When Chetan Bhagat 'belittled Hindi' at Johnnie Walker's promotional event

Chetan Bhagat
It was an evening that promised to be an eclectic mix of fine liquor and some equally fine spirited discussion. The former delivered while the latter fizzled out owing to their drab communication skills and multiple gaffes committed by three gentlemen -Anil Kapoor, Chetan Bhagat and Irrfan Khan- all of whom were a part of a panel discussion that followed the screening of Jude Law starring Blue Label's The Gentleman's Wager. For starters, one wondered why from among the galaxy of Bollywood superstars, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan and Chetan Bhagat as the moderator were chosen to promote and position Blue Label as an aspirational and stylish brand. Not that they lack talent but we wondered if they would be charismatic enough to set the stage on fire with their talks on a subject (whisky) of which neither of the three were known connoisseurs. Our fears turned into reality when a gaffe parade of sorts was kick-started by emcee Pia Trivedi who referred to the film as The Gentleman’s “Wagger” (sic) instead of “Wage-r”. It was then up to the gentlemen on stage to keep the gaffe meter ticking. Inspite of there being glasses and a bottle of the highly priced Blue Label kept in front of him, Anil preferred to sip coffee. He then proceeded to refer Blue Label as ‘Black Label’ and when moderator Chetan Bhagat politely pointed out his mistake, Anil conveniently dismissed it saying, "Blue or Black. What difference does it make?" Perhaps Anil doesn't know that the difference between Black Label and Blue Label is a cool 20,000 rupees if not more. Just when one thought nothing could go more wrong, moderator Chetan Bhagat put his foot in his mouth and came out with a gem of a statement that had many seething with rage. When the floor was opened to the media, questions in Hindi came in flying thick and fast from journalists representing Hindi news channels and print media. An evidently uncomfortable Chetan immediately turned translator and started repeating those questions in English ostensibly for guests from foreign shores who couldn't understand our national language. Well, nothing wrong with that. However, Chetan went a step ahead and appallingly asked a journalist who had just started asking his question in Hindi to ask it in English for the benefit of the foreign dignitaries present. This ticked off the journalist who gave it right back to Chetan by saying, "We represent Hindi news channels and will ask our questions in Hindi. If you wish, you can translate it in English." A subdued Chetan blurted out a meek 'okay' and continued translating. Well, for someone who professes to be a simple writer catering to simple people of India, Chetan's unusual behaviour yesterday did surprise many. Was he trying to please the well-heeled foreign bosses of the whisky company by requesting scribes to ask questions in English instead of Hindi? Certainly, not a gentlemanly behaviour we say.

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Submitted by TellychakkarTeam on Fri, 08/08/2014 - 18:27

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