The T20 brand -elusive for Dr. Vijay Mallya

The recent entry of liquor baron Vijay Mallya in the field of Cricktainment known as DLF IPL League has generated some comic confusion, an activity which has been the hall mark of Mallya’s style of functioning. The business tycoon whose name figures two steps ahead of the magical figure of 666 in the Forbes list of billionaires is known for his eat drink and enjoy lifestyle (if you can afford it). Having inherited a conglomerate of motley companies at the age of 28 years Mallya’s fortunes climbed steeply in course of next two decade to make him owner of some of the most sought after territories in liquor trade. But it has also brought in public domain his confusing and contradictory approach to issues of consequence.

Dr. (?) Mallya true to his spend thrift image purchased ( or assembled) the second costliest team ($111.6 millions) of Indian cricketers in the IPL T20 tournament. The Ragged Mallya Challenge It seems that the business baron who proudly acclaims (when you board the Kingfisher aircraft and switch on the mini TV set) that every airhostess in his Kingfisher Airlines has been personally selected by him to treat the passengers as his personal guests was a bit indiscreet this time since his golden team did not display similar devotion to the cause of it’s master and seems to be gravitating towards the bottom of the pit under it’s weight . Mallya reacted promptly and sacked Charu Sharma “CEO” of the team- a commentator whose adornment with this corporate style assignment was decision of Vijay Bhai himself. Dr. Mallya as expected is trying salvage some part of his reputation as producer of world famous liquor brands and breeder of winner race horses with the information that he had left the selection to Chru and Rahul Dravid who selected a test team instead of a team suited for the abbreviated version of the game. Later when another team member Anil Kumble came out in defence of captain Rahul Dravid, Mallya further backtracked and came out to defend team coach.The team despite the changes and fire fighting efforts continues to loose.

Mallya watchers would however contest his contention and recall that he is a man who is inconsistent even while reporting his family roots .While the Wilkipedia reports his place of birth as some obscure town in Karnataka and Calcutta as his place of education, Mallya in an interview to journo Anjali Rao given at his Kingfisher Villa (is it not encroaching on Coastal Regulatory Zone ???) at Goa keenly painted himself as a Goan apparently to reinforce his colorful image. Mallya hardly known for any philanthropic projects, once reported to have spent Rs.1.5 Crs. to purchase a sword belonging to Karnataka warrior king Tipu Sultan in a Sotheby auction at London , for restoring the sword to the motherland. However strangely his wife and family contrary to his patriotic leanings remain ensconced in USA as their home place . About the doctorate which adorns his name, there are apprehensions that it is from a disputed source.

While the blogs promoted by his group rightly praise his genius as a business man , there is a only a subdued reference to his disastrous performance at another sunken ship -the long forgotten Janata Dal of which Mallya is president apparently even now. Having taken over the mantle of Janata Dal President from Subramaniam Swami in the year 2003 he fielded candidates for 20 (unlucky no. for him?) seats for Karntaka Assembly elections. Unfortunately his choice of candidates at that time was total failure since every one from his party lost.

What Dr. Mallya perhaps needs to understand is that while the selection of horses , hostesses and hot calendar models can be made on visual appreciation of certain features , selection of a sports team or political representatives for an election campaign requires tactical skills and intellectual proficiency of a different nature. There are other investors also whose teams are not that successful but they are not complaining because a good businessman should also have a good shock absorption mechanism and in difficult times should wait for the tide to turn.

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Sanju baba in trouble again

Marriages are said to be made in heaven but an act of indiscretion or shall we say an unfortunate slip in compliance with law has lead to unmaking of a marriage of two stars of the earth. The much hyped marriage between Sanjay Dutt and his friend now known as Manyata (meaning recognition) appears to be unrecognizable as per law of the land. It has been discovered that the stars submitted false evidence in support of their proof of residence in Goa and thus the registration of the marriage is held up by the Registrar of marriages. The Govt functionaries who facilitated the submission of false certificates are facing disciplinary action for facilitating the an act of forgery.

It is not known as to what prompted the two film personalities to decide to get married at Goa . Perhaps Sanjay being ignorant of legal impediments and encouraged by some over enthusiastic goan lawyer friend unwittingly allowed himself to be caught in a legal wrangle of his own making. Having just temporarily managed to extricate himself from imprisonment in a criminal case relating to possession of unlicensed AK-47 gun and then getting it destroyed to conceal the evidence, he seems to be heading for another troubled phase in life due to the latest development. To add to his trouble now an ex husband of his lady love who claims to be not properly delinked from his marriage to her is also sending signals from his prison cell about illegality of the whole show.

If the marriage was planned in Goa to make it a secret affair or to escape the demanding ex husband, the move seems to have badly misfired. Media would always be happy if a marriage goes on rocks in comparison to a case where it is over peacefully and away from media glare.

Moreover in our country we have different standards for compliance with law for different social categories. While a politician living in Delhi can claim to be a resident of Assam for facilitating induction in the Parliament, and another one can remain a member of Parliament despite persistent controversies surrounding her nationality , others must not tinker with law. Remember, Delhi Police accused of gross negligence and fabrication of evidence in the Jessica Lal murder case went all the way to Goa for arresting socialite Bina Ramani on charge of giving a false address in her ration card !

It is sad to see Sanju Baba , son of such respected parents finding himself in such embarrassing situation while trying to seek a settled lifestyle, but February 2008 seems to be the month of falling satellites, having gone out of orbit due to calculation errors , perhaps a watchful astrologer could have forewarned the two stars.

Wake up call for Goa Tourism

I saw a news item on a foreign tourist who has reported to the police about a case of sexual assault on her in Goa. The tourist was duped by a youth posing as motorcycle taxi operator in late hours and led to an isolated place for committing of this crime. The tourist who was looking for a lift around 10 PM has no idea about the place where she was taken and also failed to note down the number of the motorcycle on which the youth had given her a lift.

Goa has normally been considered as a very safe station for tourists and given the liberal culture of place and the large numbers in which tourist are seen roaming around the beaches and in the city during all parts of the year, the incident comes as an aberration. Normally the foreign offices of various countries give reasonable amount of guidance to their tourists about dos and don’ts in alien places but tourists are bound to ignore security instruction while trying to corner maximum enjoyment out of their stay in a place like Goa.

It is also worth remembering that while enjoying the exciting lifestyle of Goa a very large number of tourists crowd the hotspots in extremely provocative manner. The nightbazars of Goa which I have seen on a recent visit are like a foreign territory . During our visit there were only a handful of Indians in a crowd of hundreds of tourists indulging into drinking ,dancing ,eating and roaming around till late hours. A person seeing this scantily clad group of men and women with all the arrogance of the white man would be quick to form a very dim view about the status of civilization of these so called guests of the country and a semiliterate motorcycle driver may deviate from pattern of normal behaviour on being witness to such crude behaviour.

However nothing can justify a crime of this nature and prompt action against the accused would be the only solution to avert the possibility of recurrence of similar incidents in future. More so because Goa being solely dependant on tourism for the sustainability of it’s economy, can ill afford to loose even a fraction of tourists by such adverse publicity. Goa I remember has an active union of tour and travel operators. The union should try to ensure that the taxi operators are all registered with them after proper screening and all genuine operators should be given their logo and identification tag which a tourist could be able to ask for before taking a ride .

The Tourists also need to be cautious and alert in their own interest. Remember it was Goa which was once the killing field of the notorious bikini killer Charles Shobhraj.

Film Festival at Goa

Every year the arrival of the season for international film festival brings in it’s train a debate over the next venue for the festival. Goa or elsewhere is the present topic for debate. In a country with so many cultural streams merging in the film making arena, controversy on such issues is quite expected. Everyone has some pride for regional cultural heritage and would like to see it in the forefront at the national stage . There is a belief that a film festival provides the best opportunity for such showcasing of regional talent and highlighting the respective achievements. Some creative thinkers have expressed the feeling that by creating an all India format the opportunity for such exposure would be shared by film makers , artists , writers and all those connected with the film industry all over the country.

 

But is that a logic good enough for reducing this international event linked to creativity to the status of a sports competition or a traveling circus ? If we are keen to make this festival an icon of world ranking celebration, comparison with the formats for other comparable events is inevitable. Other famous international festivals are attached to permanent venues which is the identification mascot for the respective events. By changing the venue every year the festival would be having the status of an infant among a group of well established names. The new venue each year would fail to recall any memories of previous celebrations. The festival would be devoid of emotional contents which draw creative arstists from various nooks and corners of world to such events year after year. So let good sense prevail over personal prejudices to strengthen the international event , let it remain confined to one permanent venue.

 

Now the next issue would be why Goa instead of Delhi. For seeking an answer to this question it is necessary to see as to how IFFI or any other film festival stands apart from other mega events of international importance. A film festival is a celebration for creative instincts of mankind collectively brought from various civilizations under one roof. It is an occasion for sharing tears of joy and sorrow over suffering and enjoyments of mankind all over the world, mirrored in the films collected from the master craftsmen of the art. As denizens we know the international city into which Delhi is shaping up and the hectic life style of the city does not offer the ambiance for such emotional and sentimental activities now. The laid back life style which was the hallmark of Lutyen’s city at some stage of it’s growth is now only a part of our memories .

 

The city is fast moving towards virtualisation of all human activities where computers may sometimes take over our lives very much like the scenario visualized by the creator of masterpiece Matrix. In this fast paced journey we have no time to lament over the loss of film festival.City of Delhi served the interest of the festival in the evolutionary stage by providing the infrastructure and exposure.Now let it move to serene beaches of Goa which otherwise has the biggest exposure to international tourist in the tourism season and is the best known city for fun and frolick in the international stage.The poetic , emotional, creativity inspiring atmosphere missing from Delhi is however something with which Goa is blessed in abundance.

 

Having witnessed one of the film festivals leaves no doubt that the beautifully painted houses, smartly dressed locals in all nature of dresses, the lavish sprinkling of places of worship of each religion all over the city, the liberal spirits and free flowing wines of all descriptions leave Goa as the only natural choice for the International festival. All over the world people love Goa more than any place in India . It conjures up pleasant visions of celebration in minds of everyone who has visited or heard about the place. So let the film festival remain like that. Let it have the stamp of Goa.