Phew! The Mutual admiration society which envelopes the Mumbai film industry and Maharashtra politics had never been so intense and the relations are red hot. Of course, there are minor differences between the FTII over the controversial appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the FTII chairman, but the Centre will soon solve it by appointing the Pandava Senior brother as the Governor of Panchala, the home state of Draupadi.
Both politicians and the acting fraternity are making cooing noises and the fences are almost mended. This was recently revealed at functions in Latur, home of a great actor Ritiesh Deshmukh and his father, Vilasrao. Last week, junior minister Pankaja Munde, lavished praise on NCP Chief Sharad Pawar who returned the compliment.
Pankaja Munde: Yes, there is nothing to beat being a Rural Development Minister in the state with complete control over my beloved ‘chikki’ my favourite since school days. My opponents tried to trap me but my love for ‘chikki’ won the day. It will not be out of place here to mention the praise lavished on me by our venerable political leader, Sharadrao Pawar, the living giant among state politicians.
While mentioning Mr Pawar, I cannot forget to mention in this headquarters of Indian cinema, another illustrious name, Yusuf Khan or more popularly known as Dilip Kumar (loud cheers), giant among actors on the Hindi Screen. We all know how Dilip Saab refused the role of Lawrence of Arabia offered to him by British director David Lean. Many actors would have given their right arms to play this role and that included our comedian I S Johar who fortunately bagged the role of a comedian and kept his arm. Pawar saheb was meant to play greater roles, like that of the Russian peasant, created by Soviet rebel author, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Who may not be all that familiar with our rural masses, but that is okay, we are happy with our own Purandare Sahebs! I am happy to share the stage with Pawar saheb because my chair is safe with him. He shares with me my enormous love and passion and together we shall elevate the culinary status of chikki. Jai Maharashtra, Jai Hind, Jai Chikki.
This was how Sharad Pawar responded to Pankaja Munde: My young friend Pankaja may be young in years, but in political wisdom, she is equal to my former colleague and friend, Gopinath Munde, who unfortunately is not with us. Our families also shared a passion for ‘shrikand’, ‘puranpoli’ and of course, ‘Chikki’. These were great unifying forces loved by the rulers of the state and its people.
Another love story which united our state and Hindi cinema. Of course, I do not watch many Hindi movies but in my prime, I was tailor- for portraying the rugged farmer and I was offered plum roles by Sunil Dutt saheb and Manoj Mukar saheb. Nargisji once told me I would have excelled in the farmer’s role in ‘Mother India’. Then all this ‘lafda’ over Sunjay Dutt arrest followed.
Since I had always kept the BJP Door open and, well, Pankaja may yet facilitate my entry to Bollywood comparing me with Dilip Saab. Let me now go for a facial and a massage.
V Gangadhar probes the intense bonhomie between Bollywood and Maharashtra politics.