November 14, 2016

The Big Week- Demonetisation, Rock On 2 and Trump

The last week has been extremely eventful. The media hasn't been short of content. Trump's victory to the White house shocked everyone. But how did this happen and what does it mean to the World and America? In India, Modi's live telecast at prime time on Indian television on the day of US elections, overshadowed the big event. Demonetization of 500 and 1000 rupee notes in Indian market has brought mixed reactions. The demonetisation has hit hard on all Indian businesses including Bollywood. No wonder, the much anticipated Rock On 2 is doing poor at the box office. Is it because of demonetisation or the movie itself? This post brings to you my observations of how these big changes have affected the on ground realities and my comments on the chaotic, energy filled environment!

The Second White Revolution- Demonetization 

 “The surplus of jokes and memes about the Modi demonetization surprise proves that unemployment is a larger problem than black money.” “Anna Hazare is changing his name to Anna Do Hazare.” These jokes flooded social media and became the talk of the town, all thanks to the *surprise* demonetization scheme of Modi which overshadowed the US elections. 

The whole scheme on the outside is great but wouldn’t help the corruption problem of the country unless, the whole system is made stricter post December. Else the black money would again build up in a couple of decades to prove the scheme redundant. 

No doubt, I stand in support of this measure but what comes with it is de trop confusion and chaos. Imagine an uneducated illiterate person for whom the complications of the whole process are beyond comprehension. Think about the third of Indian population which doesn’t have access to banks! An auto-rickshaw wala when asked if old 500 and 1000 notes would be accepted told me, “हज़ार  छोड़ो , दो हज़ार के नए नोट भी नहीं चल रहे आज कल(Leave 1000, even the new 2000 notes are not being accepted)  The poor and the uneducated, yet, don’t believe in the new notes as they don’t understand it. Reconciling belief in the ugly, new 2000 notes is a herculean task in itself. 
I don’t wish to negate the positive air about the whole anti-corruption thing. But I hope the time wasted on queuing up for long hours turns out to be worth something. Desperate times, Desperate measures!

Rock On 2- Lacked the ‘Majik’

For me and many other Farhan Akhtar fans, Rock On 2 was a much anticipated movie. But to my disappointment, it turned out to be a slow and an aimlessly-going movie. The sound tracks were no match to the excellent Rock On I album and the script and humour failed to meet the high standards set by the first edition of the franchise.

 However, the larger error was that the movie overdid the Rock On franchise. It no longer remained the enjoyable, fun movie to relive life but has been transformed into a slow emotional drama with deep and sometimes, unbearable philosophical dialogues. Moreover, the two new additions to the ‘Majik’ band (Jia and Uday) had poor performances on screen. Somehow, I was disheartened as I went with much higher expectations. Farhan Akhtar has always rendered great movies and is known for putting in a lot of creativity into his movies but this one is a low on his graph. It wasn’t made with the same passion and conviction. 

TRiUMPhant- The US Presidential Elections

With radical, controversial and bold comments and plans to make a wall along the border with Mexico, Donald Trump unexpectedly won the US elections to much remorse. As per my general conversation with my small base of American friends (majorly students who came to India in intercultural exchanges and people I have met during international events), there was and is a negative sentiment about Trump. Even the larger and more diverse base of exit polls predicted a victory for Hilary. Therefore, the big question is how did the unexpected happen?

Many people would tell me, “It was a flawed election at the end of the day. No wonder, a Richey-rich industrialist won the elections. It is an oligarchy of the rich, you know.” I wouldn’t say it is entirely unbelievable.

But the major reason behind Trump’s win was that the people are bored of conventional politicians who are diplomatic, pretend to be the good-ideal-rational-guy. The people are looking for a ruthless, strong and straightforward person. This shift is very evident from the growing popularity of radical Right politicians in Europe.

Hilary tried to play conventionally with rational policies, uncontroversial speeches, love towards refugees and being the all-good person. On the other hand, Trump captured the irrational yet, true feelings of the Americans. His comments on Islam are well rooted into every non-immigrant American’s mind and despite what his/her rational mind might believe, the truth is that there is a natural disgust towards Islam among Americans. His comments on women are, pretty disgustingly, what a typical American man feels. Therefore, people could relate to his comments, however radical they may be. Thus Trump won.

Trump’s victory brings a great deal of uncertainty to the American politics and economic policy which is negative for the growth of the States. At the same time, Trump brings hope for betterment in US-Russia relations, the former cold war rivals.

No wonder, there is a sense of antagonism in the air about Donald Trump winning. In one of the events I attended this week (in India), the anchor ended up saying America doesn’t deserve a democracy! But it is time that we accept the unbelievable; the guy has made a fool out of all news agencies and their exit polls and is now to reign the World’s superpower. Let the trumpet triumph!

My remorseful obituary for the old beautiful 500 and 1000 notes which are to be replaced by the ugly pink notes, a goodbye to the coolest president America has ever had and my condolences with those people who are just tying their laces to leave for the theater to watch  Rock On 2. 
Yours Truly, Abhimanyu.

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