Off the record

Off the record

Always an entertainer

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad never misses to grab limelight. He did it again during the introduction of Lokpal Bill in Lok Sabha.  Interestingly, he hardly missed any point which suits his politics. He attacked Anna Hazare to promote his relationship with Sonia Gandhi and the Congress; he raised question of reservation for minority in Lokpal panel to placate Muslims, and also made fun of BJP leader LK Advani for nurturing an ambition to become Prime Minister to make  anti-BJP political groups happy.

However, political pundits claim that his mastery over the art of playing politics through comedy now does not help him much. They refer to his failure in wooing Sonia Gandhi for a berth in the Union cabinet. His attempts to win back Muslims are also not bearing any fruit—JD(U) has been successfully wooing Muslim voters, they claim. 

His politics of making fun of others has other adverse effects too. His long intervention in the great debate on introduction of the Lokpal Bill has not only earned him the wrath of Anna’s supporters, but also annoyed other political parties. “With such a poor strength in Parliament he becomes a major voice is amusing. But, in fact, no one takes him seriously including the media. They just enjoy his acting,” said a politician.

However, all admit that he still holds the capacity to charm people, even if it does not carry any political significance. He is a great entertainer, they exclaim. 

Anil Sinha, New Delhi


At the crack of Don

If the original Don Amitabh Bachchan can fly down to Patna, how can Don-2 Shah Rukh Khan be far behind.

So, a day before his forthcoming movie Don-2 was scheduled to hit the theatres, King Khan, flanked by Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar, made his maiden visit to the state capital.

Girls from colleges bunked their classes to see Badshah Khan. Braving the chilly weather and police lathi (baton), boys of all shades too did not mind jostling with girls to have a close encounter with the junglee billi (a character played by Priyanka Chopra). Some of them wrote in a piece of paper with their blood: “I love you Priyanka.”

So overwhelmed was Shah Rukh that he conceded: “I have been to places all over the world. But never seen this kind of affection….this is my first visit to Patna, but I regret why I did not come here in my two decades in tinsel town.”

Priyanka recounted her Bihar connection and said that she was born and brought up in Jamshedpur (earlier part of undivided Bihar).Before winding up his whirlwind promotional tour, Shah Rukh gave the parting shot: Don ko pakadna mushkil hee nahin, namumkin hai, par Patna walon ne pakad hee liya.

He was referring to the aborted attempt ten days back when he could not visit Patna due to denial of permission by the district administration citing law and order problem.

Abhay Kumar, Patna


Gracious gesture

This may be Tamil Nadu’s unique variation of Arthur Koestler’s famous metaphoric title, ‘The Yogi and The Commissar’.

This variance is about a Bishop and a famous woman politician from the state, Jayalaitha Jayaram, sharing the same dais, when the ruling AIADMK organised a ‘Christmas Function’ in Chennai few days back.

That by itself was not new and perfectly in secular order. But what caught everyone’s eyes was the Catholic Bishop of the Madras-Mylapore Diocese, Bishop A M Chinnappa, offering a piece of cake to ‘Amma’, not once, but twice on the stage.

After some soulful and scintillating carol singing by girls and boys, nothing could be sweeter for the Bishop than offering a cake to the grand lady of Tamil Nadu politics who hosted the celebrations.

“I may not ever get such an opportunity to give a cake to Jayalalitha and it was doubly sweet that I could do it twice,” the Bishop mused with light-hearted banter that enthralled the entire audience. When it was her turn to speak, Jayalalitha, who earlier cut the large cake with aplomb, said she was touched by the Bishop’s gracious gesture and wanted to reciprocate it by offering him a piece of cake too.

But as the lensmen covering the function could not get a good frame of the Bishop offering the cake to ‘Amma’ first, they urged the former to do an action replay and Rev. Chinnappa obliged by giving her a second cake. “That’s how I could not offer him a cake,” said Jayalalitha that sent the crowd roaring.

M R Venkatesh, Chennai

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