By Neel Anil Panicker
There was none like her. She was non parallel. She was the queen of hearts. She set the screen on fire with her smouldering sensuality. She was head and shoulders above all.
She was also a narcissist who had taken self obsession to the utter extremes, spending crores of her hard earned money on beauty care products and treatments, she was so vain about maintaining her gorgeous looks that she took all manner of drugs, went under the knife countless numbers of times, was gobbling up dangerous, unsupervised drugs and injecting botox shots into her veins by the hour till the last moments of her death.
She was also an alcoholic, a shameless drunkard, a woman who swallowed five full bottles of the best whisky every single day right upto the day she died.
The world and its uncle have gone to town writing their own individual obituaries about the demi-goddess of Hindi film industry, Sri Devi, who was found dead under very tragic circumstances in a five star hotel’s bathtub in Dubai.
It seems everyone knew her intimately, knew her likes and dislikes, knew what she ate or did not, what she drank or did not, who she cavorted with and not, who were the loves and hates of her rather shortened stay on Planet Earth.
And what they knew they spoke with complete conviction like there’s this guy who pronounced rather pompously the other day, “Do you know her monthly expenses on maintaining herself was Rs 25 lakhs?”.
No Sir, I didn’t know that, and thank you for illuminating lesser mortals like us with such pearls of your wisdom.
Another, this one on 24 hour national TV, quipped, quite majestically at that “she took to the bottle as Boney had stopped caring for her”.
Yet another, this one a well known producer and “very very dear friend of her” had this to say, “Sri lost it after Mithun refused to marry her. From thereafter, it was just one big slide.”
Now, can we all stop this gibberish, utter nonsense that are being bandied about in full public glare and shamelessly carted around as if they were the Gospel truth, as if the holier than thou dispensers of such ‘authoritative’ facts and figures are the whole sole purveyors of truth?
Can we stop being so reckless in our opinions about people we haven’t even met or aren’t even remotely aware of, especially when aren’t even present to defend themselves against the relentless onslaught of abominable comments and innuendos that are being peddled around by people who have nothing better to do with their lives?
My answer to that is Yes. Yes, we can give the middle finger to all these shallow people and their meretricious comments every time they start throwing their gauntlet over the windmills.
#neelanilpanicker #sridevi #death #bollywood #indiancinema #467words

FFfAW Challenge-Week of February 27, 2018FUNER




By Neel Anil Panicker
All of us have a past, some a present too, but none of us are promised a tomorrow. It is also equally true that almost all of us have hacked their way through the past and strive hard in the present, harbouring hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow.
And this maxim doesn’t just simply apply to the plebeians, the hoi poloi, the teeming multitude of common men and women who live and breathe, stretching limb and body, hitting the myriad roads that dot every nook and corner of this wide world.
It applies as aptly to the rich including the swish set, the uber crème de la crème of society as well.
Be they man or woman, rich or poor, good or bad, every single person on Planet Earth dreams and works towards a tomorrow.
The poor and not so poor slog their lives working towards a better tomorrow, for their children and the children of their children, if not for themselves.
As far as the rich go, well, let’s not be mistaken. They too slog, albeit differently.
Their tomorrows are not about garnering wealth (that they have in plenty, unless they are Palanpuri Jains, for then enough is never enough!)
Instead, they slog with only one purpose, which is to prolong the ecstasy of the present, so as it seamlessly merges with the unseen future.
Take for instance the case of Sridevi, the once reigning queen of Indian cinema who died of a massive cardiac arrest, literally dancing her way to the after life.
At 54, she had everything going for her: uncountable riches, a super cool sugar daddy of an understanding hubby, two beautiful daughters, and a fan base that worshipped the very ground that she walked upon.
Blessed with drop dead good looks, a coquettish smile and an impish charm that could melt even a stone, Sri Devi’s present was perfect__just like in the movies, the countless numbers that she played in, commanding fees and garnering accolades more than even the leading heroes of her time.
And then avarice took over. She began to succumb to a very common human failing. She wanted to live her dream for ever. She wanted her present to remain ever so, to continue into the future, not knowing that one cannot forever live in the present.
And for that she turned vegan, started following her doctor’s advice, went on a crash diet, prepared and stuck by a list of do’s and don’t’s__ reportedly she had started to micro manage her diet and lifestyle to the last micro second. What to eat, how much, when and with what and with whom blah blah blah…
Quite tragically, the world woke upto the news of her death. The cause: “massive cardiac arrest.”
So, what was her crime? Was it that she wanted to look beautiful for ever, wanted and desired that her hour glass figure and porcelain china face not fall prey to the ravages of time?
That she tried to delay the onset of ageing by going under the knife?
I remember in one her earlier interviews she had said and I quote, “ For me health is wealth and I take utmost care of it. I have gone completely vegan and monitor my movements to a T.”.
Picture this: here is one of the most beautiful women Indian cinema has ever seen, one for whom the world is her oyster, and all she wants is to look forever beautiful.
And she does all that is possible to maintain that image, that beautiful picture post card image of eternal beauty that is forever etched in the minds of her innumerable admirers.
Can one find fault with that line of thinking? Can anyone for that matter? Is there anything wrong in aspiring to do so?
Can anyone begrudge her this vain attempt to delay the inevitable, to dream of a tomorrow that never ever comes?
You don’t die at 54, wept her fans. She was so young, so beautiful, others moaned. All those who had swooned over her Greek Goddess’ looks, mooned over her lissom figure and touch me not butterfly eyelashes and winsome persona now wept, swept away in an avalanche of emotions.
Sridevi’s tragic death has once again brought home the stark reality of the transitory nature of our lives. It is told all that whatever be our past, we only have one present, and tomorrow is just a mirage that never ever comes.
A day prior to her shocking death, I had decided to go on a crash diet, strictly vegan.
Let it be known: I am off it, for now and for ever.
Oops! Did I say for ever? I am sorry, make that for now. For, don’t we all know that tomorrow is just a promise that never ever comes.
©neelanilpanicker2018 #sridevi nce #queenofhearts #bollywood


By Neel Anil Panicker

I will start with something that all of us have an instant connect with—-Bollywood that is.  The very word does ring a bell, doesn’t it?  And indisputably, that bell does ring beautifully. No two thoughts on that.

Everyone is head over heels in love with the movies, including and especially so of the Bollywood song and dance variety. And that includes almost the entire Hindi speaking populace of India and arguably the rest of the rich multi-lingua-cultural fraternity there is that together constitute the fabulous idea that is India; those who do and those who do not know Hindi language as fluently as do their brethren north of the Vindhyas.

The pan India mantra it seems is : show us a hot Bollywood dance number and then see us dance to our hearts’ content.

bollywood dance

And like with all other things about us Indians, we will bring in our own spice and elements to that dance number. Oh! Did you hear that before, dears_ though very few of us can claim to be direct descendants of Micheal Jackson, we can move and shake our booties like no other being on this wide, wide planet.

Our jugaadu trait (another Indian invention)stands us in good stead when it comes swinging bout our feet and legs even if some us clearly our people with two left feet.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, right?

Just attend a typical North Indian wedding or for that matter even a simple typical middle class bridal engagement and you will know what I mean.

The guy or even the gal who gets the most seetis (whistles, for the uninitiated!) is not the one who looks like he can give the reigning king of Bollywood dancing Rithik Roshan a run for his hard earned money but that teenager in the horrendous red shirt and psychedelic translucent low waist pants who is twirling and twisting all over in a 360 degree arc—his reed thin hands and legs moving around in a maddening hexagonal display of pyrotechnics that has all the men and women swooning over him even as the band master and his multi hued assemblage of garishly dressed artists up the ante by belting out the latest party chartbuster DJ Wale Babu Mera Gana Toh …

You get the picture, then. The verdict on this one is out: dance or no dance, as long as there are Hindi movies and dance numbers to entertain us come every Friday, we Indians will dance_ whether we know how to shake our legs or not; with shoes or without; with music or without; and might I add with or without our girlfriends/ boyfriends/partners/colleagues/better halves or whoever is else is our current centre of attention.

And if none were available, we will for sure hit the floor, and for us, as is true for all lovers of Bollywood’s famous latkas and jhatkas, the floor could even be the ubiquitous bathroom floor.

So what say, all ye guys and gals!

Open the taps and tap on to your heart’s content. Jhakkas to that!