Salman Khan’s movie “Tiger Zinda Hai” faces controversies
MNCS has warned cinema owners against booking all shows for Tiger Zinda Hai
95% of all shows in all theaters in the state have been blocked for “Tiger Zinda Hai” for its Friday release
Mumbai, Dec 20, 2017: The upcoming Salman Khan starrer mega-budget film “Tiger Zinda Hai” has run into a political controversy barely two days ahead of its scheduled December 22 release.
While the Maharashtra Navnirman Chitrapat Sena (MNCS) has warned cinema owners against booking all shows for Tiger Zinda Hai and denying slots to two Marathi films, other parties like the Congress and the Shiv Sena also joined the controversy with their own party lines.
MNCS President Amey Khopkar told the media that the screening of the movie should not be at the cost of the Marathi films, “Deva” and “Gachhi”, which must be allotted suitable prime time slots.
“We are not against the release of any film, including Tiger Zinda Hai, our objection is why should all the slots be reserved for just one film and all others have no slots to exhibit their films,” Khopkar said.
On Tuesday, the MNCS shot off letters to all cinemas, demanding proper prime-time slots for the Marathi films, failing which it would agitate against the Salman Khan film.
Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam has come out in favour of “Tiger Zinda Hai”, but a party legislator Nitesh Rane has espoused the cause of the Marathi film industry, while the Shiv Sena has also toed a pro-Marathi line in this matter.
Terming the plight of Marathi film-makers “comparable to hawkers”, Sena MP Sanjay Raut demanded that they should be given equal treatment in releasing their films.
However, theatre owners are in a quandary since Tiger Zinda Hai is the first mega-budget film after several months, and probably the last this calendar year, after protests and threats pushed back the release of the much-anticipated Sanjay Leela Bhansali film “Padmavati” to 2018.
Khopkar said the MNCS, part of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), would not tolerate “the monopolising of theatres by Yashraj Films in this manner”.
“They should not forget that they do all their film shootings in Maharashtra. If this matter is not resolved amicably, we shall be forced to stop even their shoots,” Khopkar warned.
He termed it as tragic that Marathi film-makers “have to beg” for screens in their home state because big film companies book all cinema halls in advance for exhibiting their films.
According to MNCS activists, nearly 95 per cent of all shows in all theatres in the state have been blocked for “Tiger Zinda Hai” for its Friday release, leaving others with unviable options like early morning or late night shows which are poorly patronised.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that Yashraj Films has stipulated all theatres to have at least five shows of “Tiger Zinda Hai”, hoping to lure cinema buffs and Salman Khan fans in the Christmas holiday season. (IANS)
Guess what dish turns on Jitendra Shah, a Mumbai-based tour operator-turned-restaurateur? Something that turns off most people — the humble and dismissively prepared ‘Khichdi’.
This backbencher dish has been an all-time favourite of Shah, who has been relishing the concoction prepared by his mother and grandmothers (both maternal/paternal) for years.
However, it was only at the age of 60 that he could muster the courage to bring ‘Khichdi’ to the forefront of Mumbaikars’ palates, offering them delicious plates of the simple preparation as haute-cuisine in the luring ambience of his four restaurants, “Khichdi – The Global Food”.
“I still remember how my mother and grandmothers used to casually prepare ‘khichdi’, as a quick snack or a full meal, when the kids were ill, and occasionally for the school tiffin. Sometimes, they whipped up a ‘khichdi’ as main course for lunch/dinner for the entire family when they secretly desired ‘an off’ from the cumbersome kitchen chores,” Shah told IANS with a chuckle.
The ‘khichdi’ came with a variety of aromatic home-made spices, with rice and one or more ‘dals’ (pulses), served with a large dollop of pure cow-ghee as an icing on the bubbly hot delight, mostly as an independent dish, but occasionally accompanied by ‘curd curry’, ‘liquid dal’, buttermilk, or lassi to wash it down smoothly.
“Indeed, those were hearty meals, all family members relished it till their tummies were full, but nobody ever fell ill, and our original ‘Kitchen Queens’ also enjoyed a sort of ‘weekly off’, thanks to the ‘khichdi’ celebration,” Shah recalled.
Having left his native Jamnagar (Gujarat) to become a domestic and global tour operator in 1987, Shah roamed around the world with his “Heena Tours”, but often suffered from ‘khichdi pangs’, especially abroad where the culinary options were limited.
“As the tour numbers soared, the Indian tourists demanded ‘home-style food’ in alien lands. I started taking Indian cooks, who made it a point to serve at least 50 per cent of all meals as ‘khicdhi’ in different varieties. My patrons would go wild with joy, enjoying piping hot ‘khichdi’ in the bone-chilling cold of Russia, the snowy Alps of Switzerland, near the Niagara Falls in USA and Canada, cold rains in Australia, cool climes of Europe, China, et al,” he said.
At his outlets in Mumbai’s Vile Parle, Mulund, Ghatkopar and Borivali (from next week), Shah started with a manageable 25 ‘khichdi’ varieties, which were lapped up by the hungry patrons faster than they were cooked in huge earthen pots.
Now, it has gone upto 111 ‘khichdi’ varieties and with further research, he promises to offer a whopping 250-strong ‘all-khichdi’ menu, covering all states, regions, community specialities, etc.
“Khichdi finds reference in our ancient texts, during the Mohenjo Daro era of the Indus Valley Civilisation nearly 4,500 years ago. Unfortunately, its significance has dimmed only in the past five decades with the advent of so-called ‘fast foods’. Through my restaurants, I have tried to revive it and people have endorsed it,” he said modestly.
“If Café Coffee Day, McDonalds, Starbucks and Pizza outlets can lure people with their limited offerings, ‘Khichdi’ stands an even better chance, for its high nutritional value, health benefits and historical linkage. It’s a culturally unifying dish,” said Shah.
Before launching the first outlet in mid-2018 without fanfare, for six months Shah conducted a thorough research on ‘khichdi’ prepared all over India, then took great pains to source the local spices, the huge earthen vessels made with the right kind of earth for the cooking.
“Then, the bigger challenge was – training my bewildered retinue of professional chefs on how to ‘cook’ the most common dish of Indian kitchens! They had heard of and even tasted ‘khichdi’ at home, but never prepared it professionally in huge quantities for restaurants,” he laughed.
Group CEO Tina Joshi said hungry patrons at the restaurants daily await their turn, but weekends in particular witness a rush of customers all thronging to gulp their preferred variant of ‘khichdi’ from ‘Parsi’, ‘Kashmiri’, ‘Swaminarayan’, ‘Gujarati-Kathiawadi’, ‘Rajasthani’, ‘Hyderabadi’, ‘Kashmiri’, ‘Punjabi’, ‘fusion’, etc, with a generous dollop of pure cow-ghee.
So, besides genuine ‘khichdi’ varieties from almost every state in India (except the Northeast), Shah has attempted a ‘fusion khichdi’ with Italian, Chinese, Spanish, pizza or burger flavours, and other styles of global cuisine… and the customers, particularly the gen-next, seem to get a ‘khichdi kick’ out of it.
“At one point of time, this very ‘khichdi’ enjoyed an unglamourous reputation — considered a ‘cheap item’ for the ‘sick and poor’. That’s because doctors recommended it to patients for its nutrition value, and charitable organisations routinely prepared and distributed it en masse to poor queueing outside religious places,” Shah smiled.
However, at Shah’s outlets, a proper ‘khichdi’ meal can cost around Rs 350/head, and there are different options, combos, accompaniments, etc, said Joshi.
After lipsmacking success in Mumbai, Shah plans to launch at least four outlets annually in India, plus venture abroad to bring the best of the humble ‘khichdi’ to the Indian diaspora.
“Then, we plan to dehydrate and sell dry packets of ‘ready-to-eat Khichdi’ with a long shelf-life, easy to carry-consume anywhere in the world, just pour in a cup of hot water and enjoy. It will be available through global online marketing companies,” Shah said, ordering his favourite plate of mouthwatering ‘Gujarati-Kathiawadi’ khichdi. (IANS)