10 Trends we should bid farewell to in 2017

1. Show Middle Finger to Middle Name.

Dear Ladies, I know it’s your choice but I have to say it’s a horrible one. Adding your husband’s name in the middle on Facebook seems to be the new fad in 2016. Every other person I know (friends, relatives) seems to be doing it post marriage. On one hand, we have women keeping their surnames same even after marriage and on the other we have women who go one step ahead and add their husband’s name too. Personally, I find it regressive and patriarchal. Have you asked your husbands to do the same? Or has the thought of adding wife’s name to theirs even come across to husbands? I guess, No and that explains it all. I seriously don’t understand the joy behind doing this exercise. Hope to see the trend fading away in 2017 or at least husband’s catching up with it too.

2. Arvind Kejriwal should stop being a troll

I know it is wishful thinking and may be even God cannot help me in this but can we please have a well behaved Arvind Kejriwal? In other words, can he start behaving as a Chief Minister and stop blaming the Prime Minister for every damn thing in this universe?  From calling the PM a psychopath to supporting a convict like Lalu Prasad Yadav, he has become nauseating now. There have been times when I had to read his tweets twice just to check if it is him or his troll account (which by the way makes more sense).  Arvind, even Najeeb Jung has resigned now, please be a little tolerable!

3. It’s not about loving our Soldiers

I am no ‘liberal’ but the growing use of bringing in the country’s soldier for justifying everything silly done in the country should just stop RIGHT NOW! Lecturing people to boycott or ban films that star Pakistani actors because our soldiers are protecting us at the border or telling people that they should not crib about standing in bank and ATM lines because soldiers stand at the border for days without complaining is plain stupidity. Can we please stop this false equivalence and let the soldiers be out of the politics? We can love our soldiers & at the same time criticize demonetization or enjoy watching Ae Dil Hai Muskhil. May better sense prevail!

4. Muslim kids & Fancy Dress

Even Lord Krishna and Jesus would have been fed up by the ‘secularism’ shown by Indians. This is an annual ritual when pictures of Muslim parents carrying their kids dressed up as Krishna or Jesus start floating on WhatsApp, Facebook and every damn place you can find. In fact it isn’t Janmasthami or Christmas till we have seen the picture. While I appreciate the multi culturalism and pluralism of our country; we need not be reminded of it every year. Let the kids dress up and leave them. Please don’t shove it in our face. Just chill. BTW, idea courtesy @NameFieldmt

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5. Close the Open Letters 

While I have written some of them myself, I think it’s high time we stop this drama of Open Letters. I say that because let’s be frank, no one is reading them; especially, the one to whom we are addressing it. I don’t have a problem with the format but of late there have been a bombardment of open letters (most of which make no sense) for every little thing that happens around us. Also, let’s face it that most of us are not aiming towards staring a dialogue but it’s just a bitch fest to get more hits on our blog and get some publicity. We should rather write a letter to our loved ones which they might actually read & may be make them happy because nothing beats the old world charm that hand written letters carry. BTW, this was suggested by KarnikaKohli

6. Ramzan vs Ramadan

Again, I have been party to the crime but if I reflect back, I feel this is one of the most pointless debates of which I have been a part of. Ramzan is one of the most important festivals of Muslims and it is called ‘Ramadan’ in Arabic. In India, as Urdu & Hindi have been the language of communication, it is called ‘Ramzan’. Most of us grew up learning it. I of course had issues (still have) with the growing Arabization as Indians started using ‘Ramadan’ but many say that I am over reacting & it’s just going back to using the ‘authentic’ name which is in Quran. So, let’s just close this debate and enjoy Haleem & Sheer Korma without getting into the spelling.

7. ‘Recreating’ old songs

As if remaking old Hindi films was not enough, we now have film makers ruining the old classic songs by ‘recreating’ them. Some of them like Kaala Chasma (Baar Baar Dekho) or Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le (Dear Zindagi) were not that bad but most of them have been a let down. The recent recreation of Rahman’s Humma Humma (OK Janu) was the final nail in the coffin. Can we just compose some original music in 2017? @ThePuccaCritic did a good piece on the same.

8. Who is the best Khan?

Let’s just settle it this year and agree that Shah Rukh Khan is the BEST Khan. We must stop this annual ranting of telling SRK that he should do more films like Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, Swades & Chak De India. He is a brilliant actor and he was bloody good even when he did DDLJ, KKHH, Veer Zaara and Fan. No one can do a Raj or Rahul like he does and even now when he opens his arms, he creates magic on screen. Yes, even with that hamming. He has style, class and substance. He is THE KING. PERIOD!

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9. The Coke Studio Debate

With a heavy heart, I have to say that Coke Studio Pakistan is a notch above ours. Let’s just accept it guys that ours is still very commercial, Bollywoodish and to an extent wannabish also and we haven’t come up with something that is even close to the magic of Coke Studio Pakistan. So let’s just enjoy the music and keep the who is better debate aside because I just told you who is better!

10. Year End Posts! 

So tired of these year end posts telling us the top moments, the top films, the best shows, the worst actors and all that. Oh wait! Okay. It is still 2016 and I can write one  🙂

On that note, Happy New Year!

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How I met THE Shabana Azmi

I am an unabashed and insane fan of Shabana Azmi. The first film of hers that I saw was Vishal Bhardwaj’s Makdee and the 14 year old me had loved the film; especially her character of witch. However, it was her movie Arth that made me notice the brilliance of ‘actor’ Shabana Azmi and since then there has been no looking back. I have revisited almost all her films right from her debut film Ankur (which till date remains one of my favorite Shabana Azmi films) and I can safely say that she is one of the finest actors that Indian cinema has seen.

So while I was exploring twitter sometime in 2010, one fine day, I saw Shabana Azmi’s handle (@AzmiShabana) on my timeline. Back then it was not verified and I have had my fair share of instances where I had got myself into some intense discussions with people (Democracy with Arundhati Roy) only to realize later that they were imposters or parody accounts. So, my first tweet to her was actually a question asking ‘Hello, Is that really you?’ I managed to get a reply from her and since quite a few celebrities were following her I was assured about the authenticity part. Icing on the cake was that she started following me (I have no idea even now why she did so because I was just one of the many fans she has). Initially, I used to think she pressed the follow button by mistake and I used to visit her twitter page regularly for months to ‘check’ if she is still following me (Back then there was no ‘Follows You’ feature). And that was the beginning of my beautiful virtual relationship with one of the finest actors of the Indian cinema.

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Pehli Mulaqat:

My first meeting with her was quite filmy actually. In 2011, I got a Direct Message from Shabana Ma’am that she was coming to Bangalore with her play ‘Broken Images’ for Standard Chartered Bank at ITC Gardenia and asked if I would like to come. I nearly jumped out of my bed and I of course said yes. The super excited me was about 1 hour before schedule and I was supposed to meet ‘Richa’ with whom she had left a message. When I enquired, the folks said they don’t know anyone by the name Richa. My heart sank. I ran from pillar to post but nothing came out of it. I did not have the contact details so I was writing tweets continuously in the hope she will read it but I got no reply. I had lost all hopes and I thought may be she forgot to leave a message.  I kept praying to God. Thankfully, she hadn’t forgotten. Richa came just before the show and made sure I got a seat in the front. After the play (which was fantastic), I waited to meet her. I touched her feet and she said ‘Jeete Raho’ and she introduced me as her ‘Twitter Friend’ to the people standing out there. She said I was an ‘Encyclopedia’ and whatever information she needs, I tweet about it immediately. I was literally shivering, when I took out the CD of her film Mandi (My favorite Shabana Azmi film) and asked for her autograph. I was a college student back then and with whatever pocket money I used to get, I managed to get a Photo-frame and few chocolates for her as a gift. Those 5 minutes were one of the most special moments and in all this I forgot to even take a photograph! Sigh!

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Autographed CD of Mandi

Dusri Mulaqat aur Photograph:

I had to wait for 4 years to get that photograph. In 2015, she came to Hyderabad where I was working now for an event organized by COVA. There was a discussion on ‘Role of Women in Films’ and I was seated in the front. After the session, when the Q&A session started, Shabana Ma’am announced that ‘Rahul Sharma will ask the first question’. Everyone in the auditorium turned to me and I quite felt like a celebrity.  After the session, I met her and gifted her two books (One was by Amartya Sen whom she greatly admires). I took a photograph and I was planning to leave but she said ‘Jao, plate le kar aao’ and have dinner with me. I was on cloud nine. I rushed and came back but I was little interested in the food. She introduced me to some of her family members also.  We discussed a lot of things from politics to society. She asked me my views on GST Bill, MNREGA etc. Once we were done, I realized that I don’t really look good in the picture I had taken. I requested Ma’am for another photograph and she happily obliged.

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The books I gifted

Tohfa Tohfa, Aaya Aaya

I have often tweeted about my love for Shah Rukh Khan and except the man, the whole world knows that I am his ‘Jabra’ fan. One fine day, I got a Direct Message from Shabana Ma’am asking me to share my address so that she can send a gift. It took me some time to believe and I read it twice but here it was – A five time National Award winner and a Padma Bhushan asking the address of a fan so that she can send across a gift. I shared the address and what I got touched me. I got a special edition of the book ‘Aditya Chopra relives DDLJ’ which was released when the film had completed 1000 weeks of running. The book was sent by Aditya Chopra to her and knowing that I am a fan of the actor and this film in particular, she sent me the book. The SMS (By now she had shared her number) which she sent made me feel on top of the world.

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Recently, Shabana Ma’am sent me another book on Veer Zaara with a hand written message. I need not mention that this makes me feel very special.

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Agree to Disagree

What’s interesting is that we both don’t really agree on politics and share the same ideology. She is an Amartya Sen fan, I am not. She is not really a Narendra Modi fan, I am. She believes in socialism, I don’t. I am a rightist while she leans towards the left. We often share articles/WhatsApp messages on these. But this has never affected our interactions and we agree to disagree on these.

I have often wondered why anyone of her stature would do all this for someone like me who is just a fan of hers? Why does she take so much efforts to send me gifts? Why did she invite me to have dinner with her when she could have just said a Good Bye post the event in Hyderabad? Why does she make it a point to write a Happy Birthday tweet to me which is just 4 days before hers (though I sometimes remind her a couple of days before)? Why did she share her personal mobile number with a stranger like me? And most importantly, why did she follow me on twitter? Guess, some of us are just born lucky!

And twitter, you beauty! If you were not there, all this wouldn’t have been possible!

Flashback: 13 moments from 2013

1. Jhaadu ka Jaadu

Though their leanings towards the left worries me but have to give it to Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party for their splendid debut in the Indian politics. They represent (or at least claim to) represent the voice and concerns of the ‘aam aadmi’ who wants to see a clean and non-corrupt system of governance. Aam Aadmi Party has clearly emerged as a credible alternative to the two major national parties in Delhi. I am no astrologer but their future looks bright and they will surely make the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 more interesting!

2. I am Malala 

The beautiful dark-eyed Pashtun girl Malala Yousafzai  who was shot by the Taliban for voicing her opinion on girl’s education wowed all of us when she addressed the United Nations. It was a moment of pride for Pakistan who has of late been in news for all the wrong reasons. More power to her because our neighbour needs many more such girls who can save Pakistan from becoming a banana republic.

3. Farewell, Master

As they say cricket is religion in India and Sachin Tendulkar is the God for millions of Indians. The master blaster decided to call it quits after a splendid career of many years. Every Indian was glued to the television as he played his last test match. Many of us (including me) might not be a fan of the sport, but whatever little we have seen is because of Sachin. In fact I used to stop watching the match as he got out. Many of us couldn’t hold back our tears as Sachin gave an emotional speech at Wankhade.

4. Year of Judgements

While the judiciary set an example by giving death sentence to the men who brutally raped the girl from Delhi; it let down the homosexual community when it upheld the law that criminalized homosexuality. In fact the judgement was a letdown for all the Indians who stand for liberty. Had the court decriminalized homosexuality, it would have been a milestone in India’s history.

There were many other talked about judgements too. Like the one which sent Sanjay Dutt & Lalu Prasad Yadav to jail or the one which accused the Talwar’s of killing their own daughter Aarushi. And last but not the least which gave Narendra Modi a clean chit in the Gujarat riots case.

5. Mangalyaan

India’s maiden spacecraft to Mars was launched this year under the ‘Mars Mission’ project. There was a lot of cynicism about India’s ability to pull it off or whether India should spend on these projects. However, all the naysayers went quiet as the ‘Managalyaan’ successfully cruised towards the Mars. A moment of pride for all Indians.

6. Maid in America

The year also saw the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade and the alleged mistreatment by the U.S. officials as she was accused of flouting the U.S. norms by underpaying the maid (who was also an Indian) and not having proper documents. India reacted strongly to the arrest while U.S. said that they were just following the law. Interestingly, in this whole debate nobody really seemed to believe the maid. Class bias?

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7. Namo Namah

Apart from the Aam Aadmi Party making news, there was one more person who was all over making headlines – Narendra Modi. Love him or hate him but surely cannot ignore him. Narendra Modi’s anointment as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate was an important moment in the Indian politics. Fighting all the odds and internal politics within his party, Narendra Modi rose to the top and is now leading the party into the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. If we go by the number of people who attended his rallies this year, the mood of the nation seems to be in his favor and we might just see him as our next Prime Minister!

8. Nature’s Wrath

One of the worst natural calamity that hit India this year was the floods in Uttarakhand which left thousand displaced and hundreds dead. The famous pilgrimage site for Hindus; the Kedarnath temple was also affected to a large extent. It will take almost 2 years for the hill town to get back on its knees.

While the floods saw poor disaster management by the state; another incident saw excellent management by the state governments. The cyclone ‘Phialin’ hit the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh & Odisha this year and brought back memories of Tsunami. However, because of the excellent management; the evacuation was done on time and there wasn’t much loss of life.

9. Muzzafarnagar Riots

Another blot on India as riots broke out in the Muzzafarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh. Like always, the politicians instead of calming the people , instigated them. A large number of people from a community left their homes fearing death and are living in tents. Last I read, over 30 children have died in the camps due to severe cold. Cry India, Cry!

10. Year of Good Byes

2013 will also be remembered as the year that took away many legends from us. Shamshad Begum, Manna Dey , Reshma (Music), Rituparno Ghosh (Director), Jiah Khan, Pran, Paul Walker, Farooque Sheikh (Actors) and Nelson Mandela. May their soul rest in peace!

11. The Lunch Box

The year also saw this gem of a film – The Lunchbox. If we will look back at the history of Indian cinema then this shall be seen as one of the finest films made in the country.

12. RIP Tehelka

The editor Tarun Tejpal was accused of sexual assault by a journalist working in the same organization. What followed was the management’s disappointing response, leaked e-mails, resignation of its ‘holier than thou’ Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury and eventually arrest of Tarun Tejpal. A magazine that has always taken a high moral stand failed itself when it came to standing by one of it’s employees. Read  Open Letter to Shoma

13. Hanged Till Death

Afzal Guru, the accused in the Parliament attack was finally executed as the President (rightly) rejected his mercy plea. A heated debate followed the execution with many calling the trial unfair and as expected it saw protests in the valley. My only complaint with the police was that in times of internet & mobiles, they chose postal service to communicate the news of his execution to the family. Of course, they never wanted the family to know in order to avoid repercussions. Sad!

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P.S. – The ‘moments’ are not ranked. So there is no Number 1 or Number 2. Just 13 moments from 2013! And on that note Happy 2014 !!

An open letter to Shoma Chaudhury

Dear Shoma Chaudhury,

Hope this letter finds you in the best of your health; though I am not sure given the recent controversy that has surrounded your magazine. You must be wondering why I write this letter to you. I write this letter because I am so angry and disgusted with the way you have handled the recent incident of sexual assault in your organization. Your magazine has always taken a high-moral ground and has emerged as a crusader for everything that’s wrong around us. More importantly, as the Managing Director you have always been vocal about the issues related to communalism, corruption, and specifically women rights & empowerment. Your twitter timeline smells of morality, justice, truth and everything that an ideal world should have.

In your first encounter with the journalists after the email was leaked, you wore a smug look and instead of trying to answer them as the Managing Director of the magazine, you had the audacity to ask one of them “Are you the aggrieved party“? What if I put the same question to you? Were you the “aggrieved” party when you spoke about those dead in the communal clashes of Gujarat or were you the “aggrieved” party when you talked about the rape victims in Chhattisgarh? Sorry ma’am, but one need not be the victim always to speak about what’s not right. Like it or not but we all are the “aggrieved” party. DEAL WITH IT!

I also happened to see your interview with NDTV and CNN-IBN and I was amused to see the always articulate Shoma repeatedly coughing (acting?) and trying to answer in a low baritone.  You even ‘lost focus‘ and were ‘confused’ towards the end. You also had the arrogance to say ‘I should start speaking in Spanish‘ to Rajdeep Sardesai during the interview which showed how irritated you were while trying to defend the indefensible. Anyways, I was more nauseated with the way you guarded yourself. I would bring to your notice few points:

1. The email which you wrote to the employees implying that there has been an ‘untoward‘ incident. After reading the victim’s account in the form of another email which she had sent you, I was aghast. Do you really think it was an ‘untoward‘ incident? What stopped you from calling a spade a spade? Wasn’t it downright an incident of sexual assault?

2. Moving on, I am sure your command over the language English is much better than mine but even a school student can tell you that ‘Rescuing‘ is NOT the same as ‘stepping down‘. The accused decided to go on a break for 6 months and you call it ‘Atonement’? And this comes from the woman who had this to say a few days back! Hypocrisy thy name?

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3. A magazine that has been so vocal about the setting up of ‘Lokayuktas’ in certain states couldn’t get its own house in order and set up a committee as guided by the Court in the famous Vishakha case? Why? It is only now that you have decided to probe the matter when voices have been raised demanding an inquiry.

4. You also called the whole incident an ‘internal matter’ between the two persons. Doesn’t looks good coming from the Managing Director of a magazine that is known for its sting operations.  Going by your rationale, all the ministers caught taking bribe in your magazine’s sting operations shouldn’t be probed at all. After all it was an ‘internal matter’ between the parties taking and giving bribes.  The Vishakha Committee expected you to take ‘action’ as an ’employer’. What did you do?

5. Justice doesn’t always come through police and courts. Really? Why bother doing stories on your favorite Narendra Modi or for that matter anyone who is accused for any crime. Ishrat Jahan case which your magazine so passionately took up shouldn’t concern you anymore since according to your logic justice has little to do with courts. No? We should probably ask all criminals to take a six month break for repentance and come back. No?

6. The incident doesn’t involve Tehelka. Sorry, but it very much does! Quite like how every corruption case concerns Congress/BJP. Don’t you demand answers from the said parties even though those accused in scams are involved in their personal capacity?  You can’t just escape!

7. You also said there is ‘another version‘ of the incident and the matter is with the standing committee. Pretty much like there is another version of the Aarushi Talwar murder case where you defend the accused. Forget cases, I see a different version of Shoma Chowdhury in the last three days.

8. Lest I forget, when asked by Nidhi Razdan why Mr. Tejpal was not fired immediately you said ‘We are a small organization and there are financial considerations’. I was shocked when I heard it and couldn’t believe you actually said that! Your efforts of always putting up a high moral ground fall flat. Where did you sell your soul lady? Where are your ethics?

I wonder if we would have ever known about this incident had the Email written not leaked on the internet. You of course had no plans of getting the accused justice as ‘unconditional apology‘ and a ‘six month break’ seemed perfect to you. It takes guts for a sexual assault victim to come out and speak about it. Rather than helping her and setting an example you chose to cover it up. It shows your inability to stand up for someone who needed your support. It shows your intellectual hypocrisy.

As I end, I would like to leave you with something you said some time back;

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Heaven or hell is not important. What is important is that how will you face yourself? Remember, this will haunt you always. thInk!

By the way time you change the line that defines your magazine; TEHELKA – Free, Fair, Fearless FARCE, FARCE, FARCE!

Regards,

Aggrieved Indian

6 Annoying Photograph Poses

Disclaimer: I might have posed in any one of the following poses some time or the other; in fact we all would have but then I grew up! Many of you didn’t, so the post.

1. The Middle Finger Pose

This seems to be a favorite among the teenagers, especially the boys. As much as I try to think, I fail to understand the joy behind posing with the universal sign of “Fuck You” in photographs. You think throwing up your middle fingers makes you look like a bad ass? Sorry, but it makes you look like a douche bag. Next time shove it right up your ass. Yes, that will be good! And even bigger douche bags are the people who comment on the pics saying “Dude! Sahi Hai, Stud lag raha hai”. DUH!

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2. The Duck Face

This is the most stupid thing that any one can do in a photograph and if you are on Facebook, then more than half of your female friends would have posed in this ridiculous manner. Why would anyone document their face in this annoying way is beyond me. And what’s more frightening is that of late, some men also have started pouting in their pictures. With all due respect to women I would say that if you think you look like Angelina Jolie then sorry, you don’t. You look like a BLOODY DUCK! And my dear fellow-men, you won’t get a chance to get laid with anyone of the girls so STOP commenting “Hot, Sexy” on the pictures.

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3. Mirror Pose

You might call me sexist but again this pose is quite popular among the girls. Forget their room mirrors, they will not even leave the mirrors in the wash rooms. And icing on the cake is the pout that comes in which makes it even more irritating. You have every right to love yourself and it’s a good thing that you love yourself so much but should it mean that you stand in front of every damn mirror and start posing. Aargh!

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4. The Feet Pose

Again, it’s the women! Forming a circle (Some say it’s actually a flower) with their footwear and clicking the picture. I mean WHAT THE FUCK! Why would you click your bloody chappals/sneakers or whatever you are wearing?  No body is interested in your branded footwear or your stinking feet.

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5. Rabbit Ears

Apart from being annoying this pose is plain BORE. We used to do this as kids but then I grew up! But, many of us have not and I think it is way beyond its expiry. Putting up your fingers above your friends head makes you look more like a clown than your friend. I would like to slap my friend if s/he spoils my photograph by this foolish act.

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6. Smoke Rings

If I had to rate the poses by the degree of their annoyingness, then this would top the list. This is what Duck Face is to girls, every other guy is seen posting pictures of themselves with smoke rings on Facebook. Oh, we also have wannabe kids with hookahs and blowing smoke rings.  There is nothing “cool” about smoking.  It is bad and it kills!

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P.S. : All pics taken from the net, if any issues mail me and it shall be removed.

TRP Mev Jayate!

Last Sunday saw the ‘holier-than-thou’ Aamir Khan’s television debut and after a month long promotions Satyamev Jayate finally aired at 11.00 in the morning simultaneously on Star Plus & Doordarshan. I had zero expectations from the show and I thank Aamir because he did not disappoint me. So, here I shoot!

FAKENESS Personified

The opening monologue by Aamir Khan – “Main ek actor hi nahin, Insan bhi hoon” was enough to turn me off and I knew that this was just another attempt by the sanctimonious Khan to show how good a human being he is compared to his contemporaries who chose silly game shows to make their television debut. In fact, the whole opening credits sequence – AAMIR KHAN Productions, Core Creative Team AAMIR KHAN, Conceived & Created By AAMIR KHAN gave me a feeling that somewhere the show aims at telling us how great the man is. He is a crusader, the modern day JesusAs @CilemaSnob calls him )  who is here to solve all the problems. Mr. Khan also says that he feels pareshan and udaas when he sees certain things in the society. But in his more than two decade old career as a superstar what has he done to improve those ‘things’? Why have I never seen him do any of the philanthropy stuff which actors love to do. No charity? No donations? No NGO to support?  The only time I remember him speaking for ‘poor’ was when he participated in Medha Patkar’s Narmada demonstrations when his film Fanaa was about to release but he ran off from the scene when Gujarat Government threatened to pull out his film. Oh Yes! And he recently attended a rickshaw puller’s son’s wedding too.  Also, he did some social service when he gave a free hair cut to people while promoting Ghajini (If that counts). Also, if he is so much perturbed by the situation & feels he should do something then do it for free na! Why take 3 crores/episode? And if you are taking then STOP being so pretentious!

Even as a host, Aamir Khan is a massive disappointment. The whole grim and stiff-necked look on his face looks forced. Though he is one of the few good ‘actors’ which our country has produced; he sucks on the show. Where is the spontaneity which Mr. Bachchan, Shahrukh & Salman brought on their shows?  For example; the first scene where Aamir is standing & doing the talking but later goes on to sit on the stairs. In this 10 second scene only one can feel that he istryingtoo hard.  And not to forget the scene where wipes off his tears which never really came out. Why Aamir, Why? Don’t we have Rakhi Sawant for nautanki?  And what made me feel more angry was the way Aamir interacted with the 3 ladies on the show who told their stories. Aamir like a heartless and coaxing news reporter kept asking “Aapko Kaisa Laga”? “Phir Aapne Kya Kiya”? Fuck You Aamir!

Moving on, audience plays an important part in our reality shows and adds the needed masala into the show. Here, like the superficial host of the show, the audience is also superfluous. You have an intellectual looking Aunty ji with hair half dyed & spectacles hanging around her neck, a sophisticated urban woman who wipes off her tears with a slight flip in her hair, an uncle ji who looks fits the bill of a dadaji & some teenage girl & boys to balance the whole thing. This is the perfect mix to connect with the aam junta as it caters to people from all walks of life. Actually, it was quite like the one’s sitting in Zee TV’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Show! It was so bloody irritating to see the made up reaction from the audience in the form of Hawwwwws”, “Ohhhhhhs . And going by the response online (twitter) and after talking to my Mom I can say that the attempt was quite successful. This is exactly what gets you TRP’s and keeps the producers happy!

As the show reaches end, Aamir Khan uses AIRTEL’S 3G technology to connect to a village in Harayana and also promises to write to the Chief Minister of a state if we send an SMS to a number as the proceeds through these messages go to charity and Aamir Khan’s friend Mukesh Ambani’s RELIANCE Foundation will also contribute.  So we all can now feel good about having done our bit for the girl child this week, homosexuality the next week, dowry the week after… Who says push-button activism can’t work! But SMS? Are you fucking kidding me Aamir?  

It is a proper commercial show on a proper commercial channel backed by corporate sponsors and anchored by a celebrity. Can this show take up causes that will conflict against its corporate interest? Coca Cola, the company that Aamir Khan endorses is accused of spoiling waters resources in Kerala & Rajastan, Will Aamir dare to take up such issues?

Eventually, Aamir called lyricist Swanand Kirkire & music director Ram Sampat to perform a (lovely) song ‘O Re Chiriya’. I am told that every episode will have one song. And I can guarantee that towards the end of the show Audio CD’s of all the songs will be out in the market under some music company’s label & we would be promised that the amount will go to charity!

Sorry Aamir, but your new show is a colossal disappointment. It is like your perfectly imperfect film Ghajini. You talk about change. It took Mr. Bachchan several years of campaigning to help in eradicating Polio from India and here you expect to bring a change by talking about issues every Sunday! Next Sunday you will talk about some other issue, week after some other issue & after 10 weeks with 30 crores in your bank you will go!

You can’t even be credited for coming up with something “new” on Indian television because the Indian audience is not alien to such type of shows. IBN 7 has a show Zindagi Live which is very similar in format, which again is emotional, emotive, passionate, real issues with the real people and real protagonists in the studio, it’s a talk show but there of course the difference is Aamir Khan! Those who have already given a ‘Godly’ status to Aamir, a word of appreciation for IBN7 Journalist Richa Anirudh also who is hosting the show since 2007 & bringing up different issues in mainstream media. Meetu Khurana, who was one of the guests on Aamir’s show was on Richa’s show in 2010. I am sure nobody gave a flying fuck then because you need an Aamir Khan to realize what is wrong around you!  

I wish all those issues that he’ll take will hit the society as hard as we think it will and will not remain a tea-table talk and will not remain a one time emotional outburst!

Top 20 MOMENTS of 2011

1. Didi phenomenon – Mamata Banerjee painted Bengal green as she unseated the longest-serving (34 years)  elected Communist government on the planet & gave a major blow to mainstream communism in India. Didi called this HISTORIC win as the victory of ‘Maa, Maati & Maanush’ saying “I bow down my head to my people”.

2. Kolaveri Di – Dhanush made the entire nation sing along as he came up with this ‘Tanglish’ peepy number. It narrowed the gap between North & South India as even the Punjabis crooned ‘Why this Kolaveri Di’. And with over 20 million hits so far on You Tube it created history when it comes to Indian music. No wonders, CNN calls it song of the year.

3. Team Anna – Hate him or love him but this 74 year old man brought the government on it’s knees. And after 48 years the Lokpal Bill saw light of the day. And when was the last time you saw the parliament & MP’s work till midnight? Anna Hazare changed the whole Indian politics in 2011.

4. World Champions – Cricket is religion in India and along with Bollywood it ‘unites’ India. And 2011 was indeed historic for all the fans. India regained the coveted Cricket World Cup after 28 years as they crushed Sri Lanka with a six-wicket win. The World Cup title triumph made even a non-cricket fan like me cry!

5. Flash Mobs – It won’t be wrong if we declare 2011 as the ‘Year of Flash Mobs’. It all started with Mumbai when 200 dancers broke into a ‘seemingly’ impromptu dance performance at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station.  It became a rage as videos and pictures went viral on Facebook, You Tube and Twitter. Many other cities (Delhi, Chennai, Kochi, Hyderabad) tried hopelessly to copy the trend and only Kolkata came up with not only a decent but even better flash mob video than Mumbai.

 

 

6. We the Indifferent –  24-year-old Keenan Santos and his 29-year-old friend Reuben Fernandez were stabbed to death as they tried to stand up against eve teasers. None of the onlookers dared to stepped forward and watched the duo die quietly. It was a blot on the society of which we all are a part of!

7.  Mumbai Blasts – The ghost of serial blasts came back to haunt Mumbai terror struck it yet again in 2011. 27 were killed and over 131 injured after explosions rocked Mumbai on July 13 within minutes of each other. And thankfully, nobody talked about the “spirit” of Mumbaikars.

8. Osama Killed – The most-wanted terrorist on the planet was hunted down and killed. Osama bin Laden’s death translated into probably the biggest breaking news of 2011 and what made it even bigger was the dramatic manner in which Operation Osama was carried out. Also, this I believe is the ONLY thing which Obama can boast off. Otherwise, I doubt if he has done anything worth remembering in his tenure till now.

9. Indian Grand Prix – So what, if Aunty ji’s were busy making sweaters sitting in the stands. So what, if critics argued about the ‘need’ for F1 race as many Indians sleep hungry. Keeping all the cynicism aside, India rose meteorically in the international sports arena as Formula One carnival made a pit-stop at Greater Noida.

10. Slap Gate – If hurling shoes at politicans was the fashion in 2010; 2011 saw a new fad of slapping ministers. Harvinder Singh slapped Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture in public. Many people cheered & supported him but it’s time we introspect that why we, as a society are becoming intolerant. And even more pathetic was when Sharad Pawar’s party members created ruckus by burning buses & attacking Sikh shopkeepers.

 

 

11. Ghoonghat Act – Kiran Bedi took everyone by surprise when she hid her face behind a “ghoonghat” in mockery of politicians hiding behind masks at the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi. Though she saw scathing criticism from all sides but if you ask ME; I loved her act. It was very entertaining 😀

12. Jet Shoes – This was probably the most bizarre news of 2011 when a US cable leaked that ‘Behen’ Mayawati sent an empty private jet to get a pair of her favorite sandals from Mumbai. Critics accuse her of self-glorification. She accuses them of conspiring as she is a ‘Dalit’ . Of course to believe or not to believe is up to us!

13. Beti B – No big deal and I never really wanted to include it in my list but then I am NOT India and India very much gave a fuck about Aishwaraya’s pregnancy. Yet to be named ‘Beti B’ remains probably the only child whose arrival was awaited with baited breaths.

14. Google Plus – Google planned to take on Facebook and Twitter by launching it’s new social networking site Google +. And even though it saw a large number of people making accounts on the site; overall it was a colossal disappointment and failure.

15. Ra.One – If it comes to films then India will always remember Ra.one as  the costliest & most promoted film ever and probably the shittiest film of the year. Oh wait! That slot is reserved for Salman Khan. Shah Rukh Khan took marketing to a new level with this & also tried to do something ‘new’ on Indian celluloid.

 

 

16. Democracy Raped – As much as I disagree with Baba Ramdev & his antics but government’s midnight crackdown on Ramdev and his camp was one of the saddest days of Indian Democracy and it even saw a woman ‘Rajbala’ die because of the same. Next was Anna, Kiran Bedi & Kejriwal’s arrest and them being sent to Tihar. Right to protest; freedom of expression raped by government. Last but not the least, the ‘Fleedom’ in Rajya Sabha where government avoided voting on Lokpal Bill as it was set to lose. UPA clearly had a bad year.

17. Year of Tihar –  2011 saw many corrupt leaders getting arrested and all thanks to the opposition, media & Supreme Court. Kanimozhi, A. Raja, Suresh Kalmadi, Yeddyurappa, Amar Singh and MANY more were the guests at Tihar jail.

18. Jasmine Revolution –  Deriving its name from the country’s national flower, the revolution in Tunisia, began with protests over rising food prices and finally culminated in the end of the dictatorial regime of President Zine El Abidine Ali. The revolution spread to other parts of Middle East also like Egypt and Libya and is still fighting for democracy. Questions can be raised on their “secular” nature but cynicism can be kept aside for once. No?

19. Year of Goodbyes – 2011 will always be remembered as the year that took away many legends. Whether it was music ( Amy Winehouse, Bhimsen Joshi, Jagjit Singh, Bhipen Hazarika, Sultan Khan), arts ( M.F. Hussain, Mario Miranda), cinema (Dev Ananad, Shammi Kapoor), cricket (Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi), Steve Jobs and many more. RIP!

20. Year I met Shabana Azmi – Last but not the least, I will remember 2011 as the year when I met the best actor in the country; someone whose films I breathe. And what made it even more special was the fact that all this happened through twitter. So all the time I wasted tweeting was worth it! 😀

 

P.S. – The ‘moments’ are NOT ranked. So there is NO Number 1 or Number 2. Just 20 moments from 2011! And on that note Happy 2012 !! 🙂