Saturday, April 16, 2011
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
When Mr. Amitabh Bachchan tweeted about Mr. Javed Akhtar presenting a slum-shaped cake to his wife Ms. Shabana Azami, I was reminded of this famous quote of last french queen Marie Antoniette.
The apathy of this thoughtless action struck me as being too crude from somebody like Javed Akhtar for whom I have a huge respect otherwise (see here and here). Parading around pain of coutless, homeless urban poor of India as a personal jest to his social activist wife was ill-done in my opinion.
Irony of gorging down dellings of poor was apparently lost on everyone including Mr. Javed Akhtar, the socialist.
The guardian calls this poverty porn (The link has a photograph of the cake as well). I can't agree more!
Saturday, December 26, 2009
I don't know what is our obsession with vindication!
I mean granted, it is a very good movie. Great comedy, fair share of emotions, good dialogues and character development. What's more, you also deliver the message you have set out to do in the first place. But after doing everything well, you have to go and screw it all up.
Whoa.. I have rambled too far without putting a bit of context to it. I am talking about the movie - "Three Idiots". A movie in which even Kareena puts in a good performance is marred (at least to me) in trying too hard to show that the Protagonist is the winner.
Having a school full of children who learn by his methods of thinking, striking blue lakes and pale brown mountains - now that could be more than enough achievement for the lead character. He does not need to be Phunsukh-Wangdu-the-scentist-that-Japanese-are-looking-for.
While Chatur seeks (and needs) acknowledgment from Rancho, Rancho is too self-satisfied to be wanting to be a big-honcho in the game that Chatur is playing. To a Rancho, Chaturs don't matter. While Aamir's attitude on the screen shows just that, the director still probably needed that last stroke to make audience feel high as they leave the theatres.
और मजबूरी का नाम तो आप जानते ही हो! ;)
The point is... Wait a minute... I swear, I had a point when I started writing this।
Leave it। It's a great laugh. Watch it. Have fun.
Friday, February 06, 2009
devdas - the non-hero
92 years later. After tens of adaptations on the screen. The magic of Devdas-the story still draws Indian directors, actors and audiences alike. Umpteen number of times, I have claimed to be a huge fan of Saratchandra Chattopadhyay. This widely translated and wildly famous novella - Devdas has been my favorite among all his work I have read.
Devdas-of Saratchandra- is a pathetic loser. He can't stand up for his love. After his biggest mistake in life (of letting Paro walk out of his life), instead of redeeming himself he indulges in self-distruction. He does not face reality, he runs away from it. He hides behind his inebriated self. When you think the abomination is at its zenith, Devdas drops further. He loathes touch of Chandramukhi, who is the only reason he hasn't died of starvation and ill-health. He dies of his vices and illnesses on the doorstep of Paro. To culminate the loser in him, he is not able to keep his promise of meeting Paro once before his death.
And he is our hero. For lots and lots of Indians, Devdas is a story that invokes immediate empathy. In a nation full of inhibitions, tradiations, hierarchies and interjections, a dillusioned youth provides the perfect role-model. Suppressing one's wishes and submitting to the collective decisions based on various bourguise justifcations is a standard state of affairs even today.
And so the Devdas lives.
The reason for this blog originally was to publish it on the eve of release of DevD. But thanks to my old ally procrastination, it is too late. Now that I have seen the movie, will close out the post with a brief review of Dev D.
A good watch. Abhay Deol pulls off another wonderful performance in that unassuming way of his. Mahi Gill is easy on eyes. Kalki isn't. Awesome songs.
That being said, the movie in my view, does not capture the spirit of Dev D. While I can stomach jealousy being the reason of split between Paro and Dev; I can also tolerate Kalki attempting to recreate the magic of pathetic one-sided love (that has been so wonderfully done by Rekha in Muqaddar ka Sikandar and Madhuri in otherwise totally forgettable Bhansali's Devdas) what I can not take is the redemption.
Devdas the character has a poetic beauty in being beyond redemption. Devdas is a loser by choice. He abdicates the beauty of what is just to get an inebriated glimpse at what could have been. It not so much that he can not redeem himself, it is that he has nothing to redeem himself for. Chandramukhi might be beautiful, wealthy and madly in love but she has one fault that Dev can not overlook. She is not Paro.
That pain of knowing and that hope of forgetting drives Devdas to destruction. That destruction is his destiny. And I would not have it any other way.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Who would know this better than our adored prince, the Prince of Kolkatta.
If he has courted someone outside his much publicized marriage, it would be the ‘controversy’ herself. From the said marriage to Gilchrist’s recent publicity stunt for his book, Dada has been in the eye of the storm. Love him, hate him, there is no way you can ignore him.
Since he first waltzed down to the cricketing ground, the southpaw has changed the Indian cricket forever. Indian teams cowered against bullying of ill-mannered aggression of other teams. Saurav responded to this in kind and paid back with interest. Dada brought in the killer instinct that everyone lamented India lacked.
Saurav the player was paled in comparison with Saurav the captain. He was the motivating force behind India’s some of the most unbelievable wins. He backed the players he believed in. As a captain, he nurtured talents of likes of Sehwag, Yuvraj and Bhajji.
He played only offside once. He conquers onside later. Those wonderful offside strokes become his Achilles’ heel. He conquers the offside again. He can’t handle swings. But he partners with Sachin to give India an opening pair that would break all the records. When Indian lineup crumbles like nine-pins during formidable second innings chases, time and again Dada stands tall and defies opposition bowling attack. “Waltzing down the track” term was coined in cricket commentary only to celebrate Dada’s exploits on the pitch.
If Saurav went to Hogwarts the sorting hat wouldn’t have to wait a minute before deciding. No options to be given. He would be a true-blue Gryffindor. Heart on sleeve, courage touching skies in worst of the times.
Aggressive to the core. Blood never ran in his veins, it raged. Dada swinging his t-shirt at winning the NatWest series is a scene Indian fans will never forget.
His cricketing career was once burnt down by a poor form and BCCI politics. But the Saurav ‘Phoenix’ Ganguly that rose out of those ashes was all the more formidable, more consistent and more of himself.
Now it’s the time for curtains to fall. The prince bowing out one last time from the stage of international cricket. The stage will never be the same again.
How fascinating it would be to peek in to a diary of a young girl? How painful it would be if the said diary happened to be written during the time of Second World War? And oh, by the way the girl is not a Jew. And to top it all up, the narrator is a presence that has haunted all the life-forms ever since the life started – the Death. All stories about WW2 are stories of death, but this one is narrated by the Death himself (now I don’t suppose feminists would insist that here also I add “or herself”).
Too much beating around the bush (or should I say Obama now?). The title is “The Book thief”.
And what a book it is. A painting of vibrant colors of innocence and adolescence on dark background full of hatred, bigotry and violence. The novel is definitely not first of its kind nor it is singular in terms of the emotions it conveys. But I somehow am able to identify with the protagonist because I also steal for my love of words and books. Though I have as yet not resorted to stealing books, I steal time. And I understand that unyielding force that makes you resort to stealing, though the motivations of the protagonists might not have been the same thorughout the book.
The book captures the humour in death and tragedy of life. It portrays thieves who love and rulers who hate. It has mud-splattered atletes and broken musical instruments.
The book reeks of death, smells of life and talks about a girl that has survived both.
Read it. It's worth it.
Incident dates back to some 7-8 years. I am lying in the bed so thirsty it hurts my throat. I try to summon the will to stand up, but the legs that aren’t there are not going to follow your wish. I curse myself for forgetting where I have kept my crutches. I am on the verge of calling out to the roomie to bring me a glass of water when the sudden shock strikes me. I remember that I can walk. It was the protagonist of the novel I just finished who couldn’t.
Even after such a long time reminder of that incident gives me goose-bumps. Was it the skill of the novelist? Was it my involvement in the book? Or does it have something to do with my misplaced priorities in life?
If I look in the rear view mirror, my life has been like a long series of case studies of fictitious characters rather than an experiment in itself. It is a hard confession to put on paper and I am fighting a strong urge to delete last some sentences. It basically challenges my way of life.
I think that most people treat life like it’s a racing track. Most thinkers talk about achieving something (spiritual, material, emotional whatever that something maybe) at the end of the life. As if life in itself is just a mean to achieve that end. I believe the life is the end in itself. To me, it’s not about reaching any end, winning the 1st or 4,558,495th prize. It’s about enjoying the morning breeze, relishing the punishing sun of the afternoon and welcoming the dusk with one favorite song or five.
There might not be much coherence to whatever I have said till now, but I promise it sounded so coherent in my mind.
Now that the traffic jam is over and the car is moving, I will stop. There’s a wonderful song being played on the radio and that needs more attention than my analysis of life.
Preface for the next three posts
I am nothing if not a procrastinator. Some of the posts have been lying dormant for ages now in my word processor (MS Word of course).
Putting them up one by one now. The one about Saurav Ganguly's departure from the international cricket was written during his last test. For other posts, timing really does not matter.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
A bit of South flavor (which is to be expected) in limitless incomprehensible futile violence. A hero that can fight with aplomb after being stabbed in chest. And of-course whatz-her-face Asin.
But the problem is that you have already seen "Memento"! And unlike the protagonists in both the movies, you do remember beyond 15 min. BTW this 15 min is more of an indicative figure and treates as such in Memento whereas in Ghajini, the villain keeps emphasizing on 15 min only memory, lest audience might forget that he mentioned it some half an hour before.
In one-on-one comparison Memento is a classic, Ghajini is a superhit; Memento is about forgetting Ghajini is about remembering; Memento is a thrilling chase, Ghajini is a forgone conclusion; Memento shocks with the end, Ghajini shocks by breaking all the box office records. Memento is subtle in its depiction of protagonist's love and agony, Ghajini needless to say is over loud on that front; in Memento the protagonists is incorrigible, in Ghajini the protagonist is infallible.
In short, Ghajini is an out-an-out Bollywood recipe masala flick whereas Memento is a master-piece.
Though humour, Amir and Asin make the movie watchable, we could have so done without the Villain. Go watch it if you don't have a life, the movie is for you.
My rating - 2/10
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
To overexert a cliche "History repeats itself". And it really does for the people who don't learn from it the first time around. Some 51 years ago, this country failed an exam of History and it tore up the geography. No. Not the geography textbook. We tore up the geography of the country.
Over the last few years we failed exams of Social Sciences and this time we might end up with torn up Moral Sciences at the end of it all.
It is distressing to see how religions become bandwagons for all crooks thirsty for blood of "the others". VHP, Bajrang Dal, SIMI, IM, Al Qaida each one of these organizations have been able to motivate people to either burn "others" alive or bomb "others" for the confoundingly vague purposes.
When I was a kid, if I had to go somewhere alone in the dark I would shiver with fear. So mother would suggest, remember the name of a god and you shall fear no more. Now when I am walking among the crowds and by accident I remember gods, and the fear returns to me. The mortal fear not of ghosts or ghastly animals who might be lurking in the shadows of my imagination, but of some of the foulest creature in my own race.
PS - This entry was written before the lemantable 26/11 episode and does not consider Indo-Pak relations as a dimension.