The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The city is known for its old alleys. One such is shot by Atanu Pal.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rituparno and Mir

The encouraging no. of responses on the 'Ghosh & Co.' post a little earlier (helped by my Rituparno Ghosh community on Orkut) got me do two things (apart from writing a comment to the 'Ghosh & Co.' post in the first place purely on assumption): a. Watch the repeat telecast of the Mir episode on Sunday 23 November at 5 pm (original telecast on 16 November) and b. Write this post.

Well, it seems the picture above was taken after the now-controversial episode was shot. At least Mir's apparently 'rehearsed' smile says that. And Ritu's smile is a happy winner's, after (verbally) bashing Mir to pulp just before. Just kidding!

The moot point is about the last 21 minutes of the show when Ritu's take on Mir's mimicry reached an uneasy point both for Mir, his admirers and others watching the show on telly. The core of it was Ritu's characteristically yet unusually strong argument to critique Mir's mimicry of effeminate people like Ritu (yes, officially, coming from Rituparno). The point Ritu drove home over and over again was that he was unaffected by Mir's take on him, due to his stature, a greater popularity and recognition than Mir and confidence. But the same may have really hurt many other effeminate people who might pretty well feel Mir was mocking them as well by taking Ritu as a subject.

Mir was so taken aback, as visible in the uncharacteristic surrender, that he shot an open letter in protest of his 'insult' in the show. The letter was reportedly carried in The Times of India the day after the show.

I personally felt that Ritu went a little off the hook probably for the first time ever in his talk shows as the matter was too close to his heart for comfort. Maybe the matter could be handled in a better way had he been able to be a little more objective.

On the other hand, this experience, insulting for Mir indeed as it happened before the audience of an already popular show, might nevertheless set Mir thinking when his anger settles down, and ask himself: doesn't he overstep (he did admit in the show that he does it 'sometimes') in general in mimicking people like Rituparno and Bappi Lahiri by the frequency of the act on his morning show on Radio Mirchi and other television shows he hosts/ has hosted and by the kind of other platforms he chooses (he routinely does it in the award functions he hosts)? I remember once during the last World Cup football he mimicked Bappi Lahiri by comparing his size with a football. Is that in good taste, Mir, or in good spirit, as you claim it to be? Can you ever interview Bappi Lahiri with a clear conscience?

The talk can't end here. There can be many takes. Come...pour your heart over this matter that can really create a storm in the tea cup- a Bengali favourite.


  1. Do not want to go into details there. Irrespective of if Mir is right to mimic people, Rituparo Ghosh was downright terrible in letting the cat out of the bag on himself by not being able to contain his conceit and mentioning 'there are very few in Bengal who can be up to him'. That too on his own show!! Maybe, as Mir said, it was less about effeminate people and more about 'aant' (ego) after all.

  2. bengalis have a pathetic sense of humor.only mir makes us laugh and we enjoy every bit of what he does.when there is no show of mir being aired on television,i personally do not watch anything else but such a world full of hatred,wrath,anger,jealousy.i think his shows are a breath of fresh air....and as far as rituparna ghosh has commented on mir,i wouldnt have said a word if he had said in particular that he doesnt like being mocked,instead of bringing the full communityinto the show.thats all for today.

  3. The way Ghosh reacted to Mir was disgusting and ridiculous. yes he is effeminate and the world laughs at him and laughs with mir and it's time Ghosh should accept the fact.
    The way he kept on repeating Mir that he's from the minority community was unethical and unpardonable . There's nothing wrong in being a Muslim but there's a problem with public display of abnormal behavior and it's ytime Ghosh realises that.

  4. Much water has flown down the Ganges, or rather down the drains, since that 'controversial' episode of Ghosh & Co. featuring Mir.
    I was offended by Rituparno Ghosh on two counts:
    First, whatever our reservations on mimicry might be, Mr Ghosh does need to understand that has no right to consider himself a role model for the sexual minority, viz. the effeminates! No one has appointed him so! He has every right to personally be offended or outraged by the digs that Mir take continually on him, the person, replete with the caricature of his effeminate mannerisms, but at the same time he must also remember that humour (so what if it's crass) cannot be possible with a need for political correctness (which is as limitless as its diametric opposite), the two do not co-exist!
    Point 2: Was it a very socially graceful behavior on Mt Ghosh's part to insinuate Mir on his show, and that too so stupidly (albeit in an intellectual garb)? Was it even NECESSARY? How ridiculous is it to assume that a so-called sensible/sensitive person would not be desensitised to an issue in particular.... what would he say about a renowned painter like M F Hussain who is himself persecuted by the Hindu fundamentalists and is at the same time eschewing venom on the homosexuals?

    I would rather ask Mr Ghosh, whose intellect and sensibility I respect a lot, to hear the echo of Voltaire's immortal words in these intolerant times even more: "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to my last breath your right to say it!"

  5. Wonderful comment Anindo! Just what is expected from you.

  6. Mir is justifiably taking revenge of his insults by Rituparno ‘Hijra’ Ghosh. In the programme ‘Enjoy Guru’ now and then Mir is very rightly making mokery of this Hijra from Tollywood.Although he is a famous director yet a stigma on our Indian society. Jio Mir! you are doing the right thing. Keep it up.
    ….New Delhi

  7. Ritu is a complete loser and suffers from insecurity complex... in western media day in day out gay community is being ridiculed in light hearted manner in almost all the talk shows and daily shows..and everyone takes it easy... Mir you rock... keep it up...

  8. I feel that both and Rituparno are wrong. Actually we, bengalis do not realize about the sentiments of others. We try to discuss or laugh about somebody's weak point. But we do not ever realize that he is already suffering from that and if we make laugh of that, that is more pathetic to that person. And we try that to sell out so the other people can enjoy that. This is ridiculous. Have any people ever thought that if you are different in someway from others and the other people make laugh of that, how do you feel? We bengalis not only laugh to the effiminate people but alos laugh to physically challenged people. Is that our culture? If so then it is shame on us. We always try to say 'o to khora' or 'kana' like that? And other people enjoy that. Mir has just taken that taste to sell a show. It is all about our taste. Actually we are very rude about anyones inability and we enjoy that.

  9. Mature Man12:00 AM

    Rituparno did not make many friends with this interview. He is an immensely talented director. He also came out as a conceited and arrogant person. Despite all that, he does have a point though. Mir's mimicry of Rituparno does not only affect him, it also hurts a large number of people that do not have the same level of courage as Rituparno does, to come out of the closet and express their outrage. An artist of Mir's appeal has some responsibilities to the society. Caricature of a defenseless minority is not defendable. People also used to laugh at Sardarji jokes. I hope people now understand how irresponsible and and hurtful those jokes were. I was surprised to see how many people came to Mir's defense, a clear sign of immaturity. Clearly, Kolkatan have lot of growing up to do.

  10. Mature Man12:11 AM

    Prithvi, I would like to know where in the west "light hearted ridiculing" of minorities happen?

    To Anindo, I would say that political correctness is not always bad self-censoring. I am sure with excellent deliveries many comedians can make people laugh with Sardarji jokes, but should public not be outraged by such programs?

  11. Anonymous6:59 PM

    Childish act. If anyone does not like a thing another person does, just go, talk and try to resolve it. If not there are other ways to do. This reflects a very poor taste about a person.


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