It is said that there comes a time in every artist's life when he must choose his politics lest his politics chooses him. For Sanjay Dutt, that came with ordering in the home delivery of an assault rifle. He's been in prison long enough, and on furlough often enough to conduct investment meetings with angel investors about to commit to a lifetime deal, to develop an app for it. The beleaguered FoodPanda which has just tied up with the IRCTC for meals on the go, sounds like a good option, considering ordering food in filthy compartments on trains that never keep to schedule is pretty much the same thing as aiming live ammo at your neighbours to protect your family. It's a touch and go thing. For Salman Khan, flying kites came as the inevitable bonhomie that comes with bonding over social issues like why pavement dwellers can't just go on and sleep in their homes. For Shah Rukh Khan, it came with the strip searching of his ego at the hands of the ever-pleasant American airport authorities. For the always balanced Aamir Khan, it comes and goes with every impending film or television or public appearance. No clue why the nation is upset he would seek to abandon his loyal fan following... Here's the blog in which he named his dog after SRK. Now waiting to meet his Rottweiler Nation, who can be trained to bark at the television screen every time a certain newscast gets too noisy. But that's just the Khans. Saif Ali Khan has to shop around for a film before he can affiliate politically, and Akshay Kumar is aligned with the army permanently now so maybe they can just hand over the fleet of LCA Tejas which no one wants anyway for him to keep blowing up as military propaganda. Then Akshay can take over from Pahlaj Nihlani, who can move in with Ram Gopal Varma now that the latter has officially proposed.
But the more interesting burst of political acumen is coming from the blind side. Agree with them or not Raveena Tandon, invigorated by this year's Karva Chauth fast, has gone all JFK on us and last heard major filmmakers have been pitching for an entire film based on a catfight between The Tandon in a cat suit and Amisha Patel, who won't stand up for the National Anthem in a theatre filled with anti-Modi movie goers. Anurag Kashyap to direct all item scenes in Paris noir. But let's not get carried away.
AR Rahman is making music to the beat of the marching protestors, and Kamal Haasan is brandishing Vishwaroopam as a test by fire that he's survived and that confers him gurudom. Speaking of men speaking for their wives, move over Aamir Khan, Anupam Kher has usurped Kirron Kher's political career even as buddy Shatrugan Sinha has surrendered his and, in a jarring face off worthy of a Marvel comic, is the one currently doing the "khamosh" act. Rishi Kapoor, matching Modi Cavalli for Qawalli, is now the one dispensing sane advice to the industry even as son Ranbir came out in support of eye-of-the-storm Aamir, which at least shows there is democracy in that family, or tolerance for civilised dissent, or that father and son simply... er... don't get along.
Making up the chorus line and occasional background music come the industry you would think would be more political: Naseer, Shyam Benegal, Shekhar Kapoor while Anurag Kashyap, Hirani, and the dial-a-quote Mahesh Bhatt, form the silent score. While everyone has finally understood why Farah Khan married Shirish Kunder in the first place. That sense of humour is to die for. Just not in a beef ban incident please.
Never mind that no one in the industry is taking a leaf from Cate Blanchett's book on using acting and film as a medium to provoke and take your stance. No, we'll just leave that to excellent Marathi films like Katyar Kaljat Ghusali in which Shankar Mahadevan makes his acting debut and which is making a run for the Fellini medal and seriously cramping the style of Salman Khan's Prem Ratan Dhan Payo at the box office. Bajirao Mastani in the meanwhile put all its multi-crore money into Anju Modi's costumes and forgot to ask anyone the difference between "Pinga" (a devotional song) and Tamasha (a traditional item number) or asking a neighbour let alone checking any book for historical accuracy resulting in a horse-headed human hybrid that looks suspiciously like Deepika Padukone but feels more like Shakti Kapoor.
What is that thundering silence from Jalsa we say? That's the original Angry Young Man holding his calm till the storm has passed. Modi buddiness notwithstanding, want his opinion on anything beyond which state to visit on holiday, you'll have to watch Wazir. At least he's making money off his point of views. That's checkmate for you.