These past couple of weeks I pause for a minute, before, with a hesitancy, bordering on, ‘spare me this time’ do I go to Google for checking out whatever I need to…Khulja Sim Sim and there are images, minute-to-minute updates on Kareena Kapoor’s pregnancy and how other Mums-to-be had taken to wearing comfy kaftans and tent-size kurtas and jammies to make for a comfortable, in-the-family-way wear. (One would think she had come up with a discovery of significant dimensions after standing for feet-swelling hours!) Loose-fitting garments and pregnancy, go hand-in-hand, right? They might not be designer wear but can be procured off-the-shelf. Or one might have an old cuddly cotton saree that can be tailored into a lounging robe, frock, gown, a pyjama pair. Little good came from waiting for the stork to deliver the much-trumpeted baby, since the show goes on and on, detailing the birthing process, the first ensemble worn by the freshly born babe etc. followed by more etceteras. Three days before the bonny baby boy popped out there’s a picture of Kareena’s Pa and Mä lighting candles at Mount Mary’s church for the safe and secure delivery of daughter dearest’s ‘second-in-line’ baby. Next, despite one not scrolling down, appears the proud Papa, striking a posture royale, being addressed as Quadfather by sister Saba. Quad means four and before one’s brain starts short circuiting one is reminded or informed (depending on how familiar or unacquainted one is with tinsel town) that Saif already had two grown up kids from his first marriage. This piece, assuredly not about Kareena, though seems, as far as pregnancy goes, she takes not the cake, but the entire bakery. Pardon me, patisserie. Bakeries, beyond any doubt, not for dressy, chic baby-boomers. Now to tuck away Kareena and get to the heart of the matter. On the 9th of February, Rajiv Kapoor, the youngest offspring of Raj Kapoor passes away. Chacha to Ranbir, Karisma, Kareena…Rajiv’s marriage was short-lived and he was father to none. He suffered a massive cardiac arrest. Brother Randhir Kapoor had rushed him to the nearest hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. Rajiv or Chimpu, as he was fondly called by family, was only 58 years old. Incidentally, Randhir and Rajiv were reportedly most close to one another, both spending most of 2020 at Rajiv’s Chembur home, what with Covid-19, declaring the only cure was to lock oneself up and lose the key to remain safe. Brings to mind the song, ‘Hum tum ek kamre mein band hon, aur chabi kho jaye’ from one of the famous Kapoor movies. Next day, a sombre statement was issued Googling out this matter-of-fact announcement that no ‘Chautha’ would be held for the deceased, in the light of the pandemic. One could view this ‘safety comes first’ declaration film in a down-to-earth realistic long shot, sweeping sentiments aside! Emotional equanimity, the need of the hour. Exactly five days later—once again, while sizing up some figures to affidavit the debit side of the balance sheet—the catch lines of the Kapoors assembling together actually collars the attention. So, the clan had finally thought that the ‘Ram Teri Ganga Maili’ hero deserved a prayer meeting! One races through, how nephew Ranbir and girlfriend, Alia had paired themselves in black, and which member of the family was wearing what…The Cannes red carpet celebrity walk, a watered-down affair in contrast. And then to use a worn-out cliché, ‘You are hit by thunder’. This not a memorial service, a remembrance ceremony, a ‘havan’, but on Monday, the 15th of February, was big brother Randhir Kapoor’s birthday bash. The same brother who shared a precious bond with his `kid brother’, who had, without a day’s notice, vanished from the face of the earth, no medical history of any prior or present ailment. Before hunting for answers to questions, was it a day or a few days after Randhir’s birthday festivities, Instagramming the whole kit and caboodle all smiles and cheers, cake and champagne, in full feather, dressed to the nines as already mentioned that a small only-family huddle was held for the departed soul; a clinical get-together, a requirement that could not be given a miss?! A Formal Closure?! An Afterthought?! Now for a barrage of questions why ever did birthday boy Randhir sheepishly announce (nobody was asking!) that his 74th jamboree was a muted inconspicuous affair?! I believe the word he used was sober…And why ever do the fourth generation better-known Kapoors have to post everything, as in everything, on social media?! (Here must commend, heap praise on Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli who made it quite clear that their baby girl’s pictures would not be popping up at any time…they wanted to give their daughter a level-headed life.) Are the Kapoors teeny bobbers that they have to show the whole world what kind of omelette they breakfasted on? Forget the eggs, are they so pathetically ravenous for publicity?! Starved for limelight that they grow faint with hunger if they don’t get noted by thousands of followers per day?! And then, why use phrases such as ‘private space’, their priceless need for it, on the likes of Karan Johar talk-shows?! And forget about this special brand of celebrities, we as a nation, (don’t ask for a headcount) have become emotionally dehydrated and think (or rather feel) nothing of partying, pubbing, gyming a day after a death in the family. Or even if our near ‘n’ dear are going through a calamitous time, extending a helping hand, not a thought crossing the mind. Self-absorption, self-enhancement, the name of the game. Back to the Kapoors—might seem targeting them but take my word it is markedly not so! May not ring true but I applaud them…for their acting. Ranbir in ‘Sanju’, Karisma in ‘Fiza’ and Kareena in nearly all her films; the first Hindi film I saw was ‘Khel Khel Mein’ and at that time, without understanding much Hindi, fell in love with Rishi Kapoor, watching the video 100 times over till the tape wore out. His autobiography ‘Khullam Khulla’, an unposed, candid canvas. Then there’s Shashi Kapoor’s curled lashes, his kohl-lined cognac eyes as a Pathan Chieftain in ‘Junoon’. And of course, Blue-Eyed Raj Kapoor heralding in a fresh genre of films for New Born India.
On a different yet connected note: On 28th February, 2018, Bollywood Diva, Sridevi, a Padma Shri awardee, wrapped in the Tricolor was accorded a State Funeral. On 6th of March, Jhanvi, her daughter, alongside her giggly cousins crooning, “Happy Birthday’’ celebrated her 21st birthday bash with proud Papa, Boney beside her. A movie in the making, don’t you think?
Dr Renée Ranchan writes on socio-psychological issues, quasi-political matters and concerns that touch us all.