25 October, 2020

Terms Of Atonement

We need our Munnabhai, a conviction is no bar. His sins are washed away.

Terms Of Atonement

We are a strange people. We dress up young children as gods and then start worshipping them. We pour milk on idols of gods and are then convinced they're drinking it up; we're convinced the ocean is suddenly brimming with sweet water so we flock to it and fill bottlefuls, hoping for further miracles.... And we have another kind of madness: we love Bollywood stars, and when they play a role in which they have to enact Gandhigiri, we take our love to fairly worshipful extremes, imagining that the Mahatma has returned, reincarnated as a strapping fellow on a motorbike, and we set about loving him, honouring him, chasing him, asking him for quotes. Indeed, we do everything short of falling at the person's feet and actually praying.

But it's a mixed kind of worship: the person in question—in this case, Sanjay Dutt, a decidedly grown-up man in his late forties—is turned into Sanju, the affectionate diminutive providing both familiarity and tolerance, and transforming his middle-aged persona to disarming youthfulness. And then the man...



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