brigade. The response to `Jai Ho’ over the weekend will show how much the Dabangg star is Wanted by his Hyderabadi fan and whether they make a distinction between real and reel life.

ANR is no more. RIP

By T S Sudhir

“Are you Mr Nageswara Rao?” the caller at the other end had enquired.
“Mr Ahmed from the Ministry of Home would like to speak to you, Sir.”
This was on January 25, 2011 when Akkineni Nageswara Rao was shooting for `Sri Rama Rajyam’ in Alwal on the outskirts of Hyderabad. ANR was playing the role of Valmiki and at that precise moment, was discussing the Lava-Kusa scene with director Bapu. 
“The government of India has conferred on you the Padma Vibhushan. Are you willing to accept it Sir,” said the official.
anr with bsr
As ANR recounted this conversation to me a couple of days later at his home in Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad, I noticed his expressive face. Even when he spoke casually, the natural actor in him emoted through his eyes, the famous manner of his raising his eyebrow and moving his facial muscles.
ANR admitted the honour was completely unexpected and therefore the excitement was far more than in 1968, when he received the Padma Shri and 1988, when he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan or the Dada Saheb Phalke Award a couple of years later.
“I was happy. I am not a hypocrite to say I wasn’t. I called up my wife, who was obviously happy to hear the news. I told her to inform the kids and continued with my work on location. And lest the crew assume that I would take the next day off to meet those who will come to congratulate me, I told them that I will report on sets the next morning,” said ANR that day.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to meet and interview ANR on several occasions. Very conscious of his status as the patriarch of the Telugu film industry family, ANR however was choosy about what kind of work he sought. Both during his years at the top and after he had stopped being the hero of the film. And he retained his sense of humour intact while explaining why he did not want to do guest roles.
“I do not want to lose my old fans. Like your mother and your grandmother. Because today’s character aren’t characters. The talent is there but the quality of scripts isn’t up to the mark. In comparision, we had better opportunities,” he explained. 
ANR’s middle name was discipline. That is one facet of his character those who worked with him in his 250-odd films, remember the most about him.
But ANR was not in the habit of going down memory lane, catching any of his old classics on TV or DVD.
“I don’t because I do not enjoy watching any of my films,” he would say. “My mind invariably goes back to the shooting of that particular movie, remembering each single detail. How that scene or song was shot, what discussions we had, how we differed with the director etc etc.”
And then ANR had rewound to a particular film shooting where a song was being picturised on him and Vanishree on the sands by the River Godavari one afternoon in the month of May. “The sun was at its peak, the sand was burning hot, you couldn’t stand for a moment, it was as if the skin was peeling off. Atleast I had my wig, but what about Vanishree. We finally saved our feet by covering it with the tapes that came along with the film reels. Anytime I see that song, I remember all this,” he chuckled.
ANR’s `Sri Ramadasu’ in 2006 saw his sharing screen space with son Nagarjuna. “Sri Ramadasu was just nine days of work for me. But it was a vital role. ANR was noticed. That is very important.”
His fans got a rude shock when his family announced in October 2013 that ANR was suffering from cancer. But the thespian did not want his family to be gloomy and wanted everyone to go about their work like usual. 
“It is a boon that I got cancer at this age. Even the cancer cells will be aged,” he had said then. Pointing out that he had undergone a heart surgery, he said doctors had said he will live only for 14 years after that, a prophecy that proved incorrect. “The record for long living in my family is 96 years. I want to cross that age limit and set a new milestone. If your blessings are with me, I will live for 100 years,” he had said.
In fact, he was busy working on `Manam’ in which his co-stars were Nagarjuna and grandson Naga Chaitanya. When the filmmaker had approached Nagarjuna about casting for the film and asked him if ANR will agree, the son had told him, “Ask Dad. If he accepts, we can.” ANR told me that he is very uncompromising when it comes to the quality of the script. “Like they say `Paat ki pallavi mukhyam, film ki climax mukhyam,” he explained.
ANR’s early years and difficult childhood is well-chronicled. He began acting at a young age and over a period of time, became one of the foremost actors of Telugu cinema. Moving from folklore to socials to being the romantic hero.
“When Devadasu was offered to me, I was tense because people doubted if a folklore actor can play Devdas. K L Saigal’s Devdas was a reference point and since everyone was making me feel unfit for the role, I asked if I could see it. “Why should you see it. Saigal was a singer, you are an actor”, was the retort I got. So I prepared very well for the role and after the film’s release, no one had any doubt about my ability to play such a difficult character.”
ANR and N T Rama Rao, the other thespian of Telugu cinema, acted together in 50 films. 
“By the time, he came into films, I was already a very popular actor. His acting style was different from mine. I admire his talent but thought he was artificial in social movies. His personality and laughter was more suited for mythological roles, where he was brilliant.”
Was there any sense of competition? “No, our fields were quite clearly demarcated. I was more the romantic hero while his forte was the mythological.”
For a man his age, ANR was fit and agile. “I don’t do any yoga. The kind of dances we did for singing duets were a good enough exercise,” he would joke.
“I was my mother’s ninth child and she fed me milk till I was five years old. I always thank my mother for that as I believe it is because of that that I never get a headache.” Which is why, ANR points out, he insisted that his daughters and daughters-in-law too did the same with his grandchildren.
ANR leaves behind a family of 23 members, to who he always said only one thing : `Be Happy. Because happiness makes me happier.’
Thankyou ANR garu, for giving a lot of happiness to millions of your fans. You will be missed. 

Johny Mera Naam

By T S Sudhir


Johny Lever is hopping mad. Someone has texted him from Delhi saying Congress leader Manish Tewari has insulted him.


Arrey, kaun heh yeh Tewari yaar, pata karo, fauran,” Johny screams at his Man Friday.

Johny Bhai, kis se poochoon, Apne ko political contact nahin hai.”

De mujhe phone,” Johny snatches the phone from his hands and dials Govinda.

“Govinda bhai, as-salamu alaykum. Some Congress fellow called Manish Tewari, aap jaante hai kya?”

Haan haan. He is the party spokesman. Bole to, jo Madam ka sandesh hai, din mein party office mein batiyaate hai and raat ko he goes from studio to studio and tells same to same to the country. Faltoo kaam hai. Kya koyi lafda ho gaya kya?

Bhai, apni inzult kar di is Tewari ne. Aur Katrina ki bhi,”

“Woh kaise??”

Johnny explains how it all began. He reads out what Katrina Kaif had said in an interview to a newspaper: “Am I supposed to be ashamed that I am half-Asian, I mean, no! Rahul Gandhi is half-Indian, half-Italian. So? I am very proud of what I am and I just don’t understand the confusion as if I’m trying to hide the fact that my mother’s a British. Why would I?”


“Ok, so? Iss me Johny bhai, aap kidhar se ghus gaye?”

Suno na. Now when the media asked this Tewari about Kat’s comment, he reacted asking : “Who is she? I do not know. Tomorrow, you will ask for our reaction on the statement of Johny Lever. To what level you want to bring down the level of the political discourse in the country?”

Yeh to too much hai Johny bhai. Not only you, he has insulted Katrina baby also. `Partner’ me kya kaam kiya tha mere saath. `Do you wanna partner, oh partner’. Main abhi Sallu ko phone lagata hoon”

At Salman Khan’s den :


Bhai, Govinda bhai ka phone hai.”

“Arrey kamaal karte ho Govinda ji, aap hi ki kal shaam ko baat ho rahi thi, yaar dosto ke saath. Tell me what’s the matter?”


Govinda gives him a low-down on Tewari’s statement.


Salman is angry and disturbed. He must do something. So he takes off his shirt and does 40 push-ups. That inspires him with an idea to approach the original Bollywood Don, Sanju Baba, to ask him to tell his MP sister Priya Dutt to complain to the Congress High command against Tewari’s loose comment. After all, it is all about `being human’.


Bole to, Sallu, dekh na. Not only he insulted Kat and Johny, he also asked who is she? What a fellow yaar. He does not know Sheila ki jawaani? Kya fattoo aadmi hai yaar. Picture nahi dekhta kya?”

Meanwhile, the BJP organises a press conference to condemn Tewari’s insult to Bollywood and film comediens. Shatrughan Sinha is  specially drafted to lead the BJP charge.

Khamosh. Yeh hamare sanskar nahi hai. Iss tarah se film comedien ka apmaan, hum katayi bardaasht nahi kar sakte.”

“But Sir, do you agree with what Katrina said about Rahul?


Haan, bilkul. She said nothing wrong. Why is the Congress so touchy about the Italian connection? I would say after a 3-hour long Spanish holiday in `Zindagi na milegi dobara’, we should now do a film set in Italy. And I would now say (and pointing to the scribes to say `Note kiya jaaye‘), Manish Tewari, Get a life because zindagi na milegi dobara !”




Paa set to make Big B Grandpa

By T S Sudhir


My twitter timeline is buzzing. I had given up on it, bored with analysing the tu tu main main of civil society and Sibal society. When Sr Bachchan announced that the wait was over at Prateeksha. Come 2012 spring, one more Bachchan will tell Big B “Mere paas Maa hai.”


Yes, once Sr Bachchan tweeted about bahu Aishwarya Rai being in the `first’ family way, India decided not to keep `mum’ and celebrated on twitter. As if apne hi ghar ki baat ho. Some congratulated, most had fun at Jr Bachchan’s expense. One ribbed him for finally delivering a hit, another joked about how Abhi found out about Ash’s pregnancy ten minutes after Twitter came to know and blamed “stupid Idea network” for it !


A news channel was quick to cook up a half hour show, with the anchor taking a long-term perspective on : “What does this news mean for Bachchans and Bollywood?” The next stage, I am sure, will be to have a contest, inviting baby names.


Oh Jeez, pardon these news channelwallahs for they too need a break from listening to Diggy Raja’s pronouncements everyday. Meanwhile Hindi Faking News tweeted : “अमिताभ बच्चन को दादा बनने की बधाई देते हुए मनमोहन सिंह ने एक बार फिर से सोनिया गांधी के कुशल नेतृत्व की तारीफ की है!”


The more professional journos on twitter however cribbed about AB Sr not giving complete information. “How many months? When is the baby due? Any pics? Etc Etc.” Agreed, `Vijay Deenanath Chauhan’ should have let the countrymen know when the next `appaintment‘ with the gynae is.


Small mercy however is that relations between the Bachchans and Amar Singh have hit a rough patch otherwise the country would have had to suffer the Thakur giving his take on the Bachchan 3G.


Meanwhile, there is silence on Abhishek Bachchan’s front. I suspect his phone is still loading … loading … loading !