Sivaji for President?I haven't followed the news since last evening, so in the morning, I look at my complimentary copy of Mid-Day. The front page has a feature on how Rajnikant used treatments to go "fair" for a song. I almost miss what is for me the biggest news of the day: Pratibha Patil's surpising entry into the Presidential race. But then imbalance is restored with a story about Rakhi Sawant, alleged Rajnikant fan.
The "news" channels are predictably tripping over themselves to cover the big buzz of the day. There are correspondents in multiplexes as far as Gurgaon. Improbably though, the NDTV man covering the representative Chennai multiplex is called Thapar
Thapa (which is like sending someone called Chokkalingam to cover the ritual sacrifices of the tribes of Papua New Guinea). Clearly not a local, he calls the movie "The Sivaji" and says the number of prints clearly shows the "magnanimity" of the scale of distribution. Sigh.
The problem here is that none of these Ground Hero reports tells us anything useful. Now, I am as curious as some half a billion others to know how the film has turned out, but this coverage is as illuminating as a few simians typing away at word-processors in Wingdings. The only salvage of the morning: a snap interview of Rajnikant at the airport, declining to be compared to Amitabh B ("he's the Emperor, I'm the King, if at all I am one") - remember that an Amitabh film is also releasing today - and refusing to get into the "when politics" question, which was summarised by the piece-to-camera as "Rajnikant talking about his political ambitions" or some such.
In the midst of all this, I desperately want to know more about the lady most likely to be the first woman President of India (take that USA and France! ;-)). But no. I guess we get the news we deserve, or at any rate, we get the news someone thinks we deserve. Is it possible for a channel to take a deep breath and say, right, all this hoopla is fine, so give the Tamil flick a 5 min report, but let's get back to more important things, shall we? Or perhaps, those of us unpaid unemployed who sit in front of the TV on a Friday morning are indeed interested overwhelmingly in movies and not politics. Stick the Prez in the evening, the real men and women will be back by then.
Finally, the Shiv Sena gets the last word. When contacted on their stance on recent developments regarding Marathi pride, a spokesperson said: "We fully support it. This is a matter of the pratibhaa of the maraaThii maaNus.". He said that Shiv Sainiks have been told to go out there and fill the multiplexes and chant Jai Shivaji each time Rao-saheb twirls a ciggy (just menthol, don't worry Mr. Ramadoss). On Pratibha Patil however he simply said: "kaay?".
Ok, I did make that up. But it's getting harder to tell.