Thursday, May 18, 2006

Kannada demigod Dr. Rajkumar Passed away.

The reaction was spontaneous and followed a pattern.
Some state transport buses stopped on their tracks others, burnt. Sporadic violence in someareas. Some tyres burned.The common man ran for cover and did not dare to venture out.What followed the next day was only logical. Entire Bangalore (I could sayentire Karnataka) was brought to a stand still.

A bandh was called. I commuted to my workplace in about 25 minutes (It normally takes about 45minutes).

Under all this, what struck me the most was, the love and respect they havefor their “Hero”. I could see, men, women, and children were pouring in fromall directions. Their destination ? The stadium where the mortal remains of their Demigod was kept.

All of them, either did not have jobs or did not care for their jobs. Theyare in a state of shock and grieving as though one of their own familymember had passed away. All along the way, I could see, photos and posters of Late. Dr. Rajkumar, heavily garlanded, with "dhoopam" and "dheepam". There were bunch of young guys riding on their bikes with his photograph perched in the front.

In my life I had seen couple of more instances like these. Dr. M.GRamachandran, Dr. N.T. Rama Rao all cinema personalities, endowed with Honorary Doctorate, Who ruled thetinsel town for over couple of decades. The only difference between Dr.Rajkumar’s counter parts from Andhra and Tamil Nadu, the other two had beenRuling their States too.

What makes them worthy of the love, respect and reverence that is usuallyreserved for gods?At the end of the day, they are just human beings, who made acting theirchoice of profession and earned their livings. They are no better than you and me in that aspect, we chose a line of profession and earn our livings.

Yes, in that process, they shone like the way only they can.They knew the pulse of their audience and played their fantasy. They masses could identify with them when they played the policeman who would not budgefrom his principles and provides justice to the oppressed. Or the angryyoung man who questions the atrocities committed by more fortunate against the not so fortunate, or the mythological character that would do nothingbut the good. When they play the role, they are so convincing that, one who would watch them, feels that they are the oppressed and in some strange way,the man on the screen has vindicated what they feel and had acted the way one would want to react to the specific stimuli. Combined with some grittydialogs, and songs that talk about virtues, the right things to do, etc etc, that were tailor made for them.The audience will cry, rejoice, laugh, be angry on the villain, just the waytheir demigod feels on the screen.

All these unanimously point out to one thing, we who live in the southernpart of this great nation (Keralites are exempted to some extent…since Ihave not seen anything similar happening there), are a bunch of emotionally challenged lot of people. We have too much of time, resources to spend on movies and we are the best escapist as it gets. Yes, we always look for some messiah to jump from the sky to save us from every thing. We will not move a finger to save our self is an entirely different question. Our brains aretuned to worship our heroes. There are people in our country who spend almost their entire days wage overa three-hour movie. How can you explain that other than escapism? They somehow get the feeling of safety and comfort when they watch their demi god sing those thought provoking songs, and handout justice to one and all. Theywalk out of the cinema, hoping to god that, one day his hero will save himfrom his misery.

Do any of them say to them, that they are to fend forthemselves ? and they have to provide for themselves ? There are people whospend their hard earned money to buy garland and other offerings for their demigod’s photographs and cutouts!!!! All said and done all the three personalities, have been the best in their fields. They ruledthe minds of couple of generations and have been influential in shaping themindset of people.

May their souls rest in peace.

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