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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Starry nites & award-winning slights

Chetna Keer   February 11, 2013
First Published: 16:58 IST(11/2/2013) | Last Updated: 17:00 IST(11/2/2013)

It's not just been recently raining its way into records, it's also been raining awards. At the start of Season 2013, the million-dollar question is: who's reigning at the awards?

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As the New Year has got rolling, so has the Bollywood award nite red carpet been seeing much strolling. By gatecrashers as much as 'gait-crashers' (those well-heeled celebs whose heels stand in the way of their gait). Be it a Stardust, Filmfare or Screen awards nite, the red carpet these days is a parade of prospective winners, prospective losers, 'certain' award hosts (who're pretty certain to poke a joke on God knows who), 'uncertain' invitees (who can never be certain when they'll be the butt of jokes by the hosting blokes) and so on.

In keeping with the mood of Tinsel Town that has ushered in 2013 not so much with rain as with a showering of awards, for every reason and for every season, it may not be out of place to announce awards for social and political performers who've not acted too seasoned.
Here's toasting some sterling non-screen performances that helped stir up social dust 'n' disturbance with the Stir-Dust Awards:

Lifetime achievement award: This goes to all those political leaders who invited the ire of the Badshah of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan for their long contribution to making him "a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India".

Needless to say, only a lifetime devoted to this stereotyping role on the part of these political leaders could have enabled them to achieve the desired goal   of brandishing Brand SRK as a convenient emblem of Muslim identity to suit their vested interests.

With King Khan himself acknowledging the successful role played in religious stereotyping by certain sections of the political leadership in an article written recently for a magazine, the long contribution of these leaders to this saga of image (mis)management of India's cultural icon certainly calls for a citation.
And when the issue stirs a hornet's nest such that India and Pakistan (led by its interior minister Rehman Malik) end up in a war of words, what better than to fete those who scripted this SRK saga with a Stir-Dust Award!

Stir-Dust Debut of the Year (Female): This honour has surely been earned by Indo-Canadian hottie and silver screen sex symbol Sunny Leone for how she managed to "stir dust" on the painful plight of rape victims.

Adding insult to the injury of rape victims was the "Jism 2' actor's recent remark on Twitter that offered an altogether ingenious insight into rape: "Rape is not a crime, it is surprise sex!"

When she found that much damage had been done by her bold tweet, she did try to eat, her own words, that is. This she attempted by threatening all those who'd been fast or furious enough to re-tweet her remark. Her threat to block all the fans who'd spread her word may or may not have done the trick, but there was many an activist whom Sunny's debut role of social theorising on rape did prick.

Stir-Dust Debut of the Year (Male): When a sex symbol puts her foot in the mouth on the subject of rape, can a seer be far behind!

The start of Season 2013 has also seen Godman Asaram Bapu delivering an eyeball-grabbing dialogue on a burning subject that has been consuming Concerned India: the Delhi bus gangrape.

Pontificating on the possibilities of escaping rape, self-appointed social commentator Asaram Bapu had declared that the gangrape victim could have saved herself by addressing her violators as 'bhaiyya' (brother) and beseeching for mercy.

His self-scripted dialogue, delivered close on the heels of the rape incident, smacked of nothing short of a skill to 'stir dust' with innovative social theorisation on maladies like molestation.

This debut dialogue on rape not only catapulted the hitherto out-of-slight-out-of-mind seer into the headlines but also into the Hall of Shame.

Stir-Dust People's Choice Award: This belongs undoubtedly to a hitherto little-known aam aadmi of Dayalbagh in Agra, Sanjay Chowdhary, for his small yet significant contribution to Stir Dust against the political leadership on the social media.

That Chowdhary's "communal and inflammatory" comments on Facebook about the political top brass   embodied in this case by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, telecom minister Kapil Sibal and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav   landed him behind bars shows his contribution to raising the "bar" for political bashing on the social media.

So, if B-town boasts of Stardust nites, let there be Stir-Dust Awards for the other "knights".

The writer is a Chandigarh-based columnist

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