Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Aamir Khan and BHL

My hatred of Aamir Khan, as my friends well know, knows no bounds. Still, I thought that these words from Arthur Goldhammer on the insufferable French New Philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy (or BHL, as he is known to his admirers; his detractors are far funnier though!) are equally applicable to Khan (just change the context from writing to acting):

“How does he pull it off?” wrote Goldhammer. “First, it must be recognized that he's not a total fraud. Though a wretched scholar, he is neither stupid nor uneducated. His rhetoric, at least in French, has some of the old Normalien brilliance and flair. He had the wit to recognize before anyone else that a classic French role, that of the universal intellectual as moral conscience of the age, had become a media staple, creating a demand that a clever entrepreneur could exploit. He understood that it was no longer necessary first to prove one's mettle in some field of literature, art, or thought. I think that someone once said of Zsa Zsa Gabor that she was ‘famous for being famous.’ Lévy realized that one could be famous for being righteous, and that celebrity itself could establish a prima facie claim to righteousness.”

Righteous or not, BHL is certainly timely. His denunciations of Communism in the late 1970s were hardly original. But they appeared as the radical spirit of May ‘68 was exhausting itself -- and just before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Chinese party’s own denunciations of late-period Maoism. BHL developed a knack for showing up in war zones and sending out urgent dispatches. Last month he did a toe-touch in Georgia following the Russian invasion -- filing an article that was impassioned, if, it seems, imaginative.

“He chooses his causes shrewdly,” continues Goldhammer. “He may not have been the first to divine the waning of revolutionary radicalism, but he made himself revisionism's publicist. He has a knack for placing himself at the center of any scene and for depicting his presence as if it were what rendered the scene important.... His critics keep him constantly in the limelight and actually amplify his voice, and why should a ‘philosopher’ of universal range stoop to respond to ‘pedants’ who trouble the clarity of his vision with murky points of detail?” [emphasis mine]


Anonymous said...

I came across your blog accidenatally while surfing thru' google. And I wish I had not--for it has spoilt my day. Still, you deserve what's coming from me.

I don't know who you are nor do I care--but as a long time fan and admirer of Aamir Khan, my bile rose as I read your vomitus. Your blog is couched in language that shows you be an intellectual snob--the worst sort of pretender. And you dare to make Aamir look like a pretender.

Aamir is a genuine person in a showbiz world full of fakes.Naive and idealistic maybe, not really a smart talker, not a page 3 person. More of a secular nationalist than a smart-talking smooth movie star But he is the real thing--and no hate-blog can unmake him. Which is why he has enjoyed success for two decades and continues to do so.

And no, he did not make thoughtless comments on the eve of his big release; he had no need of outporings of sympathy. As always his films do the speaking.

I may dislike certain people-terrorists, murderers, child molesters. I don't support them. But I also do not go around writing hate-blogs against somebody who possibly irritates me--and there are many who do, including people like you who misuse the freedom of expression provided by the internet.

Be happy in your contempt.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Anonymous:

The blog spoilt your day because it rings true on a certain level. You have been fed on gossip magazines and local news that continue to make amir khan into a thinker, philosopher and the voice of the new generation when in fact it it is really just media blitz and film promotion or just a plain simpl ego trip for dear Aamir.

I don't displike Aamir khan in fact I agree with you that he is probably less fake than some of the other bollywood trash but he is surely not as original and intellectual as he is made out to be or tries to be.

As for your "abuse of freedom of expression" (wonder what that means frankly!) that seems so vile a notion to you, your messiah Aamir khan is a pro at it. He rakes up issues just before the release of his movies in attempt to get front page space on national dailies for free. On other days his statements are more an attempt to stay in news and build an image around which will help him sell his next venture.

In fact this has become a trend amongst our celebrities (my name is khan for instance) and it is people like you, blinded by the zing and blitz of shiny bollywood stars, who are responsible for such waste. Don't shout down a guy who challenges your blissful worship of a celebrity, its his view and he is expressingly it effectivly (much to your chagrin I bet)

I am not the writer of the blog by the way but I know the writer quite well and he is not a pretender.


Gox said...

The post may not entirely reflect Aamir khan but it is not malicious or total fabrication. It has a ring of truth to it. But the actual problem is not Aamir khan or Film Industry in general. Including me, we all are responsible for giving them undue respect and privilidges.

Shouldn't we ask ourselves what is an entertainer? Should a bussiness like entertainment business exist? What is the real need for it?

Entertainment is part of our miseries not the solution to the problems of humanity.

I do watch movies and i do enjoy them but i sometimes wonder if it lies within the purpose of our existence. What is the purpose of our existence? To struggle to live and then die and fade away. I do not think so. For me the purpose of my life lies in my religion and not just any religion but only Islam. I am not trying to instigate a religious debate and i am interested in hurting anyone's sentiments but that is how i feel. What i do really believe in thus forces me to believe that so called entertainment is just a waste of time and crap. In my context, our life here in this world is a judgment ground for our next life. So where does entertainment fit in? What fits in is my morality, my good deeds and my righteous belief. For me entertaiment is not a right means to earn money when you were wasting a lot of time of a lot of people almost all the time. So the money is not well earned and as everything else stems from there, so nothing stays right in your life. Probably many people will not agree with me but that is how i feel and i think i have the duty to right what i truly feel. I know i am not practicing what i am saying here but i really hope someday i will be able to. In truth, entertainment including films seems like a big waste of time and a reason for a whole lot of other ills in society mostly the moral issues. I feel cinema is very rapidly corrupting a whole lot of people in society. For me, it is not about the individual life that one spends here in this world but the collective deeds of communities, nations and people. When there is so much injustice in economics, whether you consider capitalism or communism or whatever economic model applicable in the world except the islamic economic model, you really feel there are many major issues to deal with rather than just commenting on which films you like, which actor you like or which music is your favorite. It is not just about that. It is about a lot of other stuff as well. Music, sports, films, tv, modelling are thought so by a lot of youth a means to earn a lot of money in a short space of time. This is the materialistic approach which is corrupting a lot of youth now a days. Some do earn a lot of money if they are successful but a lot of failures do portray a miserable lifestyle. Even which are succesful are engaged in an unhealthy lifestyle most of the times. Then there is our education system and our governance system and our community build ups. Feudals, industrialists, corrupt politicians who have a lot of money and are few in numbers enslave the majority of population in the capitalist economic system we have. Edcuation system mostly produces people who are to serve the interest of a few of the elite. The system is such the potential for growth is very minimum and more and more slaves are produced if you leave out a few odd professions. That is not to say the other economic model working in the world that is communism is any good. It is actually far worse. The only good model is islamic which if you study history was really good but unfortunately we do not see it working these days to see the fruits of its success. It is corteousy the corrupt nature of the ruling elite where they cannot see an economic model which is just for all. Their selfish interests come in the way of global good.

Gox said...

Havent we seen both capitalism and communism failed in recent times. Our banking system which is based on interest is the most unjust thing that can be done. Yet we all are busy in our lives as if nothing is wrong. We get to see movies. We listen to music. We get to open our facebook page, we check our mails, we go out with our love interest or we can play with our children. It all boils down to our selfish interests and a stupid lifestyle which keeps dragging us down. The poverty in this world and all the injustice that is happening around us fails to motivate us to do something good. We do not even search for truth. What is right? The ability of might is right is ruining this world right now and all we are concerned about is we should get to live a comfortable life. Forgetting the harsher reality outside may not be the right thing to do but we still do it. I myself am doing the same but i hope i do change someday. If not then i will be a disaster like many others out there and it will not be pretty for me in the next life.

Gox said...

IF you do not understand what is said in my earlier posts, consider it a random mumbling of a confused youth. But that is actually what is going through my mind these days. The injustice happening around me gets me mad. The more i try to learn about it, the more i find it related to economic models prevalent in this world. The only just economic model lies in Islam. And not just that I am fascinated by how truly Islam covers all the aspects of life so it can only be divine. Islam gives us a proper way of life not just as an individual but as a community. Islam has all the solutions to all the problems of this world and it is the only gurantee to success in the next life which is after death. This actually makes me more depressed when i know the solution but i cannot implement it in this world for due to my own incompetence. All this injustice is happening around and we are silent spectators. What does this show on my character? I am truly ashamed of myself and i have no right to criticize any other individual that is why i am talking in general. I am praying to God i find the right way and I am also praying everybody else does.

Anonymous said...

The first anonymous commenter is back with a second and final comment.

First of all I am not surprised at the words of Mr. Rahul.He obviously feels the need to comment on his blogger-friend; admirable quality, this supporting a friend. Plus he feels that the best way to do it is to attack this anonymous commenter in a manner that makes the said commenter look like a star struck fool.And so, according to this reasoniong I am obviously blinded by the stardust surrounding Mr. Aamir Khan; he charges me with blissful worship of a celebrity. I have, according to your reasoning, been 'fed on gossip and local news'. And so on in this vein.

These presumptuous statements are simply as arrogant and and offensive as the original blog.

I happen to be a teacher, reader, writer, thinker...and your comments have managed to insult an unknown whose only fault was to come out in defense of a shrill and unfair blog aginst a popular entertainer who has never claimed to be an intellectual, whose films have actually been instrumental in changing certain thought processes, whose films have entertained and simultaneously sparked thought--the way many books do, the way ordinary letter writers and bloggers do.

There is no point in reasoning with people who think they own intellectual priveleges.