Friday, April 25, 2008

Mohan Lal and the Story of a Kid Kept Safe in an Ivory Tower

Mohan Lal fails to show burning illusion magic: Magicians and showmen need to learn something from the politicians...!

MOHAN LAL is Malayalee’s tinsel icon. He is a cog in the wheel of our multi-million culture industry too. That explains how and why Mohan Lal had to burn his fingers in the Burning Illusion magic show, a pet project of the celebrated actor, which he had to abandon as pressure mounted.

In a way it was a comedy of sorts, as we witnessed all kinds of people including his own mother urging the man to desist from going ahead with this ‘dangerous’ game, as if he were such a silly boy who knew nothing about the consequences of what he was doing! We saw his fans, that group of cheer crowd who are an essential part of celebrity business in any part of the world, threatening him with a satyagraha or a gherao in case he went ahead ignoring their pleas: Dear, dear Mohal Lal, please do not go ahead with this dangerous game...!

Then came the dictates from that all powerful AMMA, which means mother in Malayalam, the association of Malayalam movie actors, which decides what each and every member should do from the morning till night and vice versa, that he should not go for this game. I had heard plenty of stories about possessive mothers who are so possessive that they even chain their young and rebellious kids in lofty towers from where there is no escape. Fairy tales like the Grimm’s tales are so full of such stories and how the ingenuous kids defeated such tyranny and enjoyed their life using all kinds of wonderful stratagems to escape to freedom. Rapunzel, the popular story of a girl shut in a tower by a witch and who escaped using her long hair, and the story of Hansel and Gretel are two examples of such poor good kids kept under captivity by a loving and over-possessive mother, step-mother, a witch or a fairy. The love turns into tyranny and there is no way for the kid but to revolt for his/her freedom.

But poor Mohan Lal seems to be a kid who has been trapped in this world of ivory tower, from where he has no escape. His desires for the simple excitements of life like a magic show is denied to him, like, in the fairy tales and also in our own daily life, the desires of a kid for chocolates or playing in the fields outside, is denied as it might put him to danger!

In a way, Mohal Lal is now a prisoner of his own image, an artist trapped in his own cage: He has to play and act as the director decides and outside the set, he finds his life being directed by external forces that include his ever-intruding fans, his friends and well wishers and all those silky dressed and smooth talking men and women who constitute the cultural industry’s foot-soldiers.

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