Mr. B’s illness will turn out to be a watershed moment in India’s battle against the virus. This isn’t Mr. B’s first bout with the doctors and crisis. He has been there and done that.
In terms of perception and public messaging, I can’t overstate the importance of this. When the British Prime Minister Johnson ended up in ICU, the fact that he recovered so quickly and completely did wonders to the consumers of Anglo Saxon press.
The world has had its share of celebrities who got it. Mrs. Trudeau, Prince Charles, Tom Hanks, President of Brazil but as far Indians go, there are celebrities and then there is Mr. B.
There was a really poor joke on What’s app 3 years ago. What do you mean by AB AB AB AB and the answer was, “ long time no C”
As silly as it sounds, for Indians AB it is. No need to C what comes after!
He is in the age group that is concerning. How he fights it, will mean a lot. That could be the crystallizing event, when the public psyche goes in one direction or the other. This is a very private moment for his family but from the moment he kicked a chair and admonished Pran that it wasn’t his father’s house, Mr. B has , sadly but irrevocably, forfeit his privacy. In a nation endlessly fascinated by the cult of personality, this is too big a symbol to be alone.
It is rumored that when Sholay was released, they planned to reshoot the ending with a different outcome. ( I heard it from one of the actors so the rumor was actually true)
But then they decided against it. Here we won’t be allowed any latitude to manipulate it artificially. This is as real as it gets. Luckily he is in the best possible city, which not only has the technical know-how but also with that extra ration of innate gumption that can’t be purchased.
I recall a song line from Mr. Natwarlal. The fight will teach us, no matter what the odds, we have to have fight in our blood, hope in our heart, a twinkle in our eyes and an irreverent attitude in our demeanor, otherwise “ Yeh Jeena bhi kya jeena hai, Lallu”.