A wedding `welding' the innings

The fact of Vijeta coming to real teleview, only after the wedding put the seal on the marriage of the season as Indian as Indian could be.


HOW to `Scotland' the traditional Indian bride is a class batting act known only to the one who astutely managed his marriage with the least `Rahulla-gulla'! That Rahul came up with a cute one looking the `Vijetalisman' woman in his life is something that made it a wait worthwhile, after all, for the media in India. "Who does she think she is?" queried a lensman, thinking Vijeta to be playing hard to get — Rahul.

The belated answer to that is we Indian viewers perhaps looked at things only from the superstarry Rahul point of view. Think of it from the Pendharkar perspective. With no seasoning at all in handling the media (burgeoning overnight in small-town Nagpur), well could the Pendharkar family have been mortally scared of misfielding the Rahul-linking questions almost certain to be fired at them. Not until the `Dravideo' of the marriage ceremony itself, therefore, was canned (as complete) did the family feel secure enough for its Vijeta to go public. In this hindsight camera light, full marks to Vijeta for her Pendharkaramat in holding the paparazzi at bay.

You well know our media. Almost instantly, there would have been a loaded question or two about Raveena for Vijeta to counter. Something of that ilk the Pendharkars obviously did not fancy. We in the media have always revelled in this kind of celeb baiting. For instance, as soon as Pt. Ravi Shankar finished his maiden `Meeraa' recording (in the Raag Khamaj shape of `Mere to Girdhar Gopal') via the voice of Vani Jairam, know what was my first query to the sitar wizard? "Now that you have scored `Meeraa' without Lata Mangeshkar, how much did you miss that divine voice this morning" Ravi Shankar's pat response: "No matter to which part of the world I go, you journalists are all the same!"

As Ravi Shankar proceeded to explain that he turned to Vani "as the next best voice" once Lata was not available, my follow-up query was framed and ready. It was: "How could even a Lata Mangeshkar refuse to sing `Meeraa' when the theme was being composed by a Ravi Shankar." But I let it go. You do not corner such an icon beyond a point. Certainly not an icon who had the Beatles calling on him during those end-1975 `Meeraa' recordings. Recordings for which the tardy TV people from DD turned up wantonly late. Yet turned up on the day Hema Malini (looking stunningly stately as the `Meeraa'-to-be) graced the recording room with her lotus-eyed presence. As Beatle George Harrison — already used to the finest in TV technology — looked aghast at the heavy Mehboob Studios equipment on which his sitar idol was recording, Ravi Shankar simply said: "It works, you know!" The point I seek to make is elementary. Where even a Ravi Shankar had to think twice before formulating his retort to the media, just try and envision the plight of the Pendharkars when up against a posse of pruriently probing pressmen. In an electronic era seeing TV come of ` 24 x 7' age. The bride's family naturally turned `Nagpurple' at sight of so many cameras so focused as to turn a strictly private event into a media celebration a full fortnight before its time.

Rahul himself was happily comprehending in the savvy he finally brought to thanking the media. Asked to hold Vijeta's hand after the wedding, Rahul feelingly put his India-anchoring arms around her saree-shimmering shoulders. If Vijeta still looked the bashful bride, give the young lady time and space. The low-key way the `The Girl With The Vijetalking Eyes' projected her looks at the Taj, maybe 'Jurm-e-ulfat pe humein log sazaa dete hain' sounded her outlook still. Just wait for the couple to get ` Scot.land-locked'. Sense the difference on the twosome's return to India, honeymoon-struck.

One thing you telebuffs can't deny. That the fact of Vijeta coming to real teleview, only after the wedding, put the seal on the marriage of the season as `Indian as Indian could be'. Something swadeshi our Ektaa Kapoor serial wrapped audience love to experience. That is to say, if Smriti as Tulsi is just our Irani cup of tea, so is Vijat the striker ordered. That Raveena, manwhile, comes through as so `hard-bitten' on the `Filmfare' cover is a happening that must make Vijeta feel fulfilled — in her heart of hearts. If only because this `cover-up' puts the `Raveenarrative' in Rahul's life in its glossy niche. While we viewers thus impatiently waited for the Vijeta-Rahul picture to unfold on our TV during that Sunday of May 4, we had, side by side, also to keep DD Sports tabs on the Tamil Nadu-Mumbai Ranji Trophy Final. What do I say here except that we in Mumbai have learnt to live with the crashing telly mediocrity of Milind Wagle. But what did poor Tamil Nadu do to deserve Milind? A Milind who, while jejunely feeding us on `rasam' and curd-rice as Tamil Nadu's luncheon staple, also kept feeding us with the myth that Clive Lloyd hit `274' in the (end-January 1975) maiden Test at the Wankhede Stadium.

Clive Lloyd's score on that occasion, Milind Wagle, was 242 not out — not 274. Shame on you, DD! A DD on which we viewers once thrilled to R.K. Laxman's `Wagle Ki Duniya'. Now the Milind `Wagle Ki Duniya' we DD-savoured made our heads swim. For this `Wagle Ki Duniya' was neither here in Mumbai nor there in Tamil Nadu. I suppose we should be grateful that Milind Wagle did not zero in on `rasam' and `curd -rice' as the menu at Vijeta-Rahul's wedding reception.