ENTERTAINMENT
PADMAVAT – FIRST DAY, FIRST SHOW IN DAVOS
If only Modi had tweeted his First Day First Show plan from Davos
- Anita Pathania
If only Modi had tweeted his First Day First Show plan from Davos



ACROSS INDIA, government employees were looking forward to a long weekend. With the Republic Day falling on Friday, it meant three straight days of leisurely break from the humdrum of life. Tens of thousands of such employees knew about this extended holiday months in advance, in fact, years in advance, because even the Karni Sena could not prevent the Republic Day from falling on a Friday this year, and Saturdays and Sundays are a little difficult to push around.

So, thousands of these employees had made plans months in advance, booked train tickets, reserved hotel rooms, asked children to read up on planned tourism destinations. Kids had told their friends, and women had announced it to close knit groups.
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This time, she had secretly decided she would give in to her son's pleas. She knew her daughter-in-law was worried for her and she, too, wanted her to shift to Mumbai. "Main chutti le loongi, aap aa jao," the son's wife had pleaded with her.
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In most states, if one could take Monday and Tuesday off, then it could be six days in a row. Wednesday, January 31, is Guru Ravidas' b'day. 

Families had planned to be together. Someone's daughter had booked tickets to be with parents in Jaipur. Another's mother who lived alone in Delhi had planned to be with the son, working with a bank in Mumbai, for these three days. She had lost her husband at the age of 75 and now, living alone at home, missed her son. She had been resisting her son's repeated pleas of coming and living with him and his family, but had not brought herself up to leave the house where she spent decades with the man she lost.

This time, she had secretly decided she would give in to her son's pleas. She knew her daughter-in-law was worried for her and she, too, wanted her to shift to Mumbai. "Main chutti le loongi, aap aa jao," the son's wife had pleaded with her. She worked in a private sector firm. It was with much trepidation that train tickets were booked. She was to reach Mumbai on January 26.

Thousands of hotel rooms, thousands of flight tickets, railway journeys, safari trips, cabs, guides were booked. Kids had told a million tales about their impending trip. A particularly nasty nine year old urchin had refused to ride a camel along the road near Chandigarh's Sukhna Lake.

"Rajasthan mein loonga," he said, sobbing. 

He won't be doing that. And India's rulers should hang their heads in shame.
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Families made lists of what to take along, kids made promises to granny they will send a selfie everyday (one said every hour, even as dad told him not to touch the phone). Neighbours promised to water the plants. House help was told she will have a paid holiday. "Tankhwah nahi kaatoongee," Mrs Kuljinder had told Phoolmati.
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People scanned newspaper headlines for days. They surfed the channels for more than a fortnight. Families made lists of what to take along, kids made promises to granny they will send a selfie everyday (one said every hour, even as dad told him not to touch the phone). Neighbours promised to water the plants. House help was told she will have a paid holiday. "Tankhwah nahi kaatoongee," Mrs Kuljinder had told Phoolmati. For some reason, she always called her Kanta Bai, her favourite character in a TV serial. 

But news came in relentlessly. Every day. Karni Sena was all over. And the State seemed missing in action. Courts said run the movie, chief ministers were saying do not run the movie. Ministers were saying the movie is very bad, will not be allowed to run, no matter what. The top court was telling the government, clearly also the same ministers, that they should protect the people's right to watch the movie.

Anil Vij must be laughing.
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Official Hind Sarkar Spokesperson-In-Chief, Arnab Goswami, was shown the movie and he issued a certificate. Signed and stamped, this should have ideally meant as a pass into any multiplex for a party of 100, pop corns thrown in for free.
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Suraj Pal Amu had not withdrawn his offer of Rs. 10 crores to anyone who beheads Deepika Padukone and director of Padmavati/Padmavat Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

"The youth and warrior caste of this country have the strength to set every cinema on fire," Amu had said. He clearly believed in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Clean India" initiative, and wanted it to be cleansed of all corrupting influences.

One after the other, Chief Ministers had spoken against the movie. The Supreme Court's decision was a clear indictment of these chief ministers and also of the line up of scores of BJP leaders and their national spokespersons who had voiced objections to the movie and spoken the language of the Karni Sena, but the opposition had not even dared to demand that these CMs resign and the spokespersons refrain from showing their face on television screens.
 
Karni Sena continued to vandalize cinemas and malls. It started early and had vandalised the film's sets in January last year, topping it up with an assault on Bhansali himself in Jaipur.
 

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had also sided with the Karni Sena elements and took days before changing his tune. 

Even union ministers advocated that representatives of Karni Sena should preview the film. Official Hind Sarkar Spokesperson-In-Chief, Arnab Goswami, was shown the movie and he issued a certificate. Signed and stamped, this should have ideally meant as a pass into any multiplex for a party of 100, pop corns thrown in for free.

Finally, the Supreme Court gave its verdict: Run the movie. Give protection. Do not seek bans. (One had almost expected it to set up a larger bench and give the case to junior judges. But perhaps the Fantastic Four had closed that option with their presser.)
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It was January 23rd night. It rained in Chandigarh. Someone wondered if it had snowed in Shimla. The PM was in Davos. And there was a lot of snow in Davos. It was on the television screen. The little kid who wanted to ride a camel had been listening to his family discussing if they should finally cancel the hotel bookings.
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And then came the keeling over. The PM went to Davos. The Karni Sena went to work. And you know what goes to the dogs. The Republic. Not the one you watch on the screen. 

It was January 23rd night. It rained in Chandigarh. Someone wondered if it had snowed in Shimla. The PM was in Davos. And there was a lot of snow in Davos. It was on the television screen. The little kid who wanted to ride a camel had been listening to his family discussing if they should finally cancel the hotel bookings.

"It's not safe," everyone was telling everyone. 

Deepika Padukone went to Siddhivinayak temple to seek divine help. The help from the apex court didn't do much for her.

The recently widowed mom of the Mumbai based banker had cancelled her flight ticket. She may finally cancel her plans to shift to Mumbai altogether. If she had gone this time, perhaps things would have turned out differently.

"We should have planned to go to Manali," Mrs Kuljinder exclaimed. "It could snow. I have never seen snow falling."

And suddenly, there was snow. And also Narendra Modi. From Davos. He was telling the world India is ready.

"Only Karni Sena is," the daughter-in-law mumbled. She was really looking forward to convince mom. She always called her mom. "Modi should do something," she said.

Kids have by now found out Modi is powerful, and they think in the most innovative ways. "I have a plan if you promise to let me click and send selfies everyday to granny," said the 11-year-old. "Okay, but not every hour." Dad was being dad.

"Modi is so powerful, he should go and watch the movie first-day first-show with all his ministers and their wives and families. Then what will Karni Sena do?"

Brilliant! Dad was beaming. The kid was smart. He decided he will let him click a selfie every hour.

"In fact, he should tweet from this place itself where there is so much snow. He should tell the world I am going to watch Padmavat first day, first show. And he should take a hundred poor kids with him and give them all pop corn and pizza. Everybody will then get a message." 
 
"What school do they go to?" Mrs Kuljinder was asking. Her own kid is just three and she is always trying to find out which school turns out the smartest kids.

January 23. 9:45 pm IST. PM still in Davos. 

BREAKING NEWS: COMPROMISE -- shrieked the CNN News 18 television screen. Sudarshan channel's Suresh Chavhanke had watched Padmavat. And declared victory. "Bhansali has bent," he said. A day earlier, he had gone ballistic when denied entry into PVR Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj, Delhi, along with other media people.

Kids were crying, asking dads not to cancel hotel bookings. Mrs Kuljinder was keen to cancel the train reservations otherwise they will deduct too much money. A nation had found its answer. It was that it has no answers, and will have none when the world will ask if India is ready.

All because Modi did not tweet from Davos that he will watch Padmavat first day, first show.

Hotels in many states that spend millions to attract tourists are watching the bookings being cancelled. Cabbies are wringing their hands. Lions in safaris may not know, but they will have less disturbance during the long weekend.
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There is a special place in hell for those who take away the happiness of children, of families that plan to go on a holiday, of a daughter-in-law who wanted to convince mom to come and live with them.
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It is possible that men like Suresh Chavhanke broker a compromise. It is possible that TV screens start flashing in 160 point font size -- CRISIS AVERTED. It is possible Mrs Kuljinder's house help returns to work after learning of the change in holiday plans.

But it is not possible for India to look that boy in the eye and tell him truthfully why he will not be taking a camel ride in Jaipur.

Shame on those who did not do what a little kid could think of in a snap: Tweet your movie plans from Davos.

There is a special place in hell for those who take away the happiness of children, of families that plan to go on a holiday, of a daughter-in-law who wanted to convince mom to come and live with them.

You will have the company of Suraj Pal Amu in that hell. Congratulations.
 
 

 

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