New meeows - 18


I am all for banning of smoking in public places, but this logic beats me:

The Health ministry is ready to allow the depiction of iconic characters like Churchill and Sherlock Holmes with their favourite poison sticks because, “People know about them and their on-screen smoking won’t influence the audience behaviour much,” a senior Health ministry official said.

People know about Dawood Ibrahim and Pappu Yadav; they too are icons for many, especially of a certain class. The whole lingo of the filmi tapori is based on them. The government has just declared that being gay is a crime, but many icons are gay. Why can ordinary people not do things that icons can?

And how ridiculous it is to believe that only because people know about them their on-screen behaviour won’t influence the audience. Quite the contrary. These government officials live on some weird island. Don’t they know about the power of cinema and how memorable the characters become?

An educated professional I met told me the other day when I mentioned Ustad Zakir Hussein, “Oh, that fellow in the ‘Wah! Taj’ ad?!” Yup. This is also a reality.


I was within kissing (okay flying kissing distance) of Raj Thackeray when he was sent to two-week judicial custody by a court in Bandra in Mumbai this afternoon. Two truckloads of Rapid Action Force personnel were stationed outside the court for security. His 2000 supporters were shouting slogans. The stone-throwing had started in the morning.

Cops were stationed at regular intervals. No traffic. Shops that had not downed shutters kept them half-open. At one store, I heard a most interesting conversation between two sales girls.

Yeh sab pathhar baazi ho rahi hai, ab kaam ke baad ghar kaise jaayenge? (With all this stone-throwing how will we reach home after work)?”

Said the other, “Agar koi badee hastee ko arrest karenge tau aisa hona hi tha. (If you arrest some prominent figure this is bound to happen)”

Phew, Raju ban gaya gentleman? The MNS leader is now a big hastee? See, this is how public imagination is set afire. These girls were not Maharashtrian.

The other consequence is fear. Most people would rather lose business than have their shops damaged. This will unfortunately be construed as support for Raj.

Why is the state government not asking him to shut up? Because the NCP’s alliance with the central government is shaky. Because Bal Thackeray is opposing his nephew, so the state can use Raj stealthily as a replacement for the Shiv Sena. And in Maharashtra the SS can manage the biggest rallies. And politics is about how big you appear to be.

Raj’s people may talk about the arrest as vengeance, but he is not going to be in custody for long. Remember the tamasha when Balasaheb was arrested some years ago for a few hours?

And for all this idiocy, I could not get my KFC greasy snack.


Arundhati Roy has demanded a judicial inquiry into the Jamia Nagar shootout; she was not buying the police theory on the incident. She also accused the middle class of shunning its liberal values in not questioning the police, which was making the situation "very dangerous". "I am just one of the thousands of people who are asking some very serious questions from the police... thousands of people are saying a lot of things.”

As one of the thousands who said something when it happened (this post says it), I wonder why Roy has now woken up.

Why is she blaming the middle class? How many rich blokes have come and asked questions? How many poor?

Why is she sounding like a gossip monger... “people are saying a lot of things”? Should she not elaborate and nail someone down? Why this ghus-phus about “not buying police theory” and then playing safe by saying about the killings that she "was not calling it fake" but wanted an inquiry? This sounds so bureaucratic. The whole world wants enquiries into everything.


India and Pakistan will open a historic trade link across divided Kashmir for the first time in six decades on Tuesday, a step aimed at reducing tensions between the two countries.

So today some apples and things were packed and sent across, as in this picture. Great. No tensions anymore? Apples or oranges?


  1. FV:

    Great post. Loved it.

    An educated professional I met told me the other day when I mentioned Ustad Zakir Hussein, “Oh, that fellow in the ‘Wah! Taj’ ad?!”

    Educated in what? Professional as in...?

    And for all this idiocy, I could not get my KFC greasy snack.

    You should thank Raj for saving you some adiposity. :-)

    Apples or oranges?

    No, Ma'am. Only drama and theatre -- creating the right optics, as they say. What about that Chinese saying of a journey of a thousand miles beginning with a single step or turning on the ignition key?

  2. There was a Movie Yash Chopra directed in late 70s called "Doosra Aadmi" and Simi Grewal plays the second woman in Rishi Kapoor's life , she is a smoker in the movie and I must say that image left an indelible mark on my perception about smoking , I started smoking when I was 20 and quit when I was 25, but sometimes I still catch an odd smoke or a cigar ....why is health ministry going bersek over this ....that is like banning ropes so that people cant committ suicide by hanging them selves...I am not a fan of smoking but no smoking in movies is killing the freedom of expression .....I will watch that Doosra Aadmi DVD again....

    btw smoke , fire , heat . steam ....hope you havent been watching Merchant Ivory's "Heat and Dust"....

    my advice to Arundhati is simple...junk the intellactual Mastrubation ...look at ground reality

  3. Courtesy Mr Raj Thakrey,next time I need to visit Mumbai , i will need a Visa because I dont speak Marathi ....I am a north india born in delhi and to make matters worse I am an ardent Ghazal fan...ghazals are not wriiten in marathi ...I would ratehr go to Lahore ....I know punjabi ...a bit of pastho and saraiki ....not sure when i saw Indians being chased away on train stations in Pakistan ....in Mumbai yes ...I wish I could share that with grandfather ...he died at 96 ....unneccesararily braved his way to India through riots

  4. PS:

    Professional as in doctor...educated in the same thing.

    "You should thank Raj for saving you some adiposity. :-)"

    A lean-mean chicken wearing a heavy garment cannot be accused of encouraging adiposity...maybe adding to the paucity....
    - - -

    Anon...(I am assuming it is Manish, in whch case will you please sign your name at the end when you forget your google passowrd again or don't wnat to log in?!):

    Why does talk of smoking remind you of a woman? It was Raakhee, not Simi, btw.

    The government is going berserk, and now it is an ego hassle between Ramadoss and Shivraj Patil. But I do think there must be some checks on public smoking. There have been times you are sitting in cramped restaurants and your food begins smelling of someone's cigarette.

    "btw smoke , fire , heat . steam ....hope you havent been watching Merchant Ivory's "Heat and Dust"...."

    Just like to make my news steamy...

    Re. Arundhati, I would not say she isn't aware of the ground reality; I do not doubt her inherent commitment to issues. This time I viewed it differently.

    There are Marathi ghazals!


    Of course, I am disturbed by this Raj T tamasha...and do not believe that Mumbai is all that cosmopolitan.


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