Theatre of the absurd: televising Kejriwals at home

Dear Mr Kejriwal, we need to look up to you, not have you as good neighbour Sam

bikram

Bikram Vohra | January 6, 2014



If Arvind Kejriwal has to take a public vote for every decision he takes, he is going to paint himself into a corner. Against the background over the weekend controversy over the house allotted to him, and his dithering over it and his incessant blather about spartan living, it seems aspiration is a bad word in Delhi these days. Denial seems to be style of the moment. Don’t buy a car, get out of it and walk if you are a good man. Any striving is now suspicious.

And yet, watch this news feature on the Kejriwal family on the TV. Arvind lying on a simple cot. Arvind‘s brow knotted in fierce concentration as he stares at the computer screen. Arvind tossing and turning on the same cot as he wrestles with the weight of power. His wife, cooking on a two ring stove. Don’t they have a maid? Like an Amol Palekar movie with Deepti Naval.

So touching. So simple, so delightfully ascetic, Mohandas Gandhi come alive.

But think of it. The Kejriwals invited the TV crew in. Those peeps set the stage and did sound tests and lighting. They had cables slithering all over the place.

Testing, testing, one, two three.

Then they asked him to lie down on the cot. Sir, please arm over forehead, good, good, more light, here, here, camera one, take two. Two takes, three takes, better angles, more empathy, better expression, cut. Then they allowed a camera crew into their kitchen where this lady stood with her mike and we watched Mrs Kejriwal make din din and this was theatre at its worst.

Window dressing and disturbing. No one minds candid shots of newsmakers taken at the spur of the moment and marketed. But a rehearsed domestic invasion of your home and hearth to underscore your simplicity is a matter of concern because it just is.  This is not simple. In fact, it’s worrying that you could allow the orchestration.

What terrible PR. Who is advising him to do this sort of stuff.

Sir, you are an IIT graduate, now the chief minister of the capital of a country of 1.2 billion people. Live a little...we need to look up to you, not have you as good neighbour Sam. Lead from the front, not from the ranks.

 

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