Thursday, November 24, 2011

Comedy & Comedians

It was the beginning of 2005 and I used to work in Media House which required me to market television programs to corporate houses, and advertising agencies also.

Jire Khurshani, was one of the program which was with our agency then and my boss was about to dump it down as corporate houses were not ready to buy it, due to low TRP ( Televisions / top rated programs ). So to market it also, I must have to see it regularly [weekly] so I can be convinced first to convince others to buy it. Its already been more than three months on air and in our system, here, to, television program ratings is not so reliable, so we have to wait and watch.

The makers of the programs where producer and director were playing the lead role, were trying to make it hard but they did not know what to do entertain mass public. So they were also on trial and error basis and one of those episodes, which I remember is this particular time is a scene from the Jire Khurshani. It was definitely not their’s but a joke that was already here for so long, and they only performed it on their way.

The scene went like this : A white cloth covered man up to his neck was lying on the floor and a man was crying hard asking for some cash so that he could take the person on the pashupati. Needless to tell you there was a huge crowd gathered to sympathised, but hardly any body threw proper cash, which would have been enough to hire a cab to the Pashupati for that dying man. this went for some time and after that the crowd started thinning and in no time there was almost no one in front of that dying man. so the man wakes up from the floor and walks on the street.. some people who were still on the same lane of streets sees him and question him, “how come you are walking now ? you were about to die ?” “there was not enough money to hire a cab so I have no option but to walk to the Pashupati.” he replied.

This scene or many of such scene in the following months started giving them good TRP and then the programme rose to the unexpected height and followed the Tito Satya, which was enjoying the number one program not only on Nepal Television but all the other channels also. Corporate houses started buying time inbetween the programs for ad placement and we do not have to drop the programme.

Jire Khurshani, has always been my personal favourite and I like it even more, than Tito Satya, which is staying on number one position untill today, even after these many years on the air.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Writer as a Fighter

Recently, in a glitzy and glamours awards show, Javed Akhtar, was awarded ‘life time achievement award’. He went on stage to accept that award; but did it with his kind of acceptance speech, “...if you are thinking, this is a polite way to tell me, that I have worked enough and I should retire, then forget about it.” He said the line, with more stressing it on ‘forget about it’ and then walked out of the stage with his award. Its very uncanny to see such fighting spirit in anyone whether it is common man or a celebrity but he is a writer who used his pen to fight also.

There was a time I used avoid watching Amitabh Bachchan, on the screen, due to his unnecessarily angry image. I still do not choose to watch those movies, as watching him just agitated me more, than it entertained, but it was also the time when his angry young man image got so famous in whole world in India. Amitabh Bachchan, rose to the height of fame from those images. One thing, very few people know is, that it was the story written by Javed-Saleem, which gave him this kind of larger than life name, fame and image.

Why they choose a hero to portray the kind of image, who was always fighting for his right with society. It so happened that when Amitabh Bachchan, was playing angry young man then Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India. She had slapped in India, the Indian Emergency period, It was one of the most controversial times in the history of independent India. The then President of India, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, upon advice of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, declared a state of emergency, under Article 352 of the Constitution of India, effectively bestowing on her the power to rule by decree, suspending elections and civil liberties. Some how, it seemed that she could not have any control over the cinema and suddenly one hero of the nation was voicing one voice, who represented all its country-men. Credit of his fame, is some what goes to the writing of the Salim-Javed also, who wrote it to vent their frustration about the emergency period. But angry young man image lasted longer than the emergency time frame [from 1975 June – 1977 March, totaling a 21-month].

When I was in school I used to admire Mrs. Gandhi so much for representing womans in powerful positions but after learning some inside story like above and many more like that my respect and admiration for her diminished drastically.

Some of the best stories by the writer duo came on seventies, like Shole, which happened in ’75, which is regarded as the milestone of Indian movie industry and Deewar and this famous lines from “Aaj mere paas building hai, gaadi hai, bank balance hai. Tumhare pas kya hai. Kya hai tumhare pas. ……………. Mere pas … Maa Hai.” [Today, I have a house, a car, a bank balance and what do you have.............. I have Mom].

During the following years more movie released; Amitabh Bachchan, as an angry young man. Those cinemas really changed the face of India and at times hammed whole nations thinking patterns also. The point was, what they wanted to say was, Amitabh Bachchan was saying and the Indians loved him more than anything in fact they do worship him.

On the other hand Salim-Javed – iconic writers, whose Zanjeer sent Amitabh Bachchan’s stock Northwards, whose Sholay became a synonym for blistering blockbuster success, who earned more than the superstars, who sold films on their names and got hoardings of their own.

And then they broke up stunningly and suddenly. For 15 years they ruled at the top and one day went abruptly in two different directions.

Although, I am not an Indian; but some of the sea changes, India experienced in the following decades was also because some power house writers like Salim-Javed wrote it and envisioned it well ahead of times in their country and society. Interesting, they needed Amitabh Bachchan, to carry their message to India and who knows its a vice-a-versa.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Who’s fault is it ?

A Twelve year old boy was murdered brutally and bizarre way in the remote part of India. Post mortem report revealed, it was very unusual case than normal murder case. As the team of police started digging the information and reason behind the murder, what came out, may surprise you.

Step-mother : When she was told by her neighbour that her husband was going to marry for the third time because she could not have any children, it got her worry, as she did not wanted to loose her husband, for whatever the reason. It was her second marriage just like her husband, Manohar’s. This couple have raised their only son together, which was from his first marriage. Manohar’s first wife had died immediate after giving birth to her child. Rekha had raised the child without making him feel like he was stepson. Their efforts to have their own child, had ended in so many miscarriage. They could not have any child in more than 10 years of marriage. Six miscarriage during the period only eluded Rekha, wanting for more of her own child from her second husband also. She did not have her child from her first marriage also. At last, police caught the mother of the boy for the murder, when this information was relayed to his father he was shocked.

Father of the boy : He wanted more children from his current wife and when she could not conceive a baby even after several attempt, he thought of marring again for the third time. He had shared this idea with his friend, who talked about it to his wife.

The neighbour lady : Who informed Rekha, about the idea of third marriage by her husband, just to have more children, which she could not gave him. This news shook Rekha inside out, and she wanted do some thing about it. If she had not informed this news to Rekha, she would have gone to see the tantrik; which later ended in boys brutal murder.

Tantrik Shastri : Rekha and her cousin brother went to see, one well known Tantrik, also known as Shastri in the area, to find some solutions to their problem. He sounded so arrogant [it was not confident and blind faith] about his knowledge and power of God, but to me it seemed, that it was his bread and butter winning work, and nothing is miracle about his skill and that extra power, for which he asked some undisclosed amount of money also. He told Rekha and her cousin to kill the boy, in very particular way. He convinced them that, ...the boy will not be dead, only his body will leave the earth but his soul will return back; the same boy will reincarnate in her womb within three months.

Rekha did not wanted to kill anybody, but more than that; she did not wanted to loose her husband. On top of that the tantrik, was cork sure of his act of murdering the child and assured her very confidently. The same boy will be born again, from her womb as her own child. She was very illiterate women of the remote part of India, who believed tantrik blindly and obeyed meekly and followed his order. Height of superstitions.

Cousin of Rekha : Ramesh, who could not see her sister sad and he offered not only consolation to her but his best help possible. They went to visit tantrik, Shastri together to get some result, an easy way out from the trouble. Who at the end killed, the boy as told and described by the tantrik.

The boy was wounded severely in all over his body, mostly above the leg in twelve places, each one, for his age and one behind the neck, which was even more horrible to watch. Chunk of a meat was pulled from it, like, as if an animal pulled it from there. That meat Tantrik said, was a part they have to offer God [?].

Ramesh and Rekha will definitely serve their terms in prison respectively but rest of the people involved in this case will be treated as normal and move on in their life. But do you really think they should get the jail term.

Who’s fault is it, to the murder of that boy ? Should superstition land any one in jail ?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Dream Sellers & Slum-dog millionaires

Slumdog millionaire is one of my all time favourite movie, it seems, I can have never enough of it, just like the current episodes of the KBC on recent days.

When Danny Boyle, made Slumdog Millionaire, India reacted in such a way; it created huge media buzz, not only in India but the other side of the world; as the makers are from England.

The whole country was angry with the name of this movie and it had created such buzz that the BBC reported, the Mercedes-Benz had pulled back its name as a sponsor of the movie. the gang leader was supposed to be using this car, but the automobile giant did not wanted to be associated with this movie, after the whole buzz, it had created in 2008. Movie was a huge success around the world making 519 million dollar as of December 2010. Did they regretted later after the success of the movie ? They must have, but we are not covering that side of the the story.

Jug Suraiya , a journalist and columnist from India, wrote an editorial in favour of this movie in Times of India. It not only angered the other media but it triggered Big B to write 18 page criticism against his 700 words as against his editorial, citing that the movie had mocked the poverty of India. This is one impact of his editorial, Jug Suraiya will never forget.

When Slum dog millionaire made its debut, in TV across the world, the part where the young Jamal takes the autographs from Mr. Bachchan and a scene slightly earlier than that , had been removed including a question about Mr. Bachchan’s Movie. It’s been edited and removed from the world viewers. If you have not seen the movie in cinema hall prior to the tv release then you are not even going to know, which part had been edited to world viewers [keeping in mind the huge population of Indians around the world].

During my school days, I was never ever a big fan of Mr. Bachchan, even though my best friend of that time was crazy about him. I did became one of his fan, however; when he started hosting KBC in 1999. I was totally in love with his voice and the way he laughed out loud during the show. Though the show was a huge success but it was put on hold for some time later on. Mr. Bachchan was not doing this program, when the movie was being made and released on theatre across the world, including India. After its release it seemed, that they forgave the movie makers for the mocking their poverty. In fact, the movie had never ever mocked the poverty of the Indian[s]. Yes, there is no doubt it had, given us the very inside story of slum dwellers in India, which the Indian film makers could have choose to hide it from the world audience.

In 2010 KBC, Indian version of who wants to be a millionaire ? resumed once again on Sony channel. This year, I have been watching this almost regularly. This time they have been airing the background story of the contestants also, which they had never dine before, especially not prior to the real life version of the plot, oscar winning movie on 2008, slum dog millionaire was released. Now, they give us the video clippings of the contestants, mostly the participants are from the remote parts of the country. If they are not the real slum dog; then they earn very small amount of money to support so many in the family with that much money earned. Or the people who have taken loan which takes years to clear out. Now people are not shying away to come out and admit on the nationals channel that, they are up to the eyeball on debt.

As the day pass by; its amazing to see how a person with their intelligence, is capable of achieving in their life. Its not that all the people who are in debt, could with the game, but most of the people with a burden of loan or financial pressure, proving that, it can be achieved. All one needs to do is come forward, leaving behind the feeling of humiliation, that the whole India will know about their financial condition, if they come here on KBC to face the camera. But then the same decision will also give them, the chance to exhibit the power of intelligence also, and win the huge cash prize in a matter of minutes.

After the release of the movie in 2008, Sushil Kumar, who became first real life slumdog millionaire, wining 50 million on this show. He was a Government computer operator earning IRS. 6,000 [ $145 ] per month and to support the family he used to take tuition class also at his home to meet the demand. At one point of the show he admitted that “...he gets dipressed very fast.” “finding himself in front of Big B as well as winning the show was a dream he was seeing for last eleven years, which came true on October 27, 2011.

After the show Mr Bachchan wrote on his blog, prior to release of the show on television, “the entire place exploded. The family of the contestant ran on to the set in uncontrollable joy and screams and tears of happiness.”

Earlier to slumdog millionaire, people were, very shy of talking about the hardship of their lives on TV screen and perhaps it was the production team also, who did not think, its necessary to revel the dire need of cash, felt by the contestants. Before the movie, it was a game show; people came here to take huge risk and lost too. Now people come their to ease their loan or face the difficulties of money they are facing in their real life. They hardly take risk and take whatever money they make so at times is bit boring also at it loosed the true spirit of sportsmanship, but the story behind the general people is really worth it and at times very moving also.

If you have watched this show, when Sushil Kumar, won the game; just like I have, you should have seen the real excitement and exuberant, in Mr. Big B’s voice and on his face which suffused all over him. He was more happier to see him make it, than the winner himself. Shushil Kumar, himself was bit low on expressing his feelings on Television. Perhaps he was not used to of expressing it that much of happiness and excitement on in his life.

Now, I have a question to ask with Mr. Big B, do you really think, the movie Slumdog Millionaire [or your show KBC], mocked the poverty of Indian[s] ?