Politics of Entertainment
Director Sayeed Mirza's film from late 70s "Albert Pinto ko gussa kyon ata hai" could have been reshot on the streets of Siliguri last week as angry fans of Indian Idol Prashant Tamang did something similar to what Shiv Sena does in Mumbai every now and then. An immature radio jockey from a private FM channel Red FM passed some derogatory comments about Prashant Tamang and his Gorkha origins and irate fans could not stop themselves from coming out on roads and burning vehicles...Curfew had to be imposed and situation was brought under control only after a few days...
One feels it is about time that we take look at some questions...Why does a minor act of the entertainment world whip up emotions of minority classes and specially the young ones to this extent?...Why does the entertainment world -(Bollywood, Radio or Entertainment channels on Television)- keep ridiculing minorities and `non-north Indians' even when representatives of these communities have now risen to claim top positions in the entertainment world itself? Will South Indians (Also Maharashtrians and Gujratis ), Muslims, Gorkhas etc only remain objects/tools for comic relief in our entertainment industry and never be heroes? How much of Punjabi domination of entertainment industry can the world digest?
Hindi movies have carried on the tradition of making fun of South Indians, Bengalis, Parsis and other minorities. Traditionally the comedians have had a south Indian accent or have been from the south. Whether it is Mehmood, Johnny Lever, Asit Sen, Dhumal or several non-north Indian comedians, they too took pride in ridiculing their own accent. The tradition continued in entertainment television...When satellite television came to India, it was channel V and other western channels which carried on with filmy tradition of making fun of south Indian cinema idols etc...The so called "Southern Masala" was portrayed as loud, backward and cheap form of entertainment that only deserves to be made fun of.. Nobody ridiculed about the Punjabi and Bhojpuri film heroes who were maybe as loud and cheap! Now just like South Indians, Parses and Maharashtrians, The Gorkhas have it seems joined the hate list of Punjab-UP dominated entertainment industry!
We have unfortunately grown in this tradition without realizing the huge political incorrectness that we encouraged...And now young -just out of college- `radio jockeys' who maybe don't even understand the seriousness of the impact of broadcast journalism are taking the tradition forward !
Entertainment industry in India as everyone knows has witnessed a huge boom in the last few years...Now with several FM radio channels in metros and smaller cities the need is felt to fill in hours of time with entertainment, music, chat and shows. Top bosses from the corporate world now a days keep talking about how 65 percent of India's population is under the age of 35 and how it must be the young who shall drive every business venture and so we have these 20 something's taking charge of airwaves at prime time ! Even as they live off bollywood , Most know only about Himesh and Salman...maybe they think it is fashionable to talk about `Panchamda' but you try and ask about Sachinda, Mukesh or Khayyam and the ignorance will be exposed...On the day before Mumbai's biggest annual festival Ganesh Chaturthi an RJ of a major radio brand in Mumbai at 11.54PM said.."Just six minutes to go for Ganesh Chaturthi, You are tuned into...." !!! The basic fact that hindu calendar is lunar and the change of date at midnight is a Christian tradition was not known to this jockey...Luckily Shiv Sena was not listening so there were no vehicles burned on Mumbai roads the next day.
If you randomly tune into any FM radio channel in Mumbai today any time of the day it is likely that you will hear a song with Punjabi lyrics...Well, I have nothing against Punjabi, if the beat is `rocking' be it, air it everyday I have no problems but then why don't they play a scintillating Tamil melody by A R Rehman or Ilayaraja ever ? If regional music is to be played on Mumbai FM channels why not a Bengali song once in a while ? Why does it have to be Punjabi all the time ?
Would the Red FM radio jockey have made fun of the winner of this year's Indian Idol contest if the winner was a Chopra, Khanna or Kapoor from UP or Punjab? Surely not. Would he make fun of a winner next year if the winner is a Parsi? Yes maybe...because Parsis don't come out on roads and burn cars! "Albert Pinto ko Gussa Isiliye Atta Hai"!!!