Mar 31, 2008

Unpleasantries Exchanged

Having not followed any TV for the last week (I didn't miss anything!), I didn't catch any of the hullabaloo over the sordid saga of Messrs. Tanushree Dutta and Nana Patekar. But now that events have been shrilly joined by Rakhi Sawant and worryingly, Raj Thackeray, the item (pun unintended) has bubbled up the news streams. The facts of the matter depend on whose version you choose to believe, but turning this into a "pride of maharashtra" issue is convenient for the MNS to pick up.

Now, I do not wish to jump to conclusions about anybody's 'character' but it must be said that Nana Patekar doesn't always inspire a great deal of confidence in making value judgements about him. For one, this (perhaps cultivated) image of a ruffian, from some of his film roles and his general demeanour is at odds with his seemingly cultural side, seen in his deep involvement with the Vasantotsav programmes. In fact, his presence as anchor was extremely irritating during Vasantotsav this year (report by Aditya Gadre here) and overshadowed any kudos due to him for being a pillar of the organisation effort. His verbal arrows (he often 'sledged' his own side), his several bad jokes, his reclining on a sofa *on* stage during the performances by some very respected names (he was only a gajraa away from completing the ensemble) and the constant attention-seeking behaviour (he didn't know to leave the performers and the audience alone) drove me to distraction and was a blot on an otherwise fine set of musical events. So it's hard to be sympathetic.

Don't get me wrong: I don't want to mix his creative side in this. There have been several noteworthy moments in his career, not least of all, the heavily under-rewarded Ab Tak Chappan, which is among my most favourite films of all time. Perhaps we should take the easy way out and simply blame the guy who thought "Horn OK Pleassse" was a great name for a film.

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