Shakti-Man

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[I have been busy putting finishing touches to my next book “The Mine”, releasing next January. Hence the long hiatus. Sincere thanks to all who inquired.]

I have always been a fan of Shakti Kapoor. One of the reasons for my admiration has obviously been his career-defining performance as the Vitamin Sex-amped, ambigosexual, killed-in-a-ladies-bathroom-by-Prabhuji-through-cutting-off-of-male-organ Chutiya in one of the most influential Hindi movies of the last century, Kanti Shah’s “Gunda”. But even before I came across this life-altering celluloid classic, I had been keenly following  Shakti’s acting career, marveling at his histrionic abilities.

His “Atak gya atak gya” sympathetic portrayal of stammerers in “Satte pe Satta”.  His serial-confessional performance in “Tohfa” where he would periodically jump in front of the camera,say “Yeh kaam maine kiya hai” and hop out like a twisted grasshoper . His essaying of a gay policeman in “Mast Kalandar” (Dekh Raja mujhe koi ganda cheez ka koi chaska naheen hai. Na sharaab da. Na juye da. Na daulat da. Aur na kisi ladki da.). His role as Raja-babu’s “Yeh ka hai. Ye naada hai” friend Nandu-tumhara-bondu. His  tour d’force as Batuknath “Chota sa pyara se nanha sa” Lallan Prasad Maalpaani in Chaalbaaz. The paidaaishi chor Crimemaster Gogo of “Andaaz Apna Apna”, the most dangerous thief outside the UPA government.

Shakti Kapoor, I have always felt, has shown originality, in a way few in Bollywood have done. Truly it can be said, if “Reading Lolita in Tehran” elevated a group of women above the pain of their existences in Iran, watching Shakti going “Lolitaaaaaa in India” was as liberating an experience for an entire generation of Indians.

As the nineties became the twenty-first century and with it Bollywood plunged itself into a sea of a new-found internationalism, fundamental transformations were wrought in its basic fabric, one of them being the extinction of the traditional villain.  Naturally, Shakti Kapoor found himself shunted out, like muslin weavers after the incursion of cheap cloth from Manchester. He took refuge in alternative Bollywood, where he still sparkled from time to time playing  a scheming fashion-photographer or did bit-parts in mainstream movies like the person who bites Anil Kapoor (so convincing is his method acting that Anil Kapoor had to get a tetanus shot). But it was obvious that his career as an A-lister had all but ended. Till his recent appearance as the “sole male member”  in Big Boss 5, through which he has, once again, re-claimed his place in the limelight, a place he is born for.

Unfortunately though, and this never ceases to shock and disturb me, is the disrespect that is heaped upon this man, in the media and in the digital social sphere e.g. Twitter. Say that you are supporting Shakti Kapoor and be prepared to face an assault from rolling-eye-ladies, who shall in essence imply that being a Shakti Kapoor fan is tantamount to supporting rape and molestation. And joining voices with them will be men—-after all dissing Shakti has become the first step for those who want to show themselves to be “sensitive” (the second being to claim that the personal journeys of the characters in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara were fascinating).

What’s Shakti’s crime? Let’s see.  He has played the role of rapist and molester in a few of his movies. Okay maybe more than a few. But how does it make him a criminal—by that logic Arun Govil and Nitish Bharadwaj should be Gods. The worst that can be said about Shakti is that he has been typecast playing a specific type of role—–but which actor in Bollywood has not been? And it’s not that Shakti Kapoor wrote the story or the script, he was merely given a part to execute and it is a testament to  his immersion in character that so many years later, his portrayals still engender such strong emotions, misguided and misdirected though they be.

In Hindi movies, and this was even more pronounced in the last century, the appearance had to be kept up, solely for the sake of our culture, that love between man and woman is a heavenly bond between incorporeal entities. This sanitized bubble-wrapped abomination of reality was in sharp contrast to what the paying public wanted, namely the show of skin. The essential hypocrisy of Hindi movies in the 80s and the 90s was that they pandered to exactly  those instincts that were criminalized in the narrative—-namely lust. Shakti and people like Ranjeet and Gulshan Grover were the solutions to the conundrum of “How do we give the audience what they want while maintaining the safed chadar of propriety?”. With the heroine being unable to voluntarily expose and the hero unable to articulate his physical desires, villains like Shakti Kapoor became the vicarious projection of the desires of the sweaty masses onto the screen. In that way, Shakti was a collective toy for the masses and it is tragic that the same crowd that welded him for their own ends, would then end up spitting in his face. He had held a mirror to the Indian audience and what they saw was not pretty. So instead of slashing at their own faces with a razor, which is what they should have done, they took the comforting option of breaking the mirror and stomping on the shards.

One of the positives about the new Bollywood is that some of the hypocrisy (not all) about sexuality is gone. For instance, Emran Hashmi has no compunction in reaching for the bodice of his lady love within the first ten minutes of “Murder 2” and no one thinks any the worse for either of them. It is not a co-incidence that these more open depictions of human intimacy have been accompanied by the vanishing of the de-rigeur “rape scene” of the 80s and 90s movies. To put it simply, it is no longer a plot device that is needed. And one may thank Shakti’s emphatic performances for the change. No doubt the revulsion his acts unleashed forced this lasting, positive transformation.

Unfortunately all of what I just said wont change any hearts about Shakti just as all the American aid in the world won’t change Pakistani opinion about USA. Why? Because he is perceived as sleazy in real life, as someone who has strayed outside the compact of marriage. Remember that sting operation? Remember that offer of a role in exchange for favors? What kind of a decent man would do that?

Not to justify the casting couch or to take names, but if every power-broker that tried to use the power of their position to get women “to compromise” were to be shown the same level of opprobrium, then there would be lynch mobs out for many people in Bollywood. However none of these worthies has ever gotten the treatment that has been meted out to Shakti. In an interview to BBC, Shakti Kapoor talked about persecution of the type that, if it was anyone else, should have gotten Amnesty International involved. After the casting couch tapes broke, people came in front of his house shouting “Shakti Kapoor you are a bad person, Shakti Kapoor you are the worst person” . Such was their vitriol that the poor man felt that if he had been outside there would have been “two thousand pieces of Shakti Kapoor all scattered on the road and they would have been carrying one bit of Shakti Kapoor to their house as souvenir” [Link] And if that has not been enough public humiliation, when Shakti went to receive the Tepa Samman, women’s organizations garlanded him with a black cloth and slapped him and then he had ink poured on him in Nagpur.

Legendary heroes have two wives, legendary heroines become second wives (first marriage still valid), leading man has child out of wedlock, married mainstream director gets a court ruling against him in a sexual harassment case, and leading chocolate-faced hero and youth icon confesses to cheating on his girlfriend. I can go on and on but you get the point—– all kinds of peccadilloes take place and no one responsible for these have their reputations dragged through the mud as Shakti Kapoor does.

The character Joey Tribbiani of “Friends” makes no secret of the fact that he objectifies women, sleeps around, forgets their names, looks a girl lasciviously up and down while crudely saying “How you doin?”. Yet ask women what they think and they will say, without fail, that they find Joey/Matt Le Blanc dreamily sexy. But let Shakti do even a bit of what Joey does, let him roll the word Balmaaaaaaa round his tongue and watch the sandals and ink-pots come out.

The ultimate hypocrisy? In the season premiere of Big Boss 5, the hosts humiliate Shakti Kapoor by not interacting with him, the only contestant to be singled out.  The hosts are two of the biggest matinee idols in Bollywood with millions of adoring women fans. Let’s look at them a bit closely. Between them, the hosts have illegally possessed arms, killed endangered species, been accused of running over pavement dwellers and done serious jail time. And none of them can be considered to have been paragons of “virtue”. Yet they are the heroes. And then there is the villain, a man with no criminal record, who has never collaborated with terrorists or put a poor living being in the crosshairs of his gun. What is his lot? Being made the target of scorn and abuse. Pathetic.

So if you have ever curled up in bed wondering why the world has different standards for you than it has for others, if you have felt discriminated against in life and in love, then I urge you to stand with me in support of Shakti, a true victim of societal hypocrisy, as he goes for the big  Big Boss prize.

As he once famously said in “Dalaal”, “Kutta…kutta hoon main, jawaniyon ko soongta hoon”. Well every dog has his day. And Shakti’s might just be here.

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77 thoughts on “Shakti-Man

  1. That last bit about the “two hosts” and Shakti tells you what Bollywood is all about. Hypocrisy. To put it in one word.

  2. Totally agree with you. Salman Khan/Sanjay Dutt should have been doing serious jail time rather than cavorting women on the silver screen. I really find it difficult to accept that movies made by those two psychopaths continue to get positive reviews (including yours , I regret to say).

  3. Hi Arnav – I had safely assumed you have taken an early Pujo break and hence no posts on RTDM. An articulate post, and compels one to think how the society and the media approach people and issues with an uneven prism

  4. Whoa! This one really caught me off-guard!

    I have never _hated_ Shakti Kapoor, per se, except the reflexive disgust that came out during the sting operation. Then I believed that he was just an easy target that the channel pried on.

    But I have never sympathized with him either. Frankly have never even thought about it either. Amrish Puri, Gulshan Grover or even Ranjit gets a mention here and there positively, but never Shakti Kapoor. Most of it might have to do that he never had a legendary role that one could remember him for. Amrish Puri was Mogambo, Gulshan Grover was “bad man”, but Shakti Kapoor hasn’t done anything of that level.

    Any way, the point being, most of your posts I find myself nodding through, but this one was different. A perennially hated man through the prism of hypocrisy. Well written.

  5. Well put Arnab_da, but as with many things bashing Shakti Kapoor “sells”. Like being pseudo-secular, idolising Rahul G@nd# and having him lead “hubby wish-list”, being a “Biddwa-jon” in WB, and texting TOI in support of anti-corruption movement.

  6. What actually happpened with the hosts of BB5 (Salman & Sunjay) and Shakti Kapoor? Did they ignore him deliberately? I missed the show on TV.

  7. Did I just read this atrocious blogpost? Can’t put down in words how utterly distasteful it is.

    “The paidaaishi chor Crimemaster Gogo of “Andaaz Apna Apna”, the most dangerous thief outside the UPA government.” – What kind of a statement is that? And what kind of perverse logic? What makes you think that UPA is biggest thief? BJP govt was even more corrupt than Congress. Moreover BJP was in bed with big business and they supported the evil ways of business men and their crony capitalism. And the dirty Sangh pets, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-LK Advani duo was far more filthy corrupt and anyday a bigger thief. At least, we can say that Manmohan Singh is of impeccable integrity and high morals. Khushwant Singh himself said that Dr Singh is our best PM ever.

    But what I can never forgive is the shameless, naked defense of Shakti Kapoor. This man who was caught on camera offering women roles in turn for sexual favours is just another man by the logic of “Great” Bong. Do you know that what Shakti did amounts to nothing but rape? Do you support rape? How would you feel if Shakti did the same to a woman close to you? Yes, many other men in Bollywood do the same. BUT TWO WRONGS DON’T MAKE A RIGHT.

    But nothing is impossible or indecent in today’s India which worships Narendra Modi for his “no-nonsense administrative skills, corruption free sky-high development and growth” and overlooks the brutal mass murder, mass rape and genocide of our Muslims, who’re finest citizens of this country and served it whenever it needed them. The defense used by Modi’s dirty fans of “Congress did same in 84 but atleast Modi is development rockstar” is pretty much the same you use for Shakti, Mr Arnab Ray. You talk about the “hypocrisy” of 80s and 90s. But in those days, India had a soul. Unfortunately, we have lost that soul now, thanks to economic liberalization and a nation drunk on chauvinistic nationalism. It is due to the right wing conservatism of privileged Indian males that our country is going down the drains. If this nation is to be salvaged it will need muscular left-liberalism and strong feminism and shunning of heartless “development and growth”.

    I dare you to leave a reply Sir.

  8. I never thought that I would support Shakti Kapoor. Thanks for providing much needed new perspective for the man. I hope Shakti Kapoor reads this.

  9. @Rita Mukherjee: The God of Indian blogs is out pandal-hopping, so he has sent the devil to do the mop up, and here I go:

    Miss Mukherjee: It’s your PC and it’s your Internet, and above all your discretion. So you read the post, all right! As far as “we” are concerned, you are not welcome here. Now coming to what you have trolled, the first paragraph of your comment does not provide evidence, and it rides on ad hominem fallacy.

    In your second paragraph, what makes you think that someone is begging for your forgiveness, Miss Ruchi, oops Rita?…

    As far as Narendra Modi is concerned, and your statement that he “overlooked … finest citizens”, could you please provide supporting evidence for the same?

    [ed]

  10. You have very clearly highlighted the hypocrisy surrounding Shakti Kapoor. Thanks to your article, I have a different perspective now. Media is the biggest culprit in perpetuating hypocrisy, double-standard views, a sense of self-righteousness and pseudo intellectualism. Very nice post, Mr GreratBong. 🙂

  11. arnab after reading ur post….shakti would want to dash out of big boss house….fly to US to meet u and would cry his heart out on ur shoulders…he wont b able to thank u enough for being able to understand his plight and put it to words so unabashedly and so beautifully…

  12. Another example is Amitab Bachan. [ed] promised donation to a temple in Andhra but never fulfilled that, had his bahu married to a tree,[ed] , but still he is revered. Don’t know when this will end.

  13. I sense a Rediff-like war of words exchanged between “Madrasans” and “Naarth Indians” now that Kishor has ruffled a few feathers.

    Also, expect Pseudo-liberals and Hindu Phantoms engage in a battle of wits while I gear up for the next episode of We the People – Was Shakti Kapoor a victim of Indian media’s hypocrisy?”

  14. Well done Greatbong! This post was worth the wait!

    While I agree completely with your point about hypocrisy, I can’t help but say, “It is what it is.” It’s the same reason girls like to date the good looking ‘bad guy’ but not the scrawny sleazebag; even though the result of both relationships will be the same!!! Nobody can change the thinking of over a billion people.

    As far as the hosts snubbing him is concerned, I think it was more about a personal issue than his on or off screen image. Shakti Kapoor even alluded to it in yesterday’s episode.

    As you can tell, I watch Bigg Boss with complete concentration. And while I’m at it, GULABO FOR THE WIN!!!

  15. Nice post, and i somehow knew GreatBong would write a post on Shakti. Kind of guessed it from his tweets on the first day of Big Boss 5! I have always liked Shakti Kapoor despite his misgivings. For a moment, in the beginning of this post, I thought GB is going to be satirical on him, but then the logic of his explanations registered!

    Yes, I do feel the sudden shift of gears to hit UPA out-of-the-blue was kind of unexpected, and uncalled for. Not that i do not agree to his disenchantment with UPA, but everything has a place and opportunity, and this post on Shakti did not warrant a UPA on unsuspecting us!

    Ms. Rita Mukherjee, you deserve a different platform, and we dont buy your wisdom here, sorry. LEt this be only about Shakti Kapoor!

  16. Great piece, well written.

    On another note, while I understand you have been busy, and wish you the very best for your second book, I hope you do not keep your fan-base waiting so long for the next blog post.

  17. “Khushwant Singh himself said that Dr Singh is our best PM ever.”

    OMG stil ROFLing on it… Since when Khushwant Singh’s words replaced Bahart ratna for integrity?

    BTW Manmohan- I-Don’t-know- Singh is now our best PM? Huh.

  18. “…after all dissing Shakti has become the first step for those who want to show themselves to be “sensitive” (the second being to claim that the personal journeys of the characters in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara were fascinating).”

    I am in the club who don’t diss Shakti Kapoor for a living, have seen enough movies to know him as an A-lister in his time, and like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (without any unfulfilled desires to be perceived as sensitive by anybody).

    That apart, nice post.

  19. Great to see you back.

    Among the triumvirate of bad men – Ranjeet, Gulshan Grover and Shakti Kapoor – I would say Shakti lags behind the others in terms of screen presence. Ranjeet was macho (even when his shirt was buttoned up) while Gulshan tried to bring variety with hair/beard/clothes combos! Shakti played sidekick more often than not ( to Kader Khan in those Padmalaya movies or Anupam kher in Chalbaaz). He just played it loud.

    would love a article on Ranjeet!

  20. A very perceptive post. Impressive.

    The reason for hate for him has been summed up beautifully by
    @Gayatri
    “It’s the same reason girls like to date the good looking ‘bad guy’ but not the scrawny sleazebag; even though the result of both relationships will be the same!!! Nobody can change the thinking of over a billion people.”

  21. GB, you missed a point. The reason why the film industry wallahs snub Shakti is because he bad-mouthed the likes of Yash chopra, Yash johar and Aishwarya rai when he was drunk. They say your true character comes out under the influence of alcohol. While Salman Khan and Sanjay dutt are wrongdoers themselves, at least the perception people have of them is of men who are good hearted. Much like Sanjay Dutt’s Munna bhai character.

  22. Rita Mukherjee, Your comment doesnt make any sense to this post, this is not playground for your emotions towards politics, moreover if what is been praised here is the talent, not the ability to RAPE, also if the actor who is acting for the evil part of the movie is also a great actor doesnt he/she deserves a applause.

  23. I feel blessed to have had the privilege of reading Ms.Rita Mukherjee’s post. It felt like Goddess Arundhati Roy herself had descended upon this blog and blessed us with her words. Somebody suggested Ms.Mukherjee was a troll…. HOW DARE YOU!!! Ms.Mukherjee is the genuine article. Everybody kneel before Her Highness and seek blessings and repent and confess your earthly sins. Rita Devi may sound harsh, but she is also soft at heart. If you genuinely repent your sins will be forgiven and you can start with a new slate.

    Here’s hoping for a bright Indian future as “muscular left-liberalists” and “strong feminists” take over and rule our benighted country. Lal Salaam and Inquilaab Zindabad !!

  24. Nice post Greatbong. Had lots of fun reading through this alternate perspective of Shakthi Kapoor that you have presented.

    @Rita Mukherjee: Try to see the humor behind this post and you will like it.

  25. Intersting post.

    While not a fan of Shakti Kapoor, I have enjoyed his movies and agree with most of what you say here. And I am an ardent Feminist.

    In defence of Ms. Mukherjee though, propsitioning a woman, mild though it may be among the wrongs committed by most of the film industry, is quite sick, though it does NOT make him a rapist. He certainly did not force himself on anyone.

    Going on a massive tangent here:

    Ms. Mukherjee, “Manmohan Singh is of impeccable integrity and high morals” has absolutely no relevance if he cannot control or dismiss corrupt elements within “his” government. As Prime Minister, it is his responsibility to make policy and oversee its execution. As such, he has remained, throughout his career someone who abhorred taking responsibility or initiative. The 1991 reforms were catalysed by need and led by Narsimha Rao, though Rao rarely gets the credit. It was also Singh who was responsible for much of the mess in the first place. He had served as the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission and written the crappy 5 year plans that were contrary to good economics, and he knew it. While his personal morals may be impeccable, his political morals are rotten. For a detailed role of Manmohan Singh in the public arena both as a bureaucrat and a politician, please read the very comprehnsive and detailed story in the October issuue of the Caravan:

    http://caravanmagazine.in/Story.aspx?Storyid=1103

    Our country had a very fractured soul in the 80s, unless you call a sorry, poverty laden heap a soul. It was sucked by dementor like populist government policies encouraging license raj, blackmoney and backwardness. Honestly, taxes over 90%? What were you thinking Mrs. G?

    Why should an open market go against feminism or liberalism? They can be reconciled. Indeed, just because the West had a patriarchal capitalistic development model does not mean that those iniquities need to be reflected in India. We have after all discovered development after the West has already discovered Feminism and Liberalism, so our development in all three areas can go on in parallel. Indeed, today, there is hardly any glass ceiling for educated, able, Indian women in the corporate sector. Gender equality as far as career opportunities for urban women is heartening, though one must admit that the remnants of Victorian morality still masquerade as “Indian morals” especially in the North Indian belt, but socialism/communism is hardly the cure. That just concentrates power in people who want to maintain the status quo of poverty to keep up their power base.

    Aylamrin, “As far as “we” are concerned, you are not welcome here”: Speak for yourself. I think you are over reacting.

  26. @Reshma
    ‘the remnants of Victorian morality still masquerade as “Indian morals” especially in the North Indian’

    Typical feminist blind spot.

    These “morals” also affect men. Talking, flirting, hanging out with girls, hookups etc. are also discouraged (shaming/scolding/frowning etc.) in a typical middle class home. Even career wise, boys face much more pressure than girls to kill their passion and follow the beaten track be an engineer/doctor etc. all the way from primary school days.

    It is not uncommon to meet an IITian 10 years after graduation who laments that it was all because of ‘parental pressure’ and expectation of leading a family that has led him to his current existence wherein he is hammering away 12 hours a day in front of his computer improving the bottom line of a corporate behemoth.
    Not that there is anything wrong with it but he is actively discouraged to explore any other route (other than BTech(+MBA)-Job-Marry before 30) either directly or indirectly thus preventing him to know if there was something else which was worth making a sacrifice for.

    This being average, outliers are excused.

    –ps–
    If ‘North India’ is too ‘victorian’ try living in Chennai.

  27. @Party Pooper, agree. Never said “indian morals” affect only women. Anyway, I don’t know how your example highlights Victorian morality. It just highlights conservatism. Anyway, I have gone through the same grind myself, though I’m female. I’m from udct, mumbai (now ict). Went into biotech ’cause of parental pressure. They now want me to do an MBA. Wanted to take arts in Xaviers. My crime? I got good marks! My cousin wanted to by a physicist. He’s a doctor. Same reason. Where’s the feminist blindspot? This is a universal bias in most middle class Indian parents. Happily I’m young enough to get out yet. Haven’t lived in Chennai. You don’t make it sound like a pleasnt place though :P. The only cons I’d ever imagined were the humidity and heat.

    PS you may want to read my blog. Have ranted on the same point you make here.

  28. I do think it is your unconditional love & admiration for this man that he has claimed the limelight again…you were sending those positive thoughts to the universe & it happened. Only a true believer could write like this. Loved it!

  29. The legend of Shakti Kapoor lives on. A woman is already six months pregnant aur show shuru hoke 4 din bhi nahi huai.

  30. Wow! Trust Shakti Kapoor to spark a Modi vs. Manmohan diatribe..! @GreatBong, looks like UPA badly needs some “london ki goliya” that Shakti had in Gunda. Please ask Bulla if he can get some from Italy!

    @gagan, what if Shakti bad mouthed Yash Chopra / Yash Johar / Ash? Do the “good hearted” Salman & Sanjay have the courage to do it? I bet they’re scared stiff of the repercussions! Don’t we all bad-mouth all and sundry at one point or another? And no, your true character doesn’t come out under the “influence” of alcohol. It doesn’t come out until you want it to. Please feel free to try alcohol 🙂

    Insider fact badly wanted: Do viewers’ votes really count in Bigg Boss? If so, I put 5 bucks on Shakti!

  31. Spot On Greatbong! Salman’s and Sanjay’s behaviour was uncalled for…infact they made a statement that Big Boss was badedilwala (big hearted) since bigboss invited Shakthi Kapoor for this show. Because no one else would even think of inviting someone like him..I am sure the same logic applies to Salman and Sanjay too…after all they havent been saints themselves…infact they are and have been bigger threat/villains to the society than 25 Shakthi Kapoors put together. From Involuntary Manslaughter to hunting Protected Wildlife to possesing illeagal weapons..they have done it all..

  32. Hi..I hav been a big fan of u..luvd d post..as usual..i hav a neu found respect for shaktiman..thank u..god bless d both of u…

  33. You never fail to provide some very unique perspectives …. 🙂

    Anyway good to see you back, I’m hoping the book is hitting the press soon.

  34. I missed you Arnab.

    And yeah, this was quite a read. Definitely, I now see Shakti kapoor differently.
    Thanks for that. Keep Posting.

  35. Glad you are back…and hope you are digging “The Mine” nice and easy…

    Very well written, especially the lines on Sanju baba and Sallu bhai!

  36. I do not like Shakti Kapoor because he seems extremely sleazy. He comes across as the same person in real life as he plays on screen. But I did enjoy his role in Chaalbaaz- only he could potray the sleazy, sexually frustrated, cheap, psychotic guy as it was probably thought of by the scriptwriter. But I did like the angle that GreatBong put to the post. After reading the post, I still do not like Shakti Kapoor but I am glad that the two hosts of Big Boss 5 have been parodied- Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt are quite detestable people in real life even if they play heroes on screen. And of course hypocritical Bollywood continues to mesmerise.

  37. Rarely does a comment is as striking as a striking post. Ms. Mukherjee….I bow too thee. ” If this nation is to be salvaged it will need muscular left-liberalism and strong feminism and shunning of heartless “development and growth”. Ha Ha Ha HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa HaHa Ha

  38. very nice post, and well thought out. While shakti kapoor is not a paragon of virtue (Who is?) to be insulted and humiliated by a terrorist colloborator and a drug addict along with a botoxed hair transplanted homeless killer is really ironic.Think the two posts raise some very important points
    i)The standards society affirms to or tries anyways have been twisted beyond recognition by the Indian film Industry and the media so much that somebody is recognised only by what he is supposed to be not what he/she is
    ii)Perception is ALL.. There is nothing else, not your behavior not your actions and certainly not your character that matter, PERCEPTION…what the media makes, what the “camps” in Bollywood perpetuate, what the PR experts postulate…
    As for rita mukerjee’s comments, the only retort i can make is this “all of you left liberal UPA sympathisers, your come uppance is coming in 2014..”

  39. Very very nice post, Arnab. You are the only one who could have written about Shakti Kapoor and that too with such passion. Am glad you gave Shakti his best tribute ever.

  40. ‘After all dissing Shakti has become the first step for those who want to show themselves to be “sensitive” (the second being to claim that the personal journeys of the characters in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara were fascinating)’ – loved this part. ZNMD sucked big time and I still don’t find any sense in that stupid idiotic film…

  41. aaaaoooooo aiyyye aiyyye andar aiyye aiyye….. the legend of GB/shakti has been enhanced no end…….shakti was the only good thing in bollywood in the 80’s and 90’s …..genuine man who unashamedly showed what we are all about…deep down we are all shakti….

    @ ms mukherjee lol rotfl your post shows exactly why people like shakti make life a little more bearable

    we love women, sex and random hook-ups…and in those dark days shakti was the only hope…)

  42. Hi GB,

    This was a good post. Made me look at Shakti Kapoor in a new light. I admit that I have hated him since the sting operation. But that does not mean that now I am suddenly a fan of Shakti.

    Your post highlights the hypocrisy of Bollywood. But, to a small extent, I agree with Rita. Just because others in Bollywood have not been persecuted in the media, does not mean that Shakti is a good man. And I doubt that this is what you are trying to say.

    And that is why, even though this post throws new light on Shakti Kapoor, it does not make me support or like him. It does make me sympathize with him since he is the only one being hit. But then, I am not a fan of either Salman or Sanjay. So it doesnt feel bad to hate Shakti along with them.

  43. arnab…please delete Rita Mukherjee’s post. She is a ‘drawing room’ left lib who will never understand the humour.

    Actually feel like beating her soul with a sole.

  44. Interesting perspective, Shakti in his acting career has portrayed the role of a rapist, oogler, scratcher, molestor, and has done a great job, so great that people perceive him as rapist in real life. Well its not his fault that he looks like a rapist. All he did was fake the above in front of a camera. Why? because the director has asked him to do so!

    Its like Daniel Radcliff being a potter all his life or Shahrukh Khan being perceived as a super hero. Its not only in the acting profession. Its there is all professions, we never show dignity of labor, we sometimes fail to understand that a labor or a carpenter or a maid or a grave digger are also human and have feelings and dignity like us. So it should not matter what acting role you have played, all that should matter is what have you done in real life.

    Nobody made fun of Shakti in big boss, the host thought of cracking up the audience, but nobody did.It not about Shakti being a victim, we all are at some forum or other.

  45. I happened to come across this blog post while researching ‘Shaktiman’, the serial aired on DD in the 90s, for a project on Indian popular culture and media. And it was a happy coincidence because the writer highlighted a lot of issues that I intend to articulate in my project. I could not agree more with Arnab and really admire his ability to present compelling socio-cultural issues of our times in such a funny, non-pedantic and non-preachy way. The reference to Gunda and the epic films of the 80s and 90s warmed me up to this post from the word go.

    I understand that Arnab is quite a celebrity-blogger (this is my first exposure to his writing. I have heard of his first book though) with a loyal fan-following (with good reason). However, I find the rather rabid and vitriolic attacks on Ms. Rita Mukherjee quite alarming. I can understand why she may come across as self-righteous, opinionated and possibly annoying to some, but that is no reason to condemn her views as being so ridicule-worthy and absurd as to merit deletion of her post (as suggested by a reader above). Considering that this post was precisely about not resorting to lazy and convenient stereotypes, perpetuated by the great ‘culture industries’, the irony (and injustice) of panning someone as a ‘drawing room left-liberal’ and a ‘troll’ while supporting the cause of Shakti and his ilk is evident.
    I wonder if that is because Shakti, being a soft-target and an object of harmless buffoonery, is easier to defend and empathize with, but anyone who points out the glaring lacunae that pervade our polity (albeit with card-carrying rhetoric, as in Ms Mukherjee’s case) is someone to be silenced and ridiculed lest they poop our great big free-market party.

    That said, whattay post machha. Aaaaoooww

  46. “The ultimate hypocrisy? In the season premiere of Big Boss 5, the hosts humiliate Shakti Kapoor by not interacting with him, the only contestant to be singled out. The hosts are two of the biggest matinee idols in Bollywood with millions of adoring women fans. Let’s look at them a bit closely. Between them, the hosts have illegally possessed arms, killed endangered species, been accused of running over pavement dwellers and done serious jail time. And none of them can be considered to have been paragons of “virtue”. Yet they are the heroes. And then there is the villain, a man with no criminal record, who has never collaborated with terrorists or put a poor living being in the crosshairs of his gun. What is his lot? Being made the target of scorn and abuse. Pathetic.”

    It took a while to get through the above paragraph. I was overcome by an overwhelming feeling of rage.

    This is one of the best articles I’ve read. I wish such articles were printed in a mainstream print media. I’m sure the Kapoors, Khans and Dutts would raise a hellstorm against it, while hiding behind their star power and their useful-idiot fanbase.

  47. Good article. I am fan of shakti urf balmaaa….you have presents a very fair description of his side of story.

  48. i feel shakti kappor is one of the few really gifted artist in bollywood……take aside looks,in comic n villian roles he is way above many lead stars……butttttttttttttttttttttttt just because other bad peoples in real lie escapes punishment for the same mistakes shakti has done doesn’t makes him unguilty…….of course the hypocrisy hurts….but den we all do dat…….at least he got wat all other people doing such kind of deed deserves,n further make those other ‘gentlemena’ guilty of same things, a bit careful not to get involved in such kind of deeds in future………………..shakti
    may get pity from me for being an easy target…..but the people who did such things do deserves such kind of pain…period!

  49. Pingback: 13 Awesome Gifts For Shakti Kapoor On His Birthday

  50. Pingback: 10 Awesome Gifts For Shakti Kapoor On His Birthday | Viral Dhaba

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