Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Big B as Frankenstein's monster

I know Sanjay Jha as a lover of cricket. He and his wife started cricketnext.com, lost money running it for ages, but neither of them cared a whit about the cash drain. Cricket is Jha’s passion, and thankfully, the bleeding didn’t hurt him too much.
Cricketnext.com was sold to ibnlive.com, and Jha now has a canvas beyond cricket, with his very own non-cricket blog on the site, jhakas.
And the first of his non-cricket posts that I’ve read made me sit up and think.
Titled Kaun Banega Conpati, Jha writes with (near) anguish on Amitabh Bachchan’s doublespeak and duplicity vis-à-vis politics. The same man who left “the cesspool of politics” plays brand ambassador for Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh, and this disgusts Jha.
But this side of Bachchan is unpalatable to any number of Indians, including me. So what’s new?
What startled me when I read the blog was Jha’s observation on who created the phenomenon that is Amitabh Bachchan:

“It was to do with a nasty punch in his belly during the shooting of Coolie, a typical Manmohan Desai madcap trash.
Thanks to the only TV channel the country had, the government owned Doordarshan broadcasting regular bulletins on Bachchan’s regular pulse beat, Breach Candy overnight became a tourist destination.
An anxious nation fervently prayed for Bachchan’s recovery, making the lanky tall man from Allahabad our first real Bollywood hero into a national obsession.
Mrs Indira Gandhi, then India’s prime minister left her official engagements to visit the ailing actor, as she valued his eminently revered parents and their close family bondage.
In my opinion, that was the day the real super-hero was born in India. A mass entertainer battling a grievous threat to his life, was given a special legitimacy by India’s first family.
Bachchan became a bigger household name, and captured the national imagination like no other.”

Indira Gandhi is the Frankenstein and Bachchan the monster?

Jha’s is the first piece that I’ve read editorially challenging the Big B. In a country like India, we are reluctant to criticize phenomena and idols. Jha does so, with fact and conviction. That, in itself, is refreshing.
Click here to read Jha’s entire take. It’s worth the journey.

Image courtesy: http://www.saumag.edu/

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