Wednesday, October 12, 2005
"HUNG!" aur HUNGAMA
Lalu Prasad Yadav is very much in demand. And equally are his dolls. That has become big business.While returning from Chennai last week,I saw the latest issue of 'The Week' on the flight.The cover page carries a picture of the Lalu doll holding a lantern(his election symbol),being held by strings a la kath putli.The picture suggested a 'hung' assembly in the forthcoming Bihar elections.And if Lalu proves his sceptics wrong and leads his RJD to victory,I will not be surprised if a similar photo appears on the cover page of 'TIMES'.
Lalu dolls are a craze in Patna where they are manufactured.They sell like hot cakes.And there are many varieties to choose from.The last count was 14.And prices range from Rs 80 to Rs 390.The maverick politician comes in different shapes and sizes.He himself is very much amused.And is excited that so many people will be touching and feeling him.Including his fan Hema Malini.Lalu with a buffalo,Lalu flagging off a train,Lalu with a lantern and Lalu seated.That is the most popular and goes for Rs 144.And then there is the low budget Lalu too! For Rs 110.
What makes Lalu tick? Even Pervez Musharaff was taken in to his rustic charm.And there is a joke of Bill Clinton and Lalu closeted in a room for 4 days and people in the White House wondering what was happening.Finally a dishevelled Bill emerges speaking in Bhojpuri.The fodder scam,the pesticides scam,the milk scam and the scam scam does not seem to have dented his image at the grassroots level.The famished lot in Bihar still look up to him as the Messiah.His opponents think otherwise.Without the support of Sonia, they say,he would have gone for a sixer long back.Thanks to Buta Singh,he is now trying to undo last election's verdict. Will he succeed?
It is anybody's guess.At best,he will win triumphantly.At worst,the assembly will be hung and thereafter there will be hungama.His wife Rabri is very much in politics and he is proving that dynasty rule will run in his family too.Introducing his son,Tej Pratap to a large audience recently he said,"khara ho aur pranam karo janata janardhan ko".That was a good start for Tej who is known more for his cricketing prowess than anything else.And of course Lalu's disproportionate assets of cows,cash,gold,nscs,non agricultural land and cars are hitting the headlines all the time.Lalu is least bit bothered.He shrugs it off with a smug smile.
And the latest to join his long list of admirers is Ukranian born Tanya who is cast in a Bhojpuri film 'Phirangi Dulhaniya'.She says she is excited that she will be meeting Lalu as she has heard more of him than the Indian PM.Tanya has even learnt Bhojpuri and has dubbed her own dialogues.She is getting a lot of offers from Bollywood.But the economics graduate from Kiev does not like the 'exposure' that Bollywood movies demand.Though,she might like to do something like 'Lagaan'.She thinks that Lalu is a fascinating character and has promised to tell us more about our Doodhwala after she meets him.
So,J.Jayalalitha and the Big B,are passe.That is what the sales of the Barbielike Lalu dolls indicate.His dolls are at the zenith of their popularity.The dollmakers and marketeers are laughing all the way to the bank.And Lalu Prasad Yadav may laugh his way to the Bihar Assembly.