?Russia, find new Raj Kapoors?
Russians who danced to Awara hoon have aged or gone and the generation that's driving the new Russia only vaguely recalls someone called Raj Kapoor.india Updated: Dec 11, 2005 09:57 IST
Russians who danced to Awara hoon have aged or gone and the generation that's driving the new Russia only vaguely recalls someone called Raj Kapoor. Besides, he is dead and so is socialism that was so much a part of the legend that he was here.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's pitch to this new Russia was a candid admission of the new reality.
This pitch came at a function at the Moscow State University which conferred on him the diploma of an honorary professor on Monday.
“I know many of your senior faculty may still hum the tunes of Awara and may still be nostalgic about Raj Kapoor,” he said. “But I want you students to come and discover a new generation of Raj Kapoors and the new music that your generation in India taps its feet to.”
The young Russians are much more Western-oriented (distinctly American at that) than they care to admit. Because they are being asked by Indians, they make all the appropriate noises about Indians being a warm and friendly people. But the interest stops there.
Sasha, a tour guide, is more up with Michael Jackson's life and trials than he is with a country that he visited 12 years ago. He recalls India as a beautiful country where people “are always smilings”. But never once does he talk about Raj Kapoor or Awara.
Another youngster, an interpreter, is a little embarrassed to admit she knows nothing about Raj Kapoor or Awara. “I remember the elders of the family talking about it but I really haven’t heard of him.” She quickly adds she doesn't have the time for films. Nothing to do with India.
So what does she do in her spare time if she doesn't watch films? Oh lots. Jazz bar, nightclubs, concerts. But that's when she has the time, she emphasises. She would rather make a career first — that's the new Russia. Young and eager to prove itself. The PM's pitch was to this new Russia.
First Published: Dec 11, 2005 09:57 IST