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Home > News > Columnists > Nazarwala

Saharashri-Amitabh: Friends in need

June 12, 2007

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The coverage from Uttar Pradesh

Amitabh Bachchan has picked up the gauntlet. Bravo, Big B [Images]!

With Saharashri Subroto Roy and ex-Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav standing rock-like by his side, come what may, the so-called farmer has felt emboldened.

Amitabh has strongly asserted that, 'If proved wrong we are ready to face penalty.' It is obvious who all are included in that 'we'.

The Mayawati government better beware. It must do its homework this time. Else, it will get embroiled in prolonged civil litigation lasting many years.

Politicians associated with Amitabh Bachchan [Images] have invariably nursed grand illusions. And suffered. They thought they would gain mileage. Big B's 'popularity' will come in handy and fetch more votes for them. But this has never happened. Invariably, it is the politician whose case has been damaged.

Once upon a time, Rajiv Gandhi and Amitabh Bachchan were intimate pals.

Then, the Bofors scandal erupted tainting Rajiv. Amitabh Bachchan very deftly wriggled out.

The politician Rajiv Gandhi miserably failed whereas that versatile actor Amitabh emerged unscathed.

Yet, some simpletons vociferously aver that Amitabh is not a politician.

Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi never forgot nor forgave Amitabh after that.

Even the proud Priyanka disdainfully turned down Big B's recent invitation to attend son Abhishek's over-hyped marriage.

Blue-blooded Priyanka Vadra, in true Nehruvian style/pride, contemptuously dismissed even the very thought as 'fizul ki baat'!

Imagine the marriage invitation from Big B eagerly sought after by the nation's glitterati being so unceremoniously turned down.

The snub rankles, Priyanka.

Taunt ka jhatka...dheere se!

*****

Mulayam Singh Yadav, the village pahelwan (wrestler), was totally overawed with Amitabh Bachchan's persona. Complex-ridden Mulayam flaunted his proximity with the one and only Bachchan all over UP.

Mulayam made him accompany him to his native village Sefai in Elawah district. His intimate friendship with Saharashri Subroto Roy has been tomtommed/touted all over India ad nauseum.

Sahara India Parivar's brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan indiscriminately danced to Saharashri Subroto Roy and Mulayam Singh's different tunes anywhere and everywhere in UP.

The Amitabh ad on most television channels/media around the UP assembly election time is too fresh in the public's mind. See how very counter-productive and disastrous the 'UP mein hai dum, kyonki jurm yahan hai kum!' ad campaign proved for Mulayam Singh.

One of the major factors for poor Mulayam Singh's recent electoral debacle has been that highly insensitive and ridiculous ad.

In all fairness, it was not helpless Amitabh's fault alone. He was just an actor enacting the ad's script requirements.

But wellwisher and common friend Saharashri Subroto Roy could perhaps have pre-empted it in time, had he advised his friend Mulayam not to include the Sahara India Parivar's brand ambassador in such a hyper-sensitive and controversial political issue.

Or, at least, Saharashri Subroto Roy could have refused permission to his brand ambassador from appearing in such a clumsy ad.

The risk to Sahara's clean image was indeed great. Why gamble and take such a risk, needlessly?

The political fallout could not have been lost on the shrewd Saharashri, even if Amitabh did not realise the gravity at that time.

After all, Sahara India Parivar is totally aloof from politics. At least, is that not the public stance/fa�ade Saharashri and his Sahara India Parivar have of late been publicly taking?

*****

Amar Singh is a politician who is so close to Amitabh, they are like brothers.

Amar Singh has picked up the fight with the Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi Parivar. One of the reasons being 'brother' Amitabh's alleged 'victimisation' by Sonia Gandhi.

Amitabh has already roped in Amar Singh, Saharashri and Mulayam Singh while accepting Mayawati's latest challenge concerning his 'farmer' status.

He is a quick-change artist; there is no doubt about that.

Take the case of his land-coup in Maval, near Lonavala, Maharashtra.

Amitabh, the superstar, opportunistically metamorphosed into a 'farmer' overnight. This 'absentee-farmer' allegedly 'cultivated' the Gram Sabha's farmland in village Daulatabad, tehsil Fatehpur in district Bara Banki, UP.

It is common sense/knowledge that merely buying farmland does not make one a farmer. A substantial amount of one's livelihood ought to also come from farming to qualify as a genuine farmer.

This 'UP-based farmer-status' proof sent by Bara Banki's pliable collector to Pune's collector enabled Amitabh Bachchan to buy around 20 acres of valuable prime land in Mawal sub-division near Lonavala, district Pune, Maharashtra. The law in Maharashtra requires that only a farmer can buy farm-worthy land.

Not content with his own 'farmer' status, he manipulated so that his son Abhishek Bachchan [Images] could also claim a similar 'farmer' status, testifying that he is a farmer in district Bara Banki, UP.

Armed with their 'farmer' status certificates, this father-son duo confidently produced that proof in the face of the Pune district authorities.

By the way, Amitabh looks an extremely disarming and stunning pagdi-donning farmer in a television ad also featuring a cow. Who can now onwards deny that Big B is day-by-day graduating into a real farmer?

These 'farmers' from UP, living luxuriously in the palatial bungalows in Mumbai's posh Juhu locality, seem to be enjoying the best of both worlds.

The recent Pune incidents with angry/violent Maharashtra Navnirman Sena youth yelling against the 'outsiders'/Biharis/UP bhaiyyas seems to be a very scary portent.

*****

Narrow parochialism is raising its ugly head once again in Maharashtra. It is not very difficult to imagine what an outraged and frenzied mob can do to even the tallest poppies. More so, if it perceives that falsehood has been resorted to, so as to deprive the real and deserving aamchi Maharashtrian farmers of their rightful, lawful, and exclusive claims.

Or has the far-sighted and clever Big B already exploited his friendly relations with Balasaaheb Thackeray?

Sahara India Parivar's underlings reportedly went out of their way to provide help as and when the need arose in cutting through the Gram Sabha and collectorate red tape for the Bara Banki land deal of the celebrity 'farmer' duo.

After all, Amitabh Bachchan is the Sahara India Parivar's brand ambassador.

The glamorous Sahara India Parivar's glam-girl-director Aishwarya Rai [Images]'s husband Abhishek Bachchan too was involved.

Both these celebrity 'farmers' have not once visited Bara Banki during the last 30 years!

Shobhaa De chipped in recently with her unsolicited advice to Mayawati to forget 'puraney dushmani' and spare these celebrities. Had she been a victim or at least an eyewitness to their power tandav in UP, perhaps she would have refrained from advising the chief minister.

When advised to follow Shobhaa De's advice, Mayawati disdainfully said she had not heard of any 'Shobhaa-phobhaa'!

Mayawati, of course, has only contempt for 'filmwallahs'. And, that includes the one and only Amitabh Bachchan these days.

Bachchan, who was expected to be by the ailing Amar Singh's bedside, is nowhere to be seen in Delhi. Big Brother flew to attend the Cannes [Images] film festival.

Saharashri Subroto Roy is a family friend and a pillar of strength, more so in such a crisis. Amitabh Bachchan and his family were equally active in receiving barati/s/guests during Saharashri's sons' wedding in Lucknow.

Tit for tat reciprocity in family relationships. Absolutely nothing wrong in this at all. Rather enviable and exemplary family ties, in keeping with the highest noble traditions of the Sahara India Parivar. Not for nothing is it the world's largest single family.

*****

People in UP wonder how his friends in the Mayawati administration will protect and save Amitabh Bachchan. The little cub, Abhishek, will also automatically benefit in the process.

Provided, of course, that Mayawati agrees to look the other way.

The fa�ade Mayawati currently maintains is of a hard taskmistress who will not spare 'anyone', come what may.

Those in the know at Sahara India Tower, Kapoorthala, and Lucknow are amused.

They confidently aver that 'our resourceful Saharashri Subroto Roy,' a master in handling politicians, will ultimately bring Mayawati around. She is just another politician; therefore, not at all a hard nut to crack.

Even the all-powerful Sonia Gandhi could do nothing, in spite of all those powerful government agencies like the CBI, the Reserve Bank of India [Get Quote], SEBI, the Department of Company Affairs, the DRI, CBDT, etc.

'Farmers' Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan will be saved from Mayawati's fragile clutches, come what may. Saharashri will extricate both of them deftly. Even if that means taking up cudgels with Mayawati.


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