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   Yesterday, I spent the morning and afternoon watching... (November 26, 1990)

Yesterday, I spent the morning and afternoon watching Sri Lanka's fat and heavy-footed batsmen plodding about to escape an inning's defeat. It was a waste of time, both for myself and Sri Lanks; myself because there was no pleasure in watching the uneven struggle, with the Indians unable to apply th efianl coup de grace, and fro Sri Lanka because an inning's defeat is already registered in the record books for them.

There were a few saving graces: Azharuddin's pouncing on the ball with the grace and agility of a Kawasaki puma; the new confidence in little Azharuddin trotting in and out of the pavilion with the big boys; one sweeping retunr from long on by Kapil Dev getting a batsman run out, the occasional shots of Chandigarh with a hazy blur of Kushwant Singh's Kasauli hills in the background.

But on the shole it was poor show. And the evening show was not much better.

The eveing I spent watching on TV Mr. Chudasama's I Love Mumbai. I could have come out of my housem crossed a street, and been at the show itself. But wild horses, the entire Indian film industry and Shiamak Davar would not drag me out to Marine Drive on a day like that. I panic in the middle of a boisterous crowd.

So I watched it on TV. And the one overall impression that I got was that all participants were so nervous about Mr. Bal Thackeray that they were very, very careful not to refer to Mumbai as Bombay.

The first think I saw when I switched on the TV was the prime minister, the chief minister, the mayor, Mr. Thackeray himself, standing in a row, holding a bunch of balloons over their heads. I though that one Mr. Chudasama can make only Mr. Chudasama can made important and elderly statesmen perform such a childish act as this.

The scene then shifted to a resonably impressive display of fireworks in the sea. Somebody, had forgotten to switch off the microphones and in the background you could hear a voice insisting: "Yes, yes, Indian fireworks, they are all Indian, very much Indian, all of them are Indian."

Most of the time the camera was concentrated on the Kalyani-Anandji stage. In the Indian film industry and outside it, the greatest respect I have for anybody is for the music directors. They have made the entire nation sing, while others have made it cry, starve, lie, cheat. And Kalyani-Anandji, who for many years I though was one person, are the greatest contributors among the music directors.

Amjad Khan, who is actually one person and looks like several, started the show, and, as the evening progressed, the star value increased, with bigger and bigger stars coming on the stage. But the best of them all came early in the evening Ė Ms. Kalpana Iyer, who went to the trouble of talking and singing in Marathi, and who along seemed to know what the whole I Love Mumbai show was about.

There is one more point. As is the practice with prime ministers who visit Bombay, Mr. Chandra Shekhar announced a grant of Rs. 25 lakh to the city. This, of course, is a pittance compated to the Rs. 100 crore for the city announced by Mr. Rajiv Gandhi. But Mr. Gandhi never paid that money Mr. Sehkhar, I am sure, will pay.

 
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