I have always rued the fact that this generation lacks true rage icons. This, I believe, explains why the new Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, unlike his predecessor, breaks down into tears at every opportunity. Or why the handsome hunks in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara spent so much time discovering their Ying side.
One cannot blame the bachchas too. Because they had not grown up with Amitabh Bachchan’s angry enraged man avatar, where the tightening of jaw conveyed as much burn as three hours of the angsty Rockstar. Because they have not, at an impressionable age, felt the blast from Sunny Deol screaming “Balwaant Raii….” like Mount Krakatoa or experienced first hand his wrath as he laid to waste the Pakistani Army with just a handpump. Hell these poor kids have been brought up under the shadow of a KJo-ized namby pamby Sirish-Kunder-slapping SRK, a far cry from the lip-quivering, red-eyed, macho Madan-Chopra-penetrator which is how we like to remember him.
Raghu? That clown from “Roadies”? A icon of rage? A poseur of the first order, as beautifully shown by Arunabh Kumar in this take-down of “Roadies”, he stands in front of a number of wannabes with his “I know you better than you cause I am awesome” act, wannabes who know they have to tremble in front of him in order to get selected. Truth be told, even Dr. Manmohan Singh is more macho lethal than him. He may have presided over the most corrupt government ever but even he did not act in Tees Mar Khan. He may take orders from the Madam but that is more honorable than acting as as John Abraham’s sidekick in Jhoota Hi Sahi. In an ideal world, Raghu should have walked about wearing adult diapers over his trousers. But then in an ideal world, there would be no Roadies.
Given this sorry state of role models, how can I expect the young tykes to know rage? Who can they look up to I wondered?
It was then that the answer hit me. My namesake. Arnab Goswami.
This time in India, having nothing better to do, I saw, I mean really saw, Arnab Goswami on Times Now. And all I can say, that the Bengal Tiger faces no threat of extinction as long as he is alive. .
There he is, sitting in the middle of the screen. The viewing area on the TV is split in four (or even five), each housing one sorry individual unfortunate enough to be a guest, all of them united by a dangerous secret–Arnab is angry at them.Puffing his feathers like a cock ready to fight, he looks to the right and then to the left, rapidly, in a way that would make the Aamir Khan character in Ghajni look positively tranquil. The blabbering talking heads try to say something but Arnab looks at them sternly and opens his third eye.
As a Bengali I can see the acid rising from his insides, an all too familiar sensation to Bongs called acid-reflux—-except for Arnab it is not caused by food but by outrage and it is not dilute hydrochloric acid that flows up but aqua regia. Gently jumping up and down at one place almost as if he is on an idling Harley Davidson, he intersperses his sentences with “Times Now broke this news exclusively” and ” The nation demands an answer” and “Let me read you the letter YOUR secretary wrote…” . Sometimes he pauses mid-sentence, some might say at the wrong places, but the reason for that is obvious. He is letting the guests stew in their own sweat, caught as they are in the hell-fire of his persistent questioning. And if they so much as dare to try to get in a word edgewise, he interrupts them with a steamy ” Sir, you are avoiding the question” or “That is besides the point” as he huffs and puffs along like a pressure cooker on the stove for too long.
Very rarely is the wind taken out his rather pompous sails. When that happens, it is only because someone says “But Arnab I agree with you” . At this point of time, he suddenly loses his train of thought, looks at the world with the deer-caught-in-headlights my-cleavage-is-a-better-actress-than-me Amisha Patel stare, only to regain his anger a second later with a passionate shake of his head, “You misunderstand sir. I do not agree. No I do not.” Then passing a smile at the camera, a smile that says “Kya karoon oh ladies, main hoon adaat se majboor” he is off again on a roaring romp of rage, the enraged conscience of India.
Observing him for hours on end, I realize that no I was wrong. This generation has no excuse for being passive, no excuse for not turning into an army of Hulks.
It has Arnab. Blessed it is.