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The mufflerman cometh

Published : Mar 14, 2016, 12:49 am IST
Updated : Mar 14, 2016, 12:49 am IST

Filmy power to the air force

Filmy power to the air force

It seems lingering memories of Bollywood films have left a deep impact even on the armed forces. Ahead of a massive firepower demonstration of the Indian Air Force at Pokhran on March 18, vice-chief Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa was speaking about the modern firepower and night-flying capabilities of the IAF aircraft at a recent press conference when he suddenly recalled a scene from the 1997 Bollywood blockbuster, Border.

In the nearly two decades-old film, there is a scene in which Jackie Shroff — who plays the role of an Air Force pilot — laments that the aircraft he is flying cannot fly at night. The movie showed how in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, IAF fighter aircraft could only strike the Pakistani battle-tanks after dawn since the aircraft then did not have night-flying capabilities.

Air Marshal Dhanoa got all filmy when he narrated Jackie Shroff’s dialogue to highlight how things have changed since then and that IAF aircraft could now deliver lethal strikes even at night. This was a classic example of using Bollywood’s “soft power” to showcase the abilities of the Indian military’s combat power.

Meal for a byte What do you do when your ministry gets crucial policies approved from the Cabinet, but you don’t get enough limelight Hold another press conference the next day. Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan did the same, holding a second press conference after his ministry got approval from Cabinet for many initiatives including a new exploration and production policy. However, there was nothing new at the press conference except a lunch at the National Media Centre. If not a good byte, mediapersons surely enjoyed a sumptuous meal.

Aap’s self-publicity After being spoofed on social media as “the mufflerman” for wearing his trademark muffler during winters, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has used it to his advantage.

To reach out to the masses on completing one year in power, the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government has released another round of advertisements.

To comply with the Supreme Court order that bans chief ministers from being featured in ad campaigns, these ads have a voice over by Mr Kejriwal while his face has not been shown.

In one of these advertisements, a man wearing a muffler has been shown from behind. While it isn’t known whether Delhiites are impressed by this barrage of self-publicity, they can certainly identify the “mufflerman” in the Delhi government’s advertisements.

Top cop’s pep talk Former Tihar Jail director-general Alok Kumar Verma got several firsts to his credit after he took over as the commissioner of the Delhi Police on February 29.

He became the first officer to take charge of the Delhi Police on February 29, a day that comes after every four years. He also became the first police chief to have taken over on the day when the Union Budget was presented in Parliament.

Unlike his predecessors, Mr Verma did not have any interaction with any mediaperson after taking charge. Not only this, the 1979-batch Indian Police Service officer, on day one sent out a clear signal to his men that he means only business.

That’s precisely why he gave a pep talk to his force through wireless set, where he made it clear that each person would be allowed to take adequate rest to improve upon their day-to-day performance.

Chatterbox MPs While MPs in Parliament have to take their job seriously by raising issues on their respective constituencies and listening attentively to the proceedings of the House — some of them utilise Parliament sessions as an opportunity to catch up with each other and chat away endlessly.

There is this motley group of MPs from a prominent Hindi-belt state, who are always seen talking with each other, blissfully unaware of what is happening around them.

What helps them is the fact that they are all backbenchers and, therefore, are hardly noticed by anybody else.

On day one, he also gave additional charge of police spokesperson to special commissioner (crime) Taj Hassan, who replaced Rajan Bhagat, who had been handling this assignment for nine long years.

Friends or foes Though they are sworn enemies politically, when they come face to face, it is tough to decide if they are friends or foes.

Samajwadi Party minister Azam Khan and Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Sangeet Som happily indulge in a dogfight — which, at times, is worse than any catfight — when they confront each other in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.

The party leaders of their respective parties do not interfere when these two fight it out. Mr Khan has coined a new name for Mr Som and it is “beef master”.

He insists that Mr Som owns a few slaughterhouses in western Uttar Pradesh and hence the name fits him well.

Mr Som retorts by calling Mr Khan a “factory for terrorists” and this slugfest continues in the state Assembly while members of both the SP and BJP have a hearty laugh.

Once the storm blows over and Mr Khan and Mr Som take their seats, one cannot miss the meaningful smiles exchanged between them.

A silly matter The controversy over the “arrest” of a goat for allegedly trespassing the lawn of a magistrate’s home in Chhattisgarh’s Koriya district last month is giving the police a headache. Having been pulled up by the higher authorities for making a mess of the trivial incident, the police is mad at the negative publicity it has received in the media.

The local police administration realised the folly of detaining the animal along with its master Abdul Hassan when the issue snowballed into a major controversy even incurring anger from chief minister Raman Singh.

“This is a silly matter which has been blown out of proportion”, a local police officer remarked in an irritated tone when his reaction was sought by this newspaper.

“We will arrest goats, bulls and even snakes if they violate the law of the land,” he retorted angrily and before snapping the telephone he added, “Please do not forget to quote me.” A quotable quote