Ram Gopal Varma is well and truly lost in the woods. A gifted film-maker, his self-belief quickly turned into arrogance and over the years, he has bombarded us with abomination after abomination. Rann, unsurprisingly, doesn’t buck the trend. It’s a patchy, hollow effort that jars from the beginning and bores to the end.

But why go any further? Suffice it to say that whatever I said about Dil Bole Hadippa applies equally to Rann.

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But the weekend wasn’t a total write-off. Abhishek Chaubey ensured that. For once, the glowing reviews weren’t too far off the mark. A brilliant debut and I have to say this – Ishqiya is definitely worth a watch. A decent script, competent direction, good music and some great acting make for a wonderful package.

While all the actors have done well – yes, even Vidya Balan, despite her sometimes stilted dialogue delivery – Arshad Warsi is outstanding.

Sure, Abhishek makes the same mistake that Vishal Bharadwaj made in Kaminey. (Though I must say that on the whole, Kaminey was a much weaker film) Which is to say that the ending unravels a lot of the good work that goes before it. The end does leave a lot to be desired. But you still leave the theatre satisfied. I do hope Abhishek lives up to the expectations set by his promising debut.

By the way, for those who have seen the film, did the end leave you with the feeling that a sequel is a very real possibility?

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It’s a little ironic that a politician talks about not tolerating “a single instance of graft in the army”. Don’t get me wrong, the sentiment is unexceptionable, and, while rumour has it that the person who made the statement has retained his integrity despite being a politician, the fact remains that politicians talking like that about anyone at all simply brings to mind the words “pot-kettle-black”.

And why is it that we, the citizens of India, expect members of the judiciary and the armed forces to adhere to a higher standard of morals and accountability than the politicians who sit at the top of the pecking order? Why must the cross of honesty and the burden of integrity be borne by everyone but the politicians?

We have enough instances of politicians abusing their power and position. I don’t remember seeing any politician being held accountable. But when it comes to any other occupation or profession, we set the bar very high. So you cannot become a clerk in a government department if you have a criminal record of any kind against your name. But you can become a Chief Minister even if you have been convicted of murder. You can continue as Minister even if the actions of your ministry have allegedly resulted in the government losing thousands of crores. Yet we are ready with the tar and feathers when it is an army officer that has committed a misdemeanour.

None of this is to say that all members of the armed forces or the judiciary are above board, untouched by scandal and uninfected by the rot that is the hallmark of Indian public life. None of this is to exculpate the officer in question. If he is guilty, he should be punished. I just wish that our political leaders show the same zeal in their quest for justice and ‘cleaning the system’ when it comes to one of their own.

As long as we allow men of dubious merit and questionable integrity to crowd the ranks of our elected representatives, it is hypocritical of us to expect anything but the same from any other branch of government.

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On the other hand, isn’t Lt. Gen. Prakash now eligible for a Padma Bhushan?

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