Sunday, 14 February 2010

Kaun Jeeta Kaun Haara

The breaking news was being telecast just now on TV – the IPL has been moved out of AP because of security issues. So there will be no matches in Hyderabad this season, this inspite of the fact that the Deaccan team is the current title holder. If you thought this was an insult, just wait until you hear the venues to which it has been re-located to – Nagpur and Mumbai, the safest of all cities in India right now!

Coming to the issue of Mumbai, what has been happening over there in the past few days is pathetic to say the least. A few people who belong to a party which has lost the public vote very badly are holding the entire city to ransom in the name of protecting the Maratha pride. They welcome the general secretary of the ruling party with black flags, burn the posters of a national icon in front of his residence, and even abuse the chief minister of the state and even set him up on a date with the neighboring hostile nation on Valentines Day by calling him a ‘Pak lover’.

Ok, so the big news last week was not about the rising food prices or the question of whether to increase the petroleum prices or not. The issues at hand were not about whether you should eat a genetically modified brinjal or not. It was whether the movie “My name is Khan” would release in India’s entertainment capital or not. And the news channels were full of it – whether SRK would apologise to the Sena or not, whether the multiplexes would dare the Sena and release the movie or not – even the highest paid PR/publicity guys could not generate as much interest in the movie as the last week’s stand-off between SRK and Sena did.

The movie has finally opened. Mumbaikars have braved all odds and thronged multiplexes and theaters to catch a glimpse of their favorite on-screen Jodi after many years. The praise for the movie is everywhere. And I am sure it will go on to become one of the biggest grossing movie in recent times. The media are projecting it as a victory for the SRK clan and a defeat for the Sena. SRK says it is the people of Mumbai who won. So who actually won and who lost?

At the end of the day, it is just people who managed to make money who won. Emotions have no place in either politics or business. So, all the people out there in controversy were just seeing how to turn the situation to their advantage. Firstly, Shahrukh – he owned an IPL team himself. If he was really keen on giving representations to Pak players, he should have selected atleast one player in his team. We all now know that their team’s “Requirements” were already met. But, the truth is like everyone else, even KKR felt that investing in a Pak player would mean losing money because of uncertainty. And thus, they chose not to buy a player. But Shahrukh chose to make his agony public. And this gave his movie the publicity nothing could ever give. It is as simple as that – Neither naming the movie with his surname nor his pairing with Kajol after nearly a decade could have given the film as big an opening as it has got now. The Sena, on the other side, which has lost power in Maharashtra and Mumbai, wanted to assert its position and saw some gains in attacking Shahrukh. So, by abusing the country’s national icons and the chief-minister of the state, they claim even they too have won.

And who lost in all the drama? It was the brand of Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital. Businesses and entertainment industries already are thinking about moving to greener pastures because of the never-ending bashing by political parties which name their newspappers as "Forward" and take the nation in exactly the opposite direction. Non-Marathi people in Mumbai are living in fear of being attacked. The commoner in Mumbai still suffers because the mundane are issues are being pushed to the sidelines because of all the drama on the front pages. This incident has just re-inforced the fact that – at the expense of the common man, the politicians and the businessmen make merry.

And why did I bring up the “IPL snubbing Hyderabad” news at the beginning of this post? This is to again re-iterate the summary of the last paragraph. Whether or not a new state of Telangana is created, the maximum gainers in the whole episode will be the so-called leaders of the people and protectors of the Telugu pride and the losers ultimately will be the citizens of Hyderabad whose life comes to a standstill every second day because of the bandh, the poor cricket loving people in AP who will miss the all the IPL action this year and the aam-aadmis like you and me :-(

1. I feel IPL has a jinx in that no city which wins it will get to host matches in the coming year. Jaipur dint get it in 2009 and Hyderabad has missed it in 2010. If this is the case, it is best that Bangalore finish runners up this year too. Atleast we will get to see some matches over here :-)

2. I have assumed the meaning of "Saamna" to be "forward" for the sake of flow of thought. The actual meaning in Hindi is close to "in forefront" and I have no idea what it means in Marathi. Anyone who knows is welcome to comment and let me know