Sunday, November 17, 2013

Of Madras Cafe, 3-D, Sachin, Manny, Taal, Seattle, My Person and Elections...

I really want to write on many topics but I do not know how to put it in words. It is as if I have lost all my words. I had a list of ten things in mind but there is a literal procrastination that is holding me back because I think I might not be able to fully express myself as to what I am trying to say. 
  • I just finished watching Madras Cafe. Excellent film by Shoojit Sircar of Vicky Donor fame. Like Vicky Donor, the film is produced by John Abraham and has dialogues by Juhi Chaturvedi. Even some of the cast members are from Vicky Donor. For political junkies like me, Madras Cafe is a fantastic watch. It traces the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. The screenplay is terrific. Despite knowing the end, it manages to keep you engrossed and not even once did I feel bored. Political thriller is a rarity in Indian cinema and Madras Cafe is one of the best films to come out of this genre. Cinematography is splendid especially the scenic locales of Jaffna. Also, learnt some details on the LTTE and the political environment of that time. What thrilled me the most was that it is probably one of the very few films that showed the interior of a R&AW office. Typically, in movies, we see detectives and agents from spy agencies. In Madras Cafe, they actually show the R&AW office. The last time something new like this was shown in Saat Khoon Maaf where Vishal Bharadwaj showed a forensic lab. Quizmaster Siddharth Basu and TV journalist Dibang also act in the film. It is one of the best movies this year and it is a must watch. Madras Cafe is probably the third film this year that refers to Aashiqui in it. Earlier this year, Aashiqui 2 and Raanjhanaa had a small reference to the old Aashiqui. Also, at one point in the scene, there are three films, which I have never heard of, that are shown. Two of them are spoofs of popular films :) One says G.P. Sippy's Shaam, a reference to Shaan. And there is a poster of a film called Ajab with an Amitabh like face, most probably referring to Ajooba.

Chacha ki Jaan 

Ajab - Ajooba and Mera Naam Ram - ?

G.P. Sippy's Shaam - Shaan

The British Constitution Now by Ferdinand Mount


  • This week on The Front Row, Imran Khan on being asked on a film that he thinks is highly over-rated, he replies Avatar. He says he hates 3-D and he actively avoids watching a movies in 3D. Finally, found someone like me. I hate 3-D. I cannot watch the background and it gives me a headache. It leads to spectacular effects, no doubt, but given my lack of technical appreciation skills, I prefer 2-D over 3-D any day. Do check out the full show also for Imtiaz Ali's shooting of Highway and why film making is such a fantastic experience.

  • Sachin retired finally. I have never been a sports fan. The only sport I understand is tennis. But Sachin and Dravid are two of my favorite players. Sachin's speech was just perfect, like that of a champion. And after he gave the speech, he went and kissed the pitch. Beautiful moments that you get to see once in your life time. The last time when something like this made me weep was when Yashji died. Yesterday, as I watched Sachin's speech, I wept again as if a part of my childhood died, as if time is running out for me as well. In a country so devoid of real heroes, Sachin was a superhero.

    Tunku Varadrajan wrote an excellent piece in New York Times on Sachin. Where the Gods Live On ... and On

    In a land of chronic inefficiency, he was remorselessly efficient; in a land with a global inferiority complex, he was the best in the world; in a land where public figures are strutting peacocks, he was often a picture of painful humility; in a land that thirsts for self-respect, Sachin spelled pride.

    Mr. Tendulkar, whom everyone calls Sachin, is the most revered cricketer in India; in fact, it would be entirely accurate to describe him as the most revered contemporary Indian, or even, with only a pinch of hyperbole, the most revered Indian since Mahatma Gandhi held the nation in thrall. Suspend your disbelief and think of him as a cross between Babe Ruth and Martin Luther King.


  • In Modern Family, Manny says, it is just the stuff you are good at, does not make you popular. Manny is a complete misfit. He tries many things but  he is good at only those which other people will call weird for his age. Like he is excellent at making cakes, or writing erotic poetry, or trading stocks. But what he said is very true. I also feel the same and identify with him in many ways. Modern Family is simply awesome. It is one of the funniest TV shows and every time I watch it, I laugh so many times. All the characters including Lily are simply outstanding.

    Another great Manny quote,

    What qualifies someone as a hero? Obviously, a hero has to be someone we respect, a person we look up to. A person who is generous of spirit. Who is willing to grow and learn. Maybe it's the person you love most in the world, or the one who makes the most out of life, no matter what anyone thinks. For me, though, the hero in my family IS my family because of who we are together. 

Just the stuff you are good at, does not make you popular.
  • I found out that YouTube has an excellent collection of Hindi films. Most of them are free and legal. There are some films that I have been eagerly wanting to see for years and found it on YouTube with an excellent print. I just cannot watch a bad print movie. Here is the link. I just keep on browsing the collection of films and it makes me wonder that there are so many things to see and so little time. YouTube is awesome. While browsing, I started watching parts of Taal. I love that film. The best thing was that even after so many years, the movie felt so contemporary and so fresh. Kahin Aag Lage Lag Jaaye is my favorite song from the album and I can watch the song many number of times. Excellent choreography in that song. A lanky Shahid Kapoor also appears in the song! I have to write a full review of it sometime on why I love this movie so much.

           The completely legal print of Taal is also there.

Shahid Kapoor

  • Derek: Seattle has ferry boats.
    Meredith: Yes.
    Derek: I didn't know that. I've been living here six weeks. I didn't know there were ferry boats.
    Meredith: Seattle is surrounded by water on three sides.
    Derek: And has the ferry boats. Now I have to like it here. I wasn't planning it on liking it here. I'm from New York. I'm genetically engineered to dislike everywhere except Manhattan. I have a thing for ferry boats.
    Meredith: I'm not going out with you
    Last week, I had to go to Seattle and this time, I made sure I visited some other places. Since Derek is fascinated with ferry boats, and I got a free Seattle city pass, I made sure I went there. Yes, ferry boats are very fascinating. Beautiful. I was there for three days and food is a big problem as a vegetarian. There is nothing filling that I was able to eat. The third day, I found a Subway. I used to hate Subway but now it is like a relief to find one. How many days can one eat Pizza continuously? The hotel I stayed had a toilet that is bigger than my entire apartment here. I slept on a bed after like so long. I do not have a bed here. I sleep on a futon. Comfort costs money and that is why Siddharth in his letter wrote,

    If someone tells you money is not important you must appreciate that they’re talking absolute bullshit. You will also read a heartwarming account of a burnt-out banker now living carefree out of a trailer, old newspaper doubling as toilet paper. I will be very angry with you both if you turn into someone who uses newspaper as toilet paper. In fact, I will disown you. After love and good health, money is your most important charge. It will allow you to suffer in a climate of comparative comfort (you will better absorb the lessons of your suffering instead of being struck dumb by pain). And you will make a greater lover with bucks in your bank (and boys, give gifts – gifts of thought, deed, the odd diamond – generosity is the sexiest quality a man can have).

    The things we have do to survive. Else, I could really do what I really want to do :(

    And as Meredith says,
    So there is this bird, some sort of swallow I think. Every September thousand of them ditch rainy Seattle to winter in Mexico. These birds aren't dumb. And every year crowds of people gather around to drink beer and watch the flocks take off. They call it the Great Migration.
    I went to Ferry Tour, the Aquarium and the Pike's Place Market.

Ferris Wheel

Seattle Aquarium

Downtown Seattle

View From Ferry

Space Needle

Ferry Ride

Downtown Seattle

Ships at the Port of Seattle

Mountains and Sea

Fall Trees
  • Talking of Seattle, there is big fight going on between Meredith and Cristina in Grey's Anatomy. This is Cristina's last season and the story is progressing towards it. Cristina is probably going to go somewhere else. You're my person. You will always be my person. Who will be their person, now? :(

You'll always be my person. 
  • It is the election time in Delhi. I am completely missing all the drama. My favorite part is when elections come and there is so much political analysis to be read. Next year are the general elections. So exciting. The one thing that I terribly miss here is reading my HT. I know it is available online but the feeling of reading a hard copy is different. During election time, HT carries excellent stuff. Twitter makes sure that I do not miss out any latest analysis though. By last trends that I read, Delhi is going to the BJP, Congress might retain Rajasthan and Mizoram, and MP and Chattisgarh are very close calls. We will find out soon. But I hope AAP loses. They just have no idea of economic issues and they admit that they do not know anything about it - how can they run the government then? No concrete proposals. With their left wing ideas and even more obnoxious janlokpal, policy paralysis is bound to come. With megalomaniacs like Raghu and Rajiv, AAP is only a party for people like them. Arvind Kejriwal talks so much of corruption - he was transferred not even once when he was an IAS officer - how is that possible if you do not leverage your political connections? He also went to Digvijay Singh as he wanted to become Chief Information Commissioner but they refused, so he started this whole thing. Just  read his views on Batla House encounter and the meeting with the maulana who issued a fatwa for Taslima Nasreen and he calls himself different!
  • Also, saw parts of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Just like Zoya's first film Luck By Chance, I found a very surprising detail in many of the scenes in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara as well this time. I need to watch it completely to make sure if it is a common theme throughout the film. Zoya is a brilliant film maker.
  • Many more things to write. Maybe in a few days. 

Dialogue of the Day:

Har kisi ka apna sach hota hai. 

– Madras Cafe

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