Kabir Bedi & Shekhar Kapur discuss stuff

A panel discussion was organized pretty recently ages back *on a very short notice*. When sleep is at stake I fight for it out on life and limb but this event was branded with two names I could not forgive myself for missing out on: Kabir Bedi and Shekhar Kapur.

(is it weird I always first identify the latter as the man who always breaks down on India’s got talent and then think about Mr India and the Bandit Queen.)

How nice of them. Students turned up in hordes, tripping over their suitcases packed over and above capacity during the summer vacation.

Of course it’s summer in March. (Bhubaneswar is a phoenix material. How else do you explain wearing boxers in January?)
… And undoubtedly we have a vacation smacked in the middle of the term when faculty advisors and deans refuse to sign leave applications for Holi. 
I expected some serious stimulating cannon shots of wisdom in the stentorian and sexy voices tagged Kabir Bedi and Shekhar Kapur. (The television barely captures the baritones people, it’s all I can tell you.)
It was a headless program with a vaguely defined topic which hovered on ‘youth and cinema’. And? Youth, cinema  and what? Their changing tastes/general progression/trends in the industry/what?
Aise toh most Indian parents, particularly here are ossified about the importance of landing secure jobs in IT sector to feed your future family and your ballooning debt incurred from the excess spending your pocket money may trigger.
Indolent hypocrisy was stripped naked to the bone as I tried counting the number of times these celebrities were lauded and thanked (still wondering why) for ‘their contribution to the country’.
I say, count the number of engineering colleges here setting up shop and then count the number of people willing to let their children touch a camera. And then try saying thank you.
What can cinema do to influence young people?, asked a woman.
If only you’d stop peering into the youth policy, you’d figure out that movies have always been an influence on the youth!
Then there were questions like how it can be a good influence. For a panel discussion on cinema, that veered off track pretty quickly.
From Aamir Khan’s Kya Bolti Tu and in Ghulam (with unforgettable matchstick stunt) to the pied pipers Dev Anand and Rajesh Khanna, crazed fans would slit wrists and ‘fill their maangs‘ for lack of a better phrase, where every other man would ask the nai  for an Amitabh Bachchan haircut,
in a country where they say
jodi Ram Sita jaisi ho,
bhai Ram Laxman Jaise ho
and maa Nirupama Roy jaisi ho
 movies have always been an influence!
Films are expressions and points of views of a person or a group of people and while you always take home something, its purpose isn’t to teach you that you should oil your hair and comb it every morning before leaving for work.
Kabir Bedi answered the dead end question gracefully, stating that cinema is one of the influences in society. (HA! I told ya.)
We Indians have always had a thing for depicting heroes stalking their heroines and singing plagiarized songs around trees and bushes and snow-covered Switzerland to get her to say yes to his advances. Watching their favorite stars do something took away the wrong and the unjustified from the act of trailing a woman to the point of spying; often such attempts have culminated in rapes, molestation, murders and blank calls and weird messages and an unnatural but justified mistrust towards men inn environment with feminism reaching saturation.
Such scenes have spurred young men to internalize the idea that stalking et al is OK and girls like it. They step into their idols’ shoes and affirm that their no is a yes in disguise. 
‘But change in cinema has to occur not in things that have been done, rather in things that haven’t been done.’
Shekhar Kapur: Art is not a derivative of form. It is a complex, ill-defined way of reaching a higher form of being. It is a complex form of expression.
When asked to give advice to the youngsters earnestly staring back at him, he says
The act of rebellion is fundamental to artists; it is fundamental to life.
Such a waste. Do you still want to get bored? Listen to a shoddy recording and challenge your brain muscles to a game of Let’s Guess What The Duck They’re Talking About Because This Recording Is Shoddy Work.
Certified to increase your Irritability Quotient.  My phone just died.
You’re welcome.

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