News Round-Up: SRK Gets an Award, Shraddha Gets a Movie, Salman Gets a Death Threat, Vidya Gets Indira

More news!  Going back to my post this morning, it really feels like Padmavat has been holding us hostage for the past 2 months.  And now, suddenly freed, there is all kinds of news popping up all over, interesting news.

Shahrukh Gets an Award

The World Economic Forum, which is a real important thing, is giving Shahrukh the Crystal Award, which is also a real important thing.  I make that definition, because remember all that tempest in a teapot when Katrina was offered the Smita Patil award?  And no one took a second to do any research and discover this was just a small charity that randomly named their award after Smita Patil and randomly picked Katrina to win it?  It was as legitimate as my award to Vidya Balan for Best Character on this blog.  I don’t know why, but the Indian media/public seems strangely susceptible to this kind of story, taking any random award that might be won and turning it into a huge thing, especially if it is international.  And then, conversely, also not recognizing when awards actually are huge things.  So, what I am saying is, this is a real huge thing.

Image result for shahrukh zayn malik

(Remember when Shahrukh met Zayn Malik and everyone reported that and forgot to report that it was because they were both at the Asian Awards, which is kind of a big deal also?)

The World Economic Forum is a group founded in and based in Sweden in 1971.  Its aim was to bring a responsible view of business and, later, politics to the world (and also to generally promote and excuse and encourage corporate globalization).  Every year, it hosts an annual conference in Davos, Switzerland.  At conferences in the past, Nelson Mandala met with the then president of South Africa, Israel and Palestine worked out part of a peace treaty, and war between Turkey and Greece was averted.  There are huge big important things that happen at public Davos panels and in private Davos meetings.

The Crystal Awards started 25 years ago, originally with the idea of recognizing artists who promoted international ties.  And later, to recognize artists who attack global problems.  Lots of super big names have been given awards in the past.  I can’t find a ton of details, but I am assuming there is some big banquet during the conference, the awardees show up and everyone goes “oooooo, celebrities!” and then they are given their thing and do a tiny speech talking about how awesome globalization is, and then they fly back home.

This year, the winners are Cate Blanchett (for her work with refugees), Elton John (for his against HIV/AIDs), and Shahrukh (for his work with female acid and burn victims).  It’s interesting that Shahrukh is getting this award, because if you remove everything else and just look at the WEF as one of the first bodies promoting globalization as a good thing, Shahrukh is the Indian face of globalization.  Right?  He created the image of the multi-national hero in DDLJ and the movies after it, and he also pushed Indian film abroad, branding himself as it’s ambassador.  He kind of makes more sense as a winner because of that, if you want to call it his effort to promote international ties, because his charitable work really does not address global issues.

Image result for shahrukh globalization

(Yep, that’s a global guy)

Let us take a moment to remember what that charity work is.  Or, rather, to find out what that charity work is because Shahrukh plays it very close to the chest.  Apparently, he has something called the “Meer Foundation” (“Meer” being his father’s name).  If you go to the official website, it is very nice and professional looking and explains what they do and all that, but it has no “history” or “about us” or anything.  So it looks like Shahrukh is funding this entirely out of his own pocket (therefore there is no one else to talk about in a “history” section), and does not want anyone to know (so he has been scrubbed from the website himself).  Anyway, the Meer Foundation specializes in female burn victims.  Which of course just makes Shahrukh endlessly sexier.  Oh, and he has also done all kinds of things to support child cancer patients, not through the foundation, funding hospitals and housing and so on.

Image result for shahrukh burn victims

(Doesn’t he look sensitive and kind and caring?)

The child cancer patient, sure, that’s kind of a global concern.  Children have cancer everywhere, and taking care of their particular needs is difficult.  But the female burn victims, that is pretty unique to India.  For what ever reason, fire and acid have become the weapon of choice in domestic violence in India.  So when Shahrukh is helping “burn victims”, it’s not some poor lady whose house caught on fire (which could happen anywhere), it’s a woman whose husband or mother-in-law or brother-in-law or father or mother or brother tried to kill them by setting them on fire.  Or, if not kill them, scar them so permanently that they would feel they had no other place to go, no escape in the wider world.  Acid, that would be less likely to be within the household, maybe a boy who felt he had been turned down or something like that, a drive by attack by just throwing a bottle in her face.  And again, the result would be stigmatization, misery, a feeling that your value has been taken away from you, often suicide.

This is all a terrible thing, and I am thrilled to learn that Shahrukh is dedicating his foundation to treating these women, and also giving them the support they need to rebuild their lives.  And part of my being thrilled to learn this about him is that this is all, really really, an India thing not a global thing.  Acid attacks occur in a variety of places, but not everywhere.  And the “kitchen fire” phenomenon is pretty specific to India.  Not that domestic violence is specific to India, just using fire to do it.  So Shahrukh has dedicated his foundation to helping the struggling women of India, not the world, but the people from his homeland and his most loyal and dedicated fans.  But it kind of doesn’t qualify him for the Crystal Award from a group that is promoting global ties and attacking global problems.

On the meta-consideration of Shahrukh’s star persona, so far this isn’t that unlike what he has done before.  He has gotten charitable awards, tweeted a nice “thank you” when the award was announced and shown up for the ceremony, and then never promoted it about himself or tried to make it a big deal.  But I do kind of wonder, is this a new side to the Shahrukh persona?  Has be been worn down by all the hate into fighting back?  He’s already tweeting in Hindi, which is weird, and now there is this odd little recognition of his charity.  He could be trying to pull a Being Human.  But I hope not, because that would in some ways be giving up, acknowledging that people don’t just love him for himself.

Oh, and finally, I already looked it up and Elton John is married with kids, so Shahrukh can’t set him up with Karan.  But maybe Elton knows someone.

Image result for elton john family

(Okay, his family is adorable, he can stay with them instead of marrying Karan)


Shraddha Ruins Another Movie (or maybe not!)

Well, Shraddha just signed another film.  A horror-comedy with Rajkummar Rao, produced by my beloved Raj & DK (directors of A Gentleman).  But wait, stop the mourning and rending of garments!  I think there might be hope this time.

Not hope that Shraddha will get fired, they’ve already announced her and started filming.  Or hope that she will suddenly learn how to act, I think we can all agree that ship has sailed.  No, there is hope that she won’t ruin the movie.

It’s a horror-comedy, right?  Which probably means it’s mostly a boy thing with the heroine being the straight woman, or the damsel in distress.  And Rajkummar Rao is the hero, which indicates that they wanted to go hard on the talent and acting ability for that role.  So maybe this is all working out!  Maybe Shraddha just has to stand there and scream and look pretty (she should be able to handle that, right?), and Rajkummar Rao does absolutely everything else.  Don’t despair!

Most of all, remember that it is produced by the men who made Sidharth into an entertaining viable leading man in A Gentleman.  Give them pretty and plank-like, and they will give you back A Star.  Or at least, someone it isn’t physically painful to watch onscreen.

Image result for sidharth baar baar dekho

(This was physically painful to watch)


Salman’s Buck Doesn’t Stop

Years and years and years ago, Salman and Saif and possibly Tabu and Karisma went out hunting and illegally shot a Black Buck in Rajasthan.  This is A Thing there, there is a religious community called the Bishnoi who revere the Black Buck (an animal that is mentioned in several Hindu scriptures and has always had an important place in Indian culture).  And there was also a long tradition of hunting the Black Buck, it is something many tourists do, and there are guides in the area who specialize in helping you get into sanctuary areas and finding the bucks and so on.

Almost certainly, Salman and a group who were in Rajasthan filming Hum Saath Saath Hain went into one of those areas to go hunting.  They were spotted by Bishnois who watch the road for just this exact thing and followed and eventually tracked down and arrested.  But, the other part of the story, is that the Bishnois are a voting block.  The idea of making Salman an example, using his publicity to win over the Bishnois voters to your side, that definitely drove a large part of this whole thing.  Salman has been in and out of court over this, even jailed for a while, for almost 20 years now.  If he were less famous, he would have easily settled the matter with a little light bribery and settlements.  If he weren’t famous or rich, he would have gone to jail and be done with his sentence by now.  Or else no one would have even prosecuted him, I’m not sure whether or not the local guide was ever prosecuted.

Image result for hum saath saath hain

(Yes, this incredibly saccharine film set off massive courtroom drama and now a death threat)

Anyway, latest touch of people using Salman’s fame to make themselves look good, a local gangster Lawrence Bishnoi has now threatened his life, saying he will kill him in Jodhpur.  Salman isn’t in Jodhpur right now, he is in Bombay, minding his own business, trying to finish filming Race 3.  But all of a sudden he had to stop doing that because the police burst in and hustled him away.  So in all of this, the Bishnoi community has publicity again, gangster Lawrence Bishnoi has publicity, the Bombay police have publicity (for being so protective and aggressive), and poor Salman is just being dragged along for the ride.  Literally in this case, since he was planning to finish shooting for the day and the police yanked him out and sent him home.



Vidya as Indira?

Finally, the news making the rounds about Vidya, is that Sagarika Ghose tweeted she sold the rights to her Indira biopic to Siddharth Roy Kapoor’s film company.  Vidya was tagged in the tweet as well, whether because she is Siddharth’s wife or because she will be starring in a biopic on Indira, not clear.  But seems likely that she would be starring, just because she’s right there across the dining room table from Siddharth, why not cast her?  And, of course, she would be great in the role.

Bigger story: FINALLY a decent Indira book for me to read!  I’ve been looking and looking and LOOKING!!!!  The only things available at my library last I checked were a bunch of “oooo, a female Prime Minister!  She is so awesome and perfect and wonderful” books written by western authors who went with a simple Female=Progressive idea.  Or else a bunch of really really dry books that went through only her public actions.  Which I am against in general because I don’t think history should be limited in that way, but in the case of Indira, the personal WAS the public, and vice versa, you really cannot separate them.

So, here’s the book:


Let us all read it and learn about Indira.  And then go buy another copy of my book and learn about Hindi film all over again:

27 thoughts on “News Round-Up: SRK Gets an Award, Shraddha Gets a Movie, Salman Gets a Death Threat, Vidya Gets Indira

  1. `
    I notice you used “Bombay” instead of “Mumbai” in your Salman bit above. Was that unintentional or were you making a little meta political comment? (We don’t want you to have to be under police protection too!)


    • I always use Bombay, in writing and in talking. And yes, it is a little political statement. A very small one.

      On Thu, Jan 11, 2018 at 4:42 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



        • Hmmm. Let me see if I can boil this down. Thousands of years ago, the people of what is now Maharashtra formed a small settlement on an island that became Bombay. There was a Goddess of the island named Mumbadevi. The community was never very large, the ancient capital of Maharashtrian civilization was in Pune, you can see all kinds of ancient ruins and neat things there. And then in the 1400s, the Portuguese arrived in India and began to refer to the area as “Bombain” (good bay). The Portuguese and later the British built up the island into the bay city we have now, built the roads and the buildings and so on. People flocked to this new city from all over India, and all over the world. It was surrounded by the state of “Maharashtra” and many of the workers who built it and came to live there were Maharashtrian. But there were also a large number of residents from other areas of India. Over time, the name of the city came to be split in multiple ways. The many names in many languages were simplified down to “Bombay”, which was the British version of the name.

          In the 60s and 70s, a man named Bal Thackaray started as a union organizer type, working with and for the lower working class of the city, many of whom were Maharasthrian. Over time, his efforts and his followers became less focused on class issues and more on religious and ethnicity issues. He started a call of Maharasthtra for Maharashtrians. His followers, the Shiv Sena, slowly began to take over the city in many ways, organized squadrons who would meet on weekends for training camps and so on. In the winter of 1992-1993, as part of a larger national movement, the Shiv Sena followers and others like them were part of a massive incident of communal violence, death toll not clear to this day. Shortly afterwards, the Shiv Sena party won the local elections. And after winning the elections, they declared that the name of the city was now “Mumbai”.

          Since then, saying “Bombay” has in some ways become forbidden. The Shiv Sena has broken down into various factions one of whom, the MNS, really likes to pick on people for saying “Bombay”. They’ve picked on films quite a bit. Wake Up Sid (which you should watch, it’s wonderful!) was a coming of age film set among the upperclass of Bombay. The characters used the old name, as would be appropriate for their class, and the MNS declared they would boycott and protest and forbid the film from hitting theaters, until Karan Johar came out and apologized for using the word “Bombay.”

          So, short answer, Mumbai and Bombay and Bombai and a whole bunch of other slight variations are all used interchangeably in conversation. I’d be happy to switch to “Mumbai” since it is the official version on maps and stuff and is as good a name as any other, only I don’t like the feeling that I am being forced to say “Mumbai” and “Bombay” is forbidden. So I am sticking with Bombay.

          On Thu, Jan 11, 2018 at 7:19 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. Bombay. Yes. You go girl.
    Shraddha and Rajkumar Rao😶
    Are the makers of the movie trying to prove a point? If yes, what? I love Rajkumar Rao and you know my feelings about Shraddha. 😐 it’s hard to be positive after watching all those movies of hers. Screaming is not her forte? (Nothing much is, maybe dance hmm). I don’t find her watchable even as a pretty face. Like I can watch Katrina in certain roles but here ummm.
    I just remembered her a Tara instead of Nithya Menen. Meh, ok no. I’ll skip, sorry Raj. I’ll just rewatch Bareilly ki Barfi.


    • Maybe it’s all a twist? Shraddha’s character is promoted, and then killed in the first five minutes just to shock us? We can hope at least.

      On Thu, Jan 11, 2018 at 7:46 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  3. While we’re talking about awards – Kriti Sanon won something called the “Nothing to Hide” awards for her social media presence! And Shahid won it in the male category. Has to be the most bizarre category ever!! Are the award ceremonies just making up categories on the fly now?
    Maybe Shradha Kapoor doesn’t talk in the movie?? Her high pitched shrieking is a sure turn off


    • The award ceremonies are absolutely making up categories! Just picking something that will get headlines and might get someone famous to show up for them.

      What if Shraddha is mute, and killed in the first ten minutes?

      On Thu, Jan 11, 2018 at 7:59 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  4. I feel seeing the current political climate a movie on indira is a bad bad decision. Rss /bjp will oppose it for showing them negative, Sikhs will oppose it, censors would be in doldrums to certify, all in all not required currently, especially after padmavat(i). Just see what happens to Madhur bhandarkar ‘s movie on emergency.


    • Well, they did just buy the book rights at this point, maybe they want to hold on to them until the time is right to actually turn it into a film.


  5. Black buck hunting is illegal in India since 1972. It falls in Schedule I which offers highest protection and have the highest penalties. There might be long history of hunting but everyone involved in the hunt must have known that it was a crime and chose to do it anyway.

    Also no tourists hunt black buck. It is the rich and powerful who don’t have any regards to the law do it. The rest of us stop few hundred meters away from it, wait till it passes and move on.

    Acid attacks are not just an Indian issue. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Cambodia and UK also have this problem. Surprisingly UK has the highest rate of acid attacks in the world. London is called Acid capital of the world. I don’t know if Meer Foundation works with victims outside of India but it is a global issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I went through the section on Salman again and realized I still have a few points to add.

      Wild peacock meat is a delicacy where I come from. But they are protected under the same act black buck is protected from. Earlier it was common for rich people to kill them even though it is illegal. I remember 15 or 20 years ago a politician served it in a party which was covered by media and it was a big issue. His career died after the feast. Don’t know if the people who actually slaughtered it cooked it got the same punishment. But they are just doing it for livelihood. Its a job for them not pleasure or status.

      People who do it for pleasure create the market and poor people are in it as a job. Take underage sex tourism for example. How does one effectively kill the market? Prosecuting the parents, pimps or people traveling from developed countries and actually pay for it? If you prosecute just the foot soldiers, the market just moves to another country.

      These days we see so many peacocks and peahens loitering around our neighborhood. No one kills them for meat because if somebody complains, there is no real way they can escape prosecution. If Salman cannot get out of it, they cannot either. This kills the market and lets the wildlife population thrive.

      So I don’t have any sympathy for Salman in this case. I never condone death threats but in my opinion, justice department’s decision to prosecute Salman is right.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well said.No need to downplay salmans crime. Killing an endangered wild animal is not a small issue in india. You could get jail term from 3 to 7 years for the first time.And if the case is filed,u could not come out easily by bribing. If it were an ordinary citizen ,his future would have been doomed. even after jail term its not possible to lead a decent life.Its the money and connections that saved salman khan.

      And tourists or ordinary citizens in india dont do hunting. Its not that simple.


  6. My first thought after reading about new Shraddha movie: “Shraddha’s acting is so terrible that every movie of hers should be called “horror” .
    I don’t know, there are so many actresses in India, why only Shraddha is signing movies? And why she just can’t marry a nice guy and be a housewife?


    • Or, who knows, maybe Shraddha is a PR genius! Or has a brilliant legal mind. Or loves to do accounts. She should go off and pursue her non-acting talents (surely she has some?) and let us be happy again. Oh, now I have a whole fanfic in my head! Wait for Sunday.

      On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 3:24 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • Must be the Saaho Magic. My friend was telling me the other day that her insta following increased by 200,000 after her involvement in Saaho was announced. Prabhas deserves it for choosing her as the heroine.


  7. I think this counts as news… ALTBalaji is doing an adaptation of Little Women called Haq Se set in Kashmir. They just released this really amazing trailer for it.


  8. I’m hoping SRK stays in Davos an extra day or so and does a panel discussion or an interview or something. It would be a shame to go there just to pick up the award and not get anything more from him. He had mentioned in an old interview once that he had gotten invited to Davos several times but never went because he didn’t feel like he had anything important to say. If you have the time, you should check out Karan’s panel discussion at Davos he did last year. It was very interesting. He took part in a talk with Forest Whitaker, a Chinese talk show host and a filmmaker from Saudi Arabia. He also did a separate conversation with a Pakistani filmmaker who had won an Oscar. Both were quite fun and interesting. Karan is also going to be there this year too.

    I’m being greedy but if SRK is going to spend the time to fly all the way there, we need more than just a 5 minute speech.


        • It is pretty ridiculous. Oh well, according to my fanfic, Shraddha will soon retire to follow her real passion, accounting, so this will all be over soon.

          On Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 1:07 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  9. So many interesting things in this post so I’ll comment on the one I care about most. You said,
    “But I do kind of wonder, is this a new side to the Shahrukh persona? Has be been worn down by all the hate into fighting back? He’s already tweeting in Hindi, which is weird, and now there is this odd little recognition of his charity. He could be trying to pull a Being Human. But I hope not, because that would in some ways be giving up, acknowledging that people don’t just love him for himself.
    I wondered the exact same thing. I thought the Hindi posts came from two motives; 1) To underscore the Hindi nature of TED india nay soch 2)He’s always said he wanted to perfect his Hindi writing. But this willingness to have his charity out there is new. The Meer foundation is not new. I wonder if his PR team said enough of this “I don’t discuss it.” You legit do it and it will bring more money to those charities. I think he’s accepted Devos cause 1) he gets a world platform to show a world problem of acid attacks and 2) Karan going convinced him it isn’t so bad after all.


    • Ever since it was such a firm point in My Name is Khan, I have just assumed that part of Shahrukh’s dedication to his faith was following the Zakat practice of giving at least 2.5% of his income as charity back to the community from which it came. Which means I doubt these charities really need more money. I also get kind of impression from him of “I don’t discuss it, because I assumed it was taken as a given”. You know? Like, he doesn’t think it is worth talking about just as he doesn’t think it is worth talking about all the hours he spends in the gym or anything else that is an expected part of a movie star life. Which I think might be something he learned from how things are handled in the industry along with a personal code. In Dilip Saheb’s autobiography, for instance, he didn’t mention a word about his charitable work, or even much about his public service with the Congress party. But in the end notes when others talked about him, it came out that he gave enormous amounts to charity constantly. And I assume the same is true of all the big and little stars, they give huge amounts, but it isn’t worth talking about.


  10. Pingback: Shahrukh at Davos: Speech and Interview, Focus on Equality and Courage | dontcallitbollywood

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