Friday, December 26, 2008

Why did the audience embrace Rang De and showed the door to Swades…?

Originally written for The article has been originally published here.

I despise comparing films, and neither does this article compares Rang De and Swades( it does a wee bit in the end!). But, it is my take on the two movies( mostly independent), though coupled with how Indian audience perceives patriotic movies.

Rang De Basanti is the story of four youngsters, who are indifferent to the current state of affairs in our country. Graduall they discover what their country was, what did the coveted feeling azadi meant to the Bhagat Singhs, Azads, the Sukhdevs, and are enlightened when they see the present situation with reference to sitting in the CCDs, Baristas and complaining Is Desh ka kuch nahin ho sakta.

The movie opens to a typically brash, fun loving college going kids who are not concerned about anything but their own nothingness, their own small world, where they are the self confessed kings, and care two hoots about the whole world. Their shallowness dictates their life, until they meet Sue, a documentary filmmaker from Britain who is here to make a movie on India’s freedom fighters. Their face to face with India’s history makes them realize what India was, what India has become, and what it should be. The death of their friend and the system’s apathy towards the same is a triggering factor for them to want and enforce a change.

Swades is about Mohan Bhargava, a scientist in U.S.A who comes to India to take his nanny back. In a queer way, Swades is also about the realization of its chief protoganist, though here it is via witnessing the things first hand and then contemplating. The tranisition of Mohan is very much slow and hence, believable, though accused by everyone as very documentarish and slow.

Mohan goes through and sees a myriad things, before transitioning to drinking water from kulhad at the unknown Ankola station for 25 paisa. That is not even 1 cent, Mohan’s own plush life in NASA meets a contrasting life of wretchedness in a totally heartfelt manner. If, one strips himself of all humane values, and sees the movie ‘objectively’, it is nothing but a documentary, where Mohan moves from one place to another and ‘preaches’ the gaonwallahs about the boons of education, self reliance and other socially relevant topics. But, Mohan’s traverse through the villages, India’s most talked about problems places Mohan with respect to his country on a different plane.

In Rang De Basanti, I absolutely loved the character’s re’discovering’ India’s glorious past and connecting with the morals and the struggle of the freedom fighters amidst the mindless fun. The protoganists are shocked to find the system’s indifference to their friend’s death, and they are shocked only because they know what is and has been going on. Because, the system had been an eunuch for long. It is only of late, they found that. Now, a major issue regarding projecting a problem is to also give out its solution. Though not necessary, that is how most hindi movies are chalked out. And that is where Rang De Basant frittered it all away. For me. Though the very same climax heightened the crescendo of emotions triggered earlier in the movie by the Khoon Chala song. Had the last half hour or so would have been considerably less loud, and hence, less self defensive in approach( humein pata hai, humne jo kiya wo sai nai hai) and also not preachy( Koi bhi desh perfect nai hota, use perfect banana padta hai), the movie could have clinched it for me. Although all said and done, Rang De Basanti was still a good entertainer(some of the highest grossers of 2006 were Dhoom2, KANK, Fanna..well, well, well!). But, RDB did manage to impress, numb, and made everyone to contemplate because the climax had the ’shock’ value, the thrill, the snapping of emotional chords between the audience and the characters. RDB gave it with glee, what the audience expected and demanded. That is why it went on to become such a huge hit.

Coming now to Swades, it is a movie which can be so typically put under the common ‘Bollywood’ watching audience’s parlance, a movie, where ‘nothing happens’. And according to me, that is how it should be. Have you ever realized something in your life? Be it of any importance. We all have realised things in our insignificant ways. And how did that realization come? Not through some background music, nor was it followed by heavy down handing of massive dialogue(s). To portray all this on the celluloid was very difficult, almost as difficult as realising a difficult looking story like Lagaan onto the silver screen. But, Gowariker did it.

The once cynical Mohan now believes that something can be done. Something should be done. And he feels the onus is on him, he feels the ‘guilty’ are they and also ‘us’, if we don’t do anything about it. The ‘us’ of RDB also tried to take the baton, although what they did eventually was as immature, rash and so consistent with their character is a different thing all together.

Mohan embraces us, and contributes whatever he can to kill the deficiency that is plaguing his village. An engineering dispelling the darkness of his own village, if that is not ‘awakening’, what else is? Swades is discovery of a man’s roots. Both films( and almost every second hindi film) can be accused of being impractical, but, what is more impractical? Gunning a minister for venting out one’s frustration in the garb of patriotism, or an educated giving something back to the country? There have been people like Mohan who have came back and delivered( whether you want to scoff at them for they being impractical is your take). The point is not about a movie mirroring the real life more closely. The point, I’m trying to drive home is something else. Audience. And its choice. Rang De Basanti was an entertainer and the bonhomie of its college going characters, characterization, dialogues, almost hit the bull’s eye. Songs bound with the narratives, and Joshi’s words danced to Rehman’s tune. I take nothing of that fact away.

But, why did we shoo Swades of? A film that was so rich in its message, a film that had soul, a film that had Shahrukh(’ King Khan’) in his career’s best performance, a film which talked about something which so happens, though without being preachy. You can sleepwalk over its documentarish structure and may not even realize it is patriotic. Because, it talks about the problems within( both inside us, and in the country).

Why was Gadar the top grosser of 2001? Because, it had the so obvious Anti Pakistan references? I know Swades wasn’t cool, I know Swades didn’t have ‘Behen de Takke‘, I know Swades didn’t have ‘Hindustaan Zindabad’, or ‘xyz murdabad‘ and the thousand in your face facets of patriotism, it wasn’t hilarious in parts either. Jo log behre hote hain, unhe dhamaake ki zaroorat hoti hai. Swades had no dhamaka, it had no blockbuster elements, is that why the Indian audience didn’t listen?

For the mere selfishness of watching good hindi movies in future, I just hope that Swades finds its audience someday. Because it our choices of today that is going to determine what is going to be made tommorow.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bollywood in 2008: The movies I loved.

Originally published on The article has been originally published here.

It is that time of the year again when we look back at the year and analyze the year’s movies we loved. I don’t watch many movies in a year(or let’s put it, not being able to), so this is the list of movies I loved amongst the lot I watched. Since I couldn’t watch some of the most talked about movies of the year like Aamir, Mumbai Meri Jaan, Welcome to Sajjanpur, Dostana. So, they don’t make it to the list for obvious reasons.

They rocked it. And how! (Rock On!!)- After a spate of failures, Excel entertainment finally delivered with Kapoor’s Rock on. The poignant story of 4 individuals discovering themselves when they have ‘moved on’ in life and ‘compromised’ with life. Beautifully understated and surprisingly subtle, Kapoor’s story telling ability showed huge improvements since his forgettable Aryan. Farhan Akhtar looked very assured in his first stint in front of the camera, while Shahana’s portrayal of a frustrated wife was commendable too. The soundtrack of the movie left a lot to be desired, and Farhan’s voice received an emotions of mixed hues, I found it to be strictly okay. For me, it worked within the context of this film, it won’t anywhere else. With due respect to Javed Saab, the lyrics were pedestrian to say the least. Sindbad the sailor, and Na na na na were the only two songs that had those truly cool, zingy, carefree moments . Socha Hai tried too hard to impress, and so did the rest, though Phir Dekhiye was sung soulfully by Dominique. Kenny being diagonised with cancer and all that associated drama were the only staring blemish, the movie was going beautifully till that point dictated by the demands of the characters and setting, not by any formulaic structure. The movie could have still fallen after that cliched angle, but was deftly handled thereon and turned out to be quite decent in totality.

No Good bye to a movie like this. (Dasividaniya). - Vinay Pathak plays Amar who discovers that he has only three months to live. The subject of the sort has been handled in many movies( though only as direct and explicit in method like Bucket List), but the way Vinay Pathak portrayed the hidden, unexplored desires of an ordinary middle class guy was exhilarating to see. Almost every wish of his is sewn with some really beautiful scenes and the moment you think the movie is going into the maudlin and itching to become sugary dramatic, it snaps out and comes back on track. Although, I believe the movie lost all its impact towards the end. It could have easily been 15 minutes short. When Vinay and his brother are having a conversation in the balcony about life and how we miss the minute details only to repent it later, was heart warming. Then, Vinay says yeh zindagi kitni khubsoorat hai na bhai…The movie should have ended right there. Right there. To see the movie end on a detatched note was a tad dissapointing.

The common fear of unknown faces. (A Wednesday) - A dynamite debut. Neeraj Pandey. A tight gripping thriller that almost never sways off track, barring few amateur dialogues, and a couple of minor inconsistencies here and there. People will always debate how practical and logical the whole thing was. The make up of the common man can be debated and so will be his motives. If not for anything else, if his motive can be looked as a symbolic representation of everyone’s anger that is seething within, that too in wake of recent bombings, we can appreciate what A Wednesday wanted to say. Also, A Wednesday never tried to spell a solution, it was just an exaggerated version of the latent anger. If this continues, something is gonna break, that’s what A Wednesday was about. Naseeruddin was the Shah of the movie, while Anupam Kher is as always was a delight to watch.

So when can the most cliched story be entertaining? (Jaane Tu..Ya Jaane Na): Okay. It can be argued that he might not be the same Tyrewala who wrote the Main Khuda of Paanch, but even on his bad days Tyrewala can be fairly sharp and intelligent than most of the people in Bollywood. I had always thought Tyrewala’s first film would be different, but his choice to direct a typical bollywood rom-com flick came as a surprise. The story was cliched as it could get, nor was the treatment of the love story any different. The same we are only buddies, the third one ensuing jealously, etc.etc. But, I never thought the high points of this movie would be the comic element. After a certain point, the movie just ran berserk and was pointlessly hilarious, and ala Singh is King and their cousins, the jokes were not cliched, although bordering on to unbelievable madness at times, the movie was fun. The movie worked for me only because of its mindless humor, you know, dimaag ghar pe chod kar aane wali movie. I enjoyed it like I would enjoy any ‘good’ Govinda-David Dhawan flick. Romance and the lovey dovey scenes( or their effect) was conspicuous by its absence. Also, Kabhi kabhi Aditi was reason enough to throng the theaters.

God was with this movie till he was not in the movie. Rab Ne Bana di Jodi(only the first 40 minutes): We all knew Aditya Chopra could do it after DDLJ, and we were all waiting for it, with almost bated breath. The movie introduces Punjab in an uncharacteristic Chopra way, and surprisingly, Chopra captures the nuances of the small city in a manner we all had wanted to see for a long, long time. The character of Suri is so cute and sweet, that you feel like saying a girly Aww…cho chweet whenever he says Thani ji. Shahrukh steps out of his King Khan umbrella and delights, dazzles, and sinks into Suri’s Action shoes to provide one of his most believable performances. This movie could have been a different story all together(literally!), had Aditya Chopra plugged in some common sense and a shade of practicality. He killed the movie after that. Well, that is a different thing all together. But, I still can’t get over the first 40 minutes replete with magical moments like Maine to aj tak kisi ladiss se baat hi nai ki, and when he gazes over the new tiffin with Haule Haule playing in the background.

Sarkar Raj: Sarkar Raj is not amongst the Verma’s best work, but, given Verma’s horrendous form of late, Sarkar Raj wasn’t that bad either. The first half was distinctly better than the second half. Abhishek brooded more than he did in Sarkar, while the camera was obsessed with exposing every wrinkles on Bachann’s face. Even though the climax was a bit too easily spelled by the know it-all-Godfather-turned-God, it was still pretty engaging for most of the parts.

Oye Lucky Lucky Oye - After Khosla’s success, expectations were sky high from Banerjee’s next movie. And Banerjee didn’t disappoint. This tragicomedy had some stellar performances from the entire cast, backed by a layered script, and the capital city at its barest best. I had said almost everything about the movie in this article. So, any more adjectives in this space would just be redundant.

And for me the real hero award of this year was….? UTV Motion Pictures for giving home to some of the most varied, fresh and exciting ideas in the industry. One just hopes UTV continues sheltering this new breed of Indian cinema. The Pandeys, the Banerjees and the Kamats have just begun to emerge and aren’t we loving it? We must thank UTV for that.

So, that was 2008 for me. What movies made it to your list?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

God and Me.

Edit Post: The Author respects the views and sentiments of every religion. He also has no problems with people who are deeply religious and spiritual( though he finds a tad difficult to relate to them) . Indifference and hatred are two diametrically opposite emotions. This is completely my views(obviously!) and I don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings.

I'm a Hindu. At least that's what my second name says. But, if I strip my life to the bone and analyse what being Hindu means to me, what answer would I get? What has religion to do with whatever kind of a person I am? How does my religion affects my life? Let's see, as being a Hindu, I go to temples, I celebrate Diwali, Holi and ten thousand different festivals. The festivals are a nice break, you get to hang out with your friends, meet everyone in your family, general bonhomie and good spirit. Nice feeling. But, is that feeling 'religion centric'? No. The argument, according to me, is not to pass cynical remarks on any religion(mine, your or your neighbour's) in particular, but to objectively analyse what I've gained from it. I have not. Every religion is a parametric function. Going to temple/mosque/gurudwara/church, celebrating Diwali/Christmas/Id, fasting/feasting on some important days and dates.

Cricket, movies and Gods is our country's obsession(not in that order!). People are just obsessed about anything related to religion, painstakingly taking measures to do things according to 'vidhi', not eating, continuously chanting, feverishly praying, and even imposing substantiated by warning of blasphemy. 'Arre, aise mat karo paap chadega.' 'Kaisa ladka hai, pooja bhi nai karta.' Now, let's consider an example, say about a 'Sawan'. Some non- vegetarians who have no qualms about grinding their teeth into meat almost every day of year suddenly develop cold feet during that month. 'Paagal ho gaya hai kya? Saawan me chicken khayega?' Now, this, according to me is 'mother of double standards'. You either do a certain thing, or you don't. Eating and behaving in a particular way for a certain period of time makes sense in what way? What kind of belief is this? That it is a function of some days and then vanishes into thin air? But, people buy that and 'religiously' follow it. Do they think their God is foolish? The point is not about being a vegetarian or a non- vegetarian,( though vegetarian sounds cool on moral grounds) the point is about beliefs and even more than that, it is about showing respect.

People won't do certain things on tuesday or a thursday( or any day which is convenient for them). Why? They would like to dress up their defence by some very pure sounding 'belief'. Conceded. But, have people peeped inside and contemplated whether it really affects them? Yes? Because our ancestors have been doing it , that's why? Do they really own it? But, if these very 'belief' gives someone their peace of mind, then I'm off guard and don't really guarantee a say regarding that. But, even then it is one of the ways of attaining happiness that is in my opinion, bizarre. I would find it difficult to connect with mentaility of that sort. People have manipulated almost every thing according to their convenience to such a bastardised extent that there exists a very thin line between belief and superstition.

Going to temple and praying is also something which escapes me completely. Why do you need a special institution to show your faith? Why has faith been begun to be dictated by some strange laws? Open your shoes before entering a temple. Why? A sign of respect? How? Does the respect comes from our feet or our hearts? Practically speaking it might have to do with keeping a pious place clean, but, even then it is exaggerated to such a degree that it is stifling. And pointless. When you believe in something, you believe in it. True faith and belief never was, and never would be fickle.

So, what does that make me? Am I an atheist? I have really thought a lot about this question. And I know the answer now without a speck of doubt. No. I'm not an atheist. I do believe that there is something which transcends us, but, he doesn't have a name, doesn't tell me to do things in a particular fashion. For me, he is someone, who lets me be me. He is someone for whom I have immense love and respect. But, for that I don't need to go anywhere, chant anything, read anything, recite anything. He doesn't care whether I fast or feast. He is bindass, he is super cool. And I know he would be there for me, when I need him the most. He gives me solace, when I am cornered. I believe in him. I worship him.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Indian Cinema is feeling Lucky.

The times are surely changing. And for the better. Dibakar Banerjee's new offering sweeps you off your feet. First of all, Oye Lucky.. is not a comedy in entirety, it is a fantastic take on the present society, people's poor soul, the despair of middle class, the double standards of people, the desperation and hence, the fascination with media. And a million little things. It is about life, and why it doesn't appear in monochrome. It is about desperately trying to cling on to certain things, but, like sand, everything slips out of hand. But, still running after them, and even foolishly trying to buy them with money.

I don't know Punjabi. But, I have seen numerous Punjabi families on screen. The affable big breasted Chaddha aunty, the correct chaddha uncle, the sarson ka khet, the kabotars, tractors, shaadis, bhangda pao ji. Oye Balle Balle Pape! It had been done in such an excessive and predictable manner that it was irritating. And boring. But, the way in which Banerjee has shown Delhi and Punjabis is refreshing to say the least. The Punjabi spiced with Harayanvi is a delight to hear.

If Khosla family was a character in Khosla ka Ghosla, here, Lucky is the prinicpal character. And what a character! Lucky as a character is very different from the normal thieves we have seen on the celluloid. While most of the thieves steal to just survive, Lucky's motives for stealing are different. He steals to get a better life, to obtain things he was once deprived of. Manjot Singh, who plays the young Lucky, is brilliant. From a very young age, Lucky shows fascination for leisure goods, when his friends are busy beating a guy to pulp, he is examining his sun glasses. Brilliant scene. This establishes what kind of a chor Lucky is going to be. And a numerous other scenes, waiter trying to demoralise the young poor Lucky in a swank restaurant.

Kyun be Main Nahin kar sakta? This unflinching belief in himself sets Lucky apart. When everyone tries dissuades from doing certain things because it is out of Lucky's Aukat. But, Lucky sets out and achieve them.

Lucky grows up to become a superchor, meets two father figures in his life(both played by Paresh Rawal), they both hurt him, like his father. Even though Lucky is rich and (in)famous, he is still a loner. He still longs for family, for his loved ones, the social respectability. Why would anyone want to steal family photo frames? Greeting cards? That's what Lucky is. Lucky is a fool. He tries stealing things, he could never get in his own life. Everyone manipulates him, uses him, but, have no qualms about receiving money/presents from him. They are reluctant and hesitant to provide Lucky one thing he truly wanted his whole life. That is the double standard of our society.

The movie also takes a brilliant dig at the importance of money in today's time. That scene on the dining table is a gem, where how the attention shifts from the canadian-groom-to-be to Lucky, when he says that he is shortly going to open a restaurant. What a beautiful way to say that, We have started valuing money more than the individuals. Also, a thing about the way Banerjee shows Lucky vs the Rest of the society. Yes, Lucky is a chor, there is no doubting that fact. But, what about the rest of us? How pure the rest of the society is? Kyun lalach kar rahi ho madam. Apka to imitation tha, wo to maine phen diya. Ye inka hai. The man besides the lady now says, Dekha na, Yeh hai sacha aadmi. For some reason, I just couldn’t laugh on that line. It shook me. Completely. Then, that scene which is reminiscent of Lucky's childhood,when Mr. Handa's son wants to ride on Skoda. Mr.Handa declines saying, Dekho pehle apki chadega,phir kahega papa le ke do. Main kahunga beta go to hell, phir churaega, aise hi shuru hota hai. The expression on Abhay Deol's face is worth a million bucks.

Abhay Deol is one actor who keeps outdoing himself, with every performance of his. he has launched himself into a completely different territory, and he need not be worried about any perfectionist, any big or small B, nor about any King or Queen Khan. He has carved a unique place in this industry. Expectations would be soaring high from his banner, the Forbidden Films.

Dibakar Banerjee. What the fuck you have made? And why? You have shown us the mirror and I hate to see that. Why will you not get the Best Director Award at the Uncle-Aunty Awards (read Filmfare Awards)? Not that it matters to any genuine cinema lovers, but still. It is about the best movie of this year. And that Oye Lucky Lucky Oye surely is. It doesn't require the certification of any 'family' awards.

This post is an entry to the Reel-Life Bloggers contest organized by

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Orginally written for The article has been published here. I suggest you read the article at the link given because that one is a tad complete!

Watnabe knows he will die. Soon. But, it is not death that scares the wits out of him. It is life. His life. A lifetime of wasted opportunity. A life of failed expectaions would have been still better. His was a life of no expectations. A life wasted behind the pile of emotionless papers. He didn't miss even a single day of his office in the work span of 29 years, 11 months. Stamp after stamp after stamp after stamp after stamp after stamp...

A life that carried out recursive functions, without any goal and purpose in sight. A life that associated no joy or sorrow with the rising sun, with the star studded night, with anything. A life that was so listless, that it was not even life at all. These things come rushing back to him, when he is diagonised with stomach cancer and he knows, he only has half a year or year at maximum. To live.

Now, he desperately wants to cling on something. Anything. He doesn't know how. He wants to decorate his life in all the ways he possibly can. The miser even withdraws his hard earned 50,000 yen, because he wants to enjoy. At any cost. He goes places for seeking that elusive thing, happiness. No matter how transient or superfecial it may be. Places, he would have never even imagined going. Because, he hadn't given his life even a chance before. He had closed the doors to happiness ages ago, and when now life is actually closing door on him, he wants to sneak through and live it. Live it all. Like never before.

He meets the girl from his office who is a bundle of exuberance, and exudes contagious joy. Watnabe is both envious and happy to see her. She unconsciously leads Watnabe to discover himself, what he really wants to do the rest of his life. Of doing atleast one thing in his life he is proud of.

Kurosawa's sensitive lens meets Hashimoto's poignant story in this stunning movie. Such is Kurosawa's brilliance that he doesn't speak much, but even then he speaks volumes. I had merely heard about the art of silence, with Ikiru I have experienced it. Kurosawa's brilliance is not only mind numbing, it is also heart warming in the same breath. The penultimate shot shows Watnabe, hours before his death, on a swing, with a smile on his lips. Lively than ever before. The smile of a satisfied man. The satisfaction of having atleast lived a live. The satisfaction of him being able to provide something of value to others.

Because, that is what Ikiru is all about. It is not about death, it is not about questioning it's inevitability. It is about life. It is about having a purpose, it is about keeping the flame alive in our hearts. It is about the skip in our walk, it is about still being a kid at heart. It is about embracing those little things that we so forget in our busy, daily lives. It is about having a dream, and then doing anything to fulfill it.

Below is the lyrics of the song, that Watnabe sings during some of the scenes of the movie:

life is brief.

fall in love, maidens

before the crimson bloom

fades from your lips

before the tides of passion

cool within you,

for those of you

who know no tomorrow

Monday, November 10, 2008

Of middle class, insignificant things and growing up with Indian Cinema.

Originally written for The article has been published here.

Cinema is still frowned upon in many of the middle class families; it is only logical when the first concern is fuelling the stomach, fuelling the heart comes at a much, much later stage. Though I grew up in a milder version of the aforementioned setting, I, like any other movie enthusiast watched movie after movie every Friday. Those were not the days of multiplexes, but hot, suffocating theaters. No nachos at the oh so swank counters, instead there was a huge clank of bottles with the bottle opener seconds before the intermission, accompanied with Thanda, Thanda.

I grew up watching a host of movies; good, bad, ugly, boisterous, boring, bullshit. 90’s was an interesting decade for lots of things were happening simultaneously at the same time, Mithun Da’s Aai-Yaee , Akhsay Kumar crushing the genitals of all the baddies and proclaiming I do all my stunts myself. And this used to be the talking point at our school. Saala kya hero hai. There were few actors, only heroes and heroines. Barring Aamir Khan, almost every ‘hero’ had the same weird hairdo, the shoulder long length hair, and mouthing dialogues which even their kaam waali would have cringed upon hearing. Even the goddamn interviews were the same; it’s a very different role. I’m sure I must have missed the interview, where someone would have said, the role was very challenging for me. I play a different rapist.

But that was cinema in those days; it was so detached from the real life. Barring few movies, almost every other movie seemed to follow a certain pattern. Religiously. Six-seven scenes cut to a song, then again six-seven scenes, cut to a song, and so on. It looked as if the movies were being made by a group of programmers paid to execute certain instructions. So I watched and watched and watched. And waited, and waited.

Week after week, it was the same stuff, same Switzerland, same snow, same hero, different heroine. (I swear on god, I have no problems with the chiffon sarees, and the sleeveless blouse amidst the snow capped peaks, the only problem I have is everything should gel with the story. Does anyone remember the Europe that DDLJ showed us? That was not Europe for the heck of it. In a similar vein Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was honest enough).

On the other hand, there was the same corrupt police officer Shinde, same corrupt, flawed ‘system’, same nobler than thou hero sometimes as police inspector, sometimes as the nobody. To quote Norton from Fight Club, everything was a copy of a copy of a copy. And the sad thing is, back then, I even used to enjoy some of them, not because they were good movies, but because I had no choice. If you have never seen Tendulkar bat, you would start liking Ashraful’s batting someday. I can bet on that.

So basically that was it, I had started wondering, is this what cinema is all about? Is it only about certain particular things? Does it have to be shown in a particular way? Why everything that is shown to us is perfect? Why are families always happy? And even if things are wrong, why are they so obviously wrong, that it makes me puke? Not at the wrongness, but the crassness in which it has been delineated. Why does everything oscillate in extremes? When would someone capture the simple delights of life, or was it an unimportant chapter ignored while writing the ‘rulebook’ of Indian cinema in that decade?( I didn’t know at that time, that movies like Saaransh had been made and forgotten long ago).

The late 90’s still produced some watchable movies, thanks to one man. Ram Gopal Verma. There was an instant connection with his movies. His most talked about work, Satya, was also about gangsters as thousands of other movies in the same decade were. The similarity ended right there. The execution just blew everyone. ‘Kyun be maarna tha? Ae Amitabh Bacchan marega kya? With Rangeela he changed the way heroines would be presented, and followed it up with absurdly funny Daud. Everyone had enough of the cheesy lines, and the Ram Rajya being shown on the screen, the tryst with realism had to begin somewhere.

I’ve had various moments in the cinema hall, where not the movie but the people watching it were the source of entertainment. The most recent one that I can remember goes something like this:
The movie was Mission Istanbul’lshit’, where in one of the scene, they had shown a look alike of George Bush. Cut to the conversation in back –

A “Saala, lagta hai bahut paisva kharcha kiya hai. Dekho, Jorj Boos bhi acting kar raha hai.”
B – Pagla gaye ho ka? E to pirated hai.”
( Translating the above, would rob all its charm!).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The (najayaz) Baap of all movies: Gunda

Originally written for

Disclaimer: This post has lots of profanity. Acche ghar ki bahu, betiyan are advised to skip this post.

"There are three kinds of movies in this world. Good. Bad. And Gunda" - Ancient Chinese proverb.

I can't claim to write anything new( or refreshingly fresh) about this classic. But, that is what great things are about, it graciously shelters every one and gives each its own space. This is my humble dedication to GreatBong, the followers of this cult classic, and last but(t) certainly not the least, Prabhujee.

There are some movies which pushes the envelope of cinema to an extent that when you are done with the film, you are speechless. You don't know what just happened, were you thrown into an illusionary world of madness where nothing is what it seems? Has it ever happened with you? It has happened with me only two times. Once, when I watched Fight Club(David Finch's) and the other when I saw Gunda. Gunda is not only a movie, it is an epic, it is an epitome of what an ideal Bollywood movie should be. Never before has a movie seen such nicely etched characters, where their names not only rhymes with their motives, but also their appearnces. When was the last time world cinema saw such nicely etched characters? Don't you ever say movies like Reservoir Dogs, here the five goons(in one of the scenes) introduce themselves with some breathtaking dialogues. Not only the dialogues mirrors the demented state of this world, they are lyrical and poetic in nature. For a second, I was confused, whether this was Rime of the Ancient Mariner or the movie. But, that is the brillance of the dialogue writer Bashir Babar. He shows why S.T.Coleidge can never be Bashir Babar, but it is not the other way around. The dialogues rhymes with such efforltess ease that it elevates the movie to a level where movie makers can only see it, can never ,ever dare to go near it. Sample this video where each of the characters introduce themselves.


Mukesh Rishi - Naam hai mera Bulla rakhta hun khulla.

Shakti Kapoor - Mera naam hai chuttiya, acchi acchon ki khadi karta hoon main khatiya. bulli kahan hai teri ungli, bulla bhai ab hoga hulla gulla. police aur hukumat karegi hai bulla, hai chuttiya. Sab bolenge hai chttuiya, hai bulla. Arre dhoondho dhoondho kahan hai chuttiya,pakdo pakdo kahan hai bulla.

Mohan Joshi - Mera naam hai pote, jo apne baap ke bhi nai hote. Jaljala jaag utha hai, ab sabko pata chalega ki gang war start ho chuka hai. lashein aise tapkeingi jaise nanhe munne ke nunni se peshab tapakta hai. TAP. TAP.

Harish Patel - Mera naaam hai Ibu Hatela, maa meri chudail ke beti, baap mera shaitan ka chela, khayega kela?


The above dialogues clearly gives you an insight on how layered the script is. Not only does it gives you a peek into the history of each and every character, the great Kanti Shah also pays homage to some of his favorite movies.

Sample this, when Ibu Hatela says, "Maa meri Chudail ki beti, baap mera Shaitan ka chela.:" He clearly means that his baap is an IAS officer who works for the corrupt ministers( and thus, Shaitan ka Chela), and since his mom is Chudail ki beti busy shaking legs(and god knows what!)with fellow chudailins, this poor hatela guy is all alone. So alone is this guy that he is dangerously close to violating the line of sanity, as depicted in Scorsese's Taxi Driver. Thus,Ibu Hatela's character is Kanti Shah's homage to this Scorsese classic. So this hatela guy's life is colorless until one fine day he realises that 'kela' is just not a fruit, but how 'fruitfull' it can become. So he starts social servicing his kela to ward off his lonelineness.

Now, when Bulla says Naam hai mera bulla rehta hun main khulla, it implies how uncluttered his mind is. That Bulla is so innocent that he is unaware of the decitful ways of this world. You culd have easily found him talking stupidly with one of the ladies waiting for their buses, and saying My Momma said stupid is who stupid does. Yes. Bulla's character is homage to the one of the most innocent characters in Cinematic world, who was always khulla(read transparent or innocent).Forrest Gump.( You shouldd see the incoence dripping from Bulla's eyes when he kills anyone!)

When Chuttiya says, Naam hai mera chuttiya, acche acchon ki khada karta hun main khatiya. khadi karta hun main khatiya, clearly means that he is unable to sleep, the insomniac behavior, the same problem which Norton was suffering in FightClub, the dig at the white collored jobs. Chuttiya is Shah's homage to Tyler Duren's character.

And when Mohan Joshi says, naam hai mera Pote jo apne baap ke bhi nai hote, shows the concept of selflessness, that whatever be, the 'self' shouldn't be sacrificed, the belief in the power of "I". No prizes for guessing, Pote is homage to Rand's hero Howard Roark.

This is a descripition of just many of the wonderful scenes.Each and every frame of this epic ought to be discussed, because this movie is equivalent to a painting, the different colors fusing with each other to give us something we can cherish for. Let's look at this scene now: from 4:55 to 6:18.

The najayaz son of Terminator II wants to rape the oh-so-awesome-touch-me-not-plant sister of prabhujee. She runs for one and a half seconds and then falls, and waits for 4 seconds so that the najayaz son of Terminator II can fall on her. Now, intense fight and bacha bachao, the calisthenics of Terminator II and his facial contortions make me believe that lady is raping him, not the other way around. Some second later, the hero comes(no, not prabhujee, some local disciple) and kicks the fuck out of the guy being raped. Then, the normal shukriya and crap follows, the guy asks, "Tum iss veerane me kya kar rahi ho?" If you see the video you would get the setting, it is a fucking desert, with only one electric pole(or something which resembles that, no double meaning here, if you count all the pole it would be two, as the hero is also standing besides her, but mind you, I'm a good boy!)in the vicinity. And the girl replies, "Main to college ja rahi thi." College in a desert? Yes, that is Kanti Shah's take on our educational system. Why there are nocolleges in the desert? In the jungles? When would institutes like IIT,IIMs come to desert? Why there is such a disparity?Why are educational oppurtunities not equal? You never know,but soon after that, a place in Rajasthan(close to the deserts),coaching institues begun to spring in large numbers in a place called Kota. Huge number of people are making it to the esteemed IIT's from that place now. Such was(and is, and will be)the power of Gunda.

The movie also corrodes our conscience on one very important thing. Rape. Kanti Shah's epic almost hoarse its lungs out - Why is Rape not a fundamental right? Why is Rape considered wrong? When will all the horny men of this world get a 'realise'? Why is being horny wrong? Cows have horns, they are not wrong, we worship them. Then, why adding a mere 'y' makes it so abominable? Also, there is an almost unwritten rule in Prabhujee's movie( this applies only to his sisters). The rules are:

1. If you are prabhujee's sister, you should, and you would be raped. Don't ask why. Ask when.

2. If you are prabhujee's sister, and you have not got the priviledge of being raped, contact the higher authorites as soon as possible and inquire when the needful would be done.

3. If the aforementioned points do not apply, you are not prabhujee's sister. Yes, it is true. Better luck next time.

I can go on and on, but go and cherish the masterpiece for yourself. As they say, ye to bas trailer poori film abhi baaki hai. Also, to make this masterpiece even more exciting, you can do a tarantino to Gunda. That is, you watch the last scene first, then see some random scenes in the middle, and then watch it from the first scene. Trust me on this, it won't make even an ounce of a difference, as comapred towatching it linearly. Isn't that one of the many intriguing things about this movie? Watch it for yourself, and I'm sure you would find lots more. The lovers of cult classics, my humble offering to you. Lastly,inspired by the poetic Bashir Babar I would leave you with two lines I cooked up on my own for the sheer love of my favorite movie.

Agar G**nd me hai gudda

To zaroor dekhna Gunda

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Roommate

Taken from my roommate's diary. Word to word.

One month just flew past in a new country. Everything has kept me amazed, enchanted. The system, the place, the people, the food, and the University, of course. I wish I could have said the same about my roommate though. I'm not saying he is bad, but he is definitely not the my kind of a guy. We don't tick of together, so as to say, and I'm really having a difficult time adjusting with him. We have the same major and our most of the classes are same, but still I'm not being able to connect with him, and I'm certain is vice-versa also.

Firstly, I don't understand what kind of a guy he is. I also don't understand what does he wants to do with his life. He reads novels all the time, watches movies, writes( or blogs as he says) and I don't know what not. He is pretty entangled into the web of his own which he has so gleefully constructed. I don't know what joy he derives from that. He rarely studies and the sad part is, when the assignments are due, he just copies it from me. I mean what the heck. Bloody Irritating, I tell you. You literally work your backside off for the damn assignments and there he is at a distance, for the whole week enjoying himself and so conveniently copies from me a day before. As a result, we end up having the same marks. I don't have problems with him getting marks, but still, show some honesty.

And I seriously don't get, what he gets by doing all kinds of things. Haven't we come here to study, why the heck is he wasting his time? I asked him once, "Man, why are you wasting your time?"
He replied, "I'm not"
I asked again, "Don't you have to study?"
He said, "Yes. I have to. But, issme bada mazaa aa raha hai yaar!"
I asked again, "What are you doing?"
He replied, "Movie"
"Which one?"
"Mullholland Drive. David Lynch. Mind boggling man!"

Mull-what? And who Lynch? I left him at that. And I've asked him two more times, as to what he was doing, as I thought he should be studying at that time. To which he replied, "Blogging" once and "Reading(Novel)" the other time around. Seriously, this guy is difficult to understand. He is unnecessarily making life difficult for him.

What will he gain by blogging? By watching movies?( and that too by directors around the globe who have one kilometer long names and they make equally weird movies). He showed me once this movie, said its mind blowing and the sets of adjectives he has memorised to praise anything under the sun. The movie was 'Taxi Driver'. Such a boring and listless movie I haven't seen in my entire life. What crap man. What was there in the movie? Bullshit. I'm a big fan of Hollywood but not the kind of movies this guy sees. I like Adam Sandler and those kinds of movies. That is the point, our tastes don't match at all. Not at all. And also when it comes to movies, novel this guy is very, very opinionated. One day I got pissed off by his 'See-I-know-so-much-about-everything' that I asked him, "Dude, Hang on. Are you planning to direct a movie someday?"
"No," he said.
"Do you plan to become a movie critic?"
"No," he said.
"Will you become an author someday?"
"No," he said.
I wanted to shout, What the fuck man! Shut up and stop flaunting your supposedly great ideas in front of me. You know what he is a big hypocrite. The biggest that I've ever seen. A bundle of contradictions.
"Then?" I asked, more irritated than surprised.
"Passion yaar! I like doing these things. I really like it," He said.
That has to be the lamest reply of the century. Though I didn't reply anything to him, I simply kept quiet. Because the kind of hyper and short tempered the guy he is, we would have ended up fighting. Anyways. I will tell you about this guy's passion and his heights of hypocrisy. We had to take a Humanity course, and there were like 300-400 options to choose from. And before the orientation, our seniors had told us to take the 'Asian Mythology' because it was one subject in which it was easy to score an A, as the subject had stuff related to Ramayana and Mahabharata which we had already studied. So, once we were discussing about about to take as a Humanity course I said, " I will take Asian Mythology. The seniors have told us its easy to get an A in that. And getting a good GPA is of prime importance."

He replied," Give me a break man. Asian Mythology? The stuff which we have studied and known about it for ages? What will you 'learn' from taking Asian Mythology? Take something which excites you dude. You've come to States for learning something, this is the only place which gives you a chance to do what you are best at. Don't take an Asian Mythology and ridicule your likings."

Everyone was drop dead silent. I asked, "What are you planning to take?"
He said, "ENGL 104. Introduction to World Cinema"

As usual, I went and registered myself for the Asian Mythology course after meeting my advisor the next day. I saw him getting out of the Engineering Hall and asked him, "What did you take?"
His face told me the whole story. With a voice as heavy as his guilt he replied, " Asian Mythology." I didn't demand anything. He explained me, "Yaar! I asked the seniors again, they said these literature types courses are damn difficult to get an A in. But, never mind I've met an American guy and he has taken the World Cinema course. I will keep in touch in with him and if at the end of the semester he says, an A is gettable then I would take the course" He siad and walked away.

That's him. He is nothing but just a common man, who wants good grades, good job, a decent lifestyle. Just like each one of us. So, all that talk about Passion and liking is bullshit. He is faking himself. At the surface he is this guy who is confident and knows what he is doing. But, I'll tell you what he is. He is just a pseudo-intellectual who is a coward. Had he not been a coward he would not have chosen World Cinema over Asian Mythology. You see, He has come to States for learning something, this is the only place which gives him a chance to do what he is best at. He shouldn't take an Asian Mythology and ridicule his likings. Yes, very right. He would swim with the tide, like each one of us. Just that he is too chicken to admit it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Shitty Shitty Bang Bang!

The text of this post is very gross. Please stay away, if, stuff of this kind offends you. Thank You!
I dedicate this post to all the public toilets of the world.
Shitting has always been a very personal thing for me( What a profound statement to make. Isn't it for everyone else too? Anyways.), so I got and still get, though with a lesser magnitude - worked up, when I got to know that the dorm in which I had moved in had a public toilet(4 toilets for 20 people, not a very bad ratio also, although that is a different story). I had never shared toilets before. I mean, even if I had, they were structurally different than this. The previous ones, were closed ones, and this has a cubicle of sorts, which throws up a wonderful prospect of people shitting together. Literally.
Isn't it strange when you are shitting, alongside there is a guy/girl who is also doing the same(Not every time, but generally most of the times). What would he be doing at this time? Dropping and feeling relieved?( how much relieved to be precise?), or waiting to feel relieved and singing some songs in anticipation?( Rafi's Aa Jaa Aa Jaa or Britney's Baby One More Time?), he might also be sleeping for all you know or wiping his ass? Horrendous pictures of tissues painted in various shades of yellow come to mind.
Shitting is not only a biological exercise for me, but also, a physical( I yawn very loudly in Hindi, stretch my muscles, cock my head, make all sounds of noise with remote bones in my body) and an emotional one too( Isn't it? You have the all time in world when you shit. You are at peace with yourself. Nowadays, with the increasingly busy life( don't I sound like a typically sex starved working middle aged frushtoo guy?) where does one get time to think for himself? for others? When I shit I think about things close to my heart, this is the time when I'm in my best moods and is generally accompanied by singing some song. Now, when you are shitting in your home, it doesn't matter how loudly/softly sing, neither does the talent of your vocal chords. But, when you are shitting in a public toilet, you can't sing. And that irritates me. It curbs your independence, it doesn't let you be you. I could have done that in India, but, how can I in United States? It has nothing to do with the quality of people, neither to do with the quality of the country. It has to do with the quality of songs. I mean imagine, me singing ' Sarkailiyo Khatiya/Takia/whatever Jaada lage' and the guy shitting beside me gets disturbed due to that. What will he do then? You never know. These Americans are dangerous. He might scoop his head out of the common wall underneath and say, " Dude, Stop that song of yours. It disturbs my bowel movement." Now, that won't be so good. On second thoughts, will he knock the common wall before scooping his head out?
And I've a weird habit of looking here and there while shitting( I mean all around, 360 degrees) and it is kind of strange, you can only watch a guy's shoe and some parts of his shorts covering his lower part of legs. It is kind of interesting to note what kind of footwear he is wearing, and also the color of his lowers. Some colours surely put me off( though they in anyway don't disturb my bowel movements), but that is what the thing is. Then, after few minutes you hear the sound the flush produces and you know this relationship is going to end. You kind of feel bad. But, hasn't someone wisely said, 'All things in life have to end'. Now, you come out, possibly an eye contact, which might suggest a lot of things; My God! You were there for a freaking half an hour, what were you up to? Or, Get yourself a nice pair of floaters before you even think of shitting again. Or, You used a lot of tissue today, I could make out that from the squealing of the tissue paper's stand.
On the contrary, you might not think any of these. May be, you just smile and say, "It was nice shitting with you."

The common Wall I described in my post!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fountainhead the movie fails

Originally written for The article has been originally published here.

First things first. People differ over what Fountainhead represents( whether it is right or wrong) and an endless debate is ensued over this fact, I don’t want to get into any of that. I intend to talk only about ‘Fountainhead the movie’.

What was strikingly different from the novel is the depth of characterization. In the novel’s beginning, you could feel for Roark’s frustration when he laughs sitting on the cliff or his indifference to everyone to the extent that he saw no one walking in the street so much so that he could have walked naked beyond concern. That is the relationship (love or loathe) one forms with Howard Roark in the first two pages of the novel. You can feel Roark’s frustration when he is sitting in the dean’s offixe and is being unfailingly persuaded by the dean. The dialogues between the dean and the student are fantastic.( Agreed, they are filmy and a bit impractical, but, so is the whole of premise of the novel, if you may so please). The dean is furious that Howard is unapologetic, the dean can’t believe that the name ‘Stanton’ can’t shake his will, that for the first time he has encountered someone who considers an individual above the institution, that the person who is going to expel the student feels more clueless than the student who is being expelled.

Contrary to the novel, the movie begins quite abruptly with Howard being in the dean’s office and he says that he will have to expel him. For someone, who might have not read the novel would take some seconds to gather, relax what’s happening? There is no conflict of ideas between the Neo and the established, between the unconventional man and the conventional world, no groundwork has been set, you don’t feel Roark’s stubbornness neither do you see Dean’s helplessness. And that was the beauty of the novel I feel. I mean, for a second, f**k all talk about Objectivism and everything, whether you buy it or not is inconsequential. What matters is every character in the novel was beautifully etched, and you could have easily said that I hate/love this character. There is no such feeling in the movie. And that, I feel is the problem of the movie. That it never goes deep into the psyche of the characters and just sets it up on the screen. Probably for the heCk of it. Everything happens in a daze, in a nonsensixal hurried fashion that makes you sit and wonder – what’s up with the pace? And that is my grievance with the film, that it doesn’t do justice to the novel. Now, some people might say they that had they gone into the history or detailing of every character the movie itself would have been too long. Yes. I agree there too, because if you go on to do full justice to the novel the movie could well be more than three hours long which would have been a torture in itself( or may be not. Who know? Gone with the wind, Lagaan, Sholay were all more than 210 minutes long!). Also, the characters in the novel are such that they are difficult to portray on screen. It is practically impossible to take out each and every detail from a book and incorporate that into a movie. I agree. Successful adaptations of the ‘Mystic River’, ‘The Godfather’ bolster this point.

So, my point is ‘The Fountainhead’ shouldn’t have been made into a movie. At least not the way they made it. Gary Cooper fails miserably as the ‘hero’. Or, may be anyone who will play Howard Roark will fail. Because, the image that people have come to associate with Howard Roark is difficult to fathom. Isn’t it difficult to portray someone who didn’t exist? Someone who will not exist?

Gary Cooper lacks conviction while delivering his lines, may be didn’t understand most of it. (he wanted the courtroom speech to be curtailed because he was finding it difficult to memories and understand most of the lines). When Cooper (Roark) refuses the commission for a bank, his ‘No’ is a flat. It lacks the authority. When Howard Roark says ‘No’ I expect it to spit fire on screen, the ‘No’ should spit venom, have the stamp of authority and pummel the man conversing him in such an ignominy that it makes a mockery of anyone who is even thinking of trying to convince Roark . When Henry Cameroon says on his death bed, Do you want to have a similar fate like me, Cooper’s ‘Yes’ is again non- authoritative. May be I’m expecting too much? May be I’m being a bit too judgmental? May be yes, because I almost adored the novel, the power of Rand’s writing blew me and compared to that the movie was pale. The main thing about Rand’s writing is you can either love her or hate her. She doesn’t allow you to tread a middle path, but, after watching the movie my emotions didn’t tilt towards any extreme (which certainly did while reading the novel). I was plain indifferent and disappointed.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Manorma Six Feet Under: A Six Pack sexy movie!

Originally written for - The artixle has been originally published here.

If you go by the 'white is white, black is black' definition of right and wrong, then Manorma Six Feet Under is a copy of Chinatown. And it kind of bothered me a wee bit before I sat down watching it. But, not after that. Not even a wee bit. I had not seen Chinatown by that time. And I chanced to see Chinatown couple of days later, and my admiration of Manorma Six Feet increased further. Albeit inspired (or copied, or whatever), this is a good movie. No doubt.

The movie opens in a Rajasthan, where the land is as thirsty for water as is the protagonist (Abhay Deol playing Satyaveer) thirsty for recognition, success. The vast, dry land as a backdrop make for good visuals. In particular, the scenes where the protagonist is shown driving his vehicle. Simple. Captivating. SV, an engineer by profession, a pulp novelist by passion is finding it difficult to get his life moving courtesy a nagging wife, an unsuccessful job.

One day, he meets Sarika and she gives a purpose to his humdrum life. He has to click some photos for her, so that she may be able to blackmail her 'politician' husband and which may facilitate the process of divorce for her. SV soon comes to know that things are not as straight forward as he thought they were. Speeding one night on the highway, he meets her again. She is very panicky and says something to him. The next morning he reads the paper. She is dead. And she was not the wife of Chief Minister. SV is obviously startled by this sudden revelation and wants to put to rest all the confusion.

The movie moves at a good pace initially, fully in control, holding the viewer's interest, scenes tend to merge into one another comfortably. However, somewhere in the middle (and that is the movie's negative point), the movie becomes painfully slow. Everything ceases to happen. You feel you can go take a cold drink from your fridge, reply to your friend's scrap, send an SMS or two and still it won't affect you. Not very thriller like, you would want to say. May be the comatose pace in between is intentional, it contrasts well with the full of twists, exciting and a good paced climax. The sudden change of gears takes you aback. The movie's climax is icing on the cake. It moves swiftly and makes you question your judgment about every character. No one is 'noir' here in the literal sense; the grayness of the character makes a compelling climax.

Performance wise, Abhay Deol carries the movies on his shoulders. I was never a fan of Abhay Deol. But, after watching 'Socha Na Tha' and 'MSFU' in a space of two weeks, I am now. He may not be the next big thing in boll wood, but he is here to stay. In this movie, he plays the role of a frustrated man to a T. the frustration is there, you can feel it. It never comes out though, but you think it can. Anytime. That is the beauty of the character and the way Abhay Deol has portrayed it. In the movie, the guy may be 25, but looks like 35, and acts like 45. Sarika lights up the screen every time she appears and sparkles in a small role. Kulbhushan Kharbhanda has nothing special to offer, Vinay Pathak doesn't disappoint. Raima Sen is not breathtaking, but she is not bad either to spoil the movie. Gul Panag could have been a tad better with her pronunciations. I liked the way she pronounces 'Editor' as 'A-Dee-tur' in her first scene but after that her pronunciation is a bit polished for comfort. She acts pretty well though, something I was pleasantly surprised at. Background music is superb. It is slow, subtle and is faithful to the movie's pace.

This movie might not be a Chinatown. And somewhere down the line, I think the makers of MSFU knew that. Albeit an inspired story, the execution is top class. A good movie. A good tribute to a good movie. Polanski would be happy to see Manorma Six Feet Under.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Love Story 2050 - Dud chala dude banne?

Originally Written for: The article has been originally published here.

Once upon a time there was a boy. He used to watch a lot of Hrithik Roshan movies. And he had a dad who was a director. And the boy wanted to be an actor. And he wanted to be Hrithik. So, one night when he was watching Koi Mil Gaya for the 537th time, he thought he had enough of it. He went up to his dad and said ,” Papa Papa, Mujhe hero banna hai.” It was very late in the night and his dad was feeling very sleepy watching I, Robot. He was too jaded to reply. But his son repeated, “Papa Papa, Mujhe hero banna hai!” Papa dear was really sleepy but even then he asked ,” Accha Beta! Kya kya chahiye tumhein movie me?” Son dearest replied ,”Papa Papa, movie main na main car chalana chahta hun, bike chalana chahta hun, bhaagna chahta hun aur dance karna chahta hun,” and then he added something which was going to change the fate of Bollywood. For ever. “Sab Hrithik Roshan ki tarah.” Papa replied ,”Theek hai beta! Main script likhta hun. Kal breakfast pe baat karte hain.”

And from here began one of the greatest movie of all times - Love Story 2050. Harry Baweja must have written this film in his sleep, otherwise there is no way else can one even think of directing( and also producing. Admire his guts man! Take a bow Mr. Baweja.) a waste of 55 crores. A movie which has nothing to give rather than the cliched dialogues, bored to death romantic scenes, cliched expressions. The only good thing as people have been talking about is the special effects. That is true. Although the setting of 2050 Mumbai is a bit too futuristic for comfort. But still, that is one think you’ve to laud the movie makers for. Otherwise, there is nothing in this movie that stands out. The songs are outright bad, except ‘Milo na Milo’ which has been picturised equally well. It is the only 5 minutes where Harman is tolerable. Otherwise, he is a bad copy of Hrithik Roshan. I mean, he walks like him, talks like him, stands like him, sits like him, stares like him, has got his sideburns like him. There is only one difference though, if you cared to notice. He cannot act like Hrithik. Not in 2008 at least. May be in next 42 years, who knows? Or is that the hidden meaning behind the title? I mean the guy has tried aping Hrithik Roshan to such abominable levels that one might even start wondering; does he even try to shit like Hrithik?( Who knows he might have planted a hidden web cam in his bathroom just to learn some tricks of this trade too from his ‘mentor’?). Harman is wooden. That’s all I have to say.
And Priyanka Chopra? She might have been terribly-IN-love or hopelessly-OUT-of mind to accept such a movie and walk through a dead role with a dead pan expression. Not one single scene stands out, there is no magic on screen. The movie suffers from a huge hangover of Koi Mil Gaya/Krissh and Hrithik, so much so that you wish Rakesh roshan would sneak in some of the scene here and there. Everyone else is ineffective including the very own Boman Irani (as the scientist who I don’t know why is in an Einstein like get up). Archana Puran Singh plays the archaic ‘Yash Raj produced affable Punjabi mother’. There is absolutely no flow in the movie, one scene jumps off to another as if monkey hopping from one tree to another. The typical hero-heroine meeting up again is so irritating and straight out of some 1980’s bored to death formulaic movie. Hero wants to search his ‘love’ in the big town. He searches her for 17 seconds and the moment later ‘Lo and Behold’ she is right up there wetting herself to glory waiting for her ‘love’.

I can highlight only this much on the movie because I left the theatre after 2 hours 15 minutes. The movie threatened to be 3 hours 20 minutes long. I wonder what they would have shown in the next 1 hour 5 minute? Or, may be I know. The movie was as cliched as that. So Mr. Harry Baweja, you are no Rakesh Roshan and you are son is no Hrithik Roshan either. Had you donated this 55 crores of yours to the benefit of mankind, your name would have been right up there with Mother Teresa. So, the next time you decide to go behind the camera, think about how mankind could be benefited. Best of Luck!

And yeah, coming to luck, Harman keeps saying this line in the movie, ‘ I don’t need luck , I have love.’ Well Harman! you neither need love, you neither need love, you need an audience for your movie to tick which looks like a remote possibility. I suggest you rewatch Koi Mil Gaya for the 538th time and improve on your acting.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

India V Pakistan - Asia Cup

The first half of the match was replete with twists and turns as you would expect in a typical India Pakistan encounter. Though India would be content with 308, deep down they would admit that they would have got a bit more. Although we've seen India chase down 300 with careless ease, it could not all be very easy for Pakistan because India's bowling attack is strong as compared to the Pakistan's. Pakistan would require some stellar performance in the Powerplays which hasn't happened so far. They have seemed reluctant to go over the top in the initial overs and have adopted the conventional method of 'building up the innings'. But, when you intend to chase more than 300 on a flat track you need to be a bit more than inventive.

India on the other hand won the toss and came out all guns blazing thanks to Sehwag and Gambhir. When Pakistanis bowled short, Sehwag pulled, when they were up, Sehwag drove, when they were touch short, Sehwag cut. Sohail Tanvir, the now 'spearhead' of the Pakistani attack was made to look like a 7th grader as he helplessly conceeded 43 off his first 4 overs. India raced off to 86 in the first ten overs, with Sehwag escaping a sure shot LBW shout. Two balls later, Ifthikar Rao picked Gambhir as he tried to clear the infield but got hold by Afridi instead. Then, Indians lost the Raina, Sehwag in the space of 9 balls and were reduced to 91/3. Yuvraj hit some lusty blows but even he failed to capitalise and fell when he just looked set for a big one. In came Rohit Sharma, who has not been in particularly good form during the series and one could sense some nerves early on. But, then he eased in the company of Dhoni and singles started flowing. Now, Misbah(the stand in captain for Shoaib Mailk) operated both the spinners in tandem. Afridi with the debutant Ajmal. He was very impressive with his doosras which Dhoni failed to pick up repeatedly. The pressure was clearly on Indians as they needed a substantial partnership otherwise they would have been bundled shortly. They started pushing the ball around and this is where the pakistanis erred. They let the Indians take the singles and there was on pressure being applied on them. Misbah should have brought the fielders and should have made the Indians work for runs. However, he was content with 4-5 singles being taken in an over. What he did not know that the two players were laying a solid foundation for a big total. Dhoni and Rohit must be applauded for sewing a partnership which brought back India back in game. They demonstrated an icy cool head and never panicked during their course of innings. India was sitting pretty at 231/4 at the end of 40 overs. From here on, India was expected to cross the 320 mark, but soon thereafter, Rohit and Y.Pathan fell much against the run of play and a mini-rebuilding had to be done. But, Pathan hit some clean shots to help the team post 308 on the board. However, one might never know what is enough on this dead track but given the attack India has Pakistan would have to play really well.

Now, from Pakistan's point of view it is imperative that dominate from the word go. And no one can do it better than Shahid Afridi. I think he should open the batting today and play a blitzkrieg of sorts. His attack up-front can really destabilise the Indian attack and he has done that in the past. Because, if Pakistani team has to entertain any thoughts of going near the Indian team, they should attack right from the word go. And for that Afridi has to open. Their middle order is really experienced and are real thoroughbreds when it comes to chasing. They know they need to put 309 on board if they have to stay alive in the compeition. They will go for the kill. While, India will like to win this one and seal a place in the final. They have posted a good score, but, the job is still half done. It is for sure going to be an intriguing battle. Fasten your seat belts.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Will the Pakistani team do a Phoenix?

There has not been much excitement in this ASIA CUP primarily because the IPL hangover refuses to die and also because India and Pakistan have played substantial number of matches so now an India and Pakistan game has become a 'one more' India Pakistan game, quite contrary to the hype that used to surround the games when these two teams used to play against each other once in a blue moon in the 90's. Team India has done fairly well against Pakistan in the last two years winning 10 matches out of 15.

Pakistan team has really looked out of sorts and with Umar Gul sidelined with an injury, the bowling attack is mediocre. The pakistan bowling doesn't look the same without the likes of Asif and Akhtar. Sohail Tanvir is maturing fast into a good international bowler, but nothing else even presents a trace of good news for the team. Their coach, Geoff Lawson, needs to take lesson on how to talk to people before ever thinking of coaching any team again. The way he tackled the Pakistani media after the loss to Srilanka was very rude, and not at all civil, and it clearly showed that the frustration of his incompetence of producing any good result with the Pakistani team spilled on to the media persons and they rightly boycotted the press conference. Shoaib Malik, I believe, for reasons more than one is not suitable for the post of captaincy. The assertiveness clearly likes in his captaincy as pointed out by the great Imran Khan. He is not backing himself enough, he needs to know that he is the captain of the team and the team will play and look like the way he wants to. Once you are the captain, you should forget who is the junior or who is the senior. He should take a cue or two from M.S.Dhoni's book in handling a team. Though I believe even if the Pakistanis are out of the tournament and if at all they want to change the captain(which they will, most probably), then, I don't think Misbah would be a great choice either for the same reason that he is pretty young in the international arena and giving the captaincy to him so early would not do him much good. I think an experienced campaigner like Younis Khan would make a good captain. Anyways, time would tell. Meanwhile, their ace allrounder Shahid Afridi hasn't fired at all. His golden duck against Sri Lanka in the previous game mirrored his batting performances in the past few months. It is imperative that he do something drastically miraculous in the remaining two games otherwise his time may well be up.

Pakistan's batting has looked good with Misbah, Younis Khan, Md. Yousuf and the skipper himself carrying some good form with the bat. However, it is their bowling which would be giving them. Their depleted attack against India's 'ready to rip off' any bowling attack in the world would be an interesting thing in today's match. Indian batting lineup looks a dream 20-20 batting squad and that is the way they have been playing of late. Gunning down 300 in 42 overs takes some doing. Also, with Adam Gilchrist out of the international arena, the opening combination of Gambhir and Sehwag looks easily the best in the world. Suresh Raina has been a revelation of sorts and one hopes that even if he bats with half the intensity he has been doing in Asia Cup, India may well have got a gem. But, its too early to comment, he started off with the same promise but faded somewhere in between, now the hope has been rekindled. Let's wait and watch.

If Pakistan lose this match, the whole configuration of their team may change. The Coach's term may be as well be over, the captain can be sacked, Afridi will have to make way for someone else. These are the major changes that one may expect given how fickle the decisions of PCB are. But, all these equations can be inverted if they pull off a victory against their arch rivals, and a good thumping against Bangladesh and with a stroke of luck, who knows they might be playing their final against Sri Lanka. Though, that is a bit far fetched. As of now, the Pakistan team is lying dead in dumps, nut you can never count them out. 1992 World Cup is just one of the tale of the Great Pakistani fightbacks. They are the most dangerous when they are almost dead. As a cricket fan, I want them to rise like Phoenix. Yet again.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

B for Bihari...

My small tribute to the greatest language ever. Bihari.

I’ve always wasted my time convincing people that there is no language as ‘Bihari’. Although the people of the state can be termed as Biharis, there is no language of the same name. Majority of the language spoken in the state can be loosely categorized as: Maithili, Bhojpuri, English, Hindi, Bihari English, and Bihari Hindi. Now, every state presents a distorted version of Hindi and English which is so comical that it is insightful in ways. So wide is the spectrum, that an entire language can be spawned by the colloquial usage. So in that way, Bihari(the language here) also consists of some of the most interesting and strange words that one will possible encounter.

Bahooot : This is actually a contorted version of ‘bahut’. Bahut in Hindi means plenty and is pronounced conventionally bereft of any enthusiasm between the alphabets h and t. But, Biharis extend hut to hoot to give a completely new word.

Usage: Indian Team ajkal bahooot accha khel rahi hai.
Indian Team is playing very well these days.

Thethar: It means a stubborn person. Someone who is oblivious to all the advices coming around.

Usage: Hum apne beta se tang aa chuke hain. Ek number ka thethar, baat hi nai sunta.
I’ve given up all my hopes on my son. He is very obstinate, doesn’t listen to me at all.

Hehar: It conveys the same meaning as ‘Thethar’ and thus, is a duplicate of ‘thethar’. The only difference being ‘Hehar’ is used sparsely as compared to ‘Thethar’.

Bhutlana: It means to get lost or to lose your way.

Usage: Aap humko unke ghar ka address de dijiye nai to hum naye shehar me bhutla jayenge.
Please give me his address or else I will be lost in the new town.

Konchi: It means ‘what’. It is generally used in the sense of enquiring, sometimes used with a slice of frustration.

Usage: Konchi bol rahe ho? Humko kuch bhi samajh me nai aaa raha hai.
What are you trying to say? I’m not getting anything.

Palthi Maar ke baithna: it means sitting by crossing your legs, the Punjabi counterpart of it is ‘Chaukdi maar ke baithna’.

Budbak: A stupid person is labeled as a ‘Budbak’. It is generally used with a sense of levity and is used for someone who commits silly mistakes or shows immaturity.

Usage: Arre Budbak, baat samajh me nai aata hai kya.
Stupid! Don’t you understand a thing as simple as this?

Fascination with‘s’ and ignoring the ‘sh’: Generally, the hardcore biharis are detected by this full-proof (or fool proof?) test. Though, not all biharis swap the ‘sh’ with s but most of them do it. Here the‘s’ and ‘sh’ are the Hindi’s ‘dant sa’ and ‘talabya sh’ respectively. Mostly, it is the ‘sh’ which is exchanged by‘s’ and is never the other way around.
Therefore, ‘Ashok’ is pronounced as ‘Asok’ ; ‘Shyam’ as ‘Syam’, ‘Station’ as ‘Sta-sun’. etc. Biharis also have a great grievance with the word ‘v’ so much that they have sworn never to use it and replace it with their much loved alphabet ‘b’ or ‘bh’. Thus, Vinod will become ‘Binod’ , ‘Van’ will become ‘Bhan’, ‘Available’ becomes ‘Abhay-label’ or in the most trying circumstances ‘Abhay-labool’.

Chooche: It is not the same word which you think it is. This word is very much a vegetarian word amongst the Biharis and is generally used when one is eating a particular thing without adding anything else. For, example if you are eating rice only or only having ‘rotis’, the chances are pretty ripe that a Bihari would advise:
Arre Chaval chucche kyun kha rahe ho, Dal le lo.
Why are you eating only rice, take some Dal also.

Garda: it is an adjective used when praising something/ someone. It is used both for living and non-living things. Or, sometimes it is used entirely in itself without any sentence to portray a complete emotion.

Usage I: Kya Garda shot maara hai.<>.
What a terrific shot he has hit.

Usage II: A – “ Tumko pata hai, humko Maths me 100 aaya.”
B – “ Garda!”

A- “You know I got 100 hundred in Maths.”
B- “Fabulous!”

Dhoot teri ki: it is used in moments of acute frustration when an act produces a result different from desired or when one anticipates his undoing by a certain action.

Usage: Dhoot teri ki, kitna aasan question choot gaya.
Shit! What an easy question I missed.

I know there are plenty of words that skips my mind right now. All the hardcore Biharis are invited to extend the collection.

Friday, January 18, 2008

India V Australia-Perth,Session III

After all the controversy and the series being run into bad blood, it was imperative that the good cricket erase out those memories.It has been achieved to a certain extent.Now,the action is happening on the filed not off it.Players are doing their bat and ball do the talking not their mouths.The 3rd day saw yet another good contest between bat and ball where a total of 307 runs were scored at expense of 11 wickets.Indians expected their tail to wag in the post tea session.And some wag was that! Laxman and RP Singh added 51 invaluable runs to the total which took the lead to 413, R.P. Singh being the more dominant partner scoring 30.It was also heartening to see a player like Laxman think 'out of the box'; he was guarding R.P.Singh against Lee and was quite happy to give the strike to R.P.Singh when it came to Clark and Tait. Tait, in particular has looked out of sorts in this test and Australian media should know there is a thin line between praising and lying.R.P.Singh, coupled with some streaky and some confident shots raced to 30.Although, running between the wicket was appallingly pathetic, it was also Laxman's reluctance to take a single even on the 5th ball that was hard to fathom.He even refused a two on the last ball of the over which could have him on strike.But, he and R.P.Singh added some very important runs to the total which may make these mistakes look insignificant.It was also good to see Laxman trying some shots which he doesn't normally tries.If, the technique needs to take a backseat for team's benefit, the player should do it and Laxman did just that.He fell in the same fashion, backing out to Lee edging one to glichrist as India set Australia 413 to win.
Australia came out to bat and one could sense an air of reluctance in the Indian camp.Initially,R.P.Singh sprayed the ball all over.It was understandable as he had just spent a good 2hours batting in the middle.But,as usual Irfan Pathan was right on the money and he took out the nervous debutant's wicjet and Australia were 21 for 1. Irfan Pathan was bowling really well forcing the batsmen toplay almost each and every bowl.He got one to bounce one unevenly, which took Jacques's outside edge and the ball went to Jaffer at 3rd slip.Australia were looking down the barrel with 43 for 2.Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey added 22 more to end the day at 65/2.Ricky Ponting is atill undefeated at 24 and he could hold the key to Australia's fortunes and India would rely on the services of Anil Kumble.The pitch is a bit up and down,which would particularly delight the Indian skipper.As of now, India needs 8 wickets and Australia 348 runs.History would be written either way, what remains to be seen is which side is more keen.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

India V Australia-3rd Day,Session-II

Symond's two wickets at the end has really helped Australia's cause. After Pathan's quick departure after lunch, India were struggling at 160/6.But, a solid parnership between MS Dhoni and VVS Laxman steadied the ship. Dhoni in particular looked impressive with a steady 38.He is fast improving on this tour.Although he fell against the run of play trying to sweep Symonds when the ball took the top edge, hit his shoulder to bounce abnormally high and Gilchrist dived to take a brilliant catch.Kumble departed 4 balls later to give Australia plenty to smile about before the play closed for tea.India is 363 runs ahead with two wickets in hand and until and unless Australians bowl really badly or there is a steely resolve from Laxman and Co., Australia can anticipate a total under 400 and although this kind of total is considered to be mammoth while chasing, it should be taken into consideration that any total within 400, it would be plain foolishness to put Australia out of the game. Under Steve Waugh they succesfully chased 369 against Pakistan for loss of 6 wickets.Moreover, the way in which Australians bat any 2 solid partnerships can really rip the oppostion apart.The way in which the duo of Symonds and Glichrist batted after being reduced to 5 down for 61 goes to show the way they approach the game.Although, their this fearlessness brought about their downfall in the 1st innings.HAving said that, it would be interesting to see how Laxman bats from here on now.It was clearly evident that Ponting had put all its man back and they are quite willing to give Laxman a single.Laxman looked reluctant for a single bt later gave in.Also,Laxman is not a kind of a swashbuckling player who would improvise and play a cameo of sorts.Rather,he is more from the Steve Waugh school of battling with tailenders who believes in giving the confidence and strike to tailender.Whether that would be wise or not, remains to be seen.

India V Australia-Perth,3rd Day,Session I

Realistically, the match is even steven right now. With 158/5, India have a lead of 273 and ideally India would like to add atleast 77 to their total.Having said that, Australia have shown great resolve to come back from the position they were yesterday.Only a champion team could have done that. Now,it is imperative that the likes of MS Dhoni come to the party today. MS Dhoni looks that he is kind of getting back in shape after smallish but technically correct knocks of 35 and 19.Anything less than 350 at their disposal,Australia would be licking their lips in anticipation.The post lunch promises another exciting few hours of cricket, with India trying to extend their lead and Australia would try to peg them back with excellent fielding and fantabulous bowling, not to mention the mind dettering mind games.They would also be relying heavily on Clark and Lee to deliver the goods.If, India can see them off, India can give themselves some chance in this match.Also, India should continue playing aggresively(playing the ball on its merit) because at the end of the day it is the runs amassed which counts .This match has been great so far with the fortunes swinging like pendulum and the post lunch session would be no exception.

Intro and Bullshit

Hi. I'm Tanul. I love writing, besides I'm passionate about cricket, books and movies. So, this blog is a combination of the aforementioned things. That's it, I guess. Let the blog do some of the talking.