Malavika’s Mumbaistan: A significant generational shift?

mumbai Updated: Mar 30, 2018 11:07 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Malavika’s Mumbaistan,Barkha Dutt,Divya Spandana

Journalist Barkha Dutt.(Saumya Khandelwal/HT File Photo)

“Ok, what context would u like I am sitting in a function hence texting,” wrote Barkha Dutt to our SMS about a preview she had shared of her conversation about Cambridge Analytica with the Congress party’s digital chief Divya Spandana for her digital platform and a print assignment. In it, Spandana appears to level with Dutt about the Congress’ alleged involvement with the tainted firm, suggesting that whereas the firm might have sent in a pitch, the party had taken the high moral ground.

What is striking is the credibility quotient of the whole conversation. Spandana, widely credited with breathing life into the Congress’ and Rahul Gandhi’s social media presence, comes across as a breath of fresh air in the political scene — young, bright and sincere in the best meaning of the word, she appears to be someone who understands young urban India simply because she is from it — emblematic of a significant generational shift in India’s political scenario.

“Was an actor. Lives with three dogs in Delhi,” Dutt texted from her event about her interviewee. The conversation had been conducted in the small studio in Dutt’s basement that she had built for her media start-up. Cool, we said, she came there? “Yes. And very sportingly took an Ola that took her to the wrong place,” Dutt texted.

Here’s what we thought: Given its fatigue with Mandir-caste issues, young India might just opt for the ‘generational’ shift the Congress is embracing.

VIDEO CON?

Chanda Kochhar.

With recent media reports of the Chanda Kochhar-led ICICI Bank coming under a cloud for its alleged lending to the Videocon group, some Twitter users had a field day last evening. It began with a tweet from Delhi’s prime time marketing guru Suhel Seth. “Am looking for a loan for a fridge. Does anyone know the husband of any bank CEO please?”

Actor Dino Morea (who would’a thunk?) was quick to respond. “What brand of fridge were you thinking? I know a person who knows a person. And No, it’s not a CON.” Then the other prime time marketing guru, Mumbai’s Sunil Alagh, threw in his two bits, “You will be put into the COOLER if they approve!” And even ex-chief economic advisor to the government, Arvind Virmani, got involved. “During my time in Govt. I turned down many V expensive-looking Diwali gifts from the industrial group under consideration. V generous people.” Suhel ended the hoo-haa with the final tweet — “VideoCONdhootTereKi”. We forsee a lot of more internet humour on the subject. Here’s ours — ‘CON banega crorepati?’

THE AESTHETIC OF OSHO

It’s finally happened: we too have succumbed to the current Netflix bingeing, that’s infected urban life — for starters, the newly released ‘Wild, Wild Country’ documentary series on Rajneesh also known as Osho, which charts the self-styled Godman’s years in America and the clash of civilisation that ensued between his followers and white middle America.

Osho.

To say it is riveting would be an understatement. From low cunning to high drama, from paranoia to liberation and many naked bodies in between, it offers it all, through the subject’s leads — the enigmatic Osho and his personal secretary, the omnipotent Ma Sheela, who spookily appears to be channeling her inner Kangana many decades before the actress was born.

Which reminds us: Rumours suggest Aamir Khan’s name is doing the rounds as the possible essayer of the role of the diamond-watch-flaunting, Rolls-Royce-riding, Bihari philosophy professor-turned sage, having replaced Ranveer Singh, for an upcoming Bollywood film. Now, much as we love the thinking woman’s sex thimble, and his intelligent approach to the box office, and even though past records suggest he could shape shift to resemble the groovy guru, this would be a crying shame. The all-important thing about Osho was his aesthetic. Time and time again, those who met him spoke of the impact of his white bearded, lean, tall, gliding presence. Which is why we think the only person who will do justice to the role is Bollywood’s own white-bearded Amitabh Bachchan. That will be genius casting. As for Ma Sheela, who else but Ranaut to capture her feisty fragility and often endearing, in-your-face ambition, than the industry’s queen? Bollywood Gods, are ye listening?

First Published: Mar 30, 2018 11:06 IST