We Indians are a weird race, we hate winters and crib about it all the time. Yet we welcome winter with the most joyous festival of them all. Ladeej and Juntalmen it’s Diwali/Deepavali time! The festival is special to one and all and everyone has their own reason to celebrate. Cinema is my first love and last year I made a killing in the black market with some of the biggest names in Bollywood locking horns. It of course meant that we had to witness India’s first 70mm blue film but nevertheless it was an eye-opener! This year however seems to be a damp Diwali at the box office across the three major industries(Hindi, Tamil, Telugu). It should however be noted that my claims are based upon the budgets, number of prints etc and not in terms of award-worthiness. While it doesn’t seem like I’m going to be making any money this year both at the black market or the piracy hub. I therefore decided to ask the great-man-from-the-Himalayas Baba Bangali on what he felt about the festival of lights. Here’s what he had to say.
Munna my boy, did you know that Diwali today is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and a few Buddhists as well. It’s not rocket science to understand that the lights signify the victory of good over evil, and hence thousands of legends revolve around it.In some parts it signifies the homecoming of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after being exiled. Southern India celebrates it as the day Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura and hence Narakachaturdashi. For the Jains it is the day Lord Mahavira attained nirvana. Catch my point?
There he goes again,showing off his cross-cultural knowledge but then whats the point I say? What are you celebrating about, a dwindling economy, a handicapped government, rising fuel prices, a deeply hit banking sector or terror attacks? Can’t you see that the message is clearly written on the wall? Hell if the film industry is refraining from releasing any big films then that itself accentuates the sorry state of affairs. I had hinted this earlier when some big banners postponed their releases, but then it was shot down by people as editing problems and post production. Malls and big stores don’t seem to have any so-called maha offers like ek-lo-ek-muft type etc. Spending power is at an all time low and households are cash strapped, so where do you get the oil/ghee for your diyas? Where do you get the money to gamble at taash parties? What gives you a reason to celebrate at take your family to the movies when even buying popcorn and butter puffs is hard to come by? Pray I ask, what gives us a reason to celebrate, when people are blowing up each other in the name of god. People are afraid to send their kids out to play with fireworks for they may be caught in the real explosions. Do you really want to welcome the winter this way? Let’s see what Baba has to say.
Munna you pessimistic fool, the world doesn’t revolve around your film industry. For you it may but then don’t look at the world using the same lens. Terror knows no religion, a bomb never asks whether you wear a cross or a tilak. So what if there is not enough money at the tables of taash parties? So what if malls and stores aren’t luring you with offers? So what if there are no major movie releases? So what if there isn’t enough to even light diyas? These may seem as deterrents but they don’t kill the human spirit, not one bit. We still buy gold and welcome Godess Lakshmi to our homes. We still write new checks with a Shree Ganesh hoping that the coming year will at least fare better. The diyas though less in number still usher prosperity and all hopes lie on it. There may be explosions and today terror may reign supreme, but that doesn’t stop people from coming out of their houses and sharing the joy with their neighbors. We still let our kids go out and play as the fireworks light up the sky. Diwali marks the triumph of the human spirit, an undying spirit that cannot bog down to terror threats, religious fanaticism or even a fragile economy.
Wah Wah Baba, kya baat hain! This was even Mohabbatein! You should seriously audition for YRF! You definitely hit the nail on its head when you spoke about hope and the human spirit. May the enthusiasm of young kids drive away the hatred that we adults have created in the name of god. The fireworks light up the ammavasya sky as we savor sweets with our fingers smeared with gun powder. I somehow miss my annual intake of gunpowder, the deafening sound of the atom and kingkong bombs. Waking up at five in the morning(The only time I ever see the sunrise!), and the customary oil-bath. The 1000-wala and 5000-wala garlands, the rockets, 12-stars and parachutes. I miss the innocence of blowing things up like empty baskets as they are tossed up in the air! Blowing up sewer lids, open drains, dustbins and even repacking gunpowder to make our own bombs! The worst of all though was stealing petrol from someones motorcycle in a soft drink bottle, and then stuffing a rag at it’s neck. Man the splinters that flew from it had to be surgically removed! Damn, don’t we miss those days or what? I know not all are weird like us and so on behalf of all of us from Dappn Koothu, here’s wishing everyone a happy, prosperous and safe Diwali!better than BigB’s speech in the climax of
(Image courtesy: Shrikrishna Pundoor)