‘Have a Nice Day’

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SPOOFS ABOUT Yam Doots (Angels of Death), their Lord, Yamraj, and his accountant, Chitragupta,  who keeps records of everyone’s sins (Pap) and good deeds (Punya) must be a part of the memories of most who grew up in India, whatever his/her language. They must have come across these in books, films and dramas.

But to hear a Western version of this in an audiobook, Have A Nice Day by Billy Crystal and his team, an original from Amazon’s Audible the audiobook site, is an exhilarating experience. We have heard of ‘Indian versions’ of many Hollywood films, some very bad and some good like Pach Adams (Munnabhai MBBS in Hindi) and Mrs Doubtfire (which Kamal Hasan copied) both starring Billy Crystal’s friend Robbin Williams, but an Indian concept borrowed by Hollywood is rare.

Billy Crystal

William Edward (Billy) Crystal the American actor, writer, producer, director, comedian, and television host is famous for his ‘The Tonight Show’. Made famous  for playing Jodie Dallas on the ABC sitcom Soap in the 1970s  he became a Hollywood film star during the late 1980s and 1990s, appearing in the critical and box office successes When Harry Met Sally…City Slickers, and Analyze This. He also provided the voice of Mike Wazowski in the Monsters, Inc. franchise.

 

The United States of America has many actors and hosts who are equally famous – but is almost unique in one aspect. He has been married to one woman, Janice, for 48 years! It must be astounding – for an American, that too in the entertainment industry.

Billy has been critical of President Donald Trump in the his talk show and it is, therefore, all the more significant that Have A Nice Day (which is more of a play-reading by Billy and his colleagues) is about a Yam Doot (‘Man Without Name’, voiced  by Billy himself) trying to take to the nether world, a POTUS (President of the United States), D. Murray who could be on the verge of separation from his wife.

The Agent of Death who agrees to wait till a minute before midnight (as the has to take the south on that date and the day ends only at midnight), invisibly follows Murray as he tries to make amends for his lapses and realises that they person destined to die was the daughter of the POTUS who was Dalila, though called Laila.

When the POTUS tries to prevent her death in a car accident by sacrificing his own life, the Yam Doot realising the greatness of such a sacrifice makes Death’s Front Office (Chitragupta) agree to take his (Yam Doot’s) soul in place of that of D. Murray – a touching end to a hilarious play.

A small book of only 1 hour 24 minutes’ reading, with a big message.

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Idiot’s Tale Signifying Nothing

 

cartoonWHEN I INCLUDED A WHOLE CHAPTER ON CARTOONISTS   IN MY BOOK ON  Journalism ‘A TOWN  CALLED PENURY – the Changing Culture of Indian Journalism’, I did not even mention Mangesh Tendulkar, the cartoonist who died a few days ago.Penury

That was because of my ignorance about many cartoonists in language publications, like Tendulkar was in Marathi periodicals.  But his one cartoon  on death (see  above) published following on his own death — made me think deeply about our own lives and achievements, the pride and ego about a momentary ‘greatness’ soon forgotten.

That was what Tendulkar’s cartoon was about. For the uninitiated the top letter on the tomb- stone (in Marathi) is ‘Kai‘ (short for Kailaswasi – meaning ‘now in heaven’) an equivalent of ‘the late’. Under it  ‘Mi‘, in Marathi means ‘myself‘. It is,  therefore,  about  his   own  tombstone getting the treatment which poles and such structures usually get from dogs. Continue reading Idiot’s Tale Signifying Nothing