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Pratibha in papa's Organiser path

New Delhi, March 22: Pratibha Advani may yet have no intention of following in her father's footsteps, but one aspect of her career trajectory is taking the same course as L.K. Advani's. Like papa, she is penning a column in the RSS's English mouthpiece, Organiser.

BJP chief Advani, who started his political career as an RSS pracharak, acquired a larger profile when he began writing a column on films in the Organiser in the early seventies. Following this was a political diary that contained the seeds of what was later to fructify as a book on Emergency.

Pratibha, so far, has anchored TV programmes in which she interviewed celebrities of all kinds, including politicians. She went on to make a documentary film, Ananya Bharati, which strung together 'patriotic' songs from Hindi films, dating back to the pre-Independence era.

Now, she has flagged off her foray into journalism, courtesy the RSS, with a column on, what else, but 'Patriotism in Indian cinema'. The piece has appeared in the issue dated March 27.

The Pratibha Advani column will appear in the Organiser every week. The blurb introduces her as a 'well-known' TV personality, film critic and producer of a documentary.

Organiser editor R. Balashankar said it was his idea to get Pratibha started on the column. 'I had watched the documentary she made and while I was talking to her, it occurred to me that she should put her ideas in print. She accepted my request,' he said.

While the first three columns will be on 'patriotic' Indian cinema, Balashankar said she was free to write on what she wanted, including politics. The blurb said she would focus on infotainment, social issues and national concerns ' the last being an indication that she would be a political commentator like her father.

The opening lines are anchored in the RSS-BJP's political ideology: 'For any self-respecting nation, patriotism of its citizens is its heartbeat. If it is there, not only is the nation's continued existence across centuries and millennia guaranteed, but its progressive evolution is also ensured. If it is not there, the nation suffers decline, debility and eventual doom.'

The greater part of the column is focused on her documentary, which, the producer writes, 'encapsulates the spirit of patriotism that the Hindi film industry has captured on celluloid and nurtured in the hearts of Indians'.

The documentary was released in January and Advani had organised several showings at his residence. While Balashankar dismissed Pratibha's new interest as 'quite accidental', RSS sources conceded that her presence in an in-house forum was a 'significant' input in a prospective political career.

'It's like this. Nothing moves in the BJP without the RSS's tacit blessings. It's like the politburo of the CPM, not really seen or heard, but weighty. If Advani is thinking of a political career for his daughter, he will have to secure the RSS's nod,' said a source.

Pratibha has accompanied her father on his recent yatras, including the Bharat Uday Yatra last year. A section of the party suggested that she should contest the parliamentary election from Delhi.

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