In his seminal work “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”, the great German philosopher Nietzche gave the world the concept of Übermensch or “over-man”. Widely misinterpreted through the ages, Hitler for instance used it as the philosophical underpinngs of Aryan superority, Übermensch is a notional anthropomorphization of “ultra-humanism”, a supreme being who while being infallible and possessing the power to create not just worlds but also values, is still not a God, because he is, by definition, human.
Cricket Cup World Cup. Boom Boom Mutton Chop. Cricket Cup World Cup.
To set the mood, here is my favorite World Cup song of all time, from last edition, and if this doesn’t get you pumped up, you are obviously Ajay Maken after the Delhi polls.
So “Who will win the Cup?”
Will it be Bangladesh? It doesn’t matter because for Bangla fans they have won it already, by virtue of having defeated India in one game in 2007 and then having spent every moment from that time to now speculation about sinister Indian conspiracies to gut the great Bangla team, starting from Pune benching Tamim Iqbal through the season in order to break his heart and through that sabotage Bangla cricket to debilitating verbal broadsides thrown at them by the likes of Sehwag and “Nabhjyot Singh Seeedhu” (video taken down from Youtube). In their first practice game against Pakistan, they put up a good performance, which included contributions from India-slayer Tamim, “what-exactly-does-that-guy-do-in-the-team” Mahmadullah and Shakib pitched in too by not making even one obscene gesture at the crowd (unedited pic here). And while it would take only a great optimist, namely every Bangladeshi fan, to think that they have a reasonable chance of going the full distance, expect a national holiday the day India gets eliminated.
Will it be Zimbabwe? I have no idea because I really know very little of their team, except that they don’t have a Ramzada or a Haramzada in their team but definitely a Masakzada…sorry even that I got wrong Masakazda. Wish I could say something knowledgeable but I really don’t know, except that I am pretty sure they can’t make it to the end.
The scoreline is stunning. 67 for AAP, 3 for BJP and 0 for Congress. Yes the exit polls got it wrong, the AAP did far better than anyone could ever have predicted.
This is, of course, right about the time two narratives emerge, the victor’s and the vanquished.
For the vanquished, the loss is because the media was in the tank for the other team, our organization dropped the ball, the winner benefited from Cause A that was not in our hands, and finally that old chestnut, look at their vote-share, they didn’t even x% of the total vote.
For the winner, the victory is a new horizon in Indian history, a win for the forces of good over evil, of the will of the people over money-power, and feel free to throw in your own cliche here.
We saw these two narratives emerge after the Lok Sabha election, and they emerge here once again, except that the people pushing the narratives have been interchanged. Not that these narratives have no truth in them, except the sulking vote-share argument, but a realistic analysis is in order, one that is made without Arnab Goswami trying to shut you down.
If you an Indian interwebs-junkie and don’t spend every bit of your bandwidth quota in watching videos on the educational site also known as Pornhub, you would have heard of All India Bakchod and The Viral Fever, and if not heard of them, then definitely seen their videos. And if you have not a week ago, you definitely know of AIB now with their roast of Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh going viral on the Net and getting play time in the media, and then being taken down, now that random religious outfits eager to grab their two seconds of fame have filed cases against them for “vulgarity”, and the fans of a prominent star, who has apparently taken grievous umbrage to what was said, anti-hashtagging it aggressively on Twitter, because as you may have guessed it, this is very important issue for the youth of the country right next to global warming and Gautam Gulati winning Big Boss.
So, like every other young man like Rahul Gandhi, I too have something to say.
While there are many who swear by Govind Nihalni, I am more a fan of his brother Pahlaj Nihalni. This doyen of 90s movies, produced many of the most iconic films of my teenage-hood, like “Shola aur Shabnam” and “Aankhen” and “Andaaz” , giving me hours of pleasure that the boys of today, fed on an anti-cultural diet of “Baby Doll” and Honey Singh will not understand.
Thus it was with nothing but un-alloyed joy that I welcome his becoming the Supremo of the Censor Board. It’s like an old friend that has made it big, not that Mr. Pahlaj Nihalni was not big before.
Of course I am not a teenager any more. Now as a parent, I am extremely happy that the job of “maintaining the sanctity of Indian culture and values” and “preventing vulgarity” has now fallen on Mr. Nihalni, because I don’t know of many men, other than the director of the above movies( one Mr. David Dhawan) who is a bigger expert on the topic.
It’s strange, this phenomenon. Hours and hours of watching my favorite sportsmen on the telly, and I begin to believe that I know them personally. That’s why I tuned in when Sachin was close to a century and become all emotional when Ganguly walked out that last time. Even though it is extremely silly, I become personally invested in the individual successes of these strangers, that goes above and beyond my team winning, just like I would do for my friends.
And just like I do for my friends, I make these little mental stereotypes.
The passionate. Sourav.
The gentleman. Dravid.
The self-absorbed geek. Sachin.
The guy who never gets his due. VVS.
The maverick. Sehwag.
The relentless. Kumble.
But what about Dhoni?
I don’t think I have that personal connect with him, not in the way I have for the names above. As Harsha Bhogle writes, in this beautiful piece, he could not figure out who he was and he is someone who actually knew Dhoni pretty well in real life.
So I saw PK.
How was it?
TLDR: It’s a three-hour long episode of Satyamev Jayate.
For those of you who have not seen this program, which strongly makes me believe that you are not the kind that stops at a stop sign, Satyamev Jayate can be summarized as “social activism for those of us that like to watch Big Boss but feel guilty “. It picks a certain “problem of the week”, like police reforms or corruption or doctors, and then runs through an hour of over-explaining and music and appropriately emotioned-up guests. The USP of the program, the reason why people watch it, is of course Method-Actor Khan (known to mortals as Aamir Khan) for whom Satyamev Jayate is a perfect prop for his carefully cultivated image as a socially conscientious superstar. Cycling through various expressions, “the-oh-my-God-I-had-no-idea” (“Apko police ne yeh kaha?”) as if he is hearing the guest’s story for the first time, “the-oh-my-God-I-so-feel-for-you” eyes-welling-up-with-tasteful-tears, Mr. Khan straddles perfectly that grey area between reality and choreography, between the person and the persona, and if the topic of the week does not keep you watching, or that sharp prick on your conscience if your finger goes to the remote control to change the channel, Aamir Khan’s performance sure does.
Like Satyamev Jayate, PK too has a “problem of the week”, long passages of preachy exposition, poking-in-eye messaging, and each one of Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate stock facial expressions. Except being an alien, his innocent “I-had-no-idea” face makes a little more sense, though for old-hands like us, there is a bit too much of the Main Kahaan Hoon Tiloo from “Andaz Apna Apna” and one of the characters he played in Dhoom 3, for me to be overtly blown away by the acting. Just as Satyamev Jayate, despite its flaws, is an improvement on the brainless muck that passes for entertainment on Indian television, PK is definitely better than the “Bang Bangs” and the “Ready”s, a low bar surely, somewhat like complimenting a fast bowler for bowling faster than Venkatesh Prasad.
It had a lot going for it, like Mr. Perfectionist’s perfect derriere, though obfuscated by mist, Raju Hirani at the helm, and some funny sequences involving pee-ing, peek-ing, peekaying and anal-probing, which I would perhaps have better appreciated if I was nine years old
However it is let down by two major cinematic boo-boos.