‘I can be your hero, baby’

Jhinuk’s grandmother, much to her annoyance, fails to fathom what was extraordinary about what she had done. She had only come to the rescue of a woman being molested. Isn’t that what a human being supposed to do? Just because most behave in an inhuman manner, should that be the norm and human like behaviour be extolled as heroic? A pertinent question it was, raised in Rituparno Ghosh’s National Award winning ‘Dahan’.

“Only thing is the man has just assumed power. Let’s bide our time and watch and not deify him and then take him the Didi way.”

To extend the analogy, what else is the media supposed to do if not report fairly or a politician, if not serve the people? Yet just by performing their tasks, they are made icons! A few recent instances of our hurried iconography:

Dinesh Trivedi: Yes, he did present a Railway budget that won brownie points with the experts. He did bite the bullet and hike passenger fares, keeping his Supremo in the dark. But does that make him Bhagat Singh or Khudiram? Then even Raju Hirani is Gandhi for making ‘Munnabhai’! Yes granted that Didi dictates everything- from the venue of a film festival to the Mayor’s functions to water sharing arrangements with a neighbour. But again it was Didi who brought Trivedi his 15 minutes under the spotlight. If she hadn’t demanded his resignation, would he be able to wield the amount of airspace that he did? Now Didi has installed her stooge at the Railways, Trivedi has had his share of interviews with the media czars but what was the casualty? What else but the budget which was not analysed, discussed, critiqued. Need I say more?

Akhilesh Yadav: As the youngest Chief Minister of India’s largest state, he is being hailed as a youth icon… the tech savvy, twitter friendly leader who single handedly steered the Samajwadi Party from the doldrums (read Amar Singh’s glitterati) back to its socialist moorings and hence back to power. While all this is true but would all this be possible without Netaji’s blessings? Look at the composition of his cabinet and the spring of youth vaporises. It’s all about complex caste equations…the adequate number of Yadavs, with a smattering of Dalit tokenism and you know who has composed the cabinet. And if that’s not enough, there is a certain Raja Bhaiyyain the cabinet, yes the much dreaded leader, with eight criminal cases behind him, a law unto himself. To this, Akhilesh has the hackneyed but seasoned response, that the cases were politically motivated. A number of Dalit killings have been already reported since the SP’s spectacular win. And it’s not just law and order. There are a number of power centres already. Azam Khan, SP’s most important Muslim face and Shivpal Singh Yadav (Akhilesh’s uncle) report directly to Mulayam. However that’s not a big issue considering even Akhilesh does the same. And why not? When Akhilesh had newly married and was least interested in politics, Mulayam had led him up the garden path. The same story…of pilots, MBAs suddenly discovering what they owe to the country, through the eyes of their parents. However, all this is not meant to entirely discredit Akhilesh’s achievements. Only thing is the man has just assumed power. Let’s bide our time and watch and not deify him and then take him the Didi way.

Vidya Balan: When it’s “entertainment, entertainment aur entertainment”, how can the column end without any entertainment? She is being hailed as the fourth Khan! The one lady against them all…the face that can ensure the initial collections at the box office! Yes she is a great actor, a natural performer but can she demand the same fees that a Khan gets or even an Akshay Kumar? Does she get to deliver long speeches at FICCI frames? Vidya’s latest ‘Kahaani’ only gradually caught up after great word of mouth. By just dwelling on Bidya madam aka Khan, we are discrediting the directors, scriptwriters who wrote strong parts for her! On a different note, the day when like a Rajinikant-who grandly displays his grey, balding pate yet continues to romance the Deepikas- a female actor can romance an actor half her age, without being asked an age related question, we will know the Vidyas have arrived!

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