Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wanted: More irreverence for Bachchans and their beatified bahu

Manish of Ultrabrown triggered this post by putting up a link to this -- hallelujah! -- glory. (See images 81129802, 81128887, 81128879, 81129935, 81130033.) Bookoholic's comment reminded me that I like to rail against mindless unfairness meted out to aging women who are way past their own glorious youth.

Hasn't the pretentious Bachchan family watched enough Jane Austen adaptations on TV to figure out that the older woman, however wrinkled and washed up she may look next to TM_Worshipped_Bahu_ITW, deserves a gentleman's arm to lead the way so the entire party can present itself in as regal and dignified a style and manner as possible?

I believe that Jaya Bhaduri Bachchan was/is the only true actor in the family; so it pains me to conclude that she looks the most uncomfortable in this meat 'film fest' display. Outlook India's words after Cannes 2007: "he looked awkwardly tremulous, while she struck extravagant poses". [Link] 'He' stands for Bachchan Jr ('she', of course, is god's personal answer to India's prayer). Much has changed apparently in one year's time for the most junior member of the family. Before Cannes' red carpet rolls around again in 2009, I am sure a makeover will be forced upon that member of the family whose initials are not AB. Sigh!

We need more irreverent comedians/humorists and bloggers in the subcontinent and its diaspora so we can get a few more laughs at the expense of these exaggerated versions of bollybrities and their fans. Here is a start.

Monday, May 5, 2008

"Can I be a Hindu too, Mommy?"

A Sepia Mutiny post highlighting the reactions of a particular religious group to the movie The Love Guru has evolved into an interesting discussion -- as I see it -- on spiritual origins and religious ownership of free-flowing thoughts and ideas.

A commenter suggests:

The real problem is when people trying to create boundaries, man made religious laws to trap or confine concepts which are universal and infinite...
Apparently this business of creating boundaries starts very early in life. Coming back from a dinner party recently, my 5-year-old asked if she can be a Hindu, like her friend 'X'. "What is a Christian? And why did ('X') say I could not join her in her game because I am a Christian and she is a Hindu?" So Sunday afternoon was spent in an impromptu crash course on major world religions. The course was distilled to appeal to little girls -- aged 4 and 5 -- who have spent roughly equal amounts of time on occasional temple and church visits but not enough overall time within the larger spheres of spiritual contemplation or religious claims-to-fame. The spurned-at-the-game daughter showed undisguised relief that Mommy seemed to know what went momentarily wrong between her and her much-loved friend. Not much else was needed for her general cheer to descend upon her once again.

As for me, I am reasonable enough to understand that kids, in anticipation of their roles and niches as adults, indulge in power games and activities that push boundaries and test social hierarchies. If it wasn't a 'religious otherness' label, some other characteristic, such as the shade of skin color, length of hair, gender of being or shape of nose, would have sent a seemingly submissive child to the sidelines. Yet I am unreasonable enough to feel irked that there is at least one adult in our circle of acquaintances who felt free to slap an unwarranted label on my child's forehead within the privacy of their homes. Neither the child's potential preference nor her parents' (lack of) preference was given any consideration.

Epilogue: In anticipation of similar, future sidelining attempts, our girls have learnt to declare that they are strictly forbidden to choose a religious team until the day they each blow out 50 birthday candles. In case of extreme and dire situations, they will describe themselves as Krishtians.