India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Bollywood drama – off screen and in parliament

May 16, 2012

You cannot escape Bollywood and the drama that comes with it, not even in the hallowed environs of the Rajya Sabha.

On Monday, as actress Rekha, the newest member of the upper house of India’s parliament took oath, the focus — at least that of the cameras, was on another, older member. Rekha’s short swearing-in ceremony was interspersed with several shots of a very grim-looking Jaya Bachchan.

Anyone watching the five-minute swearing-in ceremony, would have been forgiven for thinking they were watching a Bollywood awards ceremony, where the camera pans to a Shahid Kapur when a Kareena Kapoor is dancing or a Ranbir Kapoor when Deepika Padukone is performing.

It seems Jaya Bachchan hasn’t taken too kindly to that camerawork, complaining to Rajya Sabha chairman and Vice-President Hamid Ansari about the attempt to “sensationalise” news.

Given the amount of Bollywood gossip over the decades, it would seem natural that cameras would go into overdrive if the two women were in the same room. But what if that room is not just any room, but the upper house of parliament? Does that rule still hold? Can Rajya Sabha TV function like any other television channel?

Whatever the case, it seems like this week has been one of dipping into the past for our parliamentarians. Whether it is a decades-old cartoon, or a decades-old incident, we seem to be happier reliving the past.

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