[This post is a contextual one, relevant only in the light of recent events]
Welcome to Handy TV–Din Raat Chalta Hai. This is Rukhi Sawant and we are here to speak about the recently aired Laundiya tapes in which Bhakti Kapoor was apparently recorded talking to an aspiring actress in his hotel room. We also speak in general about casting ethics.
This program is totally unedited, just like the Assmit-Ria MMS. We at Handy-TV are known never to involve ourselves in cover-ups.
Our panel consists of eminent personalities Shining Ahuja, and Prabhuji the editor of “Rakhta Hoon Main Khulla” magazine which first carried the transcripts of the Laundiya Tapes. And of course Mr. Bhakti Kapoor. Our show is being taped right in his living room and carried to you live.
First we will play the video tape.
[A tape plays of a comely lass coming to Bhakti Kapoor’s room in a slinky short dress. Bhakti Kapoor is very comfortable. They have drinks and Bhakti Kapoor says, among other things, “Aoooo I will give you massage” and “If you are with Bhakti in the film industry, no one can touch you (except me)” . Finally, in a voice soaking with syrup, he agrees to talk to some big names about getting her a role.]
Bhakti (in a state of abject shock): In my thirty years of acting, no one has ever questioned my ethics and my morals. And then these people have come along and slandered, defamed and dragged my name through mud.
Shining: Mm…Bhakti. Let’s concentrate on specifics. In these tapes you are seen getting cozy with this woman and promising her a role in a movie..and some people may object to this rather comfortable closeness as being…mm…..unprofessional.”
Bhakti: In my line of work, we come in contact, I would say close contact with many women. Some call themselves actresses, some models, some well you get the point…. They come to us for roles and well I play with them…
Prabhuji: Play with them?
Bhakti: I mean play along with them…..See the point we are polite with the girls, you never know when the next one might become a superstar.
Shining: But you did accede to her request to speak to several big names in order to get her a role.
Bhakti: Did anyone ever confirm whether I actually spoke to them? I was just screwing her.
Prabhuji: Yes I think that was where we were getting.
Bhakti (correcting): I meant to say I was just lying to her. You know, you don’t say no to a lady’s face. That’s impolite.
Rukhi (interjecting): Let us here play a sample of Bhakti’s work to put the whole thing in context.
Ten minutes of “Bhagwan ke liye mujhe chod do”, “Atak gya atak gya” and “Kya gora gora badan hai Aoooo” play, a montage of different movies, cutting into precious question time.
Rukhi: Now Prabhuji…your question..
Prabhuji: My question is why did you not have this conversation in a public place? Simple.
Bhakti (agitated): Well I thought this program was about ethics in the movie industry. I would love to be part of such a discussion. So I must ask you why when you come in and see me struggling with your heroine, why do you beat the crapshit out of me without even asking for the side of the story? Why do you thrash me raw? What kind of ethics are these Prabhuji?
Prabhuji: I shall definitely answer your questions. But first please answer my question—–why did you not have this conversation in a public place? In other words, why did you call her to your hotel room? I mean you could have mentored her sitting in the hotel lobby.
Bhakti: Dhanki Chiki, dhanki chiki, dhanki chiki dhaank. Pappu chalaya chappu. Undie main Shundie.
Rukhi: I think Shining has a question.
Prabhuji (throwing up his hands): But he hasn’t answered……
Shining (starting to speak): Here is my concern, Bhakti, —– why did, of all people did, she come to you? I mean she could have gone to anyone else in the film fraternity wearing that short dress—-I mean I can say honestly, and call me new-school, that I would never let a young girl looking for a break get within a mile of my personal space. Do you think there was something specific about you in particular that made this woman feel that she would get a more sympathetic ..mmm…..ear from you?
Prabhuji smiles, looking at his fingers.
Bhakti: How do you know I am the only person she went to asking for help? The thing is that these things happen all the time—no one here is lilywhite. The only thing I will accept to is perhaps an error of judgment on my part and that too that happened just because I am a chota sa, pyara sa, nanna sa baccha….
Prabhuji: So you say that inviting her over to your room in a private place was an error in judgment?
Bhakti: Stop putting words in my mouth. I never said that.
Prabhuji: So what is the answer? You still have not answered my question.
Bhakti: But I have.
Prabhuji (Exasperated smile): No you have not. You still say there is nothing inherently suspicious of wanting to meet a girl upstairs in your room when you could have well had the conversation in a public space. Why didn’t you since, according to you, you were trying to brush her off politely?
Bhakti: Do I ever question your choices in life? Do I ever ask you why for you only, gravity is optional? Do I ever ask why Alok Kanth always looks like he is going to break into tears?
Prabhuji: The difference is my question is the crux of this discussion. Whereas your questions are not.
Bhakti (really angry): No it is. It very much is. You see…
Prabhuji: I do see. I have to. This is your “area”. Aur apne mohalla main to har koi sher ban sakta hai…
Bhakti: Now that is totally uncalled for Prabhuji.
Prabhuji: Be it may. I am still waiting for my answer.
Bhakti: What answer? I mean what am I accused of? I say this with great respect that you have no idea as to how mentoring young talent is done.
Prabhuji: I may not. And I think, given the time, I would like to know. But I am sorry you still have not answered my question satisfactorily.
Bhakti: Again I will say that the only thing I will accept to having done is having an innocent belief in the basic goodness of women. Other than that, I will not accept any ulterior motive on my part, I will strongly oppose the defamation that you and the other person who has not come to this show, A K Bangal, has indulged in, throwing mud at my character. Tell me, so many other people who mentor actresses in different ways, why did you pick me out and put my face on your hoardings? Sells more issues of “Raktha Hoon Main Khulla” no?
Prabhuji: Maybe because you are so charming.
Bhakti: Aaah, at last a compliment.
Rukhi: That’s a very sexy comment.
Bhakti: Yes of course. There is a subtext of polygamy running through this whole controversy. But let’s not go there.
Rukhi: Well that’s all we have time for folks.
Prabhuji: But my question…he still has not……..Aii salaa…………