It takes time to reconcile with the death of someone like Sridevi whose popularity had extended over many decades. And it is all the more difficult for her family who are still coming to terms with the tragedy. Her daughter Janhvi turned 21 on March 6, just 12 days after Sridevi’s death. The family decided to hold a low-key get-together to mark the day with the cutting of a cake. This would probably be something that friends and elders decided on to bring some cheer into the despairing home. A photo of the get-together was posted online by her cousin and actress Sonam Kapoor in her Instagram account. Sonam also wrote, ‘To one of the strongest girls I know, who became a woman today. Happy birthday jannu.’
But the online world can be vicious in making judgments on other people’s lives. Some trolls on social networking started to make negative comments on having a celebration when a death had just happened. But the extent of Janhvi’s grief was apparent to almost everyone in a note that she put up on Instagram remembering her mother. She wrote, ‘On my birthday, the only thing I ask of all of you is that you love your parents. Cherish them and devote yourself to making them feel that love. They have made you. And I ask that you remember my mother fondly, pray for her soul to rest in peace…She was so much more than just an actor or a mother or a wife. She was the ultimate and the best in all these roles. It mattered a great deal to her to give love and to get love. For people to be good and gracious and kind. She didn’t understand frustration or malice or jealousy. So let’s be that. Let’s be full of only good and give only love. That would make her happy, to know that even in death, she gave you all something. The courage and inspiration to fill yourselves with nothing but love and rid yourselves of bitterness in any way and form…’.
From China with love
Aamir Khan had carved out a monopoly of sorts in the China market where his movies were doing the kind of business that even India hadn’t seen. Both Dangal and Secret Superstar have gone on to break records. But now apparently he has competition from Salman Khan whose 2015 movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan has just been released in China. In just a week it has crossed the Rs100 crore mark in collections. It still has some way to go and the total revenues from China would thus be a lot more. Before this, only three other movies had done similar business and all of those were Aamir’s. A Salman movie doing well wouldn’t bother Aamir given that the market is vast and there is enough for everyone. The success of Bajrangi does indicate that the Chinese are now going beyond being just Aamir lovers to Hindi movie fans.
Bolt from the blue
A few weeks ago, Irrfan Khan was down with what was said to be a severe case of jaundice. Soon there were all sorts of rumours floating around. It was even said that he might be suffering from brain cancer and was being treated at a prominent hospital in Mumbai. The clarification when it came out has not brought any solace to the many people who admire him and his work.
When the speculations began to get out of hand, Irrfan himself put a post on Twitter which said that he was still coming to terms with the fact that he might have a rare genetic ailment. He wrote, ‘Sometimes you wake up with a jolt with life shaking you up. The last fifteen days, my life has been a suspense story. Little had I known that my search for rare stories would make me find a rare disease. I have never given up and have always fought for my choices and always will. My family and friends are with me and we are working it out the best way possible. In trying times, please don’t speculate as I will myself share with you my story within a week-ten days, when the further investigations come with a conclusive diagnosis. Till then, wish the best for me’.
When people in social networking and the media continued to gossip about what he might be ailing from, it prompted a number of Bollywood stars to make public appeals to respect Irrfan’s privacy. Manoj Bajpayee, for instance, wrote on Facebook, ‘Request all to stop speculations about Irrfan’s health and wait for the official confirmation from his side. It’s quite insensitive to guess and spread rumour about anyone’s illness. Plz delete all the post and pray for his health. He will fight it out and come out of it like a champion. Praying for his speedy recovery. Let’s all respect his privacy.’
For Irrfan, it would indeed be a crushing blow if the ailment was serious. He began his career almost 30 years ago in Bollywood but it was only in the last decade that he finally got the recognition he deserved. And then he soon progressed to even be a regular fixture in Hollywood movies. He is at the pinnacle of his acting life and to be subject to such a health issue is a bolt out of the blue.
Blast from the past
Sometimes, the past can come unexpectedly to claim the present. And Jeetendra seems to be the latest victim of this phenomenon. In his case, the events in which he is alleged to have been involved is just under half a century ago. Or 1971 to be the precise. That was when he was 28 years old and already a film star. He is being accused of sexual assault, then, by a relative. She was 18 at the time. In her police complaint, she alleges that Jeetendra got her to come to the hill station of Shimla where he was shooting and in the night sexually assaulted her. The police have registered a case and are reportedly now investigating. But to find any evidence of something that happened in 1971 is next to impossible. So it is going to be her word versus Jeetendra’s. The actor has through his lawyer denied the incident entirely and puts it down to a conspiracy by business competitors.
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