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Thursday, October 20, 2016

cheap publicity in tweeting PM on Pak artistes ~ National interest is always above individuals

Even commoners cannot forget the wounds of that fateful day 26/11(2008) – days of horror and anguish when Mumbai relented under the terror attack carnage of killing spree. Hundreds of people died and some martyred their lives in saving common man and property.  Sad, the perpetrators are still at large. It is no fresh news that investigations led to Pakistani hand not only in this terror attack but also for the March 1993 Mumbai serial blasts and the July 2006 suburban train bombings. 26/11 attack  was carried out by Pakistani nationals who hit civilian targets and foreign nationals with calculated brutality.

A decade later, Pakistan has asked India to send all the 24 Indian witnesses to depose before the anti-terrorism court holding the Mumbai attacks trial !  further news suggest that an  ATC judge  heard the Mumbai attack case and accepted a request filed by the Federal Investigation Agency to inspect the boat "Alfoz" in the port city. The FIA had requested the court to send a judicial commission to examine the boat as it was difficult to produce it before the court, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported. .. .. ..
Across the Nation, their popularity descends barriers and apart from the common folk, even Govts recognise them by presenting awards to actors and seating them on par with Industrialists and Scientists !!   I am never a great fan ~ yet cannot deny that it is a mass media and is immensely popular.  Those associated with the cine industry can influence the thoughts of the Nation.

A few decades ago, there were many who had never visited the Capital city of Chennai, living peacefully in villages.  That time, there were reports that every day hundreds of boys and girls set their foot on to the city  through the Central and Egmore Railway stations coming  from nook corners of villages dreaming to be a Hero.  Cinema is indeed   ‘Dream Factory’ – manufacturing dreams or a factory only in dreams !  Punch dialogues are powerful weapons.  People hero worship actors and follow their footsteps.  The cine world is considered as a path to politicaldom and one can cite numerous examples of heroes nurturing political ambitions and becoming rulers too !

In one perspective as they also claim it to be ‘Cinema, is a powerful entertainer’ ~ and just that.  For some it is just trade ! – Movies are produced not to educate people or change the lives – simply to earn money. When that be the case, why should the Govt. support it and provide tax concessions. All along, the flourishing film makers irrespective of whatever content they exhibited, walked away without paying taxes.  It was 15% tax exemption; those who were rich became richer.  The State kept losing a good amount for the benefit of some individual producers – for the regular cine goer, the amount was pittance but collective the loss of revenue was huge indeed.  The exemption, if at all to be considered should be for the contents and not for the title – as they say, you cannot tell the story of the film by looking at the poster, nay title.

Movie certainly exploits common man’s anger.  When the Nation burned on 26/11, couple of them tried minting money showing the operations as the background ! A software architect returning back to native land thinking of doing good to his land but ends up beaten by the system and corrupt people. A film on  black money and its harmful effect – was Rajnikant starrer – ‘Sivaji- the boss’.   That was not the first or the only film. In ‘Kanthasamy’, Vikram plays a sleuth in CBI, granting the wishes of the needy who write letters to Lord Muruga at Thirporur temple by disguising himself as an anthropomorphic chicken. He goes on to discover a stash of black money, travels places to take out the hidden riches for the benefit of Indian poor.  In Anniyan, Ambi an innocent and honest lawyer fights and kills lawbreakers by torturing them and is shown as a person with multiple personality disorder. 

All those  dealing with corruption and black money were big hits with the people, so was the  2011 Indian anti-corruption movement spearheaded by Anna Hazare and his followers.  Black is not the colour of money but the money earned to ill-gotten means – everyone have their own estimates of black money stashed in tax-havens abroad.  .. there is also a strong perception that high % of this lies in those benefitted by tinseldom.

Moving away, read some news of an angry director speaking against the ban on Pakistani artists.  He can exercise his individual freedom – but this man has gone too far, comparing his films with the visit of the Prime Minister of the Nation, conveniently hiding the fact that what is he sought is simple personal gain, enriching his coffer – the visit was aimed at bi-lateral relations. Perhaps one cannot expect understanding from angry insane persons.  This man took to twitter ranting series of tweets to PM Shri  Narendra Modi asking  questions about why an art form should suffer ? and some reports suggest that he demanded an apology from the PM.  Utter foolishness and some attempt in sensationalism.

Another editorial read – ever since calls for banning Pakistani actors broke out, an issue has been rankling in my mind. Why exactly are Pakistani actors silent and not offering their sympathies and prayers at the loss of Indian lives in Uri? Have they never reacted at the loss of innocent foreign lives in terror attacks? A look at the Twitter timelines of three prominent Pakistani actors in Bollywood currently – Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan and Ali Zafar – reveal otherwise. All three were quick to denounce Paris terror attacks. Fawad tweeted, “Shocked and saddened; praying for Paris, praying for humanity #Parisattacks.”  .. Indian lives are not that important though their moolah comes from here.

"When a war is taking place, you have someone doing a drama with that country, that is not expected." Information and broadcasting minister M. Venkaiah Naidu is quoted as sating  on the controversy over Pakistani artists, surgical strikes and triple talaq. He clarified that for the Govt the ranting by film director and the like are non-issues and rightly asked the Q -  how can you compare your commercial activity or entertainment activity to the visit of the Prime Minister to a neighbouring country?  Pakistan is our neighbour [and] we have been having business with Pakistan, exchanges, trade and cultural ties. We want a good relationship with our neighbour, but the neighbour should also behave accordingly. Behave in the sense that they should not allow their land to be used for terror activities against us. Nowadays, it has become the state policy of Pakistan to aid, abet, fund and train terrorists.  In all sincerity, our Prime Minister invited Pakistan’s Prime Minister to his swearing-in ceremony, something unusual that hadn’t happened in a long time. National Security Advisor (NSA) level talks were held; later, Foreign Secretary level talks were held too. Also, in an unusual manner, when the Prime Minister was visiting Afghanistan and he greeted the Pakistan Prime Minister on his birthday, he stopped over at Lahore, went over to his family home and greeted him in person.  But Pak continues to  speak a different language, and then again it is encouraging all sorts of terror activities.

Naturally, there is a sort of an anger and unrest in the minds of the people. This decision to boycott hasn’t been taken by the government or even advised by the government. The people who decided [on] the boycott are also from the film industry. Making comments against the Prime Minister is uncalled for and has been done for cheap publicity.

In what could be seen as a clear line of distinction – in USA, sports activities are encouraged and backed to hilt – yet even US medallists of Rio Olympics  are subject to a so-called "victory tax" - a tax on both the money they receive from the Olympic committee for winning and on the value of the Olympic medal. It is not money and endorsements, but medals too – medals gotten are also given a value and taxed.
With  Pakistan brazenly encouraging terror against India, cultural ties at this stage are not required. Remember in IPL, Pak players were banned – and have not played since, though couple of them have been commentators and show hosts.   There is flowing sentiment of the people and film makers better understand that.  Simple, if cine-goers decide boycotting such films, there would be none taking them too. that time none would talk about ‘art beyond boundary !’.

Our Army jawans have died – the media must understand what is in the national interest. Every  citizen has a responsibility to the country, that way the Hero Motors commercial – “hero salutes real heores” is refreshing, though there could be some incongruities like people asking why did not the bus driver stop at first place, forgive him – let us do our bit.  In that Advt, the  camera rolls by showing a soldier running behind a bus. A man in a Hero two-wheeler, comes from behind, overtakes the bus, and stops it to ensure that the soldier hops into it. As the soldier is about to enter the bus, he thanks the man, who in turn salutes him. All the passengers inside the bus too salute the soldier as he takes his seat. A voiceover says: Hero salutes the real heroes.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

20th Oct 2016.

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