The Return of Dadagiri


Remember that 90s Bollywood movie? Where politicians are evil,the goons roam about in SUVs and the deal making is done by middle men?! The politicians plan to evacuate the Jhuggi to build a hotel there and order goons to create disturbance. And Simple Sunil Shetty, Hairy Akshay Kumar, Angry Sunny Deol and Mawaali Anil Kapoor then stand up and fight the bad guys.

This is sort of what happened with ADHM. Of course there is no Jhuggi to be razed down. But the 90s are back. And so is this story. Is RGV reading?! 🙂

There used to be a very popular politician once upon a time – heading his own political party. Regional party – but based in one of the richest cities in India. A sea facing city of dreams, businesses were based out of there; Bollywood was based out of there; the most expensive houses and offices were based there. And the party had a simple philosophy. Might was right. The impact ensured that they came to power. The politics ensured that they thrived. The senior politician had 2 pillars of support. His son and his nephew. The son was a moderate guy compared to his dad. The nephew though was a firebrand. In the same mould as his uncle – he clearly was a party favourite. With age – the wily politician began slowing down and the succession wars began. Family gatherings became awkward. The supporters began to tell both that one was better than the other. Very soon the rumblings reached the senior and he called them both to sort things out. Both were given distinct roles and things seemed sorted on the surface. But underneath – the nephew felt sidelined. As time went on, the nephew drifted apart and eventually quit and setup his own party. His cousin meanwhile took over the old party and moderated it a bit to become more in line with the present. As the senior politician slowed down further – he looked in dismay at his 2 pillars of support, slowly but surely turning against each other.

The old man eventually passed away and the nephew moulded his new party in the same fashion as his uncle. The goons were back. Might was Right again. And the nephew became the toast of the masses again. But the glory was short lived. The world had changed and what worked in the past did not work too long for the nephew. Very soon the violent ways stopped yielding results. He huffed and puffed his way to just one seat in the assembly and largely remained sidelined. Until the neighbouring country came to his rescue. After a shocking attack on our army by cross border militants – his trusted lieutenant came up with an idea. On target were Bollywood films with cross border artistes. The goons were out in public threatening the producers. The release will be stalled they said. How dare he cast cross border artists?!! Country comes first!! Never mind the destruction of public property by his goons in the past. With Bollywood in the crosshairs – the media picked it up. And what followed was exactly what he wanted. Recalled to public consciousness – there were media appearances, debates along with producers and film stars and politicians reaching out to him. Eventually, delegations reached the central leadership of the country asking for protection – from this gundagardi. But there was no relenting. Until the CM of the state called for a joint meeting between the producers and him. The meeting was brief – but with the CM himself negotiating between the parties, the meeting had a result. The producers agreed to not work with cross border artists in the future. The nephew agreed not to harass the producers – but on one condition. The producers had to deposit money in the Army fund as penance. Finally patriotism had a price. The old man looked down from his picture in the CMs office.

Smug and happy, the nephew relished being in the limelight again – even if for a short while. The media lapped it up. With army and nationalism as a backdrop – he found a lot of support for his agenda. The municipal elections were round the corner and it was good to remind the people that he was still around. Social media was rumbling against him – but public memory is short. How will the people react when the next polls come around? Will they support him or go against him?  He waits and watches.


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