Indian Politics:Rise Of Money Power

2Elections for the 15th Lok Sabha are over and dust has been finally settled. All kind of studies and every possible analysis is out. While going through those statistics, I stumbled upon a very bizarre and startling fact. I am astonished at the rise of millionaires and even billionaires in every political party of India. Not only Indian Nation Congress and BJP, but Samajvadi Party 0f Mulayam Singh Yadav and even BSP of Mayawati have many millionaires and billionaires. In a country where almost 77 per cent of the population of India earn an income of Rs. 20 per day and over 300 millions are living below the poverty line, how come, nearly half the Rajya Sabha members and nearly one third of Lok Sabha members are crorepatis?  Gone are the days of Freedom Struggle, when politics was a medium of social service and virtually all the leaders lived  very simple life.                                               


I admit that there are many industrialists and many ex Maharajas and scion of royal families also, in both the houses of Parliament  and because of their background they have to be rich. But what about normal and common politicians? Some of the millionaire M.P,s do not have even PAN card. So how come they have amassed so much wealth?                                                                                                              

Statistics about our MLAs and various Chief Ministers are also startling. Out of 30 Chief Ministers, 21 are crorepatis. Among all the Congress Chief Ministers only Tarun Gogoi of Assam is not a crorepati. Among all the BJP Chief Ministers only Narendra Modi of Gujrat is not in the millionaire club. Communists are the only exception. All the 3 CPM Chief Ministers: Buddhadeb Bhattacharya of West Bengal, V. S. Achuthanandan of Kerala and Manik Sarkar of Tripura are not in this exclusive club. Other famous exceptions are Nitish Kumar of Bihar, Okram Ibobi Singh of Manipur and N. Rangaswami of Puduchcherry. You must be wondering about Uttar Pradesh, one of the poorest state of India. Mayawati, the  Chief Minister of this poor state is the richest Chief Minister of India. Her total assets are more than 50 crores. Champion of Dravid politics M. Karunanidhi, who is always vocal about his allegiance to E.V.Ramaswami Naikar Periyar, is worth 43.8 crores. Are you not stunned?


Let us have a look at the various State Assemblies :

ANDHRA PRADESH            –      71 Crorepatis out of 294 MLAS

ARUNACHAL PRADESH    –     15 Crorepatis out of  60 MLAS

ASSAM                                       –     11 Crorepatis out of 126 MLAS

BIHAR                                        –      6 Crorepatis out of 243 MLAS

CHHATTISGARH                   –      22 Crorepatis out of  90 MLAS

 DELHI                                       –       42 Crorepatis out of  70 MLAS

GOA                                             –       17 Crorepatis out of  40 MLAS

GUJRAT                                      –      46 Crorepatis out of 182 MLAS          

HARYANA                                  –      33 Crorepatis out of   90 MLAS

HIMACHAL PRADESH          –      17 Crorepatis out of   68 MLAS

JAMMU & KASHMIR              –       24 Crorepatis out of   87      

 MLASJHARKHAND               –        3 Crorepatis out of    81 MLAS

KARNATAKA                             –    116 Crorepatis out of 224 MLAS                

KERALA                                       –       5 Crorepatis out of 140 MLAS

MADHYA PRADESH               –    80 Crorepatis out of 230 MLAS

MAHARASHTRA                       –   74 Crorepatis out of 288 MLAS

MANIPUR                                    –     0 Crorepatis out of    60 MLAS          

MEGHALAYA                              –     14 Crorepatis out of   60 MLAS

MIZORAM                                    –     12 Crorepatis out of   40 MLAS

NAGALAND                                 –       5 Crorepatis out of    60 MLAS

ORISSA                                           –     29 Crorepatis out of 147 MLAS

PUDUCHERRY                            –       9 Crorepatis out of    30 MLAS

PUNJAB                                        –     69 Crorepatis out of  117 MLAS

RAJASTHAN                              –     76 Crorepatis out of 200 MLAS

SIKKIM                                          –        8 Crorepatis out of    32 MLAS

TAMIL NADU                              –     31 Crorepatis out of   234 MLAS

TRIPURA                                       –       3 Crorepatis out of     60 MLAS

UTTAR PRADESH                      –   113 Crorepatis out of  404  MLAS

UTTARAKHAND                        –      10 Crorepatis out of   70  MLAS

WEST BENGAL                             –         6 Crorepatis out of 294 MLAS 


Wow!! Are we really so rich or there is something fishy. The malaise seems to be deadly, otherwise how would you justify 113 Crorepatis in the Uttar Pradesh assembly? How  it’s Chief Minister could be the richest in india, while one third of the state’s population lives below the poverty line?

[The statistics,I have quoted, is taken from  February 23rd edition of INDIA IODAY]



Adieu Michael Jackson

img_8024I was sitting in the office of my acting institute, Kreating Charakters in Mumbai today, when I was informed about this sad news. Michael Jackson’s death evoked so many memories. It was in 1996, when I heard the news that he would be visiting India and would be performing in the Andheri Sports Complex. I desperately wanted to buy ticket and attend the concert, but the steep rates were prohibitive. I came to Mumbai in October 1989 and even after 7 years, my struggle was far from over. At that time pre-production work of Prem Aggan was going on in full swing and I was asked by Late Feroze Khan to train  Fardeen Khan.  One day I was talking to him about the concert and he noticed my disappointment. He asked me, if I really wanted to attend the concert. I answered in affirmative but added that I wont be able to go as I don’t have money. Fardeen was very kind and gracious enough to buy me a ticket, and I could attend the concert. I stood for an hour in queue and finally I entered the venue. It was packed and bursting at the seams. I was waiting with bated breath and finally THE KING OF POP appeared on stage and what an entry it was! For the whole evening I remained spellbound and the memory still lingers on and refuses to fade away.          

Years later I attended another concert. The city was Bengaluru and the performer was Elton John. But Michael Jackson’s concert is still fresh in my memory and it will always remain so.                                                                                                                      

And today after 13 years, when I heard about his death, a pall of gloom descended on me. His songs shall always be there. His memory shall always be fresh in my mind but physically he ceases to exist. His endearing persona will never come to enthrall us and I have lost him for ever.                                                                                    


Adieu Michael Jackson, farewell the king of pop, there shall never be any one like you.                                                                                                                                                      


George Bush, Nuclear Deal & Barack Obama: Indo-US Ties Down The Years

2United States Of America is too important country to be ignored. But India’s relationship with her was never a smooth affair. It is strange that world’s two great democracies were at loggerheads most of the time. The thaw came during the tenure of GEORGE BUSH and as our Prime Minister aptly described, he is loved by Indians. He should be, because he really pushed hard for Indo-US nuclear treaty and India’s pariah status ended after signing it. After GEORGE BUSH, now BARACK OBAMA heads the government. What is in store for us during the tenure of the incumbent president? May be for younger generation everything between these two nations was always hunky dory. But it is not true. Indo-US relationship always suffered during the rule of the Democrats. And the present incumbent is a democrat.

It all started during the tenure of HARRY S TRUMAN. He was a Democrat and during his tenure JAWAHAR LAL NEHRU was our Prime Minister. NEHRU visited US in 1949 and tried his best to forge relationship, but failed.

A general prevailing perception is about JOHN F KENNEDY. Indians think that he was a friend of India, but he was not. During his tenure, again NEHRU was our Prime Minister. He tried hard to get KENNEDY’S support during 1962 Indo-China war, but US support was illusive. It is futile to say that JOHN F KENNEDY was a democrat.

JIMMY CARTER visited India during the tenure of MORARJI DESAI,Who tried hard to convince CARTER to supply fuel for Tarapur atomic plant. CARTER refused the supply. It is needless to add that he too was a democrat.

Then came BILL CLINTON. Despite his sweet words and enchanting persona, he imposed sanctions on India after atomic tests. Our Prime Minister ATAL BIHARI VAJPAI failed to convince him to lift sanctions. Needless to say, CLINTON was also a Democrat.

GEORGE BUSH is truly the only exception. He risked his reputation and steadfastly batted for INDIA and saw to it that the deal is sealed and signed before end of his term. And he was a Republican. Now another Democrat, BARACK OBAMA is at the helm. He is sagacious, eloquent and charming, but still he is a Democrat. And I am not sure, what is in store for our country. Some sound bytes emanating from WASHINGTON are ominous.


Parliamentary Elections 2009:No Congress Wave

2In today’s “ Hindustan Times ” I read an interesting article written by G,V.L. Narasimha Rao. It explodes the myth about the so called wave in favour of the Congress in the election for 15th Lok Sabha. Unwittingly, a perception was being created by the media: electronic and print both, that the vote share of Congress had gone up. It did go up, from 26.5 in 2004 to 28.6 in 2009. An upswing of 2.1 per cent. Wow !!! What a phenomenal growth??? It is pertinent to remember that Congress got almost equal, 26.3 per cent vote share, in 1999 also, but it got only 114 seats as compared to 206 this time. So it’s vote share has got nothing to do with it’s seat tally.

Congress improved it’s vote share in – Punjab, Kerala, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. But it’s vote share went down in – Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Jammu & Kashmir and himachal Pradesh. It gained in 7 states and lost in 6 states. And in 6 states, where it’s vote share went down, the loss was 6 per cent.

Second myth was about the way Congress made itself accepted to the urban middle class. Actually in metropolitan cities, vote share of Congress was 30.7 per cent in 2004, while in 2009 it was 30.4 per cent, loss of .3 per cent. So I don’t think that urban middle class and new generation finds the Congress more attractive. In Mumbai the success of Congress is due to the new sena, Maharashtra Navanirman Sena, and not because of it’s being attractive to the urban middle class or the youngsters.

So everything is not lost for the BJP. Election results of the 15th Lok Sabha is a setback for the BJP and not the rout, as it is being made.


Sri Lanka And Tamil Eelam After Velupillai Prabhakaran

2Sri Lankan government and LTTE, both have concurred now that Velupillai Prabhakaran is dead. Sinhala chauvinists are jubilant and Sri Lankan government is more than satisfied. Tamils of  this island nation are demoralized. Elections of 15th Lok Sabha are over and a new government is in place in New Delhi. So politicians of Tamil Nadu are silent.

No one is grieving in India or in world over the demise of Velupillai Prabhakaran. He had a gory past and died in a equally gory way. I will be the last person to question Sri Lankan  government’s action. Any government worth it’s salt would do the same. Even in India, we reclaimed Lalgarh in West Bengal after fierce fight. Fighting for the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka is the constitutional duty of the government of the day. But using hapless Tamil people as human shield is deplorable. Independent U.N.O. observers made this public and now world has visual images of the battle. No sensible person in the world ever supported LTTE. But no one will ever support Tamils being used as human shields. Only God or Sri Lankan government can tell how many civilians have been butchered in the battle for Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. On January 2, Kilinochchi, the political and administrative capital of LTTE was captured by Sri Lankan troops and after that battle for Mullaitivu started. To capture this base, which army lost to Tigers in 1996, army used civilians as human shields. LTTE is vanquished and the government of the day came victorious, but what about the innocent lives. 2,50,000 people hadbeen displaced from their homes and were caught between the military and the LTTE. The International committee of the Red Cross described it as a major humanitarian crisis and UN chief Ban Ki Moon said that he was deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of civilians. Red Cross, in their report admitted, that medical facilities  in the northern region are overwhelmed by hundreds of dead and scores of wounded. But Sri Lankan government was claiming that there had been zero civilian casualties. Now whom should I believe? Red Cross, Ban Ki Moon or the Government of Sri Lanka?

Let us give benefit of doubt to Sri Lankan government. Then the  pertinent question arises, what now? What about the rights of Tamil people? What about the devolution package? What about the 13th amendment to the Constitution, which stipulates the Establishment of provincial councils as per the provisions of the Indo-Sri Lanka accord of 1987. No one knows, what will happen to all these promises? Sinhal  chauvinism will raise it’s ugly head soon. Victory begets hubris and superiority complex. But it doesn’t mean that vanquished will always remain like that. If  president Mahinda Rajapakse shows magnanimity in victory, it will be good for the future of  Sri Lanka, but any show of hubris will ignite the cause of Eelam again. Sinhal chauvinists should know that victory is not perennial.


Internecine War In BJP

2I am anguished and pained to read about the BJP in the newspaper. Elections are part of the game. And there could be only one winner in it. It is sad that BJP lost the elections and it is destined to sit in the opposition in the 15th Lok Sabha. But that does not mean that the loss should obfuscate the vision.

More than loss of vision, it is the attitude of some so called big leaders, which is troubling me. What is the problem of Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha. From Rajasthan Jaswant Singh has to go to Darjiling and he won the seat but with the total support of the protagonists of Gorkhaland movement. As for Yashwant Sinha, this great leader lost his own seat last time. This time he won and that is the cause of his hubris.

They have lots of complaints and their grievances are not ending. They are finding faults the way campaign of the party was handled. They are not happy with the chief strategist of the party and they have gumption to question the authority of Advani ji also. Like a reckless cannon, these two so called greats of BJP, Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha are firing aimlessly and in reckless manner. They should know their place under the sun and if they refuse to budge, they should be shown their place. These Lilputians should not be allowed to malign a leader like Advani ji. Advani ji is too great to stoop to their level. One defeat is not going to take away any sheen from Advani ji and an aging tiger like him should not be left alone to be teased by these two Liliputians.


Vidur’s Film Diary – MAY 2009

2Results of 15th Lok Sabha are out and Congress led UPA has won a decisive victory. Am I happy? No! Then, am I a BJP led NDA supporter? Doesn’t matter. So what are my political affiliations? Being an ordinary member of the film fraternity, which ever party or group I belong to, my first affiliations are with the industry I belong to. And I have no hesitation in saying that every central government has treated this industry with apathy.

Be it piracy, be it taxation or be it recent stalemate between producers and multiplex owners, government of the day turns to other side and behaves as if every thing is hunky-dory. This is step-motherly treatment. Or perhaps this is sheer negligence, because to give step-motherly treatment you have to be a mother at least. This industry is treated like an orphan, not cared, not wanted. And this despite the fact that central government earns millions in taxes from the industry.

What is the solution? Every sector of India is united and they extract their pound of flesh, sometimes more than their legitimate share, from the government of the day. So, as an industry, we have to speak in one voice. Only then our voice will be heard. Otherwise be it UPA or be it NDA, we will get same orphan like treatment. Mr. Advani or Dr. Manmohan Singh, both are gigantic figures and truly a colossus but unless and until we speak forcefully and in one voice, their apathy would be same. 

Last month was cruel for the industry. First we lost Shakti Samanta and then inimitable Feroz Khan. I have trained Shakti da’s grandson Aditya Samanta for acting, but apart from this there were no personal acquaintances with Shakti da. People know him through his films like Howra Bridge, An Evening In Paris, Aradhana, Kati Patang and several others.

During Prem Aggan days I trained Ferdeen also. While training him I came to know Mr. Feroz Khan. After his sad demise so many pages have been written about his life style, about his film making and his larger than life persona. Few worth mentioning things were missing from every article written about him. I was invited for the launch party of Prem Aggan. I was not expecting it, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a Hindu Pandit and a Moulavi performing rituals in tandem. Being a Muslim he would have done it in muslim way. But being a true Indian, he got a Pandit and a Moulavi to do the rituals. When he went to Pakistan, he sang paeans about India and famously said that conditions of muslims in India is much better. I had pleasure to be in F.K. House for lunch or dinner several times. In Fardeen’s room an idol of Bhagwan Shiv is prominently placed. Do I need to say any thing else about Mr. Feroz Khan’s secular credentials?   

The stalemate between producers and multiplex-owners continues. Every party is waiting for the other to blink first. Both parties are holding on because of the IPL matches and the month long parliamentary elections. Elections are over now and very soon IPL will also have it’s closing ceremony. After this lean period, one expects a boom of big releases but because of the petty egos of the leaders of both sides, the end is no where in site. The game of Chess continues, with no clear winners in sight. Government, which earns millions from the industry, is sitting like mythical Dhritarashtra and watching helplessly and obliviously the bizarre drama being played in front of it.

Copyright issue is raising it’s head and very soon it is going to be an epidemic. We have to find a solution for this. The curious case of B.R.Films and the legal notice, it was served by a Hollywood studio, is a pertinent example. The globalization and opening of market are opening new vistas and the world is coming closure. Gone are the days when bindas bandas of Bollywood can lift a theme from a foreign film and dish it out in front of the desi audience as their own and original creations.

The Corporate bubble burst is complete. You can call their offices and the chances are that either no one will pick up the phone or if a receptionist picks it up, she will listen to you and will connect you to the concerned department. And there, no one is going to pick it up ever to answer your queries. This decline and fall of the Corporate was imminent because of their ways and the methods they followed. Sanctioning exorbitant budgets, signing artistes at any cost and pumping millions in any kind of films were their follies and now they are paying for it.

In the decline of the Corporate, lies the rise of the independent producers. Once they dominated the industry and virtually ruled it. But after the advent of the money-bags, they faded into oblivion. It’s the time for them to rise like phoenix.

It’s the time for the single-screen theaters too to re-invent themselves. Since the advent of multiplexes, they were facing rough weathers. It’s a blessing in disguise for them also.

For Marathi films too, it was a significant opportunity. Because of the paucity of Hindi films, Marathi films were decently released in the multiplexes, found audience and raked in the much needed money.

One significant film, which was released during this period and bombed significantly, is                  “ Dasavataram ”. Kamal Hassan is undoubtedly one of our most talented and multidimensional actors. But in his latest film, he stretches himself too far. Film is a narration of a story. This film has no story worth mentioning. As for acting is concerned, actor’s job is portrayal of a well- defined character. Here Kamal Haasan tries to manipulate so many characters at one go and instead of portraying them convincingly, he fails convincingly. So much waste of energy and squander of precious money. Better luck next time Mr. Hassan. You are too talented to be ignored. 

Towards the end, I, a very insignificant person, appeal to the new government to look into the matters of this great industry. It is beset with many problems. Dr. Manmohan Singh is a great reformer. As a Finance Minister of India, under tutelage of the then Prime Minister P. V. Narsimha Rao, he resurrected India’s moribund economic condition. He can do wonders, if he wishes. As an eminent economist, he cannot be oblivious of the conditions and needs of film industry. It needs his heeling touch to resurrect it, the way he once resurrected this country’s economy. I do hope and pray that he turns his attention on the industry.

These are the random thoughts for this column. Next time, there will be another issues and another set of problems. I finish this one with lots of hope and wishing the new government best of luck and longevity.


Red (Communist) Menace In India

2I am sorry , I am writing this blog after a long hiatus. I was away for my annual vacation to U.P. As usual, when I am in U.P.  , I am always full of past memories and a sense of nostalgia grips me. But about that , later.

A very disturbing news about West Bengal catches hold of my attention this morning. Maoist have liberated Lalgarh in West Midnapore. The area has been liberated and it is second liberated zone in India after Dantewada in Chhatisgarh. C.P.M. government of West Bengal is unable to do anything. They think, if they intervene , it could be another Nandigram.

Trinamool Congress and Indian National Congress are playing their own dirty game and West Bengal is burning. This is U.P.A.’s first gift to nation after elections. U.P.A. is not worried about the constitution, about the nation, or about the future of this great country, they are only worried about their government, about one upmanship and about their image.

N.D.A. is vanquished.  B.J.P. is routed and there is no visible challenge to the Congress. So they are playing their dirty game and the nation is paying a very heavy price for voting them to power.

God save my country from Congress and Communists.



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