Didn’t know Vilasrao Deshmukh has an actor son , Riteish, until I read about their Sunday morning spin around the Taj and Oberoi. Mr Deshmukh was then the Maharashtra C M, and father and son were accompanied by Ram Gopal Varma, who has made a name making movies themed on Mumbai’s underworld – Satya, Company and Sarkar.
Couldn’t make sense of their visit to such sensitive places, that too, under a meda glare, but it is clear that none of these worthies appeared sensitive to the prevailing public mood, in the wake an unprecedented terror strike. Media lapped it up. In stark contrast, when the chief minister came by Nariman House at the height of the seige, presumably , fishing for sound bytes, a TV news channel doing ‘live’ coverage chose to break for commercials.
Mr Deshmukh’s tour of Mumbai’s ‘Ground Zero’ in the company of a Bollywood film-maker wasn’t the only thing aam aadmi couldn’t make much sense of. In Bangalore The Times of India sponsored, what it called, a Power Mile Run ”to express solidarity with the terror-struck Mumbaikars”. A throng of 150, mostly business executives and some politicians, turned up in knickers and colourful t-shirts. In Mumbai people took to the streets carrying placards saying, ‘Enough is Enough’. This, i thought, could as well have been aam aadmi’s response to Bangalore’s ’Power Mile Run’. Enough - of corporate gimmicks – Mumbai seems to say.
It’s ‘homage’ time for corporate ads in newspapers. The Hindu carried on Page One a black-bordered advert. with photos of Hemant Karkare, Ashoke Kamte, Vijay Salaskar, and NSG’s Sandeep Unnikrishnan. NSG soldier who lost his life, Havildar Gajendar Singh, doesn’t figure in the corporate sponsored ad. I would like to believe the ommission had nothing to with the rank held by the soldier who he died engaging a granede-lobbing terrorist at Nariman House.
On the Nariman House siege, a newspaper report citing a neighbourhood resident gives the following account of the initial police response:
Wednesday, 9.30 p m – the firing (by terrorists) started;
Thursday, 12.30 a m – two policemen arrived on the scene;
2.30 a m – Arrival of the state reserve police;
4.30 a m – Arrival of the Rapid Action Force.
No wonder why Mumbai’s aam aadmi is angry.