Amitabh Bachchan, the ” real ” host….

What defines a perfect TV host? I have my own definition for it. It ranges from someone being extremely gracious, classy , cognizant, charming and above all “real”. But can the host bear these traits in a superlative form in every day of a season or for that matter in every other season too? Yes, Amitabh Bachchan does this effortlessly. He is back in the fourth season of “Kaun banega crorepathi” that airs on Sony TV at 9PM every weekday night from Monday to Thursday. He is much at ease and literally has the contestants, the audience, the TV viewers and probably even the Martians eating out of his hands. They all have their antennae up at this time!

Amitabh Bachchan can be credited with creating a revolution of sorts for reality television in India when he appeared in the KBC 1 series ( format from the successful “Who wants to be a millionaire?” ) on Star plus in 2001. At that time, Amitabh Bachchan had broken all norms and went on to pair with Star TV to create a show that would stop the country every weeknight. Post KBC, the power of the small screen was better understood by those who were wanting to maximize their reach in every nook and corner of the country. From TV channels, to sponsors and the film stars themselves, reality show was perceived as the next “big thing”. Most parties were cashing in on sky rocketing TRP’s and laughing their way to the bank. I think they all laughed until 2005 or thereabouts. By then, every channel had a reality show, if not in multiple forms, from singing, to dancing , to daring , to quizzing to the bizarre. Reality TV was not limited to Superstars alone, anyone could join the bandwagon and they all did. Reality TV had slowly but surely become a yawn. Successful formats of the west were squeezed and dried over and over in various regional languages. Brand valuation of stars previously limited to hits and endorsements now had another parameter, a very real one.

We are now post five years after the first official dip in the graph of popularity of reality TV but big stars are still at the helm. Reality TV continues to steadily lose its popularity and some shows have become sleazy, weird and outrageous. Reality tv has to be realistic? But how realistic is the fact that the Stars are actually the most erudite lot, smirking at the wrong answers , passing judgement on situations that they have no experience in or uncharacteristically synchronizing themselves in order to appear so in touch with reality! I blame some of the bizarre concepts that have been developed by the creators of the show with no motive other than to create sensationalism. Various permutations and combinations were tried, most failed and then somebody somewhere down the line realized that the best way to win the TRP game is by making an unreal aspect real. This is why we have couples marrying on TV and a dozen mad hatters living in a house.It works to some extent. Abuse which is both verbal and physical is not censored, in fact they become the selling points for the show. We have stars pitching morals or trying to enlighten participants in a sugary sweet manner which makes these shows more jocular.

Two things now sell in reality TV, sensationalism and a “Superstar” endorsing it, they go hand in hand. No one is really excited to see the run of the mill film stars judging song and dance shows anymore, the viewers want to still see the “Superstars”, that elite lot who do not appear on any mundane “naach gana” show to pass a verdict but get paid a couple of crores per episode to jump up and down or break into a dance in the middle of a game show. Viewers want to see their “Superstar” sit on a leather couch to evaluate the moral values of mediocre contestants who never had any in the first place. I thought that there will come a time when Superstars will lose their midas touch on the small screen. The TV audience are a different breed, they get bored in haste unlike the seasoned cinema goer. The TV audience have no sense of loyalty, they can flick a superstar off with a click on their remote. But not in the current case of KBC 4.

When KBC 1 was aired in 2001 the streets were emptied as the crowds jostled against one another to head back home and watch the Superstar in his prime form. In KBC 4, Sony has achieved its highest TRPs in its recent past and the first episode of KBC 4 beat the popular Big Boss hosted by Salman Khan hands down .  KBC is one show which is not sensational for the wrong reasons. The format has been tweaked around a bit with the inclusion of a non permanent expert and a “double dip” option. And like other shows too there is a Star who makes an appearance to endorse a forthcoming movie release and one cant blame Sony to include this feature. Amitabh Bachchan is at ease, relaxed and very much at home. He sits firmly on a throne that belongs only to him. I did not go ballistic in his participation in Big Boss but KBC is a different game all together. This is one show that fits him like a glove. The show is about using one’s intellect to win the jackpot and the host stands out as one of the most intellectual in his profession and has every right to ask questions. (I have found it rather hilarious in the past when certain dimwit Superstars ask questions and feign full knowledge of the answers ). When Amitabh Bachchan sits across the common man occupying the hot seat he has already realized a dream for the eager contestant. The common man is not made to look like an object of pity but instead is prodded to use his intellect.The jackpot, as one contestant said, could easily be written off in lieu for the experience of being in the midst of his Superstar. Amitabh Bachchan is as humble as that humble man who has beaten all odds to get into that hot seat and this makes the Superstar very real. Not once in the series have I seen Amitabh Bachchan smirk or act arrogant ( like some Superstar hosts do !). In fact there is this twinkle in his eye when the contestant gets the right answer and a forlorn look otherwise. The host easily transforms into an aficionado of the contestant, admiring his back ground, talking to his relatives and appreciating mundane aspects of the contestant’s life. This is not Amitabh Bachchan acting, but it is him inducing the common man to realize his dream. However hard one may try to find a ” real ” host, nobody comes close to the man himself.

 

 

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219 Responses to “Amitabh Bachchan, the ” real ” host….”

  1. Aishwarya Says:

    Dear Sharmila,

    Lovely post…enjoyed reading it!

    Wishing you, Reader, MonaLisa, Shubha, Lakshmi, Anand Khare, Rupam, Saroj and all the wonderful people here a very Happy Dussehra.

    Love,

    Aish.

  2. Kris Vasant Says:

    Sharmila,
    While no one could doubt the graciousness and affability of AB as the host, I find KBC 4 a bit of a drag for quiz fans like me. The reasons are:
    1) There is far too much emphasis on the participant and his social status, what his neighbours think and scenes to establish how badly the contestant needs the money etc. No one wants to see tears on KBC – crocodile or otherwise. There are umpteen ‘reality shows’ exploiting those kind of sentiments outside of KBC.
    2) With these ‘interludes’ and the longish breaks, the main ‘raison de etre’ i.e the quiz questions have been reduced to the bare minimum – definitely lower per hour than in previous seasons, which I find frustrating
    3) The dreaded movie plugs have entered KBC too…so you have Sanju baba saying ‘Knock Out karde’ or Bipasha saying ‘Main Aakrosh main hoon’ or some such!!
    4) I am not sure what Charu Sharma’s presence is adding to the show except when it comes to cricket questions….in fact, i do wonder if these celebrity guests are fed the right answer – Charu has got even the weirdest question right!!

    KBC is proven and has its formulae bang on..but KBC 4 really needs tightening up to ensure hard core loyalists stay on.

    Vasant

    • Kris – Valid points. Thankfully my post was on the host per say and little much on the game show. I do find Charu Sharma’s presence very odd and quite irritating too. Regarding the appearance of Bollywood celebs promoting the movie, Sony is on a weak rung now and had to let the promotion happen. I hope it does not chew into more air time. Regarding the longish breaks, Sony needs revenues to afford the host! Sony until before KBC was the least popular hindi entertainment channel after Star Plus, Colors, Zee. Re- the importance on the common man I think it is a selling point to the masses who want to see this common man connect with his dreams. Dont you think? Rest as you say, KBC is a great format.

      • Kris Vasant Says:

        Sharmila,
        Agree commercial objectives will always drive the show. However diluting coke with water to sell more coke is only going to bite you back!! Don’t tamper with what brings audiences to the show in the first place is my argument.

  3. Sumit Goyal Says:

    Dear Sharmila, tum bahut accha likti ho , keep up the good work………Try writing book , all the best………………..regards…….sumit

  4. Kris – Of course, valid enough. But tell me is there any channel which is compromising on it’s air time revenues? I think all channels are milking popular shows irrespective of and the audience has accepted it as a way of life. If you take a look at 30 minutes episodes, 18 minutes is for content and 12 minutes for adverts.

  5. And we still watch and flick channels and come back to what appeals to us the most. Unless of course we have our favorite show on DD which always allows for revenue to be compromised 🙂

  6. Prashanth K.P. Says:

    Sharmila, there can be no better candidate befitting the well deserved accolade you have so beautifully bestowed upon none other than Amitji! It is indeed a tribute to his passionate commitment to whatever he does, be that in acting, writing, reciting, advertising or hosting. I am sure he will cherish this beautiful script dedicated to him.

    It is full marks to you. Your dissertation has been beautifully structured from a readers point of view. Brilliant you always are; exemplary this one is! Keep us entertained with beauties like this. Thanks a Ton.

  7. Sharmila,

    An excellent post yet again. Amitji as the host of KBC is unparalleled and beyond any comparison to other star hosts of popular reality shows. What is most endearing about him is the respect that he shows for all the participants. There is no drama or tantrum or sensationalism while he is hosting a show. Never has he made fun of any of the contestants. To me it seems that with some of them he is equally keen and eager on their winning a decent sum. His dignity and poise, even when he hosted BigBoss, reached out to the audience. Look at the standard of the jokes that are cracked and the almost cheap stuff that is shown in some other reality TV shows. No wonder then that the TRPs for Sony TV are soaring high!!

    Happy Dusshehra to you, Aishwarya, Monalisa, Reader, Sumit Goyal, Rupam, Lakshmi and Anand Khare!

    Shubha

    PS..I refrained from commenting on your previous post for fear of hurting you and many others coz, unfortunately I am not a big fan of Rajani the actor! I admire him for the wonderful person that he is…humble, kind and very very simple.

    • Sumit Goyal Says:

      Thank you Shubha………..

    • Shubha – Thank you and yes agree with your views on AB. Wishing you a happy dussera too and no problem about not commenting on the previous post 🙂

    • anandkhare Says:

      Shubha,

      Fist of all a belated happy dussehara to you. I missed your comment and name yesterday.

      Reader has a very valid point over the translations.

      While a prose can be perfectly translated or interpreted, the beauty of well written ‘verse’ is that, it could be translated and understood differently depending on the context and scholarly abilities of readers/listeners.Thats the killer difference between ‘prose'(Vakya) and ‘verse'(Kavya).

      I keep Dr. Bachchan’s poetry in legacy of Tulsidasji, Ghalib Sahab and Sahir Sahab. Its translations and interpretations are simple and abstract at the same time.

      I find AB’s translations skill at mediocre level looking at the background/experience/personality/stature he has.Nothing wrong with AB. After all Sachin also gets out on first ball sometimes.

      Regards,

      Anand

      • Anand,

        I completely agree with Reader and you about AB’s translating prowess. Kaavya can be interpreted differently by different people, there lies the beauty of it! Literal translations can be very painful for those who have the capability of understanding the finer aspects of poetry. AB being AB, we naturally expect him to excel in whatever he does I guess!! 🙂

        Shubha

  8. Aishwarya, Sharmila, Shubha, MonaLisa, Renate, Anand, Lakshmi and if I may say all of Sharmla’s EF,

    A very happy and auspicious Vijayadashmi to everyone and may the joy of victory and achievements be yours all your lfe. May truth and justice prevail.

    Back with my response on the post in a jiffy.

  9. Sharmila,

    A good and timely subject for a blog-post.

    There are some people who crave for complacency. They desire a life free from hardships. They yearn for their own small kingdoms be it in their own house with a family or a community or a nation. They wish to have their own private empire to boot. They struggle to free themselves of the bondage of time and duties.

    When, by chance or effort, they find themselves in that state they often drift away into mystic nothingness.

    One of the reasons is that learnng and accumulation of knowledge is an inseperable part of the real world. Complacency takes away the need for learning.

    There also some people who deny that any other mind-set is rational.

    AB is not complacent. He is honest to a fault and acknowledges his limitations. He is not very educated, he is not well-read and also lacks many aspects of aesthetic appreciation. His translations of his father’s poetry are an evidence of that. He is not easily given to metaphysical evaluation.

    I have not seen any episode of KBC yet so I shall refrain from commenting on his performance as a host.

    However, I would not call it a performance at all. The host of a reality show is not an actor. He holds the theme of the project together in his own persona and presentation.

    When AB hosted the Bigg Boss he changed the theme to human values, in sharp contrast to the flirtatious inclinations of the original Big Brother.

    AB’s sensibilities do not allow him to take anything for granted. He maintains his own dignity regardless of the participants or the show. Complacency is neither his vocation nor his objective.

    There are many who grudge his public exhibition of human frailties merely to evade their own deficiency in choosing the right ideals and legacy systems.

    My own view about AB is perfectly described by Shakespeare’s words:

    His life was gentle; and the elements
    So mixed in him, that Nature might stand up,
    And say to all the world, THIS WAS A MAN!

    William Shakespeare, Mark Antony in Julius Caeser

    • Reader – As usual a very interesting set of thoughts on AB. Do you think he is not translating his Father’s poems aptly? I agree AB has it in him to change the core character of the program that he os commanding over. The focus in the case of KBC is the common man, quite not really the focus when the format was played out on Star. I agree this is not a performance but his ability to put a realistic persona to the task on hand. I disagree with you when you say he is not well read or lacks aesthetic appreciation. I think very much he is.

    • Reader,

      Good and perfect translation of literary works is not easy. So, if Amitji does not come up with a perfect translation or interpretation we should give him that concession. (You manage to do an excellent job with Sahir’s translations ) I am not yet convinced about the word that you used for “konpalen” though. I too disagree with you when you say that Amitji lacks many aspects of aesthetic appreciation and is not well read. but you are so right in saying that in KBC it is not a performance at all…he is just being himself! If all other reality TV hosts are being themselves and not performing, I must confess, some of our present day stars are revealing their true arrogant and pompous character on TV for all to see!

      Shubha

      • Shubha,

        You are absolutely right about translations. They can never do complete justice to the original. Even Gurudev Tagore who translated his own writings from bengali to ENglish admitted that something goes missing in the process.

        I must apologize for sounding too judgemental in my views about AB’s apparent virtues. Given his phenomenal success, my opinion might even sound blasphemous! And rightly so.

        However, given my own upbringing, I religiously follow the foot steps of virtues and values that I accept. Sahir is one example. Gandhi, Tagore, Radhakrishnan, Vashishtha, Ayn Rand, Christ, Buddha are some more.

        AB’s rebellious-ness and righteousness are an exceptional source of inspiration. No two ways about that.

        I made the comment on AB without any intention to voice any expectations. AB is AB. As is. Expecting anything that he doesn’t choose to offer is like asking a tailor to do a cobbler’s job – completely unjust and unfair.

        I used the words ‘buds’ instead of ‘offshoots’ because the next line spoke of fresh flowers.

        Kal nayi komplen phutengi, kal naye phool muskaayenge…

        MonaLisa corrected the word from konkale to komplen.

  10. Sharmila,

    In my opinion, he is surely not translatiing his father’s poetry correctly.

    Here is an example:

    Recently, one of the glossies here quoted two lines from the face page on his blog along with his translation.

    The lines were: Iss paar madhu hai, tum ho; Uss paar na jane kya ho…

    He translated madhu as an alcoholic beverage.

    ‘Madhu’ in Atharva Veda is ‘Honey’, the one that comes from beehives, and there is a whole discourse on it. It is called the life of life, the cure if cures and all that glows in the soul!

    I would translate the lines as

    Iss paar madhu hai, tum ho; uss paar na jane kya ho..

    On this bank is life and you; On the other bank who knows…

    The body that preserves this soul is ‘Madhushala’. I am sure he might have translated his father’s work differently if he had read any of the scriptures.

    I am not holding that as an opinion for or against him. Nothing is lost on him as a good human being. Don’t get me wrong.

    • Reader – Hmm…but, what if AB’s Father himself has explained the soul of the poetry to AB?

    • Reader,
      While you have translated that line and its right there in front of me….if I were to go by the meaning(not just the literary one)
      I would put it this way….
      On this bank , its You…my Life,
      On the other bank…knows not what is….!
      🙂

      • MonaLisa,

        Proves my point. All immortal works of literature have this universal quality.

        The words trigger an innate belief in the readers.

        It can be translated into so many metaphysical ways:

        Iss paar priye madhu hai, tum ho; uss paar na jaane kya hoga

        On this side are love, life and you; Wonder what awaits me on the other side

        Or

        Love! here are bliss and you; I can’t say what is there!

        Or

        In this life, love, you are the panaecia; I do not know what is in the afterlife

        Or

        Or

        Or

        Or

        🙂 🙂

      • Reader,
        Lol….now say it not ever that, that there is no one,no female to support you or validate your point and you are choked by females awestruck by AB’s persona…
        🙂 🙂

        BTW that remark of yours goes in support of AB automatically…and so does mine…lol….what an equation…! 🙂

  11. Sharmila,

    Nice post!

    AB doing definitely well this time. Certainly better than KBC2. He is so very humble and witty. His reactions are very genuine too!
    Only if he can cut short those prolonged questions on participant’s background, problems, etc after almost every quiz question. I tend to change channel each time everybody on his show starts with ‘Sir, mai aapse kuchh kehna chahta hoon’ and goes on praising him endlessly.

    SRK definitely helped everybody realize that hosting KBC is no joke and requires genuine personality to succeed 🙂

    — Ams

    • Amit – Great to see you back. I think Sony’s focus is on the common man and in a way I enjoy the common man’s time in the sun and do not feel like complaining much. LOL on your comments on SRK. Great minds think alike!

  12. Anand Khare Says:

    Hi Everybody,

    A Very happy Dushehara to Sharmila,Reader,Aishwarya and all others in Sharmila’s EF.

    Amitabh Bachchan has that charismatic personality that can do wonder with any kind of show be it a quiz,a big boss,a swayamwar or an adalat.He has some ‘ruhani’ connect with middle class families in India particularly in 30+ age group.His ability to convert discussions lively with his sense of humour makes any show interesting.

    Thank God KBC is here and my kids would refrain from watching shows like big boss and rakhi ka insaf(with due apologies to salman and rakhi).

    Having said all above,I also agree with Reader on AB’s limitations particularly on his abilities of translating,aesthetically appreciating and understanding Dr Bachchan’s hindi works.

    Anand

    • Anand – Thank you and wishing you happy festivities too! Hmm, regarding AB’s aesthetic appreciation, I have to disagree entirely. Yes, KBC undoubtedly is a complete family package!

  13. This is what I mean. Please listen to the words.

  14. Sharmila, Shubha,

    I think I am not expressing myself properly on my take on AB’s lack of knowledge and aesthetic appreciation.

    As a paying customer I have a mind of my own and the right to approve or reject what is offered to me as a reader or a viewer, be that in aesthetic expressions or a commodity like entertainment.

    But that does not permit me to overstep my boundaries.

    I do not ride on the success or failure of the artist or his art. I am not a journalist or a critic. My life does not depend on deciding if an artist or artwork is good for anythiing or not.

    The survival of an artist may depend on the acceptance of the maximum number of people in the audience. (Which again I contest, in the case of legends and the trend setters.)

    I am simply a consumer who pays for the goods that I buy in the market.

    If an artist’s personality and character is on sale, I will definitely apply my mind on what I’d prefer to buy-in. A reality show is one that encashes the hosts personal assets. That’s where opinions about AB’s personal values and virtues become a subject for acceptance or rejection. One would never discuss them for a role that he portrays in a cinema.

    Even if the artist, AB in this case, denies that his values and virtues are up for sale, that they are his private and personal subjects, a reality show denies him that luxury.

    If the TV channel wishes that I sit and watch the reality show they cannot forbid me from having an opinion about AB’s personality traits. After all its a reality show, not a character on a story-board.

    I have good or bad opinions based on my stakes which is my own time. I am not expecting anything from AB so long as I have a remote in my hand and the TV is mine. The rest is upto him and the show and what I like and dislike.

    As a customer of aesthetics, I only seek inspirations, and if I don’t find it in one piece of creation, I can always walk away from it at will without giving explanations.

    I think it is a fair trade so long as I don’t make a pile of money out my opinions like a journalist or a critic.

    • Reader – Of course we have a right to determine our own opinion about AB and his work. I agree 100%. But, do tell me why do you think he is lacking aesthetics? I am still not clear on this one. Why do you feel he is not appreciative of the arts? He I believe is an embodiment of aesthetics. He has this amazing ability to transgress roles and if he were not able to appreciate each one role individually, how could he slip into each one of them so well? And as you say this show is about displaying his “assets”, which he does so tremendously well.

    • Reader,

      Yes, we are all free to form and voice our opinions on what we watch. I would be interested to know what made you say that AB lacks many aspects of aesthetic appreciation?

      I enjoyed reading the various interpretations of Harivansh Rai Bachchanji’s lines that you made.

      I do not think I would go on the defensive for anyone like this? Am surprised at myself …LOL 🙂

      Shubha

  15. Aishwarya Says:

    Sharmila,

    Apart from the thrill of watching a show with my favorite host, KBC has the added advantage of taking me back in time to 2001 – me still in my 20s! Until I am jolted back to reality by loud squeals and claps and somersaults…its my daughter, she has answered the malaria-mosquito question right and wants me to give her a hi-5! Oh well…30s isnt all that bad too I guess!:)

    KBC is a fantastic show. Words fall short to describe AB. As brilliant as looking through a prism – the colors could leave one fascinated and speechless. Everytime I watch him, there is this zing and this surge of affection that makes me want to say “Dear God, what did You do with the mould after You made him? Please…make more of his kind.”

    In the four episodes that have been telecast so far, my favorite moment has been his conversation with Geetika Pandey and her husband that went something like this, “Daand deti hain aap sabko – Computerji ko daand diya, humko daand diya, padosi ko daand diya…” And then to the husband, “Bhaai saab, namaskaar. Aap bache hue hain abhi tak…dhanya hain aap!” Pure AB magic. Perfect comic timing. AB at his best!

    Cant wait for 9 pm tonight!:)

    Aish.

  16. Aish – LOL>..yes, AB was super duper in this episode and Githika has spunk! Really enjoyed this contestant the most up to now, a live wire indeed. Pity Akanshki never heard of the Hussein in Obama…hmmm, the most talked about name!

    • Aishwarya Says:

      Poor girl…guess its going to take a while to live that one down…
      It would have been great if Reader had been participating…AB and Reader would make a perfect match…the humor, the banter…Sahir’s poetry…and needless to say, Reader would win the 5-crore jackpot just like that!

      • Reader and AB..wow, it would have been a great contest. Maybe Reader should try..what say Reader?

      • Aishwarya, Sharmila,

        There would be no quiz at all if I landed in KBC.

        There are so many things I would discuss that Sony would allocate a special know-your-AB episode, with AB in the hot-seat!

        From AB’s socialist inclinations inspired by his father Dr. Bachchan, Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, Sahir and Hrishida to his close encounters with Raj Kapoor in Moscow when he rose like a phoenix in the ’70s and became the North Star for ideological navigators in the hindi film industry!!

        🙂 🙂 🙂

      • And the special episode would be called Reader’s Digest.:)

  17. anandkhare Says:

    Reader has a very valid point over the translations.

    While a prose can be perfectly translated or interpreted, the beauty of well written ‘verse’ is that, it could be translated and understood differently depending on the context and scholarly abilities of readers/listeners.Thats the killer difference between ‘prose’(Vakya) and ‘verse’(Kavya).

    I keep Dr. Bachchan’s poetry in legacy of Tulsidasji, Ghalib Sahab and Sahir Sahab. Its translations and interpretations are simple and abstract at the same time.

    I find AB’s translations skill at mediocre level looking at the background/experience/personality/stature he has.Nothing wrong with AB. After all Sachin also gets out on first ball sometimes.

    Regards,

    Anand

    • Anand – Fair enough. Each man to himself. I always thought that nobody would understand Madhushala better than Shri Harivanshrai Bachchan’s own son. I still feel that the soul of the poetry would have been transferred to AB.

    • Sharmila and EF,

      Anand, you are the only friend I have in this world! I am cornerd by women devoted to AB.

      But I am going to stand up and be counted on this issue.

      I shall not assume that the father’s vision and depth is transferred to the son. I have not heard of any great legend’s son or daughter making it in the same league.

      AB is a fine actor. No one may defend him more than I on his acting skills.

      But AB as a fine poet, philosopher, writer… na.. na.. thats asking too much, if at all anyone is privileged to ask or expect. As a fan I only respond to whatever he does. And you’ll agree he is miles ahead of the rest of the players in his field. He is a paradigm, like Kamal, Rajini, Uttam Kumar, Balraj Sahni etc.

      I shall write a seperate note on the metaphysics of Aesthetics, which I do not credit to AB’s account on many counts.

      Thanks for breathing life into my comments. I was choking!!!

      🙂 🙂

  18. Sumit Goyal Says:

    Hi Sharmila…………..waiting for new post…………….
    regards
    sumit

  19. Some interesting facts about our wonderful country – They make fine KBC questions!

    India is the world’s largest, oldest, continuous civilization.
    India never invaded any country in her last 10000 years of history.
    India is the world’s largest democracy.
    Varanasi, also known as Benares, was called “the ancient city” when Lord Buddha visited it in 500 B.C.E, and is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world today.
    India invented the Number System. Zero was invented by Aryabhatta.
    The World’s first university was established in Takshashila in 700BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century BC was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
    Sanskrit is the mother of all the European languages. Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software – a report in Forbes magazine, July 1987.
    Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans. Charaka, the father of medicine consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago. Today Ayurveda is fast regaining its rightful place in our civilization.
    Although modern images of India often show poverty and lack of development, India was the richest country on earth until the time of British invasion in the early 17th Century. Christopher Columbus was attracted by India’s wealth.
    The art of Navigation was bornin the river Sindhu 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word NAVGATIH. The word navy is also derived from Sanskrit ‘Nou’.
    Bhaskaracharya calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart. Time taken by earth to orbit the sun: (5th century) 365.258756484 days.
    The value of pi was first calculated by Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century long before the European mathematicians.
    Algebra, trigonometry and calculus came from India. Quadratic equations were by Sridharacharya in the 11th century. The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Hindus used numbers as big as 10**53(10 to the power of 53) with specific names as early as 5000 BCE during the Vedic period. Even today, the largest used number is Tera 10**12(10 to the power of 12).
    IEEE has proved what has been a century old suspicion in the world scientific community that the pioneer of wireless communication was Prof. Jagdish Bose and not Marconi.
    The earliest reservoir and dam for irrigation was built in Saurashtra.
    According to Saka King Rudradaman I of 150 CE a beautiful lake called Sudarshana was constructed on the hills of Raivataka during Chandragupta Maurya’s time.
    Chess (Shataranja or AshtaPada) was invented in India.
    Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2600 years ago he and health scientists of his time conducted complicated surgeries like cesareans, cataract, artificial limbs, fractures, urinary stones and even plastic surgery and brain surgery. Usage of anesthesia was well known in ancient India. Over 125 surgical equipment were used. Deep knowledge of anatomy, physiology, etiology, embryology, digestion, metabolism, genetics and immunity is also found in many texts.
    When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization).
    The four religions born in India, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, are followed by 25% of the world’s population.
    The place value system, the decimal system was developed in India in 100 BC.
    India is one of the few countries in the World, which gained independence without violence.
    India has the second largest pool of Scientists and Engineers in the World.
    India is the largest English speaking nation in the world.
    India is the only country other than US and Japan, to have built a super computer indigenously.
    Famous Quotes on India (by non-Indians)
    Albert Einstein said: We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.
    Mark Twain said: India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.
    French scholar Romain Rolland said: If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.
    Hu Shih, former Ambassador of China to USA said: India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.

  20. Sumit Goyal Says:

    what topic is coming on

  21. Sharmila, Aishwarya, Anand, Shubha and Sharmila’s EF,

    Sorry I was offline almost all day. I have just driven 1150 Kms in 8 hours on GPS driven Lexus station wagon. The brain is in a whirrrrrrrrrrrr….

    I am going to watch KBC tonite starting in 30 minutes from now. And you can trust me to say exactly what I feel. Jaisa lage vaisa. Promise.

    Back in a jiffy… need to freshen up… driving at mach 1 for 8 hours takes its toll… I have discovered that my spine has about 300,000 nerves connected to the heart.. I am able to feel each one of them shivering like a string on a guitar…

    🙂

    • Reader – Shubh aarambh, as they say in the Cadbury ad. The first episode you are watching and the contestant is from Bengaluru…!:)

      1150 km, wow…thats more than double the distance between Trivandrum and Ooty!

    • LOL..Reader, seems like you have had the ride of your life.

      • Lexus SW is better than an aircraft. A full digital navigator with all explorer’s devices built-in the dashboard. The vehicle has a cruise control and cameras and infra-red detectors to prevent crashes on any side.

        At one point it slowed and stopped all by itself asking me to turn the steering left. It was reading the map I had chosen to reach the city!

        Love the engineers… pure genius!!!

    • Hmm…I play guitar…! 🙂

      • My heart is a guitar that needs some tuning… I broke the strings a few years ago… like humpty dumpty all the kings women could not put it together again…

        🙂

        PS: Just kidding baba!!!

  22. Sharmila, Aishwarya, MonaLisa, Anand,

    Seeing a KBC episode for the first time.

    AB is the perfect host – unassuming, Unimposing, entirely extempore and running purely on his good instincts!

    One tends to forget that it is a quiz contest, something like those presented by quiz-masters Siddarth Basu or Narottam Puri’s programs earlier.

    Ads over – shall return soon..

    🙂

    • Reader,
      Now you are luring me into watching that stuff.
      I have watched almost all episodes of the original “Who wants to be A Millionaire” hosted by
      ‘ The Regis Philbin’… I believe Regis is unbeatable in that area……so stopped watching it after a while when it lost its charm with new host Meredith Vieira…she really is so…..not for it…! 🙂

    • Reader – Glad we agree here for a change. Narrotam Puri, gosh is that man still around??

  23. Sharmila and all EF,

    On aesthetics and AB.

    There are three type of epistemological abstractions.

    1. Normative abstraction: Which evaluates a concept on the basis of it’s acceptable application. Is it good, bad, true, false, right or wrong?

    2. Cognitive abstraction: Which evaluates a concept on the basis of it’s necessity. Is it required, needed, essential?

    3. Aesthetic abstraction: Which evaluates a concept on the basis of it’s importance. This is the category where all of AB’s work as an artist can be judged for it’s quality.

    A good artist does not fake reality – he presents it in an extra-ordinary way! AB’s angry-young-man is the stuff that legends are made of.

    An artist does not fake reality—he stylizes it. He selects those aspects of existence which he regards as metaphysically significant—and by isolating and stressing them, by omitting the insignificant and accidental, he presents his view of existence. His concepts are not divorced from the facts of reality—they are concepts which integrate the facts and his metaphysical evaluation of the facts. His selection constitutes his evaluation: everything included in a work of art—from theme to subject to brushstroke or adjective—acquires metaphysical significance by the mere fact of being included, of being important enough to include. – AR – ‘The Romantic Manifesto’

    When I say AB lacks aesthetic appreciation I mean this:

    1. AB does not consider his roles, especially the angry-young-man, the slumdog’s deity that made him a superstar, as a presentation of his view of existence. Those days are past. Today, he is catering to the multiplex audiences as the pragmatic commercial market demands.

    2. His choice of roles does not express his evaluation of what is right-wrong, true-false or good-bad or his personal values. He is pragmatic about what will sell and what will not sell on the silver screen.

    3. He often justifies the integrity of his success with package deals such as “A celebrity, like me, must… ” etc.

    ( “Package-dealing” is the fallacy of failing to discriminate crucial differences. It consists of treating together, as parts of a single conceptual whole or “package”, elements which differ essentially in nature, truth-status, importance or value. – AR)

    The two points central to the pragmatist ethics are: a formal rejection of all fixed standards—and an unquestioning absorption of the prevailing standards. – Leonard Piekoff

    In my opinion, AB does not consider any of the above worth a thought! Hence, my statement that AB lacks aesthetic appreciation.

    • Plenty to chew on here. I wish you could send this to him and see what he has to say.

    • But what stops an artist from wearing different caps? there was a time in the past when he could present himself as the angry young man, surely he cannot continue on the same note to perpetuity. There are bound to be changes, with time,season and demands and the artist goes with the flow. AB is commercially very astute and beats everybody hands down on this front. But, it is the same AB who did Teen Patti recently with probably a good feel that this is not likely to be a commercial success. He is voyeuristic too and not always driven by selling points alone. Many more come to mind, Ek Lavvya, Nishabd ( mind blowing role here ! ), Bhootnath, Alladin.

      • 🙂 Sharmila…! You are right..! Now he has to play the role of ‘Angry Old Man’ if he wants to continue with that image…! 🙂
        If so then he should be addressed Only as ‘A Star’ not as An Artist or An Actor.

      • Quite aptly said.

      • Sharmila, MonaLisa,

        Not at all. AB decides what cap he wants to wear. The fans decide if the performance is good for a visit to the multiplex.

        Thats a fair deal. His audience will change accordingly. There are enough of any kind of buyers in the market.

        Thats why I said he is pragmatic about his profession.

        Perhaps I’d do the same if I was pragmatic about my passion.

    • I see your point now and am delving deep into your analysis…I do agree with what you say! I think he is driven to do things and take up roles exclusively by looking into the commercial aspect. Point taken 🙂

      Shubha

  24. Anand Khare Says:

    Reader- Thanks for the kind comment and special status.Trust me girls here admire you more than anyone else.It is only a difference opinion on one subject.

    The metaphysics given is awesome.

    I am away for next two days.So I will catch up with all of u on Thu.
    Regards and lots of love.

    Anand

  25. Sharmila, Shubha, MonaLisa, AIshwarya, Anand,

    I wanted to reply under every comment but have to scroll and search each time. So hope to say it all in one go, which for me is a difficult task.

    I am a piscean-arian cusp (23rd March) which means I take two or three attempts to give a balanced opinion! Thats just me… the Bhagat Singh variety… I go to the gallows singing my own tune!

    I was only kidding about the all-women’s attack! This is Sharmila’s EF and, to me, that means it is also ours because we are a part of it! We must have our disagreements to keep the warmth! No heat without some friction! 🙂

    I am also a wordpress platform user for blogging. I am sure Sharmila reads and filters comments to keep the harmony in her space and allow us to indulge in our little stupidities. I switched off the comment section on my own blog because I could not stand the word wars among the commenters!

    If I were to make my half-explained comments on AB’s blog, I would be a prime target for the blind-folded adoration that occupies most part of the comments section of his blog.

    Adults are sensitive about a range of subjects that may or may not have direct personal impacts yet the subjects are a very important part of the influences that drive their passions.

    Sometimes, people who suffer setbacks of a more intense nature often reset their opinions about what is good, necessary and important. This manifests as insensitiveness when what is important to one person is merely good or nice-to-have for another.

    In my case, I was defeated by the beliefs of my own close family between 1995 and 2003. Blood is thicker than water. So, changes in the equations cause permanent changes in one’s sensitivities.

    Now for me talking or chatting about a celebrity does not come under a seriously, life-changing debate as it did earlier in a war of words with parents, brothers and sisters!

    To be continued…

    🙂

    PS: See, I can never say anything at one go, no matter how much I try! 😦

    • Reader – It does not matter if you cant say things at one go, most of your comments provide enough food for thought until the next one comes by. I hear you out completely and understand where you are coming from.

    • Sharmila,

      Thanks. Now thats what qualifies me to be AB’s Angel on your blog!

      🙂

  26. Sharmila, Shubha, MonaLisa, Aishwarya, Anand,

    Continued from above…

    Judging AB’s performances is one thing. I am sure he expects us to take that call as his voluntary audience.

    Judging him as a person is out of bounds. We have no right to invade his person.

    This is the line I draw and I call it the zone of expectations.

    There are things that I expect to gain in a very broad sense. The boundaries of those expectations are decided by the nature of the bonds that define the relationship.

    I relate to AB the actor. AB’s past performances have set bench-marks that no one but he himself can surpass.

    I do not relate to AB the person. So, I have nothing to expect of him as a person.

    That is true for all legends. As individuals I do not relate to Raj Kapoor, Manoj Kumar, Guru Dutt, Vijayanand, Bimal Roy, Balraj Sahni or any of the great artists.

    I relate to the fantastic body of artwork that they offered to me for my learning. My tribute to their vision is in the seamless blending of their values into my life.

    There are many fans of AB who often urge him to retire as an actor.

    I find that plain stupid. AB, the phenomenal actor, is the only one we know as fans. What’s the point in expecting him to retire? And who is a fan to expect anything? That is presumptious and unfair. An honest fan does no favor by liking a performance. He has no right to demand more or less of anything.

    AB’s passion for acting is his personal domain. The success or failure of that passion is an outcome, not the cause. A fan or a viewer does not nurse an actor’s passion. He only endorses the quality of the performance. A fan cannot claim divine authority on an artist’s passion for his art.

    AB’s presence on the screen for 3 hours is all that I pay for.

    To be continued…

    • AB is a phenomenon, one of a kind in this generation. I was watching a discussion of the Board of Directors at Infosys after their results this quarter. Narayanmurthy is stepping down soon as Chairman and Chief Mentor. The interviewer asked Mohandas Pai will there be a good enough replacement for Narayanmurthy? The question by itself was silly. Mohan answered, ” There can never be another Narayanmurthy to replace Narayanmurthy”. Same is the case with AB. He is one actor who has evolved in the last forty years and continue to. Who would have thought he would play a 13 year old in PAA and winning National Awards too.! Those who ask him to retire are shortsighted ( as yet! ). A bit like asking Tendulkar to retire. Gosh!

    • Sharmila,

      Thats true.

      AB’s father was a severe critic of the superstitious rituals and practices among hindus. He expressed it, like many in his generation, through poetry and literature.

      AB is a one-man phenomenon on the silver screen. The greatest thematic narrator as an actor.

      The father and son are in different leagues.

  27. Aishwarya Says:

    Reader, Sharmila,

    I believe that when an actor gives his finest performances, he gives a little bit of himself away in them – scenes where we look into their eyes and see their soul. The anger, the hurt, the tears that fall without glycerin…the dialogues that stay with us for a lifetime simply because of the strength of the emotion and the passion with which they were delivered. We accept them, we love them, we idolize them, and expect more from them. I dont know if its THEIR fault that they are so damn good that we began expecting more in the first place or OUR fault for loving them so much that we felt we have the right to expect more!
    I cant think of anyone in the industry who can ever fill AB’s shoes – and I am not just going by his shoe size! 🙂

    I havent read the Madhushala. But, I am puzzled that the poet’s son could have misinterpreted the very word that the collection of poems is named after…’Madhu’.

  28. Sharmila, Shubha, MonaLisa, Aishwarya, Anand,

    Continued from above:

    I am not an actor. I am an engineer who earns a living from designs, processes and mechanisms. I never considered becoming an actor.

    But art and aesthetics had their fair share in my upbringing. 5%-10% of my dad’s salary was spent on watching movies. The whole family went on Saturday nights to the nearest theatre to spend time with themes, storys and actors. Movies were seen either in the matinee or the last show at 0900 pm. Most part of the daylight was spent in other activities like learning, hockey, experiments of various kinds like dissecting frogs and cockroaches to study their insides or catching lizards and hunting for snakes in the botanical garden.

    I was very impresssed by the whole medium of cinema, though not quite obssessed about it.

    My focus on the movie or stage-plays was such that even if the actors or celebs associated with them had been sitting next to me I wouldn’t have recognized them! I was completely absorbed by the end product!

    I find television, as opposed to theatre and cinema, is more a comunication medium and less escapist.

    If cinema is about ideal worlds, TV is closer to the real world. Cinema creates romances that lead to marriages; TV shows how to change diapers. Both have their own place. For instance, I don’t like leaking babies. And babies, for some reason best known to them, always relieve themselves when they feel a nice clean shirt. But I suppose that comes with the package.

  29. Aishwarya, Sharmila, MonaLisa, Shubha,

    Since the word ‘Madhu’ is critical in this let me refer you to the Sanskrit Dictionary:

    Madhu:

    Genitive case Neuter gender, Vedic Madhvas, madhos or madhunas

    Instrumental case Madhva; Dative case madhune; Locative case madhau

    Rig Veda: Sweet, delicious, pleasant, charming, delightful

    Lexicographers (i.e. a word or meaning given in native lexicons, has not been met with in any published text): Bitter or pungent Liquorice

    Name, Title or Epithet for Shiva

    Rig Veda: Soma (Somyam Madhu)

    Atharva Veda, Rig Veda: Anything sweet (esp if liquid), mead etc

    Rig Veda: Honey (licker of bee)

    Rig Veda: Milk or anything produced from milk (as butter, ghee etc)

    Kavya, literature of Varaha Mihira (Brahhajattaka, Brhat Samhita, Purana): The juice or nector of flowers, any sweet intoxicating drink, wine or spirituous liquor:

    Lexicographers: Sugar, Water, Pyrites

    A kind of musical meter (Colebrooke)

    Greek: Methu, Medhy; Slav: Medu; Lithuanian: Midus, medus; German: Meth; English: Mead

    Now that should give translators all the meanings they want!

    • No metapahysical referrents are discussed. The dictionary meaning supports AB’s translation. So his version stands.

    • Yes, but this is precisely what the translation did too, AB referred it to intoxicating drink, as in wine. What is the confusion? Or am I missing out?

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Reader, Sharmila,

        My mistake. Sorry. After posting the comment, I read a few verses of the poem and its English translation online (I should have done it before!)…this is what I read…

        “Each day, O companion, spills more wine from my life.
        Each day, O fortunate one, this goblet, my body, is burnt.
        Each day, O lovely woman, this wine-maiden, my youth, distances itself from me.
        Each day, O beauty, this tavern, my Life, is drying up.

        When from the earthen jar of my body, the wine of life is emptied…”

        Reader translated ‘madhu’ as life. AB said wine. And I am happy they are both right. Intoxicated with joy. 🙂

        Sorry for the confusion. 😦

      • Aishwarya, Sharmila,

        Proves my point. If the earthern vessel is my body, the life is the madhu and I am it’s Saki.

        AB has the copyrights to his father’s works.

        But the interpretation of his fathers poetry will depend on whether the reader refers for the meaning of the metaphors in a dictionary or resolves the metaphors within his own learning.

        In a dictionary, metaphors are never discussed.

    • Reader,

      You are right, Met or Meth is the Old German word for honey wine, the intoxicating beverage of choice long before Germans discovered the virtues of beer.

      Slawic „med“ ,spanish and french „miel“ mean honey.

      Greek μέθυ, danish and norwegian „mjød“, swedish „mjöd“, polisch „miód“, russian „мёд“ and ukrainian „мед“ are words for the wine made from honey.

      • Renate,

        My point was that Dr. Bachchan’s poetry uses the term ‘Madhu’ to personify life, liveliness, sense of life etc.

        When literally translated from a dictionary it loses some essential note.

        Just my take. AB owns his father’s work.

      • Aishwarya – Fantastic translation!
        Reader – Again, another view point which is fascinating. I think every ” Reader “will interpret it his own way.
        Renate – Thanks for the wonderful explanation.

  30. Musavvir mayn tera shaahkaar vaapis karne aaya hun
    Ab in rangeen rukhsaaro mein thodi zardyaan bhar de

    … … … Painter! I have come to return your painting
    … … … Please put some more yellow on the cheeks

    Hijaab-aalud nazron mein zaraa be-bakiyan bhar de
    Labon ki bheegi bheegi salvaton ko muzmahil kar de

    … … … Fill some impudence in those shy veiled eyes
    … … … Make the moistened lips appear more anxious

    Numaayan rang peshaani pe aks-e-soz-e-dil kar de
    Tabassum afreen chehre mein kuchh sanjidapan bhar de

    … … … Let the heart-burn be visible on the forehead
    … … … Fill the smiling beautiful face with seriousness

    Nazar se tamkanat le kar mazaaq-e-‘aajizee de de
    Magar haan bench ke badle ise sofe pe bithlaa de

    … … … Replace the dignity and honor in the eyes with modesty
    … … … And yes, make her sit on this sofa instead of the bench

    Yahaan meri bajaaye ik chamakti kaar dikhlaa de!
    Musavir mayn tera shahkar vapis karne aaya hun

    … … … Here, instead of me, just show a shining car!
    … … … Painter! I have come to return your painting

    -Sahir Ludhianvi

  31. Sharmila, Reader, MonaLisa and all,

    I have just returned from India, where I was invited into the audience of a KBC taping last Wednesday. Watching Amitabh Bachchan at work has raised my admiration for him to an altogether new level. As soon as he entered the studio, after lengthy preparations by the staff, his aura invaded every nook and cranny in the place.

    He entered the room, looked around shortly and gave me (yes, me, my knees are still weak at the memory) a quick bright smile of recognition and greeting, and then became the most calm, collected and competent professional. He was completely focussed on the task before him, yet nothing escaped his attention

    I could not see the contestant’s face during the taping – of course we chose our seats strategically in order to watch his – but she was admirably cool and coherent. I am 100% certain that I would have fainted had I been in her position, but I am equally sure that his professionalism would have lifted me out of myself and brought out the best.

    Years ago I watched one episode of the equivalent show in Germany and I still cringe at the memory of the host making fun of and mocking the contestants. Nothing of the sort here. India is blessed to have Amitabh Bachchan!

    • Renate,

      Hope you loved the country, at least whatever you were able to see. Do record your visit on the blog.

      • Oh yes, Reader, I love your country. More even than I expected to.

        As I told you before, I see it as the mother of all countries and what I seek might be still there, just having been lost on the long and weary path by my ancestors and never been given to me.

        I am too jetlagged to write much right now, but I will sort through my impressions and write more soon.

    • Renate – Allow me to extend my heartiest congratulations at your historic meeting with AB. I have seen the pictures too and they are all super duper. Happy that your dream came true. Moreso, I am happy that you made it to the KBC show too. When is the show being aired?

      • Sharmila,

        Thanks for the congratulations.

        It was truly a dream come true. Seeing him in person, smiling at me and greeting me by name is something that will always stay with me. He is as gracious as I had ever imagined.

        And so professional at his work, watching that KBC taping was an incredible experience. This episode will air on the 25th. I will not be able to watch it here, I wonder if you or someone can tape it for me.

        We are in the first row, facing him, of course.

  32. Lakshmi Jag Says:

    Hi Sharmila…..very well written and well said. Read some of Sharmila’s EF comments and do not know where to start so I am not going to comment on them. Empathy is the key in my opinion, an artist or host who can understand others feelings and can relate to them will always succeed, be it in life or in art. My worthless two cents

    • Laksmi – Thank you very much. I agree empathy is well and truly the key, not just for artists but even for non artists. So well said, and trust me your words are priceless!

  33. MonaLisa, Sharmila, Lakshmi Jag,

    MonaLisa, you must watch KBC on TV.

    AB is a wonderful and humane host. He is not a quiz-master if someone expects that from a quiz show.

    As I said earlier he changes the theme of the project as he did for Bigg Boss. It works like magic!

    He knows the pulse of his viewers and particpants, and does a fabulous job!

    • Reader,
      I have no access whatsoever to Indian channels as no one in the house hold is interested….
      A host can’t change the theme…he/she has to follow and conduct the way he/she is asked for. There is no scope left for the host to do much differently than the written script.
      The changes everybody feels bit dramatic are ditto from “who wants to be a Millionaire”….they copied it as is…
      sometimes in awe or in lack of exposure to other things out there in the world, too much of undue credits are given to someone someway is fine by me …however too much of sweets sometimes feel like Bad Taste in mouth….
      If the equilibrium is maintained….things sound more balanced….and A balance brings Harmony…

      • Lakshmi Jag Says:

        MonaLisa…I think you are mistaken. This host called Mr. Bachchan can change the theme. He brings his very own personality into the show which changes everything. Believe me, we are good at maintaining an equilibrium, we are exposed to other things and other actors of the world. I still think he is one of the best actors and a game show host

    • That is well said. He knows the “pulse”. Something not many hosts are capable of.

  34. Reader

    This is in reply to a comment above.

    It is no accident that Dr. Bachchan uses an old form of an alcoholic beverage as metaphor of life.

    Hard to explain to teetotallers, but I assume you know the old adage “Children and drunks speak the truth.”

    Alcohol does increase a certain feeling of being alive, but only if used wisely.

  35. Renate,

    Like this? 🙂

  36. Reader,

    He’s had as bit too much there, wouldn’t you agree? But, you see, being who he is, even drunkenness suits him.

  37. This one suits me more:

  38. And I hear Dr. Bachchan saying something on these lines everytime someone translates his lines: 🙂

  39. MonsLisa, Sharmila, Lakshmi, Aishwarya,

    I am not a fan of AB the old man. And theatres here go empty even for his new releases, so I know there are many who feel like me.

    I was one of his billion fans during his angry-young-man days. He was a genre then. But that is a past tense, even he may agree. He surely does not live in the past. So why should his fans?

    I guess that is why he is called a living legend – his past performances are legendary and he is living.

    Yesterday’s KBC episode was interesting in a way.

    Some viewer had sent in a spoof on his song from Silsila where he romances Rekha in the tulip gardens in Amsterdam.

    mayn aur Computer ji aksar baatein karte hayn.. etc.

    AB had probably rehearsed it well so he didn’t read it off the monitor and spoke straight into the camera.

    But when he came to the option 50-50 his voice cracked for a fraction of a second, as if he was reminded of something else.

    If this had been a movie, he could have asked for a re-take. But this is TV. There are no scenes.

    Real life is simple. And not always a saga of perfection.

    • This is a good opportunity to raise some capital.

      Shall check with the charity commissioner next time I visit my town. I’ll build a memorial to the angry-young-man, a massive bronze statute on one of the traffic islands.

      I am sure people will donate freely. The traffic policeman who occupies the spot today is an eyesore, never comepleted his course in Bharat natyam.

      We’ll replace him with traffic lights and a memorial to the legend of the angry-young-man!!!

      • Now now..this is taking it a bit too far, dont you think?

      • 🙂

        If Mayawati can do it, why can’t we?

      • Lets start with a garland then..We will work our way to the statue after that.

      • There will be enough money for everything from Garlands, to Breaking News, CBI enquiries, I-T raids and even Interpol red corner notices…

        If we collect 1 rupee from each person who loved the angry-young-man we can get upto 1 billion rupees.

        We can call the statue “Inquilab” so that there are no claims on identity thefts.

        And it can even become an election platform!!! 1 billion is enough to buy an entire district!!!

        Wow! This one is a real spin-off!!!!

        🙂

  40. Reader,

    He does re-takes for KBC. I witnessed a few, although I did not understand the reason for them.

    No subtleties escape him.

  41. Renate – Will surely put up the link here for the 25th or email it to you.

  42. I agree with your views. I have been to the KBC shoot some 8-9 years ago, and AB is magnificent and has a amazing personality. They had free lunch for all the viewers and AB would come out and mingle and chat with everybody. Charmed everyone with his down to earth attitude.

  43. Sharmila,

    Something is wrong in the order of the posts on the face page.

    Pritish Nandy’s tosh appears below AB ‘real’ host, though you posted it today!

    Is it back dated?

    • Also the face page is not updating the latest comment. For instance, the above comment number is 144 and this one is 145. Neither show in the pane on the right!

    • I had made the AB post sticky, I guess that was causing the confusion. The comments should be in order now.

      • Thanks. I didn’t quite get what Aishwarya was saying about your language skills and trip.

        Are you learning languages? In Hong Kong you may be taught Mandarin and Japanese. You are already a tamilian so you know malayalam, Kannada, telugu, Tulu and a touch of Sinhalese.

        And the funniest of them all – English!!!

      • LOL..I am learning Mandarin but not Japanese.. as yet! I dont know Sinhalese. I know English, a very ppphunny language..

      • I am off to India Reader, thats what she meant. BTW, I do not know Tulu. You must be knowing Tulu? Thanks Aish!

      • Aishwarya knows Tulu. Not the one in your EF… the one who is taking care of Abhishek Bachchan.

      • Hope you have a direct flight.

        Have you been on roller-coasters or giant wheels?

        There is a trick on how to avoid the uneasy weightless feeling while coming down. Look up at the sky. This way, the eyes do not lose weight and that keeps the cerebellum from losing focus.

        Errrrrrr… just part of emergency preparedness…

        Have a nice trip! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Thank you and will keep these points in mind.. 😉

      • The pilot was full of adventure last night, I am happy I am at my blog.

      • Sharmila,

        Glad to see you back. I was counting the number of hours you were in the air. 24 hours and you would be landing at the Hong Kong International Airport!!!

        As the earth turns over on your side, there was also a possiblity that if there was a slight delay in spotting the land the pilot might miss BLR and land in Dubai.

        🙂

      • Why would he not land on top of Prateeksha instead?

      • Sharmila,

        Happy to see you back. Had missed you…and the pretty blue avatar on the side pane…

  44. Aishwarya Says:

    MonaLisa, Reader, Sharmila,

    MonaLisa, I agree with you that the host of a show has his hands tied and there isnt much he can do beyond the written script. After all, its a job and there are greedy producers competing for TRP spikes and profits! In a way, you are lucky you arent watching Indian channels. Here, we arent left with much choice. There’s so much filth they serve in the name of ‘reality shows’ – the language, the clothes, the vulgarity is so much, I actually have to hurry to surf channels because I dont want my daughter to watch! I still havent recovered from the shock of watching Salman do an utterly horrifying dance movement with a towel on a TV show. The towel was later gifted to a fan or auctioned or something. It probably was sold for millions or if at all it was gifted to a fan, its probably framed by now and they are doing pujas and aarthis for it on a daily basis!

    AB brings class to a program. Perhaps his age is a plus and the producers cant make him do anything gross or perhaps he has refused all such nonsense point blank before signing up for the show. And as a viewer, I am grateful. Within his limitations, he tries his best to tone down anything overdramatic and to pep up the show when he feels it getting boring. I, however, felt really bad when he had to advertise the forthcoming soap ‘Saas bina sasuraal’. Sad. I also feel its sacrilege to make a parady out of ‘Main aur meri tanhai…’ and expect AB to say it! But as Reader says, AB said it by rote and I admire him for doing that. He gives his profession a 100% and has probably made the sender from Bihar very happy. Chalo, at least someone’s happy!
    Sharmila, have a safe trip. My head is still spinning after reading the number of languages you know!

    🙂

    • Aishwarya, MonaLisa, Sharmila,

      AB brings class? I am sorry I didn’t get that. But you have raised a very pertinent point. Why is AB doing TV?

      In the late ’60s and early ’70s when the Indian ethos was indulging chocolate heroes Devanand and Rajesh Khanna alongside sociological campaigners like Raj Kapoor, Manoj Kumar, Guru Dutt etc, AB broke that mould and created artistic space for the oppressed classes, the unemployed, the bootleggers and the con-men.

      Today the Khans and their vamps are brand ambassadors of his legacy, while AB himself has moved into the space that was left vacant by the all-time greats.

      I feel, AB is not bringing class or quality by any conscious effort. He is filling a void in the television market that suits him perfectly. But for this void, he wouldn’t be doing TV.

      And he is outstanding in what he is doing! Sets a standard that no one can match or supercede! He is just too good! Love his sense of humor too! Very close to PGW!!!

      • LOL..but most South Indians do. I bet even you know all those languages I mentioned. I am sure Lakshmi and Ramanathan too would agree with me.

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Is there a void? I thought it was overcrowded…Akshay Kumar, Priyanka Chopra, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Amrita Rao, Madhuri Dixit (Kahin na kahin koi hai), Rajat Kapoor, Farah Khan, the rest come as guest judges on shows and the remaining can be seen in ads and fashion shows! 🙂

        But I agree AB is a trendsetter, wherever he is and in whatever he does.

      • AB is the trend.

    • Aish – A very apt comment. Do read Nandy’s new post which I have put up. He has expressed exactly the same set of thoughts regarding television today. On AB, this man has class, quite lacking in most others.

      • I have left a comment on the new Tosh post. Hope it is not deleted while re-shuffling the order of the post.

        (Re-shuffle reminds me, did you hear that Manmohan Singh is going to re-shuffle the cabinet. That is going to be one big circus!!)

    • But I must hastily add I could not watch AB in Big Boss, it did not suit him. That program did not deserve one of his stature.

      • Sharmila,

        Now now thats not nice. AB was the only one who was watchable in the last Bigg Boss season. The rest of the band were like puppets with broken speakers!

      • Yes, in a way. But, I could not believe he signed up to do this though? It was a bit too much for me to see him amongst those people.

    • Thanks Aish, I will!

  45. Aishwarya Says:

    Reader, Sharmila,

    Class as opposed to being cheap. Like ‘Rendezous with Simi Garewal’ or ‘Jeena isi ka naam hai’ with Farooque Sheikh which were just celebrity interviews with the same drab questions asked, but was done with dignity and style. There was no need to cringe or shudder for fear of someone taking their shirt off and breaking into a dance!

    Sharmila, I didnt watch Bigg Boss either. I draw a line there, even if it means missing out on a show AB is hosting! Reading Nandy’s post now…brilliant as usual. I speak Mal and Tamil, hope to learn Kannada and Telugu too.

    • Aishwarya,

      Right you are in many ways. AB’s net worth is over 1200 Crores like 240 million dollars.

      For Bigg Boss he was paid 125 Crores i.e. 25 million dollars.

      He is among the highest paid stars outside his own production house.

      Thats far from cheap. Thats expensive.

      And he is worth it. He wins the hearts and minds of all ages from children to the aged.

      Regarding class as in sophisticated, he scores high in that too. Perhaps not as sophisticated as Ratan Tata or Bill Gates but exceptional by any standards of a Hindi flimstar.

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Reader,

        Oh wow! He’s classy and expensive! I watched a few episodes of Donald Trump’s ‘The Apprentice’ some time back, and felt he is so full of himself. Perhaps even all the money in the world cannot buy class…

        You summed it up very well in an earlier comment, AB knows the pulse of his viewers and participants, and does a fabulous job. So true…

      • Trump is a Jackass but a fortunate one.

      • I believe the family is worth 3,000 crores or thereabouts.

    • I miss that Garewal show. Loved the one with Rekha.

  46. Sharmila, Aishwarya, Shubha, MonaLisa, Lakshmi and aur EF,

    One last entry on this page before moving on to Mr. Nandy’s tosh on sale. (BTW what is the meaning of tosh? But on that, on the next page.)

    Long ago, when I was in the Junior college, (that was let me see ’79 to ’81), I had written a short story for the Sunday edition of the Poona Herald, a local newspaper in my city. (It’s now called Maharashtra Herald)

    The story, after due editing and dressing-up, appeared under the title “Art and the Artist”.

    I had based the theme on Michael Angelo’s painting titled ‘Adam and God’ – one where their two fingers almost meet but just don’t meet…

    I had created three characters. One was an artist called Deven. A dreamy young girl called Vedna and a small enterpreneur called Girish.

    I got Girish to narrate the story, placing the painting in his drawing room as the source of his ideas.

    The storyline was simple.

    Vedna wants to marry Deven because she loves his work. However, he is not as rich and settled as her parents would like him to be. Their resistence makes her adamant.

    Girish comes to know of the impasse. It’s affecting her work in the office. He decides to intervene without appearing too involved.

    He gives her a fortnight’s leave and two gift tickets, one for Deven and one for her, with a paid holiday package in Sanjauli, a small town near Simla.

    So, Vedna and Deven spend two weeks in Simla. Things seem different and change. The vacation is the main body of the plot.

    At the end, both return home. Vedna reports to the office and announces that she has broken off with Deven. She has discovered that she loves his artwork, not the artist.

    All is well.

    Girish returns to his house and admires Michael Angelo’s concept painting hanging on the wall. A young Adam’s oustretched arm reaching for God… God’s own hand reaching down through the clouds… the twain are so close, yet so far…

  47. Aishwarya, Sharmila, Renate, MonaLisa, Shubha, Lakshmi aur EF,

    Did anyone see the KBC episode last night? I missed it attending to guests for dinner.

    It seems AB explained the ‘Madhushala’ as a metaphor for Life.

    Note: Life not a winery.

    And, correct me if I heard it wrong, the poet himself got it endorsed from Mahatma Gandhi, who agreed that it does not sound like a promotion of alcoholism.

    So my take is also right! Dictionaries cannot explain metaphors and allegories! The translation has to be loyal to the author’s intent, not the dictionary!

    • Reader – I did! He recited a verse from the ‘Madhushala’ and explained ‘madhu’ as a ‘symbol of life.’ You were right! Why am I not surprised?:)

    • Aye that, no, not watched KBC as yet..will do so after doing a hundred other things I need to do here in BLR. But, I will watch tonights episode at the right time.

    • Reader,

      I am sorry I missed out on the comments on this post. Yes, you are absolutely right AB did explain the meaning of Madhushala as a metaphor for Life! Like Aishwarya…I am not surprised either 🙂

      • Shubha,

        I was surprised that we discussed it on the blog in the day, and it came in KBC at night. That was a wierd coincidence. Or perhaps some ESP from some other source!!!

  48. Reader,

    I am surprised that you did not know this before. Any translation, whether into English or German, always mentions that fact.

    The question is, why did he chose madhu as the symbol of Life?

    • Renate,

      If that was the case, Gitanjali would have never qualified for a Nobel prize. The Bengali original and Tagore’s own English version are not dictionary meanings. He has translated the thought, not the literal words from Bengali to English.

      You have quoted some from Goethe in the past.

      For example:

      Hochbild (On High)

      Die Sonne, Helios der Griechen,
      Fahrt prachtig auf der Himmelsbahn,
      Gewib, das Weltall zu beseigen,
      Blickt er umher, hinab, hinan

      … … … Along his heavenly course in splendour
      … … … Rides Helios, the sun of Greeks,
      … … … His glance, assured of world’s surrender
      … … … Below, on high, his conquest seeks.

      Try AB’s method of using words from the dictionary, you will never get the same impact.

  49. Reader,

    Translating poetry is one of the most delicate tasks. You are completely right that a dictionary is of not much help – the thoughts of the poet must be understood and fitted into the concepts of the other language, which is sometimes close to impossible.

    This is the reason for me to disregard the Tagore books that I read in German as a young adult and now, that I am more fluent in English, to only read his own English translations.

    • Renate,

      Thats what I call the ability for Aesthetic appreciation. This discussion began when I said AB lacks aesthetic appreciation and inspite of Anand’s warnings I stood my ground.

      I have nothing to prove. But that is my opinion, and if I express it on a public platform, I must explain it to the best of my ability, lest it sounds like thoughtless rancour.

  50. Reader,

    Depends. 🙂 Why is the woman called Vedna? Is she ‘in pain’ or is she ‘a pain’??

    I wish I could have read the story and not just the storyline…

    • SHe personifies pain and uncertainty because of the mix-up between art and the artist.

    • The theme (The painting ‘Adam & God’) and the storyline count. The plots like the stakes of the parents and the enterpreneur or the holiday in Sanjauli etc are of significance in a more general sense.

      The reason for putting it here in AB’s was that AB’s effort like Adam reaching out to the hand of God.. so close yet so far… the gap between the art and the artist is never filled… Adam is the art.. God is artist…

      • Correction… Reason for putting it here in AB’s context

      • Correction 2: Many missing articles and verbs:

        Re-writing the whole para.

        The reason for putting it here in AB’s context was that AB’s effort is like Adam reaching out to the hand of God.. so close yet so far… the gap between the art and the artist is never filled… Adam is the art… God is the artist…

      • Thats brilliant, Reader.

        And yet I feel, if the gap were to be filled, there would be no more effort…

      • Aishwarya,

        Thats true. No gap, no effort.

        There was a poem in of George or Stephen-somebody called “The Pulley”. God gives every possible virtue to man and holds back Hope or Fulfillment.

        I guess that pulley is the reins to ensure that the horse doesn’t run away with the saddle and cart!!

        🙂

  51. Aishwarya Says:

    Lol, Reader…true.

    Fascinating how AB and you discuss more or less similar topics at the same time. You discussed Madhushala and the KBC episode followed. And today, on his blog, he writes, “The two may never meet, but the differences shall I believe remain.”

    In all fairness, I also feel when glossies quote AB, they should do so in entirety, to avoid him being misunderstood. This was what he had written then on the blog,

    ‘Iss paar priye madhu tum ho, uss paar na jaane kya hoga !’

    On this shore there is, my beloved, wine and you. One wonders what shall be on the other shore !
    It is a reflection of an entire poem, which one day I shall put up in its completeness, to describe the poets thoughts on existence and life, in his own inimitable philosophy.

    • You are kidding!!!

      We discussed Madhushala and Michael Angelo before yesterday’s KBC episode and his blog-post today that you mentioned above!!!

      Do you think someone is snooping on our discussions?!!

      Better be careful. I tend to express myself freely at times without giving much thought to it’s implications.

      If AB himself has read any of our views, which I doubt as his reality is in another orbit, but still, if he gets to know the tone and language he is bound to feel hurt!!!

      My comments are often more than just perceptual disharmony and do antagonize the subjects. Better be careful.

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Serious, Reader. I had to check twice to see if I am reading AB’s blog or Sharmila’s! But no cause for worry if at all he reads. He’ll be quite pleased to see how any remark against him is like stirring up a hornet’s test! Or should I say, madhumakhi?!

        =

        I should let you move on to the next post now, you have a host of questions in your first comment to tackle and we all look forward to reading your views on ‘tosh’.

        🙂

      • You are right. Lets move on to the next page; Mr. Nandy and the high speed younger generation.

        Duh-duh me.. what is tosh? 😦

      • I use the Oxford Book of Etymology. The word Tosh doesn’t occur. There is something called Tosheroon which means money…

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Let’s…

        Tosh. Has a nice ring to it.

        The dictionary says,
        Tosh – foolish nonsense. (probably a blend of trash and bosh).

      • Aishwarya Says:

        I dont think he means money or half a crown, Reader. Its like schmoozing and machismo…we’ll get used to the words. Come on…:)

      • Aishwarya Says:

        What’s a hornet’s test?? Hornet’s *nest.

      • What is a hornet?

      • Hornet, name commonly applied to the members of a group of social wasps that make nests of papery material composed of chewed plant foliage and wood. The nest is often surrounded by a football-shaped paper envelope.

        Scientific classification: Hornets belong to the family Vespidae, of the order Hymenoptera. The bald-faced, or white-faced, hornet is classified as Vespula maculata. The European hornet is classified as Vespula crabro.

        Duh…social wasp? 🙂

      • Aishwarya,

        Then “test” is not all that wrong!

        🙂

      • Aishwarya Says:

        LOL…:)

  52. Very ferocious beasts, hornets are. You should have seen my school bus full of 15-year old girls after the discovery of a hornet in someone’s hair. The squeals still ring in my ears!

    Guess who chased it out?

  53. Perhaps Indian bus drivers are braver than German ones. No, it took a fifteen year old girl who was working her way up to be a snake charmer.

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