Toxic Bollywood Versus Arnab Goswami And Times Now: Pot Goes To Court Against Kettle, Chimney
Most in Bollywood have been party to producing the same kind of rubbish that they now accuse the TV channels of producing.
Bollywood’s toxic mardangi has been reduced to a whimpering mass of crybabies, and one hopes the court shows them the door with the message: physician, heal thyself.
There is surely some delicious irony in Bollywood taking two news channels – Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV and Times Now – to court for something it has itself popularised in its films.
Outside the genre of pure romance, the typical Bollywood hero is one man fighting the corrupt, debased and criminal “system” all by himself. On rare occasions, the hero fights within the law; on most other occasions, the hero (or anti-hero, and the occasional heroine) takes the law into his own hands and goes bang-bang against the villains without caring for gun laws.
The villains could be cardboard quality rapists of a dear sister/mother, a murderer, or criminal gangs or crooked politicians, but the hero usually fights alone – and wins. The typical Bollywood hero makes grandstanding speeches against villains in court scenes, in public spaces and at home, railing against injustice and thirsting for revenge at every opportunity.
Nobody in the media world has made this shop-worn Bollywood script his own better than Arnab Goswami, who is judge, jury and executioner in all his media trials of “public enemies”.
Given the similarities, one would have thought that Bollywood would have made Goswami the hero in its next blockbuster rather than go whining to the Delhi High Court claiming it has been maligned by “irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks”, by Goswami and also Times Now’s two main anchors, Rahul Shivshankar and Navika Kumar.
Isn’t that exactly what Bollywood does, make “irresponsible” films eulogising thugs and mafia dons (no doubt, with a golden heart), generate “derogatory” content where women are objectified (through “item numbers”) and even heroes are allowed to sexually harass them, and make “defamatory” references to Hindu icons and beliefs?
If you disbelieve the last, consider how the blockbuster film Pk (with Aamir Khan as hero) shows Lord Shiva covering under a chair while doing nothing similar with scenes involving Christian and Islamic characters. Or take 3 Idiots, where the hero (again, Aamir) is a Ladakhi Buddhist, whose two friends are Muslim and Hindu. The scenes where both his friends choose to pursue their true callings or underlying passions (photography in the case of the former, and engineering in the case of the latter) end up showing the former’s Muslim parents as large-hearted, but the Hindu friend is seen as discarding his puja and rings and substitutes them with hard work. The idea is to show these Hindu practices as retrograde ideas.
In Main Hoon Na (Shah Rukh Khan), the villain is an improbable Hindu terrorist called Raghavan, and he supposedly wants to stop a Sikh general from the Indian side from merely agreeing to an exchange of civilian prisoners with Pakistan.
In Deewar, the hero (Amitabh Bachchan) is shown being lucky as long as he holds on to his Billa No 786 (a Muslim superstition), his arm band when he was a humble dock worker. But when he loses this billa he loses his life. The hero is shown as unwilling to respect his mother’s faith as a Hindu, and till the end he has nothing to say about his faith. The subtle message: Islam protects, Hinduism does not.
In Amar Akbar Anthony, the last two heroes (Muslim and Christian respectively) are shown as being brought up by a golden-hearted padre and a good Muslim when they found these orphaned children. But the Hindu hero is brought up in a secular home, by a police officer. Nothing about his faith ever figures in the film. Even when the mother of the three brothers regains her sight, it is at a Sai Baba temple. Something removed from mainstream Hinduism.
Coming back to Arnab Goswami and his embrace of Bollywood heroism in his television shows, the script is exactly the same: early identification of the villain, verbal tongue-lashing and prosecution before a jury of guests who occasionally get to speak (or is it squeak?) or nod agreement or disagreement.
So, one can only laugh when one hears that four “Bollywood industry associations and 34 leading producers” have gone to court to restrain the news channels from transgressing the privacy of the industry’s major players. Those seeking to place a silencer on the lips of Goswami, Shivshankar and Navika Kumar include The Producers Guild of India, The Cine & TV Artiste Association, Aamir Khan Productions, Ajay Devgn Films, Anil Kapoor Film and Communication Network, Arbaaz Khan Productions, Ashutosh Gowariker Productions and Dharma Productions (Karan Johar outfit).
Most of them have been party to producing the same kind of c**p that they now accuse the TV channels of producing. Bollywood’s toxic mardangi has been reduced to a whimpering mass of crybabies.
One hopes the court shows them the door with the message: physician, heal thyself.
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