One Year Of Blogging

Today is March 30, 2010 and I am posting my 96th blog. One year back on March 29, 2009 and almost around this time in the night, I started my blog space :

I must admit that it was a hesitant start. I had lots of doubts about myself and about the new medium, I was venturing into.  Then I was computer illiterate and definitely not a net savvy person. I was initiated into it and wrote my first blog for Kreating Charakters website – “ Putting Pen To Paper ”. It was few days before March 29. But that was it. I never pursued it further. But on March 2009, suddenly I felt an urge to write and I wrote and posted a new blog on my above mentioned blog space. Gradually I started writing and posting blogs regularly and religiously.

As I started writing regularly, I found to my amazement that I have so many topics to write on and then I divided my blogs in 09 Categories. They are :

1 – 1…………………………………………………………..02 ===Postings
2 – Films…………………………………………………….36 =====”
3 – Memoirs………………………………………………..09 =====”
4 – Miscellaneous…………………………………………05 =====”
5 – Neighbours-China……………………………………03 =====”
6 – Neighbours-Nepal……………………………………04 =====”
7 – Neighbours-Sri Lanka………………………………03 =====”
8 – Politics…………………………………………………36 =====”
9 – Social Issues………………………………………….04 =====”

Till date, in all the categories, I have posted 95 blogs. This is my 96th blog. It means I wrote and posted 08 blogs per month or 02 blogs per week.

In the first month ( March 2009 ), I got only 09 hits. Scenario completely changed after a year in March 2010. In this month, till today I have got 523 hits. From 09 hits a month to 523 hits a month ! What a sea change, what a journey ! In total I have 2809 hits. The average comes to 08 hits per day. But there were some special days also, when I got too many hits. On November 19, 2009 there were 60 hits. On March 19, 2010 there were 42 , on March 24 there were 40 and on March 27, two days before anniversary there were 61 hits on my blog. On March 28, a day earlier the anniversary, I had 44 hits. Not very discouraging figures. But there is scope to improve. It has to improve.

In the year I had some unexpected VIP visitors too. People from L. K. Advani’s office, Narendra Modi’s office and Telugu Superstar Nagarjuna’s office visited my blog space. Eminent film directors like Shekhar Kapur and Mahesh Bhatt too found time to visit it. My student Vivek Oberoi visited it and so many others students also hit it regularly. Yesterday I had Taslima Nasreen as a visitor. I am happy she visited my blog on the 1st anniversary. It’s like icing on the cake.

It has been a successful endeavour. I hope this fascinating obsession will continue unabated in the coming year too. Amen !!

I celebrated the anniversary with my family at a quiet dinner at a new eatery KHAU GALLI in Andheri , Mumbai.


A Drop Of Tear For Taslima Nasreen Too !

Yesterday I read a tweet on my twitter account by Taslima Nasreen, whom I follow. She wrote , “  If India turns its back on me, I have nowhere to go. No country or home to return to.” You can easily fathom the pain and melancholic state of her mind. A lonely woman, driven out of her own country by her own people and fanatic, dogmatic and fundamentalist clergy, took shelter in India. Here again she is hounded by religious orthodoxy, though our constitution proclaims that we are a secular nation. She made Kolkata her home, but fundamentalist elements attacked her and forced her to leave Kolkata. Congress government at centre, instead of giving her protection, advised her to leave the city and settle elsewhere. Even her Visa is not permanent. It is periodically renewed. You can understand Taslima Nasreens mental pressure and agony. She was physically assaulted in a programme in Bengaluru. Congress government, which is so eager to see Narendra Mody behind bars, maintained its stoic silence in this case.

Media, the torch bearer of democracy, the vanguard of freedom of expression and the protector and votary of secularism, remained passive onlooker. For the record they made some noises, but more or less it was a half-hearted and lackadaisical effort. Leaders of Media, who are so vehement and vociferous for the justice of Muslims of Gujarat, keep a mysterious silence in case of Taslima Nasreen. They are baying and crying for Narendra Modis blood, but attackers and tormentors of this lonely, hapless lady are roaming around without fear of retribution. Media maintains a Dhritarashtra-like attitude. Why two different yardsticks are used and followed for M. F. Husain and Taslima Nasreen ? As per media’s perception, M. F. Husain has all the rights against Hindu fundamentalism, but Taslima Nasreen has none against Muslim fundamentalism. Why this differential treatment ? Will I ever get an answer ?

Whenever I think about Taslima Nasreen, I cry. Away from her home and hearth for no fault of hers, away from the city of her liking and choice, she is hounded persistently and continuously with vehemence and vengeance and the all-powerful government of India, the secular Indian National Congress and the righteous, megalomaniac media maintain their stoic silence. Why M. F. Husain has all the sympathy and Taslima Nasreen has none ? Why Narendra Modi should face the trial and attackers of Taslima Nasreen should not ? Sometimes I feel that Hindu organisations like RSS and VHP are right . It is not secularism, it is simply appeasement of a religious minority.

I never had any faith in Congress. I have lost faith in media as for as this case is concerned. Can thinking and conscientious people of India and true secular intellectuals of our nation will ever shed even a drop of tear for Taslima Nasreen ? I do and shall keep on doing this unless she is given protection, her tormentors are put behind bars and she is given permanent visa and eventually the citizenship of India.


50 Years Of FTII, Pune : No Paean , No Requiem

The Film & Television Institute of India , Pune completes 50th year recently. It was established in 1960 in the erstwhile Prabhat Studio. Legendary V. Shantaram made some of his earlier films there. They have become part of our heritage. “ Duniya Na Mane ”, “ Padosi ” and “ Adami ” were those immortal films, which were made here.

Since its inception, FTII served its purpose fabulously. Artistes like : Asrani, Amrish Puri, Danny Denzongpa, Jaya Bachchan Mukesh Khanna, Mithun Chakraborty, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Paintal, Rakesh Bedi, Rehana Sultan, Raza Murad, Satish Kaushik, Shatrughan Sinha, Shabana Azmi, Tom Alter and Vijay Arora are its alumni.

Directors like : Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mani Kaul, Shaji N Karun, Girish Kasarvalli, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Mahesh Bhatt, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Shyam Benegal, Shekhar Kapur, David Dhavan, Sriram Raghavan, Santosh Sivan, Rajkumar Hirani, Prakash Jha, Kundan Shah and Govind Nihalani are the past students of this illustrious institute.

Many technicians like Resul Pookutti are also ex students of this premier institute. The list is endless. It was first of its kind in Asia and was one of the best in the world. It fell to bad days after Roshan Taneja took leave. He left FTII and started his own institute in Mumbai and thus a very glorious chapter was ended. Acting classes were discontinued there.

Acting classes were again resumed 2/3 years back with Mr. Paintal at the helm. Till date 2 ex students got work in films. One gentleman was introduced by Mr. Subhash Ghai in “ Black And White ”. All the critics described him as “ one expression wonder ”. He was panned by everyone and simply vanished from the scene. The other student did a blink and miss role in “ 3 Idiots ”. He is yet to start his journey. I fail to understand the present pathetic condition of this premier institution.

According to my view, the ad hock nature of management is responsible for this downward slide. Trainers are selected randomly and they behave as if they are autonomous entities. They don’t train the aspirants. They simply try to prove that they are superior than others. They run their part as per their whims and fancies. The orientation is lost and none of the students are cajoled or oriented towards a career in films. Devoid of any guidance, students simply drift and end their wafting journey in some bottomless pit. I am sorry for this decline. Ex FTII alumni will try to pan me for my views but at this golden jubilee year I don’t feel like singing paeans for this institute. May be I have to sing a requiem very soon, if the decline is not checked.


Amitabh Bachchan & Untouchables Of Congress

Amitabh Bachchan attended inaugural function of the 2nd carriageway of Bandra-Worli Sea Link as a special guest and tremors of a political earthquake were felt at the corridors of power in Mumbai ? I fail to understand the cacophony of the sycophants of Congress that ensued the innocuous incident. MPCC president Krupa Shankar Singh sought an explanation from the Chief Minister. Other Congress leaders joined the chorus. Rattled by the high voltage drama, the Chief Minister now says that he was unaware of the list of guests and had he knew about Mr. Bachchan’s presence, he might have skipped the function altogether. It is astonishing that a chief Minister is unaware of the guest list of a function, where he is going as a chief guest. But more than that, I fail to understand the hullabaloo. Is Mr. Bachchan, a persona-non-grata ? Is he a criminal ? Is he anti-national ? No , but sycophants started a vicious campaign .

Congress has long list of untouchables and a protracted history of untouchability. Subhash Chandra Bose was the first untouchable. He fought and won election of the president of Indian National Congress at Tripuri in 1939, against the wishes of Mahatma Gandhi and defeated his nominee Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayaa . Irked by the defeat of his protegé, Mahatma Gandhi declared that Pattabhi’s defeat is his own defeat. Sensing his mood, sycophants swung into action and all the members of the Congress Working Committee, nominated by Bose, resigned. Though earlier Neta ji was unanimously elected President of the Haripura Congress in 1938. But sycophants could not tolerate the fact that he opposed and fought against the wishes of Mahatma Gandhi and won the presidential election in Tripuri Congress in 1939 defeating Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayaa. Faced with this unprecedented non-cooperation, Neta ji resigned and formed The Forward Block. Slowly and very steadily his name was obliterated from the pantheon of the Congress.

Dr.  Bhimrao Ambedkar, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia and Purushottam Das Tandon were some other untouchables, who were shown the door by The Congress, when they dared to challenge the ruling oligarchy. Though not removed from the party but Sardar Patel and P. V. Narasimha Rao , were subjected to almost the same obliteration process. Their contribution was never recognised by the party they served.

The cardinal sin of the above mentioned leaders were that they were seen potential challengers of Gandhi- Nehru dynasty. Is this nation a fiefdom of Nehru- Gandhi family ? Are we perennially indebted to this one family ? Leaders like Rajiv Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi pale into insignificance, compared to Subhash Chandra Bose, Dr. Ambedkar and Sardar Patel. Yet the sycophants got them removed from the party or belittled their contribution in order to please their deity of Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

So the hullabaloo is understandable in this case. Amitabh Bachchan did the cardinal sin of leaving the ruling deity and trying to tread his own path. How could he dare to sever the link from the Nehru-Gandh family and still survive ? Sycophants were unable to tolerate this and are unwilling to forgive Mr. Bachchan. So they question his presence at a government function. They forget that there is a difference between government’s function and Congress Party’s function. They forget that we Indians are not perennially indebted to Nehru-Gandhi family and every one has right to live in this country and follow the path of his liking and choice, even if one doesn’t believe in the Nehru-Gandhi family.

But who cares ? Sycophants run supreme in the Congress and their dictate will prevail. A petrified Ashok Chavan excused himself from a literary function, where Mr. Bachchan would be going to be present. I fail to understand , what kind of democracy is this?

Can I hope to get an answer ?


Kanu Sanyal : Death Of A Man – Death Of A Revolution

Now this is blasphemy of another kind. From Narendra Modi to Kanu Sanyal; from a RSS full-timer to the Naxalite ideologue and one of the founders of Communist Party of India ( Marxist-Leninist ) – it’s a full circle. For some it may seem bizarre, for some it is hara-kiri of the worst kind, but this is me. Though I am not a follower of Communist or Naxalite ideology, but my ideological differences are not going to prevent me from paying respect and tribute to the departed soul, who was a leading luminary of the naxalite movement during my student days. Though he belonged to the other spectrum of the political firmament, I respect him for the tenacity of his views and the honesty and simplicity, which were his hallmarks.

Yesterday I read few postings on my Twitter account regarding death of Kanu Sanyal. I was shocked to know that he committed suicide. He was suffering from cancer, and was unable to bear the excruciating pain at the age of 82. So, he ended his life. When I went through the morning papers today and saw his photographs, a gentle breeze of memory caressed me and left me alone on the island of my thoughts and I was transported to the year 1969, my adolescent days in Allahabad. He was the hero of some of my friends, who used to lionize him. My friend and NCP’s national spokesperson D. P. Tripathi was one of them. Kanu da, along with Charu Mazumdar and Jungle Santhal, started India’s first radical Left movement at Naxalbari and spearheaded it from 1667 to 1973.

Let me dwell on the history of Naxalite movement. On May 25, 1967 farmers of Naxalbari attacked the landlord of the village. Many of them were killed in police firing. At that time Kanu Sanyal was the member of the Darjeeling district committee of the CPM. He severely criticised his communist government for firing and was summarily expelled by the party for supporting the movement. On April 22, 1969 he, along with Charu Mazumdar, formed Communist Party of India ( Marxist-Leninist ), an euphemism for Naxalite movement. According to some other members of CPI( M-L ) he and not Charu Mazumdar, was the man who started Naxalite movement in 1967 in Naxalbari, a small village in the northern part of West Bengal. He kept himself in the background and allowed Charu Mazumdar to hog the limelight. But eventually he expressed his doubt about some of the policies of Charu Mazumdar, like individual killing. In the later years he criticised Maoist guerrillas and their techniques of extortions.

The Naxalite movement faded slowly. Charu Mazumdar died in 1972 in police custody. Jungle Santhal was imprisoned and after his release after a decade, became alcoholic and died in 1981. Only surviving member of that ultra left movement was Kanu Sanyal. He was imprisoned for 7 years by the government of Andhra Pradesh. After his release, he slowly faded into oblivion and started living a retired life in Hathigada village in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district. His hut was made of mud with tin roof. He used to sleep on the mud floor. He had few plastic chairs and a cot for the guests. His party used to foot all the medical bills and paid for his day-to-day frugal expenses. He led a spartan life till the very end.

After his death the customary obituary columns started coming in daily papers. When I saw his one room hut, made of mud and having tin roof, in the morning papers, I was moved to tears. Photograph of an ageing and frail Kanu Sanyal sitting on a plastic chair in front of his humble dwelling in his native village traumatized me to no end. Here was a man, who once upon a time shook the ruling oligarchy of their deep slumbers, who had capacity to galvanised millions of people at any given time, was sitting all alone in his village looking helplessly in the void. Minister of state in MEA, Mr. Shashi Tharoor tweeted that ” his life was a failure , changed nothing ” . It means, he was a failed ideologue. Yes, he failed. Because at the time of his death he had no palatial bungalows, no heavenly farm houses, no swiss accounts and no investments in companies and no stakes in the IPL , definitely he failed. Compared to the Congress leaders, he did fail.

Farewell Kanu da !!

Though you lived a life full of pain, poverty and misery, though unable to bear pain you ended your life, but still you lived a life worth living. There won’t be any one like you because they don’t make anyone like you any more. I don’t believe in your ideology but I do believe that people like you are needed and you shall always be considered and recognised as a fragrant flower in the colourful garden of this holy land. Life was cruel, history will be no less cruel to you. Shashi Tharoor’s tweet is a grim reminder.


In Defence Of Narendra Modi

These days defending Narendra Modi is blasphemous. The title of this blog would seem offensive to some one and repulsive to others. Some would hate me till eternity for writing this blog and few would think that I am out of my senses. But I am not. I am not saying that communal riots are good or they are justified. No one can condone violence. In fact Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee himself said that Gujarat carnage is a blot on the face of our government. Shri Lal Krishna Advani also condemned the violence. But the fact of the matter is, that Gujarat riots are a reality and no one can deny that. But none in the BJP ever said anything in the favour of it or condoned it.

But vehemence of the media, which gave graphic details of the carnage at the time it was going on and still pursues it relentlessly, astonished me. They are refusing to let it die its natural death. I fail to understand why they are so hell-bent on keeping this festering wound open ? It’s a painful memory and a sad chapter in the history of our country and it is in the interest of this country that it should be allowed to die its natural death. I fail to understand media’s extra interest in the Gujarat riots.

If they say and feel that they are fighting for the justice, then why were they silent when the prime accuse of the genocide of the Sikhs, Mr. Sajjan Kumar simply vanished to avoid arrest and Delhi police was unable to locate him, though he has Z plus security. In spite of the grave nature of the incident, media coverage was almost negligible. Some feeble protests, some routine sound bytes here and there and that’s it. He resurfaced after few days but no one even asked him anything. All the culprits of the genocide of Sikhs are still roaming scot-free and with impunity. Another accuse of Sikh genocide Mr. Jagdish Tytler was appointed in charge of a crucial state like Bihar by the Congress president Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. Bihar goes to polls later this year. This incident I am mentioning to illustrate my point. Genocide of Sikhs happened in the national capital and Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister. He sheepishly and shamelessly defended this genocide by saying, “ ek bada ped girta hai to dharti hilti hai”. Media has forgotten it altogether and hails Rajiv as the harbinger of change.

Let me make it further clear. I am not saying that cases against Narendra Modi should be withdrawn. I am not saying that SIT should be disbanded. I am not saying that Narendra Modi is above the law of the land. But I am asking a simple question ; who has the power to persecute him ? Who will deliver justice, Honourable Supreme Court or the media ? In this case relentless media trial is creating a disturbing scenario. Media is declaring him guilty and desperately trying to prove him guilty without any kind of legal sanction. Media has no authority to pronounce judgement. In a clear case of one-upmanship, media is weakening their own case and they are giving strength to Narendra Modi, without intending the same. They had to eat crow, when they announced that Modi had been summoned by the SIT. The fact of the matter is that Modi was just served a notice, which in the eyes of law is not binding. Then media unilaterally declared that Modi has been asked to appear before the SIT on March 21. The fact of the matter is that Modi was not asked by SIT to appear on March 21. Moreover in their eagerness to nail Modi they forgot that March 21 is Sunday and the SIT office is closed and officers are out of the town. They had to eat crow because of their over-eagerness. They had egg on their faces because of unusual haste. They just want to hang Narendra Modi, before the judgement of the court. We have fairly competent judiciary. In this scenario Supreme Court is monitoring the cases. So why media is so desperate to pronounce the judgement ?

I am sorry ! In Narendra Modi’s case media is wrong. Narendra Modi had categorically said that I am a law-abiding citizen and I shall abide by the order of the court. If I am summoned, I will do what law requires me to do. And he is an elected Chief Minister of a state. He is not a fugitive. So let the court decide his fate. The judgement will be and should be pronounced in a court of law and not in the studios of the news channels. I am sad to see media personnel with eggs on their faces. They simply goofed up and now shamelessly trying to put blame somewhere else.

This is my defence of Modi. Media should refrain from pronouncing judgement and awarding sentence to an elected Chief Minister. Courts are competent and they are doing their duties. People of Gujarat have already given their judgement thrice. Now let courts decide.


Ode – 1 : To Dibakar Banerjee

I write open letters to my students, when they accomplish something exceptional in their respective fields. But what about people whom I don’t know. Writing an open letter to them would be unethical, preposterous and foolish. I decided last night that instead of a letter, I should write an Ode to them. It would be befitting to their stature and genius. My first ode is to Dibakar Banerjee, as his new film released this Friday.

Basically I love traditional cinema. I grew up on the films of Bimal Roy, Raj Kapoor, Mehboob Khan and Guru Dutt. Much later, I started liking films of Yash Chopra, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Manmohan Desai and Sooraj Barjatya. My knowledge and sense of cinema grew as I grew older. But still it was very traditional and conservative.

Post Yash Chopra Hindi Cinema boasts of names like Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Ashutosh Gowarikar and Rakesh Omprakash Mehra. I enjoyed their films; art and craft both. I thought that this is the zenith of Hindi films. But I was proven wrong by some avant-garde film makers, who cropped up in recent years. Their film making style is totally different and they shook my belief and foundation on which I had built my edifice. I was forced to acknowledge their genius and appreciate their work.

Anurag Kashyap, Anurag Basu, Raj Kumar Hirani, Shimit Amin, Shri Ram Raghvan, Madhur Bhandarkar and Dibakar Banerjee are some of the avant-garde film makers and brightest stars of the new,  brave Hindi Cinema. Since Dibakar Banerjee’s film LSD ( Love, Sex aur Dhokha ) got released last Friday, it is pertinent to write my first ode to him.

He is three films old – “ Khosla Ka Ghosla ”, “ Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye and “ Love , Sex Aur Dhokha ”. He belongs to Delhi and spent his formative years there. He worked as a copy-writer in an advertising agency and learnt film making from Pradip Sarkar. He is a tabla player and amateur painter also. He came and settled in Mumbai in 2003. His first film “ Khosla Ka Ghosla ”, which he made on a shoe-string budget in 2006, was a finest chronicle of modern Delhi society. After the release and success of the film he was held as a new Hrishikesh Mukherjee. But he chose to tread a new path and in 2008 made Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye ”. Both the films got National Awards.

His latest, Love , Sex Aur Dhokha is a completely different film. It has three different stories interwoven into one. This kind of film making started in Hollywood with “ Crash ” and later on fortified by “ Babel ”. In India also Anurag Basu made “ Life In A Metro ” following the same format. “ LSD ” follows the same pattern. But it differs in style. Hand held camera, dim and realistic lighting and realistic atmosphere makes it a different film. Shekhar Kapur , India’s only genuine export to Hollywood, says, “It is one of the most innovative films to come out of india “. Few years back, it would have been difficult to make or even conceive this kind of film. But now it is fast becoming a norm. Still it is brave to try something so different and so unconventional. It needs guts and courage to tread such a slippery path. And Dibakar Banerjee had  tried to tread that path and achieved the impossible.

Hats off to this avant-garde film maker. As a connoisseur, I salute this genius called Dibakar Banerjee.


Team Gadkari & New Look BJP : Sunny Days Are Here Again

Few months back, when Mr. Nitin Gadkari was anointed as the new president of BJP, it was a foregone conclusion that he will usher a new era in the party. He promised to bring new and fresh faces in the team to give the party a new lease of life. Mr. Nitin Gadkari announced his organisational team few days back. As expected and as announced by him earlier, many young and new faces have been inducted in the new team.

As soon as the team was announced, electronic and print media swung into action and started criticising the new team vehemently. The venom and diatribe was specially directed towards Hema Malini, Kirron Kher, Smriti Irani and Shaina NC. As per the view of media these ladies were selected only because of glamour and this glamour quotient will not help BJP. According to them, these above mentioned ladies have done nothing for the public at large. For arguments sake , if we accept that these ladies have done nothing till now, can’t they start fresh ? If they wish to serve the nation and society,is it a valid reason to de bar them on the pretext that they are fresh and they have done nothing. May I ask, what was Sonia Gandhi’s contribution when she was initiated into politics and started her journey? Apart from being the widow of a slain Ex Prime Minister, she had no credentials.

Second argument is that the team is full of the leaders who have lost elections. May be in some cases it is true but in democracy there has to be a loser and a winner. Without a loser there can’t be a winner. Some times a leader loses because of so many factors. Losing an election doesn’t certify that the particular leader is incompetent. Moreover the most glaring example of a loser being anointed for the most important post, is Mr. Manmohan Singh. He lost election from Delhi, got elected to Rajya Sabha from Assam. Now he is a sitting Rajya Sabha MP and he is the Prime Minister of this country. Does anyone object ? So why this hue and cry about BJP team ?

Third objection of the media was regarding Varun Gandhi. Why this Gandhi scion was inducted ? This is just to counter Rahul Gahdhi. Again if you accept this argument for the sake of argument, is it wrong for any political party to counter its opponent ? What should BJP is supposed to do ? To go and garland Congress leader ? Is countering Rahul Gandhi blasphemous ? In democracy people’s will is supreme. If people have elected Varun Gandhi, he has every right to be in public life and serve the party of his choice. As for his hate speech, I have made my views public in my earlier blog – Varun Gandhi’s Hate Speech & Lalu’s Sermon On The Mount ”, posted on April 09 , 2009.

Last point which media made is , that discontent is brewing up in the party because of the list . BJP is a big party with many competent people. It is difficult to accommodate everybody. It is impossible to satisfy everyone. There has to be some rambling. In fact it shows that contrary to Congress, BJP is a democratic party, where any one can air his views.

In my opinion Mr. Gadkari has chosen a very competent team and once this team settles in office, they will surely make a difference. BJP will truly be a party with difference very soon. The sun will shine once again and I will see a resurgent BJP and that too – YACHI DEHI , YACHI DOLA !!


M. F. Husain , Qatar & Freedom Of Expression

Last week it was Husain galore everywhere. T.V. , Newspaper and Internet; it was surfeit of Husain. Everyone has his or her opinion about the painter. Husain always evokes extreme reactions. Either you admire him or criticise him, but you can’t ignore him. And when it is impossible to ignore him, then let me also air my views about him.

I do admire Husain as a painter. He is certainly the most influential and controversial modern Indian painter. Few years ago, he created media frenzy and mass hysteria, when he painted Hindu goddesses in nude. Public outcry erupted and reached its crescendo. Several cases were lodged against him. According to one estimate 900 criminal cases were filed in different courts of various states of India. Art galleries, exhibiting Husain’s paintings, were attacked by some people and his paintings were vandalised.

This is a brief history of the incidents, preceding his exile. After exhibition of his paintings, whole country was galvanised and virtually divided into two groups. One, supporting Husain and the second opposing him. Husain left the country and thereafter lived in exile till now. Recently he surrendered his Indian passport and accepted Qatari citizenship, inviting strong reactions again. I will try to put both the views here and then give my opinion.

Views of Pro-Husain Group :


1 – Freedom of speech and action is of paramount importance and there should be no infringement.

2 – Husain’s intention was not to denigrate Hinduism or insult feelings of devout Hindus. He has painted many other nude portraits. And this is his style.

3 – How can any artiste work in peace, when he is made to run from one court to the other ? So he was forced to leave the country and live like a fugitive. This is an insult to artist fraternity.

Views of Anti-Hussain Group :

1 – Right comes with responsibility. Freedom of expression is definitely important but an artiste should be sensitive to the society, to Indian culture and to religious feelings of the vast section of Hindu populace.

2 – If Husain is so true to his conviction, if he paints only nude paintings, he should paint religious figures of other religions also. Venerable figures of Islam and Christianity should also get his attention. Can he paint nude portraits of an Islamic deity ? Has he painted any ?

3 – As for leaving the country because of court cases, The Supreme Court clubbed all the cases. So he had to attend only one court. Union Home Minister promised all the possible security, so this is not the true cause for his exile. He left country for some ulterior motive.


1 – Unbridled freedom of expression can bring chaos and anarchy. In the name of freedom of expression, people can resort to all kind of things. And moreover, if Husain has right of expression, then why this right of expression was not extended to the Danish Cartoonist ? Why this freedom of expression is denied to Taslima Nasreen ? Why this was snatched from Salman Rushdie? Why  “ The Last Temptation of Christ ” and “ The Satanic Verses ” were banned ? Can I get answers from any supporter of Husain ?

2 – I can’t watch nude portraits of Hindu goddesses or Bharat Mata. As a devout Hindu, I won’t say Husain should paint Gods and Goddesses of Islam and Christianity . Can he paint royal family of Qatar nude ? I am waiting and shall always wait for that day. Will Husain oblige ?

3 – Just after Hussain accepted Qatari citizenship and surrendered Indian passport, he was interviewed by Barkha Dutt of NDTV. He stated in that interview, that he is accepting Qatar’s Royal Family’s offer because of huge amount he is supposed to get for his projects and also the tax benefits he is getting. So this is the real reason for his action and not the court cases or Hindu backlash. Bala Saheb Thackeray even said that Husain is most welcome to return, provided he apologises. Is there anything wrong in saying that “ if I have hurt religious sentiments of anybody, I am sorry ! ” Not apologising is arrogance and nothing else.

4 – And moreover , accepting Qatar nationality for money , comfort and tax benefits is definitely not praiseworthy. Husain proved that he is interested only in money. All the other things being said and written in his defence is just an alibi.

I painfully conclude that M. F. Husain has insulted his country and countrymen. He says that he works as per his conviction and he had done no wrong. If so, then he should have faced the trial and should have proved his detractors wrong. By surrendering Indian passport, he is confirming the allegation of his opponents.

Farewell Maqbool Fida Husain !

I am no longer fida on you !  Goodbye for ever !!


20 Weathered Years In Mumbai : Taking Stock Of Erosion And Corrosion

As I turned 57 on December 17, 2009, I started an introspection about 20 years of my life in Mumbai. In my previous blog I have divided my life in 4 phases. First phase – 22 years, Second phase – 15 years and Third phase – 20 years. Of these 57 years, 30 years were spent in Deoria, 07 years were spent in Allahabad and remaining 20 years were spent in Mumbai. I had stated that third phase of my life ended in 2009 and fourth phase has started. This third phase comprises 20 years of my life in Mumbai. From October 1989 to December 2009, I survived 20 years in this film industry where fortune changes every Friday. I endured and could sustain myself successfully.

It was a hesitant and tentative start. I moved to Mumbai to eke out a living in the film industry. I had no acquaintances, no godfather, no advisor, not even a helping hand here. With no help in life, no succour in sight, no money to make a living and no one to guide me, I started living a precarious life. I was advised by Ms. Ashha Chandra to start Diction classes. In those days of abject poverty, when days passed without lunch and nights, without a proper meal, it was a welcome opportunity. I started training people and started earning some money, which was not enough but I was happy that I was earning something. To save money I used to avoid bus and local train and used to walk on foot. Once I walked from MacDonald, Linking Road, Khar to Yari Road. I am not regretting those days, I am just making few points to illustrate how I started this phase and finally how I could make it against all the odds.

My first student was a girl called Sarita. Later on I got an opportunity to train Saif Ali Khan. From Saif to Ranbir Kapoor and from Kareena Kapoor to Katrina Kaif, I have trained students of every hue and colour. Barring a microscopic minority, all the star-sons and star-daughters are my students. Late Raj Kapoor’s three grandchildren : Randhir Kapoor’s daughter Kareena, Rishi Kapoor’s son Ranbir and Rima Jain’s son Arman are my students. Mr. Shatrughan Sinha’s both sons ; Luv and Kush, Mr. Anil Kapoor’s daughter Sonam, Moushami’s daughter Meghaa, Late playback singer Mukesh’s grandson Neil Nitin Mukesh came to me for training. Apart from Hindi, my students are working in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada film industries. So many of them are working in Marathi and Bhojpuri films. T. V. industry is full of my students. I get students from far-flung states of India like ; Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Manipur, Assam and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Students from West Bengal and South are in legions. Among my students 3 are music directors, 4 are producers and 6 are directors.

Almost all the prestigious banners, including Yash Raj Films, Dharma Productions and Rajshri Productions almost always send their protege to me for training. I started a trend of Script Based training. I did script based workshops for several films. From Yash Raj Films “ Mohabbatein ” to Samir Karnik’s forthcoming “ Yamala Pagla Deewana ” and Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Production No. 5, I did many workshops. I did workshop for a Kannada film also, starring Nenapirali Prem and Karishma Tanna. Currently I am supervising dubbing of Aamir Khan Productions “ Dhobi Ghat. Aamir Khan’s wife Kiran Rao is the director. Karan Johar produced, Dharma production’s forthcoming film “ I Hate Luv Storys ” could be mentioned as a watershed in my career. Its protagonists – Imran Khan and Sonam Kapoor, its music director Shekhar ( of Vishal-Shekhar fame ) and its director Puneet Malhotra, all are my students. It has been a very satisfying journey indeed.

As I conclude my analysis of these 20 years of my life as an acting trainer, I have just one regret. Some of my students criticise me vehemently. Though they are in microscopic minority, but still they are there. I fail to fathom their vehemence and persistence in my criticism. But I have satisfaction that vast majority of my students love me. I value their love and respect. As for my critics are concerned, they are welcome to have their views. I don’t wish to be AJATSHATRU [ Having No Enemy ]. In mythology only Yudhishthir was Ajatshatru, neither Arjun nor Krishna could even boast of this title. They had enemies in legions. I would love to be in company of Krishna and Arjun. Instead of a faceless and spine less Yudhishthir, Arjun and Krishna are any day preferable.

As my third phase ends, it gives me immense satisfaction that it was satisfying phase.



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