POWER OFTHE AAM AU­RAT

India Today - - SIGNATURE -

Has any­one no­ticed how male dom­i­nated our po­lit­i­cal de­bate has be­come? Naren­dra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Ke­jri­wal are in­volved in a bat­tle unto death, all in the name of the aam aadmi. Which is why it’s time they watched the new film, Queen, for some good old-fash­ioned aam au­rat po­lit­i­cal sense to be drummed into them. Two hours of Queen’s re­fresh­ing flight from jilted sin­gle­dom in Ra­jouri Gar­den, Delhi, to free­dom in Paris and Am­s­ter­dam will arm them with enough lessons for the tough con­test ahead. Les­son #1. Never un­der­es­ti­mate the power of the aam au­rat. Just when her fi­ancé dumps her at the al­tar, Rani, the lead char­ac­ter of Queen, de­cides to take off on her hon­ey­moon alone. So Modi and Rahul be warned. Don’t think Amma Jay­alalithaa, Be­henji Mayawati and Didi Ma­mata need you to form a govern­ment. They could dis­cover in each other their own best friend. In Modi’s case, he bet­ter be warned of Sushma Be­hen too. To us, she seems pretty miffed. Les­son #2. Make peace, not an­i­mos­ity. As Modi, Rahul and Ke­jri­wal head into a messy war of at­ten­tion, learn from Queen. Make the world your friend, not en­emy. Mr Ke­jri­wal, the me­dia is not against you if it writes sto­ries that don’t suit you. Rahul, in­ter­views are not your un­do­ing, lack of prepa­ra­tion is. And Mr Modi, a rain­bow coali­tion like Rani’s is the an­swer, not po­lar­i­sa­tion. How does the shel­tered Rani sur­vive the strange ex­pe­ri­ences thrown at her by travel? She makes an ally of who­ever she meets: From the half-In­dian, halfFrench ho­tel maid Vi­jay­alak­shmi, to the an­gry Rus­sian Olek­sander, the black French­man Tim and the lit­tle Ja­panese who lost his par­ents in the tsunami, Taka. Les­son #3. Keep your ideas sim­ple. If you want to win In­dia, all you need is the will. In Queen, Rani wins a cook­ing com­pe­ti­tion or­gan­ised by an Ital­ian chef she has a crush on, by mak­ing gol gap­pas. As an idea, it beats even the lad­doos of English Vinglish, which al­lowed Sridevi’s eman­ci­pa­tion. Les­son #4. Use tech­nol­ogy to unite, not di­vide. So please or­der all your trolls and tards off ev­ery critic’s time­line. Rani keeps her fam­ily and friends in­formed of her ad­ven­tures by skyp­ing them through­out the day. When she doesn’t know the an­swer to some­thing, she crowd­sources it. What is hing called in English? Should she meet her dog-like fi­ancé or not? Con­fused? Don’t be. Just take a vote. Les­son #5. Be yourself. Don’t try to be some­thing you’re not, the world will even­tu­ally find out the truth. Look at Rani. She learnt to be as at ease in the church as she did in a seedy bar in Am­s­ter­dam, watch­ing Rukhsar/Rox­ette from In­dia do the pole dance. She didn’t scoff at her friend Vi­jay­alak­shmi for her sex life, she merely ad­vised her to be a lit­tle choosy. Les­son #6. Don’t worry about where you’ve come from. Think about where you’re go­ing. Rani be­gins from a mithai shop in Ra­jouri Gar­den and ends up in a youth hos­tel in Am­s­ter­dam, shar­ing a room with three boys who be­come her best friends. Any­thing is pos­si­ble.

We could ask our chief can­di­dates to learn a lot more from Rani. Her dance moves for one. Her dress sense for an­other. Her abil­ity to laugh at her­self, even when mis­tak­ing a dildo for a mas­sager. And her courage, whether it is in fight­ing a mug­ger in a Parisian metro sta­tion or driv­ing her drunken friends home in Am­s­ter­dam. But per­haps it’s ex­pect­ing too much. Mostly, what Rani has is what she has im­bibed from the aam au­rats in her very or­di­nary fam­ily: A cool grand­mother who tells her of the Mus­lim boyfriend she left be­hind in Pak­istan dur­ing Par­ti­tion and the hus­band she met in a refugee camp in in­de­pen­dent In­dia; and a lov­ing mother who doesn’t co­erce her to seek her fi­ancé’s for­give­ness but al­lows her to mourn her lost love on a for­eign va­ca­tion. Bol­ly­wood movies have fi­nally learnt to love be­hen­jis. It’s time In­dia’s politi­cians did too.

SO NAREN­DRA MODI AND RAHUL GANDHI BE WARNED. DON’T THINK JAY­ALALITHAA, MAYAWATI AND MA­MATA NEED YOU TO FORM A GOVERN­MENT. THEY COULD DIS­COVER IN EACH OTHER THEIR OWN BEST FRIEND.

Il­lus­tra­tion by

SAU­RABH SINGH

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