So now we know. Thank you, Headlines Today, for revealing the deep-rooted conspiracy at the heart of today’s politics. No, it has nothing to do with Muzaffarnagar and possible LeT recruitment in the refugee camps there — the subject of much debate on NDTV 24×7, Times Now and CNN-IBN, Tuesday night. No, Headlines Today has snooped around and come up with a new expose of the Congress. What, again? What now?
Now, it’s the Congress’s AAP “gameplan”. It’s Machiavellian “plot” is to have the AAP erode the BJP’s vote share in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in anything between 50-100 seats, depending on whether the new party’s vote share is 5 or 10 per cent. Headlines Today buttressed its argument by citing the example of Raj Thackeray’s MNS in Maharashtra during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, where it played a spoiler for the BJP-Shiv Sena by eating into their vote share — and, as a result, helping the Congress win more seats. What was unclear from this fascinating piece of journalism is the precise nature of the role played by the Congress in the current AAP electoral strategy. From all that we have learnt from media reports, the AAP has decided to fight a large number of Lok Sabha seats — but without consulting Rahul G or Sonia ji. So where is the Congress hand in the AAP “gameplan”? Headlines Today doesn’t say.
The AAP may or may not eat into the BJP’s vote share, but certainly it has already eaten into the BJP’s media exposure. How often do you see Narendra Modi on your news channels nowadays? Sporadically, where once he was a daily, nay an hourly fixture. Since the December assembly election results, he’s been replaced by AAP, Muzaffarnagar, Rahul Gandhi and even the prime minister in the pecking order. This hiatus from the media spotlight may be good for the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate: many would say, Modi has been overexposed too early in the run-up to this summer’s elections.
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Watching Hindi entertainment channels is to live inside a bubble that insulates you from the world outside. Other than crime shows such as Crime Patrol Dastak (Sony), TV shows fail to mirror contemporary urban life — or even provide a glancing reference to the social and political upheavals we are witnessing, say, in a city like Delhi. A show like Nandini (Sony) has young people, including an “aam” woman, striving in the political sphere but it is an exception.
Otherwise, you have shows such as Firangi Bahu (Sahara One) where one Camili Jonathan is married into the Desai family residing in Rajkot. She’s more the Indian bahu than Sonia Gandhi or Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki’s ideal, Parvati. So what if she is blond? That’s just a hair colour away, anyway. She wears a saree, performs all the duties of a perfect daughter-in-law and even speaks in Hindi. Well, if you can call it that. She sounds like pebbles are weighing down her tongue, that too curiously for an Englishwoman, with an American accent. Remind me, why do we make shows such as this one?
Rangrasiya (Colors) must have been made with a view to sell incredible Rajasthan as a tourist destination to domestic travellers. We luxuriate in the sand dunes, along with the camel and watch the sun set on both. We have a gorgeous village belle, Paro, who awaits a husband from across the border because she is the one chosen by the snake in the temple. And although she still doesn’t know it, she will be saved by her hero, BSD (Border Suraksha Dal) officer Rudra. He’s the strong, silent and somewhat surly type who is protecting all of us from the terrorists who sneak across the border in Birpur. It’s all very beautiful thus far and the C-grade romance is about to begin, so hold on to your hearts.
There’s also a Beintehaa (Colors), a new drama that centres around Zain, Zeeshan and Alia. Other than their being Muslim, this could be any young love triangle anywhere in India, although at the moment it is taking place in Bhopal. More for the tourist in us.