Bhuwan's Ramblings

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mere Baap Pehle Aap

A lazy weekend afternoon with soaring outside temperatures made me drive up to the movie theater for a desi flick. The choice of Priyarshan’s Mere Baap Pehle Aap over Universal Hero Kamal Hassan’s Dasavatharam was quick and easy, although I would like to see how Kamal Hassan plays 10 different characters including the US President George Bush! Anyway, the movie opened with a song and by the time the dancing stopped, I was already contemplating switching auditoriums. Lekin ummeed par duniya kayam hai … so I stayed on.

The movie picked up soon after, once Priyadarshan’s usual gang of Paresh Rawal and Akshay Khanna showed up as a stay-home-cook father and the mall-owner-dad-saving son. Om Puri was fantastic as a 50-year-old bachelor who ventured out to look for a bride but ended up at the police station every time. The movie turned out to be a light no-nonsense entertainer with good performances from all the seasoned actors. Genelia D’souza looked good and did justice to the character she played. It had been a while since I saw her on screen, the last time being five years ago in the Tamil movie Boys. It’s an ideal movie for a lazy weekend when you just wanna take-it-easy and not think about any worldly matters.

One important fact that the movie showcased was the way in which our society has curtailed, or rather killed, the freedom of old people to dream. Even after fulfilling their societal responsibilities of a parent/sibling/guardian they are not free to manifest their own feelings and emotions. A son’s understanding of his father’s feelings and going against the society in his support was the emotional high point of the movie.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Whose Loss is it?

The common feature among all agitations, representations or rebellions against the government is the disruption of normal life and loss to both public and private property. We have read innumerable articles and stories on how many buses a group of protesters torched, or the number of trains they stopped. The recent (or rather the ongoing) gujjar agitation in the state of Rajasthan offered the same standard package. You name it and the media had it reported – stopping trains, uprooting rail tracks, disrupting daily economic activity, loss of property …

Among all this darkness, however, there was a flicker of light … when I saw an article which actually talked about the loss to the country as a result of this agitation. I am usually very cynical of the sensationalist journalism of this era, but this small piece of news hidden among the other more important national issues like who will win the IPL, made me feel that all is not lost, at least, as yet. It is important to quantify the loss to the nation because the human brain does not start ticking till the bottom-line is mentioned.

The corporate sector estimates that India had lost a whopping Rs. 5000 Crore by June 3rd due to the gujjar agitation excluding loss to railways, other property and tourism. The Railways estimate a loss of more than Rs. 40 Crore during these 2 weeks, notwithstanding the huge inconvenience to the passengers for the past 2 weeks. The total loss would probably top Rs. 10,000 Crore for this entire agitation period, which is equal to the income of Rajasthan’s population for a month!

We need more articles in the media quantifying the losses of such man-made calamities and explaining how it affects everybody, either directly or indirectly.