Monday, January 26, 2009

Sow Confusion; Reap Chaos

Three instances that show the way India operates to those of my readers from abroad. I wouldn’t say this is the norm but I am writing about it because all of this happened today and something struck me as typically Indian, so, ergo, I am blogging it for posterity.

An Inauguration
First was the inauguration of the benches in Valley Park where I go for my morning walk. During my morning walk I was capturing a few thoughts on camera and I thought I would capture this too, so I became a part of largish audience. The very, very important people came and gave speeches and bouquets were handed out. Then a man came with countless number of roses and a long list. He started handing out these roses to all present. Now, I wasn’t presented a rose, so this may be the proverbial “sour grapes,” I don’t know, and before my eyes I saw the assemblage turning into a very confusing aggregation of people calling out to each other, laughing, joking and, um, sort of, “scratch my back while I scratch yours” show. It was then I decided to make my exit, like the fox who said “the grapes are sour.”

Bollywood Blast
Kairali in CBD Belapur is celebrating its 25th anniversary and on stage was Bollywood Blast with some very talented performers. The sound was magnificent without being loud, the songs took me to another era and then back, and Mamta Sharma was holding the audience spellbound with her performance. Then she decided it was time to become more popular and let the show descend into mayhem. More confusion ensued, all the children were called on stage, being natural dancers, they started dancing and they in turn became the performers. The result was that the show descended from well-planned affair, which was what it started out as, into one where even completely bald men and geriatric women came on stage and began dancing their arthritic dance. Ho hum!

Star Screen Awards
I came home to watch the Star Screen Awards and here again absolute ad hocism prevailed. I have always been reserved about the unconventionality of Sajid Khan’s compeering. He tries to take it upon himself to entertain the audience at the cost of embarrassing the guests, which is not a good thing if guests are a bit reticent or shy. In this awards ceremony he went a bit over the top and director Ashutosh Gowarikar got very angry and when he came on stage to receive the award for best picture for “Jodha Akbar” he expressed his concern and when Sajid tried to interrupt told him to shut up.

That wasn’t all, more angry words passed between them and all the stars, the good actors that they were, sat in open-mouthed embarrassment at the exchange (Hritik, Priyanka, Arjun, etc.). Some even shook their heads in utter disbelief. In these days of “reality television” the channel saw this as a good way of making some good small change for their cash boxes. They showed promos and spots of the face-off so as to gain more TRPs for the program. And just before they showed the confrontation they had an overlong ad break which had me really biting my nails in frustration.

Why, oh, why can’t we organise these things better and let it draw to its pre-planned conclusion. Is it in our genes or something? I have seen worse, but when these three happened in the same day, in the space of a few hours, I was sort of dazed. It really took some getting over, these shenanigans.

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