Earlier today, a sudden epiphany made clear to me the purpose behind Tusshar Kapoor’s seemingly pointless existence. The answer lies buried in an old folk-tale I read in an Amar Chitra Katha long years ago.
I don’t remember all the details but here’s the gist of the story. A fisherman and his young son supplement their daily living by rowing groups of people from one bank of the river to the other. For some reason – overcharging, probably – the customers resent the fisherman and speak badly of him behind his back. The son is deeply disturbed by this criticism and takes it upon himself to improve his father’s image. This he does by redirecting the censure to himself: when he gets to man the boat alone for a few days (because his dad is indisposed), he behaves obnoxiously with the travellers, pushes a few elderly people into the water and such. Soon the customers are cursing the son instead, and praying for the father’s quick return.
Moral of the story: it falls to children to redeem their parents’ reputations, even if they do this at the cost of their own.
Hence Tusshar Kapoor. The man is so gut-churningly dreadful in everything he does (onscreen, at least) that it becomes possible for us to retrospectively appreciate the brilliance of Jeetendra’s career – something we could never do at the time. The dancing on giant pots with Sridevi? The badminton song in Humjoli? The short skirt in Nagin? The white shoes? Even the pencil moustache? All of it looks like High Art now.
See, this is another reason why people have children, and why they get so sensitive about the subject. We should all have Tusshar Kapoors.
[Earlier posts involving Jeetendra’s films and progeny: Dharam-Veer, Nagin/Jaani Dushman, The Turning Brain, Ekta Kapoor’s soaps]