Monday, May 21, 2007

Cheers to Andy Warhol

I apologise for a delay in updatingmy blog.I have been on a trans India travelling spree and hence this delay.Anyway, read on.This month two incidents, which are in no way related to one another, happened -almost simultaneously- in two very different parts of the world-USA and India.Since i am a great admirer of many products of the USA, i will first describe the incident which happened when the senate of the US state of Nevada opened its session. So far so predictable. No !! The senate was opened with the chanting of Hindu prayers. That does bear a testimony to the fact that Western countries are tolerant towards other religions otherwise why would a prayer from Bhagavad Gita- which was about duties,action,selfles work, welfare of others,compassion- be read. The second incident which happened was in Ichalkaranji here two priests were severely beaten up by Bajarang Dal and VHP activists. Their crime: these priests were engaged in converting seven Hindus to Christianity. This bears testimony to our intolerance towards religion.

Demographies wise, Hindus form a major part of the Indian population. And if a Hindi film dialogue is to be believed: Pakistan se zyada musalman hindustan main hai. All the rhetoric on the part of the politicians when saying hindu muslim bhai bhai comes to zilch when it comes to the hustings. UP represents one seventh of India and no where does the religious card play better than here. Even rahul gandhi who is a novice in politics has raked up the babri masjid issue in order to please the masses. BJP released an anti muslim CD which, contrary to popular opinion, has united the Hindus into a much stronger bond. Mulayam Singh Yadav's popularity might have waned due to the nithari killings and disproportionate assest case but he still knows that the Muslim vote bank will be loyal to him and Mayawati has shown a tangible proclivity towards the Brahmins. Thus, no one looks to unite these hindus and muslims because the "vote bank" might take a severe beating. This spawns a strong Bajarang Dal, VHP ,SIMI and a lesser known rashtriya yuva sena and what not. Thus, the supposed cicerones of a secular world end up being the harbinger of apostasy.

The problem with these organisations is that they play the role of a moral watchdog. Morality, according to them, is what an ekta kapoor serial preaches about. If a richard gere gives repeated
pecks on the cheek of shilpa shetty then he is supposed to have "outraged her modesty". When hrithik roshan and aishwarya rai indulged in a 5 second smooch in dhoom 2, it was time for the women organisations to hog the limelight. Mandira Bedi had to change her satya paul sari- which had all the sixteen flags of the participating countries imprinted- during the world cup final because ,apparently, the Indian flag was at her feet. Sachin Tendulkar had to tender apologies for cutting a cake which had an Indian flag on it. Shilpa Shetty and Reema Sen were summoned to courts because a PIL was filed against them saying that they had posed for a tamil magazine in an obscene way. M.F.Hussain is going through a harrowing time at the age of 91 because he drew paintings which showed the Hindu gods nakedly. Khushboo and Sania Mirza have been chastised for their remarks on pre marital sex. M.F.Hussain's properties have been confiscated and he is taking refuge in dubai because he drew nude paintings of Hindu gods.Amd most recently, in Baroda a fine arts student has been taken into custody because of an almost similar crime.

This whole fiasco reeks of plain hypocrisy, the
one patented by us Indians and not surprisingly,the name,The Great Indian Hypocrisy !! We scoff at any female who wears "obscene" clothes that gives a clear view of their midriff but what of the women who wear sarees ? We follow the Victorian code of morality but still kissing on a public platform is an untenable sin. Coming to the attack on art, we need to understand that art is inherently supposed to be subversive. A usual urinating picture when shown upside down becomes a fountain and that is what art is supposed to depict. Carte blanche for the artists is a must for India to be a major player at Christie's and Sotheby's. Let not S.H.Raza and Tyeb Mehta be the last generation of maverick painters our country has ever seen.

Andy Warhol once said that "In future, everyone will have fifteen minutes of fame". He must be referring to those people who file PIL's on every trivial matter. A guy filed a PIL saying that the TNCA should not conduct cricket matches during rainy season. And surprise surprise, the chennai court first addressed this PIL rather than the thousands of more important ones languishing. More recently, a PIL was filed against Richard Gere. These people are increasingly turning to be 'vexatious litigants'. The concept of PIL was to ensure quicker justice for the deprived. Let that remain so. The electronic media is partly to be blamed for the current deplorable state of affairs. Focussing on claptrap has made a celebrity out of a nobody and this trend is catching on like wildfire.

There was no hue and cry over the "waldrobe malfunction" or a liplock between britney spears and madonna in the western media. No one cared a hoot about those trivial things. And here, we create a ruckus over anything. Mr.Warhol, you were very prescient indeed !!

P.S: A great example to illustrate the Great Indian Hypocrisy: My friends who went to USA for their masters have been taught in their consultancies to say at the visa office that "I am going to come back to India". Not surprisingly, only on saying so are their visas have been issued. And you know what, none of them want to come back to India.

Watch any film of aki kaurismaki and you will know how real cinema can get to be.

2046: I can bet that you have to watch this film atleast twice to make head or tail of it. Wong kar wai probably made a modern day "Last year at Marienbad".

Talk to her: Yet another masterpiece from the spanish auteur. Its a moving drama between a girl who is in a vegetative state, a lady matador, a writer and a male nurse. I loved especially the pina bausch choreography and the shrinked lover play.