Now that the hoopla around the SRK Vs. Sena is subsiding, let me share my 2 cents.
Lets go a bit backwards in time, the IPL 3 auctions are over, and there is a controversy about the Pakistani players not being favoured by any teams. The official statement from the GOI is that they didn’t interfere, but the low down from teams’ strategy rooms is that they were discouraged from bidding for Pakistani players. Lalit Modi defends the IPL by saying that it was left to the teams to decide who they wanted. Preity Zinta defended the auction process by saying that a lot of Australians were not picked either, and thereby begging the media to be more responsible while reporting news. Shilpa Shetty raised the security issue to defend her selections.
At the auction, KKR (SRK’s team) bagged NZ pacer Shane Bond in a silent bid at an undisclosed amount. They emptied their available funds on a single player.
SRK then came into the picture and made a statement. This statement ruffled the feathers of the Maharashtrian regional parties and Shiv Sena became active in condemning him and all hell broke loose.
Now that we’ve collected the data points, let’s try to analyze.
1. The Shiv Sena is seen by many to be a party past it’s prime. I watched a live interview of Uddhav Thackrey on Saturday the 6th and somehow I got the feeling that there is an ace up his sleeve. He was very cool and surefooted the way he responded to the comments and criticisms targeted at him over the last fornight. But I fear I’m digressing. Anyway…
2. Anyone who thinks that this issue will help Shiv Sena recover lost ground is a bit naive. The next elections are 5 years away (if the Congress – NCP) coalition holds, and the public memory falls WAY short of that timespan ( I mean agree or not, we’ve even managed to move on from 26/11, even if the intellectuals like Des and Bedis would love to shout otherwise). So my point is that the Shiv Sena won’t count of this issue alone to try to gun for power and prominence.
3. The Shiv Sena is also smart enough to know that all this ruckus notwithstanding, the awareness, education and exposure of the population of Maharashtra and the permanent negative sentiments of the media and the intellectually elite ( again read as De, Bedi and co, self proclaimed, really!!!) means that people are moving away from divisive politics and want accountability from the political leaders towards the real development issues. So no matter how much the Shiv Sena shouts, it’s voice is still fading.
Lets look at the SRK camp now.
1. SRK doesn’t need a hit at the box office to establish himself. He’s already done that, again and again. His PR and promotion skills can be the subject of discussions and workshops in the best of B Schools. But looking at last year’s records, his competitors’ movies have had more limelight ( Wanted, Ghajini, 3 Idiots).
2. His movie ‘My Name is Khan’ is just round the corner. Remember his US visit when he was questioned for about 2 hours at a US airport?
3. There was no real need for SRK to make that statement about the auction in the first place. No one had forced him to empty his pockets on a single player. He could have gone ahead and bought whoever he wanted. Like others, he too perceived an underlying issue about certain players and choose to play safe. He says he believes in the Constitution of India and in India’s inclusivity, then why didn’t he defy the other team owners and go ahead and do what he thought was right? having a herd mentality and then talking about fairness and honesty is not my idea of being righteous.
If you think the points I’ve written about the Shiv Sena and SRK above are rational and objective, just try and find the answer to the one question that’s disturbing me.
In this whole issue, WHO BENEFITS?