Monthly Archives: June 2012


Movers and Shakers

If you grew up in the era of Doordarshan, ‘Surabhi’, ‘Subah Savere’ and ‘Good Morning India’ will ring gigantic, creaky bells in your head.

I remember watching everything on television – from the time the transmission began at 5 in the morning, to the time it ended at 11 pm. From the friendly aunty giving out the deaf and dumb news, the ascetic professor teaching physics formulae in Gyan darshan, to the middle aged scientist giving agricultural tips in Krishi Darshan. If there was something on TV, I was standing in front of it – watching in awe the shapes and colours, the sounds that sprang out of the box.

A few years down the line, the cable television revolution happened. I clearly remember how I heard about it. I used to play cricket in front of our house. One such day, a kid came up to me and said, “How many channels do you get on your TV?”

I looked at him as if he had asked me how many  kidneys I had. “Two”.

“We get more than 20 channels”, he said. I am generally a skeptic, so I had my doubts. I later went to his house, and was amazed to witness the miracle – in bright, shiny colours. He explained to me that there were channels that showed films all day. Only films. All day. I was shocked.

What about the Sunday evening 4.30 slot? If they showed films all day, how did the family do any work? Didn’t they all just sit and watch films day in and day out? And what about the channels that showed news all day? Who watched that channel? Who would watch a channel that showed news all day when there was a channel that was showing films all day? I felt lost, amidst the choices the remote offered, and the questions my brain posed.

In a few years, I was comfortable with cable television. Of course, we had only Doordarshan at home, but my friends at school spoke to me about the marvels of cable television. About Zee Horror show episodes, of MTV albums, of Cartoon Network shows. Eventually, we jumped on to the cable television bandwagon too.

And since I used to watch Subah Savere and Krishi Darshan, when I watched Movers and Shakers for the first time, I was charmed.

I had seen Shekhar Suman in Dekh Bhai Dekh and other shows on DD. Amidst the loud, caricaturish shows on television, his show came as a breath of fresh air.

Firstly, he openly took potshots at ministers, cricketers, and film stars – the holy trinity of our country. I marveled at the balls of the guy who could mimic Vajpayee, Laloo, Javagal Srinath on national television and get away with it.

The choice of guests – from artists, to sportsmen, writers, musicians, ad-men, to poets. For the first time, I felt that we had more than just film stars in our country. And Shekhar Suman had this way of bringing out the best from the guest.

He was cheeky with the younger ones, but reverential to the older ones. I remember watching Pandit Jasraj’s episode. Who would have thought that the man was utterly hilarious? That the man who could churn out sargams like a cursing rishi, could also be a chivalrous flirt with a pretty woman? Or the episode with Ratna Pathak Shah, or the one with Laloo himself?

Switching between Hindi and English, cheeky and inquisitive, Shekhar Suman managed a certain freshness into the show that kept me glued.

Even though Movers and Shakers was the Indian version of Letterman and Leno, it gave the younger ones something to connect to. We were too young for Shanti and Buniyaad, and slightly older for Mowgli and Captain Vyom. I was beginning to figure out news and personalities, and the show made me feel like an adult, laughing with the older ones. Shekhar Suman mixed Indian cynicism with a certain Atithi Devo Bhava respect that was perfect for the audience.

Apart from Sonu Nigam’s Sa Re Ga Ma, this was the only show I would watch religiously.

And then I grew up.


A few days back, I heard that the show was being rebooted.

Shekhar Suman was still there, the format was the same, even the band – Rubber Band – was the same. The man looked strangely prosthetic, like a Hindi remake of Curious Case of Benjamin Button produced by K.C. Bokadia.

The Curious Case of Shekar Suman.

Shekar Suman ki Anokhi Kahaani

The jokes remained the same, but criticizing a politician didn’t seem so sacrilegious anymore. ‘Rubber Band’ sounded like the tacky PJs I put up on Facebook. (I always wanted to have a band. Today, I only have rubber band).

After 15 minutes, I changed the channel. Probably because I knew there was a hundred other things I could watch. Or because he didn’t seem like the genuine, cheeky Shekhar Suman anymore. By then, Raju Srivastav had taken over my imagination. I would watch his sets over and over, I knew most of them by heart. In comparison, it was sad to see Shekar Suman mimic Vajpayee and Laloo, that those were the only voices he could do.

Or probably because I knew that I could always log into the internet, I could watch a film, play a game, talk to a friend, or stalk someone on Facebook. I don’t know what it was, but I just couldn’t connect to the show this time around.

Or may be some feelings are meant for a particular era, not meant to be felt again.


How to be a Facebook Photographer

If I ever have a son, before kicking him out of the house at 15, I’ll force him to take up photography. Even if he doesn’t like it, because I know that it’s for his own good.

For, if nothing changes about the world in a few decades, photographers will continue to be the luckiest bunch of people. I mean, look at our times.

Even if you are a crazy, psycho, peadophile with an oily smile, if you have a camera, you get to hang out with all the girls. Because you take pictures. And upload them on Facebook. You are important. People need you.

Photographers are an interesting bunch. Thanks to liberalization and uncles abroad, every Tom, Dick and Harry now has a camera. And every Tom, Dick, and Harry is a photographer. And every Tom, Dick, and Harry is important.

Now, I don’t have a problem with photographers as such. They are friendly people. But once they get hold of an SLR camera, there is a transformation. There are strange effects that the black object has on people’s lives and they can’t shake off those effects even if they want to.

Product of their times, I tell you. I believe every generation has a set of chutiyas.

In the 90s, there were the Roller Skate chutiyas. These kids would roam around wearing roller skates, living testimonies of the fact that the wheel might not have been the greatest invention on earth.

Zipping and zapping from here to there, roller skaters of the 90s were like Rahul Roy, very cool – but extremely transient. Of course, then liberalisation struck us, and bicycles and bikes were available. Which meant roller skating became as cool as picking your nose in a marriage video.

In the 2000s, came the Guitar Chutiyas. Wannabe rockstars who held a guitar and sang songs of love, pain, and peace. The Guitar chutiyas carried their guitars everywhere and threw up strange words like ‘chords’, and ‘progressions’. Victims of a clear case of ‘EveryoneGivesAFuckitis’, Guitar chutiyas strummed away to glory like everyone cared, and some of the 3-chord wonders are still available on youtube.

And then, in the 2010s, we have the Facebook photographers.

If you’re still interested, here are the rules you need to follow to become a Facebook Photographer.

The Display Profile: If you have a camera (which automatically means you are a photographer), you HAVE to put it up on your Display Picture. Otherwise, how else will the world know that you are a photographer? What if they think you’re a carpenter or something??

The Display Picture will have the person, and the camera next to/in front of the person. Remember, the man is as important as the camera and hence the term ‘camera-man’. A display picture with the person holding the camera and taking a picture of yourself in the mirror leaves no doubt in the mind that you are a cameraman/woman. You know, just in case people mistake you for a shoplifter or bootlegger. All I am saying is you need to make your identity clear.

The Dvaita Philosophy: Facebook Photographers follow the duality in presence. They are different from their photographs. In fact, their photography is a separate, breathing entity altogether. So much so that there will be two profiles for the Facebook Photographer. One is ‘Facebook Photographer’ (the person’s profile), and the other is a separate page called  ‘Facebook Photographer’s Photography’. If you are a Yo! photographer, you may call it ‘Facebook Shutterbugs’, or if you are confident of yourself, you may even open a page called ‘Facebook Photographers’ Fan Page’. Yes, I know!

The Original Photographers: Every photographer will use his/her originality and creativity and take some extremely creative pictures that no one earlier has either attempted or shot. Some of these extremely original photographs are: 1. The poor kid: The poor kid is guaranteed to win you ‘awww’s and ‘ooooh’s from your fans on Facebook. Screw things like Right to Privacy, I mean, they are poor right, what do they care? Then there are the photographs of babas in fairs, the close ups of flowers, or the close up of the chameleon on the rock. Your work is to come up with such beauties and open the eyes of the rest of the world.

Editing: Once you’re done with taking the photograph, you have to remember to edit the fuck out of it. Deepen the colours, improve the brightness, alter the focus, and throw in some shadows for effect. But photography is about the photograph and not the effects, you say? What rubbish! Would Sachin be the same without his MRF? Or Karan without his Kavach and Kundal? Or Rakhi Sawant without her …. you get the idea! Similarly, when you have those effects on photoshop, why not use it? I mean, computers are emitting out gases and ruining the world. It’s only fair that while we are at it, we use whatever resources we have with us.

Copyrighting: After you’re done tweaking the photograph, remember to stamp your identity over it. This is done by putting your watermark over the picture. Here, it is important to remember that others may take away your picture from your profile. Hence, it is important to put the watermark clearly on the photograph. I would suggest putting a huge watermark right across the middle of the image. The watermark becomes more prominent than the actual picture? What nonsense! Haven’t you seen the most famous painting of the world?

The Global Tagger: But your work is not done after taking that terribly original photograph. You have to tag people to your photograph. This is where you have to be magnanimously generous. The more number of people you tag, the higher your ratings go. Your friend, his friend, his aunt, her neighbours, their dog, it’s vet, his child, and their teachers. No one that you know should be spared from the joy of watching you capture that poor little child on the road or that bumble bee that waltzed into your room. I mean, after all, your uncle in the US spent so much money on getting you the camera. What is the point in quietly pursuing the profession?

Follow these simple steps, and you’re all set. Remember to take your camera everywhere – who knows, you might discover a peacock shaped turd in the potty? The sky is the limit.