The camera and politics

I’m upset. Actually, quite upset. The week started off well. Most of my work got done on time.

I shot with one of my favourite stars – Akshay Kumar. He’s one of the best looking guys I’ve ever met. He has an amazing personality and a very warm person, though he tries to be very professional. I guess that his job demands that – no matter how much of a fun-loving person you are, you have to be professional, lest people take you for granted and you get ‘abused’!

Working with Akshay is like a dream. He likes to shoot early in the mornings, and I love getting up early.

So, I’m at the location at 6am setting up for a 9am shoot. Akshay walks in at the stroke of nine. I just love people who are on time. We have 6 shots to do and normally with someone else it would take me a whole day or more. It’d start with makeup, breakfast, changes, lunch, tea, etc, etc… and we could go on. Well, in this case, the shoot’s over by 10am!

Can you believe it, 6 shots in an hour… must be one of my fastest shoots… hmmm, actually not really. I once shot with a Ms. Universe for a campaign – we finished 6 shots in 15 minutes! But then again, Akshay’s our Punjabi puttar… and I just love shooting with him. I’m biased, but what the hell!

Anyway, back to why I’m upset. Mid-week I was reading The Times of India and I read that the Shiv Sena and MNS are back to what they do best – breaking things, shops, hotels, scaring people, and being the perfect goondas in town.

You have to hand it to them. They are perfectionists. Every time there’s a riot in town, we can be sure it’ll trace back to them. And what does our government and police do? Watch the tamasha like the bhands (Punjabi for bandwallas and dramawallas in the villages) that they are ! I’m really upset. Disgusting.

In the course of the week, while I was attending my friend Sangeeta Wadhwani’s book launch, I heard about the incident where some ladies were assaulted by a self-righteous right wing morale brigade for drinking at a pub.

Who the hell are these hooligans? Where do they come from? What type of families give birth to these illiterate—no sorry – uneducated, pea-brained mongrels, who do not know anything about our culture or sabhyata? We are supposed to be a tolerant country, assimilating every culture and the various people who come here.

We are the land of the Buddha and Lord Sri Krishna. Lord Krishna himself came down to save Draupadi, and these hooligans in the name of Rama are beating up women. They cannot be human beings. They are the dirt, and we need to wash away this muck. And, as usual, our media was taking photos and increasing TRPs while the cops were chewing paan.

All the anger and the helplessness from the terror attacks is coming out. A TV channel asks me what is it that I want to say to our people. I say – Do we really need the terrorists to come and kill us, beat us, terrorise us? Tell the Pakistanis, the Taliban, etc that we do not need you. We are enough to kill, maim, scare, and make the common man’s life hell. We don’t need you.

We are more scared of being a Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Bhojpuri, Bhaiya, or whatever religion or people we are not supposed to be. I’m upset. Upset at us for letting this happen to us. Upset at the parties who have been using religion and caste card for their narrow gains.

Don’t they realise we are on a slow but sure and a scary road to being segregated and becoming a narrow and divided society waiting to explode and burn in this beautiful country of ours?

Can you please grow up and see the destruction, pain and anguish you’ve already caused us? ENOUGH. Please stand up and say we’re INDIANS. And we don’t want your kind anymore.

I’m upset, upset enough to cry…cry for my country…

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