According to urban legend, A K Hangal, also known as the great grandfather of the nation, is the reverse Peter Pan. If Peter Pan was the boy who never grew old, AK Hangal is the old man who was never ever young.
That’s because for almost 40 years now we have seen A K Hangal essaying the role of the sympathy-inducing, doddering old man, his expressions and demeanor unchanged, as if eternally frozen in time.
How eternally I did not realize till I saw this picture in Rediff and its caption.
Yep that’s right. Hangal with late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
The first thing that caught my eye was that at a time when Jawaharlal Nehru was in his 50s or 60s (he died in 1964), A K Hangal looks almost exactly as old as he looks today (i.e. he looks as old if not older than Nehru himself). Which in itself was not shocking because as previously mentioned, Hangal is eternally old. Incidentally, I would not have been surprised had Rediff published a picture of an old Hangal with Chandragupta Maurya, even though I would have been slightly taken aback by the fact that photography existed in Mauryan times.
What however made me crease my brow was that Chacha Nehru, as labeled in the picture, did not look like the first Prime Minister of India.
It was then that my eyes alighted, as it always does, on the Rediff comments section—that marvelously hilarious forum for regional and religional name-calling and poetic English. And there I discovered the truth (as I always do in the Rediff message board) from an alert commenter: this was a picture taken from a British TV series titled “The Last Viceroy” where Hangal played Sardar Patel and Nehru was played by Ian Richardson. And needless to say, Rediff does not distinguish between an actor who plays Nehru and Nehru himself.
Of course this small slip, a mistake anyone could make if you ask me, is nothing compared to the gaffe here where Rediff gives us a picture of an young Hangal.
Yeah right. An old Hangal with Nehru I can believe, even when Nehru looks a bit different.
But a picture of
an a young Hangal?
That cannot be. It’s against the law of Physics.
Rediff—please use some common sense in the future. And yes some editorial control on the stuff you publish might also help.