Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
First, the facts — the 1993 Mumbai blasts killed 257 people, more than 100 people were convicted, and it took more than 20 years to deliver justice in a case that has all but faded from the nation’s collective memory.
And yet, if you looked at the headlines on Thursday, you would be forgiven for thinking the Supreme Court ruling was only about actor Sanjay Dutt. And the only tragedy was the one that had befallen Dutt and his family members.
As news of the court ruling trickled in, words of sympathy gushed from Bollywood, with film-makers such as Mahesh Bhatt and Karan Johar expressing solidarity with Dutt, and saying he did not deserve this.
Dutt was in his 30s when he was arrested, mature enough to know he was committing a crime. But do things change just because he’s an actor?
Everybody makes mistakes; some more serious than the rest. And we have to pay for them. Should Dutt be treated differently from other criminals just because of his position?
Anurag Kashyap hasn’t slept in four days. He’s been writing his next film and doesn’t want to stop till it is done. When I walk into his suburban terrace apartment, Kashyap is beaming because he’s just finished writing the climax and he is very happy with it.
He offers you some tea, shows you clips from his new film “That Girl in Yellow Boots” which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, all the while chatting animatedly with his assistants about shooting schedules and movies.
At the beginning of the last week of every year I head to my neighbourhood DVD store to follow a long-standing tradition of mine. I review my favourite films of the year and then buy DVD’s of those films.
This year my shopping list had only two names – Zoya Akhtar’s “Luck by Chance” and Vishal Bhardwaj’s “Kaminey”.
Gauri Khan looks askance at me. She is dressed in white and clutches a shopping bag in either hand. As I move towards her on a street in Amsterdam, she takes a step back and frowns. I don’t take the hint. As I start to mumble something, the wife of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan hurries past me and disappears into an alley.
No, I wasn’t trying to assault her.
The 2005 International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards were being held in Amsterdam and I was a cub reporter let loose in the city of canals .
Amitabh Bachchan started a blog on April 17. And has posted almost daily since, generating hundreds of comments from fans around the world.
His blog is ostensibly about his life and films, but also a platform where the 65-year-old Indian superstar gets even with the “rumor laced spicy barbs” of the media.