Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Dare not to say: A new twist on old corruption in Andhra

The unfolding case against YSR's son in AP is a great example of how the pols have learnt to beat the system.  In the good old days - corruption was largely local and occurred in small amounts.  And then, if the evidence being presented is indeed true (i think it is), YSR came along.

His family devised an ingenuous plan by combining the principle of raising capital with government business.  The modus operandi was simple, brilliant and seemed iron-clad.  YSR would dole out large government projects or land to private parties that bid for contracts.  In turn, the private parties would not give cash bribes to YSR or his family, but instead would invest in legitimate businesses started by YSR's son.  Now, if Mr. Jagan was a brilliant business man and had the knack to conjure up innovative companies that would generate wealth for their investors genuinely, none of this would have mattered.  Mr. Jagan's credentials are questionable at best, and the only reason he gathered all the fund flows into his companies seems to be his father's CM post and the contracts gained by his investors.

All was good, until YSR passed away.  Now, the central government had to turn a few screws because Mr. Jagan turned rebel.  He was in effect threatening to take the state's MPs with him and make Congress weak at the center.  The best way to get him in line would be to initiate investigations into his assets.  The real question that we need to be asking is why could not CBI do anything when YSR was alive? That is the inconvenient truth of Indian politics.  I am not siding with YSR's kin when I say the Center is on this as well by using CBI as a tool.  I think Jagan deserves to rot in jail forever if the evidence against him holds up in court.  What bothers me is the inaction of the Central government against YSR when he was in power. Sonia, and Congress high command should be ashamed for inaction, something that was justified because YSR brought her total control of the Lok Sabha seats.  

The public is a lot more intelligent now and we all know that acting now does not justify the indifference showed when YSR was looting the taxpayer without any scruples.  It is a shame that the man will probably be not held accountable, if in fact he and his family are found guilty of the alleged crimes.

Media does not talk much about it because they are all scared of the hooligans in the congress party who would never allow anyone to speak up against YSR's regime. That was what it was, a dictatorship that looted the taxpayer for its own benefit. No different from any African regime, except that it probably did not kill innocent civilians to enable the loot.  Better late then never. I hope the CBI does its duty and answers are found to why the government doled out contracts to specific firms and why an ordinary man with no particular skill or talent ended up owning over 10 Billion dollars in assets.  These things could only happen in India!

Monday, July 02, 2012

The worst of telugu cinema

I have very low opinion on telugu cinema.  One of the biggest reasons why I hold it in low regard is its inherent stuck in the rut because the old heroes never go away!  And, when I say it, I mean it.  Old as in really old, not 35, but 65!  

I would not have had a problem if the heroines were meted out the same level of respect and roles that the male heroes get.  However, what irks me is that while the heroes can happily don younger roles and play college student and run around trees with a never ending stream of young actresses, the yesteryear actresses are delegated to playing mothers and aunts.  Often, the same actress who played the leading man's love interest a few years ago will end up playing the aunt of the same actor.  

Further, there is another element of dynastic proportions.  Even if kids (read male kids) born to leading actors of yesteryears have zero talent or the looks to be leading actors, they are unleashed upon the telugu audience who like the nincompoops they are accept and celebrate them.  To add insult o injury, girls from film families are seldom allowed (very rarely) allowed to become actresses!  They become directors may be, but are spared the limelight.  Is there a better group of MCPs ever?

Next, the industry also has a great affection for non-telugu women.  I cannot for the love of god, figure out why!  Maybe i know the reason, but this applies only to women and not to men.  Men from other states can only play villains, or character actors.

There are some signs that cinema is improving. An younger crop of directors and producers have made some creative movies and moved away from formulaic cinema involving dynastic heroes. But, there is room for much improvement.  

I was a big fan of telugu cinema, the golden oldies in particular.  I feel sorry that it has become a circus now and hope it can at least gain some of its past glory.