PUBLIC HEROES

It’s routine to dub both politics and Bollywood as immoral.

With good reason. Here’s a list of their Seven Deadly Sins:

  1. Lust. If any of our movies has a theme, this is it. No Rahul falls for his Nisha for her intelligence. First we see her curves, and then we see her face. Sheila’s Jawaani and Munni’s Badnaami are item number one on film makers’ lists. And when our politicos aren’t mooning over Madhumitas, they’re prowling after power.
  2. Gluttony. Have you ever seen an undernourished hero? The repast Jodhaa cooked for Akbar could have fed an entire municipal school. Khaate rahiyo, o baanke yaar. Great power may come with great responsibility, but it also comes with a cook, khansaama, and coupons to the canteen at Sahyadri Guest House.
  3. Greed. No middle-class hero stays middle-class. Apna Sapna only Money Money. Nobody wants to be the Minister for Co-operation. Home and Revenue are where it’s at. Some Industries, Finance and Education thrown in would be just great. And can my nephew get Sports and Youth Affairs please?
  4. Sloth. Raj wooed Simran on his Pops’ expense. Sid struggled for as long as a month, living in Aisha’s flat. Our heroes cannot be bothered with housework and jobs. The three-toed sloth is the laziest animal in the world. The politician is the laziest human in it. Like a Hindi film scene, their work seems to proceed in slow-motion.
  5. Anger. Ghajini beats up bystanders and we queue up to watch him at it. Sunny Deol and Salman Khan have made a career out of acting with their fists and biceps. Action movies are all the rage these days. One man objects to the concept of Valentine’s Day and his army takes to the streets. Another man has issues with the word ‘Bombay’ and his infantry joins in the devilry. There is no bloke without ire.
  6. Envy. She has the better figure. I don’t. His car is faster. Mine isn’t. This is the first half of your average film. The second half is retribution. It isn’t old age that put Karunanidhi in a wheelchair. It’s the combined machinations of Dayanidhi, Azhagiri, Kanimozhi and Stalin that have bent his back. Thankfully, none of them envies a certain Raja at present.
  7. Pride. My film had the biggest box-office opening in history. My next has Hollywood technicians working on it. Who cares about Filmfares, I’ve won the National Award – twice. Me. I’m the greatest. I’ve turned my state’s economy around. I am in constant and direct touch with Madam. They’re pitching me as the next prime ministerial candidate. Yes, I’m only a public servant. Vote for me.

I’m no saint, nor are they all sinners. What worries me is that these are the people whose posters we pin up. These are the people we choose to rule us.

I think we need better role models. Some day. Soon.

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