19 October, 2020

The Man Who Would Be King

Cub hunks may be snapping at his heels, but Shahrukh Khan remains the face of Bollywood in the era of globalisation, when India is the new kid on the power bloc

The Man Who Would Be King
Nations need heroes because these heroes tell the nation their story. The story is of course not simple; it is an epic with side stories and diversions. But by their speeches or acts or achievements, nations recognise and reward leaders. Gandhiji defined the nation in the 1920s and then Nehru did in the 1930s and 1940s. Subhash Bose also won the nation's love in the 1940s for his brave march on Delhi. After that Indians have taken no politician to their heart. When Nehru was prime minister, he was too old to inspire the young. There was no one else. So we turned to cinema. After sixty years of Independence, there is still no one in politics who remotely inspires Indians in the way the first generation did, though Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam came close. So we stick to cinema. Hindi cinema is the only national medium which speaks to all Indians. Nothing else speaks everyone's language.

My generation had Dilip Kumar to tell us the story of India. But we also had Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand. Nargis came close to capturing the nation's imagination in...



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