Saturday, June 19, 2010

BJP Rajneeti is pirated

The BJP, already reeling under a series of organisational crises, has landed in further trouble: it could just be sued for video piracy. In order to keep its Rajasthan MLAs, allegedly locked up at a resort near Jaipur on the eve of Thursday’s Rajya Sabha election, is reasonably good spirits, senior

BJP leaders reportedly organised a video show of Prakash Jha’s recently-released political thriller Raajneeti.

The catch: since a video of Jha’s new film is yet to be released, what was shown to the MLAs must have been an illegally-pirated version.

Director Prakash Jha is livid, and is determined to take legal action against the BJP and the resort management.

Speaking to this newspaper from Patna, a furious Jha said he had already asked his lawyers in Mumbai to initiate action for legal measures. “Nothing preventive can be done now,” he said.

The filmmaker, saying he was “aghast” and “furious”, wondered how “lawmakers” from the country’s Opposition party could encourage such illegal activity. He added: “And then you are asking for my reaction!”


Carry On, Rajneeti

Intra-party fisticuffs over choice of candidates. Inter-party accusations of poaching, ambushes and even kidnap. Netas in political wilderness, 'outsiders' in geographical limbo and near-retirees in professional transit seeking parliamentary parking place. Business tycoons diving into the poll fray as independents backed by sworn political enemies. And legislators incarcerated in five-star hotels so that their loyalties didn't gallop away with the highest bidders. No, that's not the script of a multi-starrer on Indian raajneeti. That was the race to fill seats in the Council of, States.
The House of Elders is an august institution. All who enter its hushed portals - so the political bible says - are exemplars of sobriety and sagacity. But surely there's no law against stakeholders in Rajya Sabha club membership offering mirch masala Bollywood style? Take the 79 BJP MLAs who were herded into a swanky resort outside Jaipur, reportedly to rid them of evil thoughts like cross-voting and defection. Was it pure accident that, there, they watched a new film on political skullduggery called Raajneeti? Too bad the DVD was pirated, making the film-maker breathe fire about "lawmakers" turning into "lawbreakers". In self-defence, the BJPwallahs could ask: if raajneeti's far dirtier tricks can be exposed on-screen for public enlightenment (and possible political emulation), why demand piety off-screen?
Besides, their hotel stay was less recreational than educational: many rookie MLAs were taught "how to vote" in legislatures. This rigorous training was punctuated by equally strenuous dips in the hotel pool. What's wrong if initiation was completed with a filmy lesson on political conspiracy and violence? Thus schooled, could any MLA vote by 'conscience' against the legal luminary backed by his party? So it is that the ex-legal defence of a Parliament attack accused entered the upper House with the help of the BJP, a party big on national security! When Operation Rajya-neeti is on, Operation Parakram is obviously history.
If BJP and Congress were both worried about MLAs goofing up, they hadn't bargained for their goofing off. In Orissa, their partymen were allegedly "abducted" not by aliens but the ruling BJD! The latter dismissed the charge, going on to trounce its adversaries. Last heard, the case of the missing MLAs has been put down to willed truancy, not netanapping. In Bihar, D-Day stood for Ditchers' Day across parties, with not even the fear of Maya taming BSP flock. Clearly, no would-be 'Elder' smooth-sailed like LJP's Paswan, who's now hugging ally Lalu harder. At a political loose end, birds of the same feather take stock together. Especially in Nitish's Bihar.
Recall that Nitish's JD(U) had earlier reminded the EC of its "constitutional" duty to foil poll-time intrigue and sabotage. Today, the EC's probably in deep philosophical thought on the subject of political fidelity. For, it seems little can stop back-room backscratching, be it party whips, high commandeering, hostage crises in luxury resorts or EC bosses eating politicians for breakfast. In short, riders on the electoral storm rarely say: horse-trader, pass by. Raajneeti, zindabad.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Jha To Take Legal Action Against BJP MLAs For Watching Pirated Film

Jha To Take Legal Action Against BJP MLAs For Watching Pirated FilmAce Bollywood director Prakash Jha said that he will sue Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs, who watched a pirated DVD of his recently launched film 'Rajneeti' during a party meeting.

The film was shown to Rajasthan BJP MLAs, who gathered in Jaipur for a pre-poll training assembly on Tuesday.

"Whatever legal recourse needs to be taken against people who were responsible for showing the film, and those who watched it, is being taken," stated Prakash, who was in Patna, adding that he would have organized a special screening of 'Rajneeti' had the MLAs approached him.

But, the BJP MLAs stated that they had done no wrong by watching the film.

BJP MLA Rajender Singh Rathore said, "They are making a mountain out of a molehill. This is not good. You talk to Prakash Jha as to what action he will take. We have not done anything wrong." (With Inputs from Agencies)

Pirated Raajneeti' lands BJP in a soup

JAIPUR: Already under media glare over corralling of MLAs, the state BJP on Wednesday found itself surrounded by yet another controversy, this time for watching pirated version of Prakash Jha's Raajneeti' at the hotel where party legislators have been herded for the last two days.
A city resident, Yogendra Singh, has filed a complaint against the party's chief whip in the assembly Rajendra Rathore, the hotel owner and others for the unauthorised screening of the film at the hotel on Tuesday. Filmmaker Prakash Jha has also threatened legal action. He told TOI that the legal cell at his office was looking into the "pros and cons of sueing the offenders of the law" (state BJP leaders).
The MLAs watched the movie at a private hotel situated on the Jaipur-Ajmer highway, where they are all corralled, on Tuesday afternoon. They have been kept there under the supervision of the senior leaders in run up to the Thursday's Rajay Sabha polls in which party-supported candidate Ram Jethmalani is walking a tightrope.
As the movie producers have not yet released the DVD in the market, there is no doubt that the one used for the screening was pirated.
"It is a very unfortunate incident. The lawmakers are themselves turning into lawbreakers," said Jha, while talking to TOI over phone. Jha said he would have loved to arrange a special screening for senior leaders like Ram Jethmalani and Vasundhara Raje, had they approached him. "I would have personally taken care of it, but this is not expected of them," fumed Jha, adding his lawyers were contemplating legal action.
Meanwhile, Yogendra Sharma filed a complaint in a local court in the city against the BJP leaders and the hotel owner for using the pirated DVD. He alleged that when he tried to lodge a complaint with the Muhana police, his request was turned down due to "influence" of the people involved. The court will take up the matter on Thursday.
A resident of Vidhyadhar Nagar, Singh approached CJM, district court on Wednesday. "We have filed a case in the court against Rajendra Rathore, owner of Hotel Greens situated in Muhana Mandi Ramakant Sharma, its general manager, and others,'' said Singh's lawyer A K Jain.
The complainant told the court that he saw the news about screening of the film at Hotel Greens on some TV channels. "It was clear that the screening was illegal. How can the movie be shown like this? The hotel owner did not have any permission and used a pirated CD for the screening. It happened in front of lawmakers," said Jain.
The complainant has alleged violation of Section 10 of The Rajasthan Video Films (Regulation of Exhibition) Act, 1990, Section 63 of Copywrite Act, Section 65 of IT Act and 120B of IPC.
However, the BJP leaders have pleaded ignorance about the the pirated DVD. "It was the hotel staff that organised the screening for us. How are we supposed to know the DVD was pirated?" says Rathore. Senior BJP MLA Dr Digambar Singh said: "How in the world does one expect us to know which DVD is released in the market and which is not? We don't keep a track of these things."

Lessons in Rajneeti

It could have been a scene from a Bollywood film noir but Prakash Jha is not amused. He is quite incensed that a bunch of lawmakers — BJP MLAs hurriedly corralled in a five-star hotel outside Jaipur — did not think twice before breaking the law. Given the tenor of most of his films, that detail should hardly have caused him shock.
But, clearly, the nature of the MLAs' most recent criminal act took him utterly by surprise. Had the MLAs done the usual stuff that powerful political players do to get their own way in Jha's films — murder, rape, pillage, assassinate, subvert, bribe, torture, transfer, etc — the gritty director would surely have been unfazed.
That's what Jha's portrayed them to be, time after award-winning time, after all. But the lawless political class's latest infraction is something else: they watched his latest and typically cynical take on prevailing heartland politics, Rajneeti, on a pirated DVD.
Rather than carp about the loss of revenue from this particular criminal act, Jha should actually be thrilled that his target (if not his audience) has an abiding interest in his oeuvre; they could have watched an Election Commission documentary on Rajya Sabha polls instead, considering the MLAs were reportedly incarcerated for that very purpose.
The greenhorns among them, at least, would have emerged informed and enthused by the great democratic exercise they were to take part in. Now they have undoubtedly come away with a rather colourful presentation of how conflict resolution in a state can be achieved in the shortest if not the neatest or most democratic manner.
That should give the BJP high command some food for thought, as Jha's films rarely end with the bad guys getting their comeuppance. And that could give the sequestered MLAs something to mull over as they mark time in their hotel rooms!

MLAs ready to back Jethmalani

JAIPUR: A day before the voting for the four RS seats in the state, BJP leaders held a mock poll at the hotel where the MLAs have been corralled since Tuesday. By the evening, all the 79 MLAs of BJP had arrived at the hotel, with the party leadership claiming a win for both its candidates.
According to party sources, not only have all the MLAs agreed to vote in favour of V P Singh and Ram Jethmalani, the party also enjoys the support of the lone JD(U) MLA and at least three independent MLAs.
Jivaram Chaudhry, one among the Independents who reportedly pledged support to BJP, is likely to join the party in the near future. However, the day began on a discordant note with the controversy surrounding the screening of ‘Raajneeti’.

Jaipur court orders FIR against BJP leader for 'Rajneeti' screening

A Jaipur court has ordered that an FIR be lodged against Rajasthan BJP chief whip Rajendra Singh Rathore for the screening of a pirated print of the Bollywood film 'Rajneeti' for bored party MLAs locked up at a luxury resort to prevent them from cross voting in the Rajya Sabha elections.
The court has ordered an FIR against the hotel owner too. A court complaint was made on Wednesday and 'Raajneeti' director Prakash Jha is livid.
Jha said he was very angry over the incident. "I am very angry. It is shameful. How can lawmakers can break the law like that? They should be the ones to put a stop to such illegal things and create examples but they are blatantly breaking the law," he said.
"My lawyers are looking into it. We are looking into all aspects like who saw it and where it was screened. We will take appropriate legal action," he said on Wednesday.
The 79 BJP MLAs, led by party general secretary and former chief minister Vasundhara Raje, took time out to watch the film on Tuesday. The film, a political drama, stars a slew of big Bollywood actors.