Thursday, February 26, 2009

War has no victors :(


The picture is of a Palestinian father and son lying on a mattress after their home was made into a piece of rubble by the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza Strip last month. It made me really really sad :(
Courtesy: HT

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What a senseless post is this?

I remember a line from Pulp Fiction when Bruce Willis says,“I am an American, our names don’t mean anything!" Can the same be said about Indians, absolutely not! We people give special emphasis on names of not only the people but also anything of significant importance. The Bard said, “What’s in a name”? Everything if we can say so!

The recent controversy over the inclusion of the word barber in the SRK’s Billu Barber seemed ridiculous but its not the first time such a film has mired in controversy. Bombay has been called Mumbai, don’t know why when Bombay sounds so cosmopolitan. Bangalore is now Bengaluru. Why why? When Bangalore is so cool .

I have always heard the names of Indians from the Ramayana, the Mahabharta or some other religious epic.Names like Kaushalya, Sumitra, Urmila, Rama, Lakshman and so on are very common. But the one name that I have never heard of a living person is Kakayi. Yes, the much hated woman who was responsible to send Lord Rama to exile. But personally speaking, I have always had an issue with her treatment. She was not a bad person per se .Yes, she sent Rama to exile but she did for her own son Bharata. Look at people how atrocious they are today! Moreover, she did this as she was brain washed by Manthra, her servant. Haven’t other people in history made mistakes? Yudhisthira is always remembered as someone who follows the right path? But he gambled his own wife in a game of dice? Is that acceptable? But we are highly superstitious people so we will never name one of us as Kakayi.

In F.R.I.E.N.D.S., Phoebe wanted her name changed to Princess Consuella Bananahammock, which actually means a speedo!!!In order to show the stupidity of her act, Mike changed his to Crapbag. Michelle Obama thought that her husband’s name is funny, Barack Hussein Obama. Have you heard the chidren’s name there? Nicole Kidman’s daughter is named Sunday Rose, Angelina Jolie's twins are named Knox Léon and Vivienne Marcheline. What do they mean?

But,I too have a fascination with good names . A friend of mine, whose name is Karyl is one the most beautiful names I know,which means the first leaf of a plant. Another friend’s name Kshitij, which means the horizon is also beautiful. A good name sparks a distinct aura. When we haven’t met a person, we make first impressions about a person from the name. A surname like Oberoi or Malhotra just adds you the next billionaire’s list. I find my name just okayish.Not great but I dont want to change it.
I don't know why I am writing this senseless post. Hopefully, next one would be better :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dev D


Dev D!

Hail Anurag Kashyap! One of the most radical films of the Hindi film industry. It was so different, it is almost hard to believe that this is an Indian film. As the name suggests, its a contemporary view on the Sarat Chandra Chatterjee's tragic hero Devdas.

This was one film where the response of the critics has been so varied. Sample this-

Taran Adarsh *
Rajeev Masand**
Anupama Chopra**1/2
Indiatimes***
Khaled Mohammad****
Raja Sen****
Nikhat Kazmi*****
Well, my rating?
Pankaj Sachdeva :P ****

Since the movie was so different, I would not write the usual bland review of mine.

Abhay Deol(Dev) *****

Mahi Gill (Paro), excellent*****

Kalki Koechlin(Chanda)***

Music by Amit Trivedi *****, brilliant. Just listen Pardesi, Emotional Atyachaar, Dhol Yaara Dhol, Nayan Tarse!
Cinematography by Rajeev Rai ***** especially the Delhi shots in neon lights.

Screenplay ***

Editing**, second half drags at places and it could have been more crisp, the only thing that acted as a spoiler.

Dialogues***

The dialogues are blunt, too straight forward (which some people may find offensive), into your face, the language is the common language which the youth of today would understand.Sample- " आप ने अभी तक उसकी ली नही ?"

There were references to Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas like Chanda watching Maar Daala song and a poster of Shah Rukh as Devdas was shown near the place where Chunni takes Dev.People say that Kashyap is mocking at Bhansali's Devdas. Well, I don't know, maybe it might be his intention but I believe that a film is a director's vision and his interpretation of the subject , Bhansali might believe in grandeur and spectacle while Kashyap has its own contemporary take on the subject. Like Bhansali made Chanda and Paro dance together!!! and Kashyap makes Chunni a pimp!!

Since the last few years, many bold films like Murder have been coming which is nothing but a euphemism for the explicit sexual content in them but Dev D has no sex scenes rather it is the sexual undercurrents that are so bold and completely new. Like Paro's openness about her sexual desires, she takes a gadda to the fields riding on a bicycle! This is the new woman. Lenny having a boyfriend much older than her age while still in school!

Good films are those that treat audiences as sensible people so that the viewers can discern the director's idea and those films which give attention to the minutest detail. Like there was this scene in which Chunni asks Dev 'कोई बीमारी तो नही है?', obviously making references to HIV, but not giving a lecture on it. Or another one like Chanda and Paro meeting for the first time on a train just for a fleeting second, as it happens in original Devdas.At the risk of sounding a pervert, I would point another scene. In the bus, when Dev is sitting with Rasika, the camera focuses on the ladies seat where महिलाये is written, the म is scratched off.

The song Pardesi, beautifully picturised on the Twilight Brothers though I could not understand their significance in some scenes.Music is another star of the film, the songs take the story forward. I read someone's blog he had beautifully explained the entire film as a musical. His blog link is blessed-curse.blogspot.com .

I loved the scene, where Dev puts his face in water and the camera captures this and he stares at us and the water pool starts becoming red.And the scene, where Dev sitting in a bath tub and says that he has never seen Paro.When Chanda says, half the country saw the clip and they call me a slut. It is actually very true and the DPS MMS scandal and BMW cases nicely woven in the script.

I mean how could anyone think so differently.Its a great effort. It is truly the coming of age of the Indian cinema.The film surprises and shocks. Watch it for its sheer audacity.Eagerly waiting for Kashyap's next Gulaal.

P.S.- Could you tell me the books Chanda was reading? I could only see one clearly called Contempt, there were two more, want to know their names!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Child is the father of the child, no pun intended


Well, I am shocked, actually to say shock would be an understatement. The Sun reports that a 13 year old boy Alfie Patten in Britain has become a father of a girl named Maisie who was conceived after Chantelle, 15 and Alfie - just 12 at the time - had a single night of unprotected sex.They found out about the baby when Chantelle was 12 weeks pregnant. But they kept it a secret until six weeks later when Chantelle’s mum Penny became suspicious about her weight gain and confronted her. Alfie said,“I thought it would be good to have a baby.I didn’t think about how we would afford it. I don’t really get pocket money. My dad sometimes gives me £10.” This issue has understandably created a huge uproar in Britain. I mean how naive these kids are? To bring up a child is no easy task. I don't understand who to blame for this, after all they are themselves kids. This incident raises some serious questions about ethics and values that have to be inculcated in kids of this generation. Yes, it is their life and are free to do whatever they want, but please you have to be a sensible adult to take an enormous decision of such consequences.Its somebody else's life they are putting at stake. Did they think how are they going to bring her up, who and more importantly how will they pay for her upbringing? And to feel no shame or embarrassment for their actions and moreover selling this story to a tabloid! There has been an alarming increase in teenage pregnancies in the past few years and some very famous ones include Sarah Palin's daughter and Britney Spears' younger sister. And that too in countries where Sex Education is taught! But at the end of the day, you do feel sorry for Alfie and Chantelle and what should be done is to support them in all possible ways.

On second thoughts, when I think more of this, I mean this incident could spark an outrage in UK but looking at our own country where girls are married at such tender ages of 9,10, it presents a sad picture of our society.Child marriages are openly practised in our country and no one even cares. The show Balika Vadhu which at this moment is the number 1 serial in the country is about child marriage. Thousands of girls are married and are forced to have children and and the maternal mortality rate is the highest among them. There was this huge controversy a few months ago where it was argued that should sex education be imparted to children, of course it should be but what is urgently required is education and sensitising the adults especially the oldies who think too much of themselves about the consequences of living and following archaic customs and beliefs. Then only we can call ourselves a truly developed country. Hope too see a better India during my lifetime:)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Luck By Chance



Luck by Chance is one of the few films that have been so intelligently made that it simply makes you fall in love with it at the first shot. Well, after reading so many reviews about the film, I couldn't wait for it and watched it and I loved it. Luck By Chance is the story of two struggling actors Sona (Konkana Sen Sharma) and Vikram (Farhan Akhtar). While Vikram gets a big break in a Romi Rolly (Rishi Kapoor) film after Zafar Khan (Hrithik Roshan) backs out and he becomes a big star, Konkana remains what she was, a B-Grade actress.Both of them make compromises to get whatever they want though not morally correct.The beauty about the film was that it was not preachy and makes subtle comments that there are no free lunches, everyone works for himself and luck does play an important part in our lives. While we have seen Madhur Bhandarkar's realistic cinema, this film by far has been the most accurate and believable portrayal of our Hindi film industry, how things work, how difficult it is for a new comer to be in a film. Zoya Akhtar's story and screenplay are absolutely brilliant as Rajeev Masand says that it needs a repeat viewing to understand its finer nuances. Music though is a bit of a let down, though I loved Yeh hai Zindagi and the background score. Baware looks colourful. And, and the performances, well I could find no flaws at all here. Konkana is brilliant as always, she is a terrific actress. Dimple Kapadia is stunning (watch her in that scene where she says how she was abused), Farhan is good but Rishi Kapoor as the producer steals the show. Juhi Chawla, Sanjay kapoor, Isha Sharvani, Aly Khan deliver commendable performances, even the minutest of role of Lakshmi (Sona's friend) and Abhi (Vikram's friend) are good.Dialogues from Javed Akhtar are superb (Crocodile in a shiffon saree!!)

The film has a lot of cameos from various big stars - Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bacchan, Ranbir Kapoor, John Abraham, Karan Johar, Vivek Oberoi, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukherjee, Akhshay Khanna, Anurag Kashyap and Manish Malhotra.

There were so many great scenes though I am writing a few of them here, the list however, is not exhaustive though!

1. Anurag Kashyap as the writer of Dil Ki Aag where he says murder kar dete hain when Niki is not able to say khoon :D

2. Shah Rukh when he says to Vikram that only friends who know you before your success matter and Karan Johar when he explains how does a new comer get a role.

3. Hrithik and the street children, beautiful camera work showing two sides of the divide.

4. Rishi Kapoor when he breaks down after Zafar refuses to do his film.

5. Vikram when he first meets Neena (Dimple Kapadia) at a party.

6. Konkana in the climax.

7.Yeh hai Zindagi where people from the chaiwallahs, tailors, watchmen, painters, spot boys, make up artistes, helpers whose contribution is never recognised.

Thank God that we still have people like the Akhtars- Zoya, Farhan and Javed who actually know to make a film. It has average box office collections but when terrible films like Ghajini make 200 crores, it is a bit disappointing though that audiences are still not ready for some good quality cinema. But great work Zoya! Anurag Kashyap in his blog calls it the best debut film in the last 10 years, though I will still give that to Dil Chahta Hai. Watch and watch it again. ****1/2.

P.S.-Though I do not understand the exquisite details of film making, these are my views and you may disagree but still who cares, I loved it :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Children Of God: Nick Vujicic



Today, I saw this picture of Nick Vujicic in HT and I was shocked. I then googled about him and reading about him made me so disturbed.He is limbless, has missing both arms at shoulder level, and having one small foot with two toes protruding from his left thigh. But still, he lives his life better than most of us.Nick is a hero, he is a great great man. I mean can you imagine what kind of difficulties he would face every day, in fact every single moment, to do even the smallest of things. We all crib about our own messy life and keep complaining all the time about our lack of perfect bodies and what not. But after seeing and reading about Nick, I just thank God for giving so many things in life. Nick earlier in his life contemplated committing suicide but after he came to know of people suffering with disabilities, realised that the he is not the only one who struggles.He then went to complete College and graduated in Accounts and Financial Planning. He has started an organisation called LIFE WITHOUT LIMBS for specially-abled people and gives motivational speeches to people. We all have read about Helen Keller and her story "They see with their Fingertips". She had said that you realise the value of sight when you are blind. And most of us, do take our senses for granted. I again thank God for making us whatever he has made. I pray to God to give strength to people like Nick who face difficulties every second of their life. Children of God.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Boys Do Cry :(

Did you see Australian Open 2009 yesterday? The tennis was a treat to watch but Roger Federer lost to Rafael Nadal again after their first meeting in a Slam final since the Wimbledon's epic classic last year. Roger was in tears and he brokedown after the match. He couldn't even speak a few words. Nadal has cost him 3 Grand Slams making that 14th Grand Slam for Federer to reach Pete Sampras' record so elusive. Though Roger cries even when he wins,but the sight of his head down and crying was so overwhelming.Even hardcore Nadal fans would have been moved at that moment.When Roger cried, the world cried with him, even I did :(
As reporter Eleanor Preston rightly puts it, “He cried, and it was hard not to cry with him. The sight of Roger Federer’s lower lip trembling would have been enough to start most soft-hearted observers off, but by the time his tears started flowing, a far proportion of the 15,000 at Rod Laver Arena and the millions watching around the world were probably reaching for the tissues too. If that had not done the trick, then the sight of Rafael Nadal, his conqueror, putting his arm around him in friendly consolation, would have set off a worldwide outbreak of sniffles. Australia, perhaps more than any other nation on earth, values mateship, and you will not better embodiment of that than the sight of one great champion comforting another.”
There are very few people whom I genuinely idolise and Federer is one of them, though I cannot even hold a racquet properly. Federer is the greatest player of all time. Federer has given evrything to tennis.Well, as for Nadal, he is a machine, he just gets better and better everytime he plays. Nadal stands in his path.

As Roger Federer puts his defeat in his own words, “You can’t go through your whole life as a tennis player taking every victory that’s out there. You’ve got to live with those, you know. But they hurt even more so if you’re that close, like at Wimbledon or like here at the Australian Open. So that’s what’s tough about it.In the first moment you’re disappointed, you’re shocked, you’re sad, you know, then all of a sudden it overwhelms you.The problem is you can’t go in the locker room and just take it easy and take a cold shower. You can’t. You know, you’re stuck out there. It’s the worst feeling. It’s rough.”

Nadal said,"Rog, sorry for today,I really know how you feel right now. Remember that you are a great champion and you are one of the best in history and you will beat Pete Sampras’ 14 titles for sure.”
Awwww :(
Come on Federer, Great champions don't cry. Just get Rafa out of your mind. Your fans are with you. All the best.