It's been 15 years since this century started. Let that sink in.
Kids who started school will now be going to college, actors who played lead roles are now playing parents, sportpersons who started their careers have probably already retired.
A lot has changed since 2000, but a lot more still appears to be change-resistant. Here are the 10 things that we have managed to stay the same in the last 15 years.
Shah Rukh Khan as romantic hero
He smiles, stretches his arms wide open and bobs his head. Sometimes there is music playing, sometimes there are exotic locales, and at all times the woman runs to him and women go weak at the knees. In 2000, Shah Rukh Khan did this in Mohabbatein. Before that in Kuck Kuch Hota Hain (1998), Dil Toh Pagal Hain (1997) and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995). More recently, he has done this in Dilwale (2015) Happy New Year (2014), Chennai Express (2013) and Jab Tak Hain Jaan (2012), to name a few.
Conclusion: SRK as the quintessential romantic hero has not changed even at 50.
No, not the actual crime branch but the much more efficient Hindi television series. Sony first aired the famous CID in 1998 and today the longest running television show in India is old enough to vote. "ACP Pardyuman: Daya, Abhijeet, Kuchh to gadbad hai," I was in school when I first heard the ageless, super sleuths utter these legendary lines. More than 15 years later, nothing has changed, since I can still hear school children in my neighbourhood say "Daya, darwaaza tod do." Kudos to the CID and Sony team for solving more innovative cases than the actual law enforcement agencies ever could.
Of all the things that have changed since the start of this century, we are glad that the iconic Amul ads haven't. The simple pleasure of chancing upon a newspaper ad, billboard to see the tongue-in-cheek take on current affairs is something we are still glad to have in 2015. With the trademark Amul girl, the caricature illustration and the cheeky captions, these topical satirical ads are more than just butter now, they are part of India's popular culture. Stay gold, Amul.
In 1996, Indian fans set parts of the Eden Gardens stadium in Kolkata ablaze after India performed poorly against Sri Lanka in the World Cup semi-finals. The match was called off. In 2015, fans threw plastic bottles bottles on the ground at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack supposedly upset by India's dismal batting display in a T20 against South Africa. Cricket, stadiums, security may have changed a lot since 2000, but the fanaticism of cricket fans in the country clearly hasn't.
In 1999, India held its 13th General Elections, merely a year after the 12th, due inadequate support from all political parties in the Parliament. Fast forward 16 years, and the Members of Parliament are the only changes, the chaos still remains.
A skimpily-clad woman gyrating to an upberat song in Indian films is nothing new. From the Helen's cabaret moves in the 1970s to Madhuri Dixit's more desi 'jhatkas' in the 1990s, to every other Bollywood actress in the 2000s, item numbers have evolved from a side dish to the coup de grace in several Indian films. The only change is that now 'item songs' are probably an acceptable genre in itself. In fact, many of you are probably preparing a list of 'item numbers to dance' for your New Year's Eve party as you read this.
Threat to Pakistan
In 1999, when the rath yatra of Lord Jagannath passed by Muslim localities, slogans like“Musalman, jao Pakistan” (Muslims go to Pakistan) were heard.In 2015, a Bollywood actor, who is Muslim by religion, made a statement that was deemed 'offensive' by some. The trolls' immediate reaction, especially online, was 'Go to Pakistan, you are Muslim after all'.
The difference? The turn of the century was a time of conflict with Pakistan, the Kargil war was brewing and anti-Pakistan sentiment was high. Today, we have our Prime Minister visiting his counterpart in Pakistan and yet, it is a shame that 'Muslims, go to Pakistan' remains a valid insult.
Disregard for traffic rules
In the past 15 years, as the Indian economy has progressed, so has the standard of living and purchasing power. Thus we see far too many private vehicles plying the road as compared to the 2000s. However, the understanding of traffic rules hasn't changed in this century, as is evident from the chaotic traffic on the roads. The failure to comprehend lane driving, the blatant disregard for rules, the incessant urge to overtake, all this points that the cars may evolve, but the people inside stay the same.
The sad truth is that even today there are many field in which men and women are not paid equal. And this is not only in menial or blue collar jobs, but also in the glamourous terrains of cinema. Remember Jennifer Lawrence speaking up about Hollywood' glaring wage gap earlier this year. Closer home, the gender pay gap is just as disparate in Bollywood. According to the 2014 Forbes India Celebrity List, the only woman in the top 10 was Deepika Padukone at No 7 with earnings worth Rs 67.2 crore. Salman Khan tops the list with annual earnings of Rs 244.5 crore. The difference is there for all to see and it is not something we envision as being changed in the near future.
You'd think that a swanky Sea Link, Metro and Monorail would mean that Mumbai has become a slightly more disciplined, planned city. But a few days of monsoon and Mumbai is back to the Dark Ages. After the first, few heavy showers in June/July, it is not uncommon to see incessant water-logging, massive potholes, submerged railway stations, ensuing traffic and chaos even today.
Clearly, the city never sleep, hardly changes either.
Check out Firstpost's collection on how the past 15 years transformed sports, entertainment, technology and more in F.Rewind
Published Date: Dec 31, 2015 12:26 pm | Updated Date: Dec 31, 2015 12:26 pm