Monday, January 31, 2011

Of Munni Madam and Monica Lewinsky..

What characters in Phas Gaye Re Obama!! Munni Madam has a fetish for statues, Dhananyjay Singh has perennial constipation or as they say bawasir who chants mantras, Bhaiya Ji has this ambition to go to Kullu and become a MLA by kidnapping who keeps tightening his pyjama strings!! there are so many laugh out moments when the English teacher comes and scolds Annie, or when Kanhaiyaa says I smell instead of I swear!! Talk is this Sirji.. English speaking no child's play :P And Munni Madam's cohorts are named Kareena, Deepika, Madhuri, Rani, Preity :D What an idea!! What dialogues - Tu apna time le lekin jaldi kar de!! or that hilarious scene where Munni Madam's girls are taking about Bill Clinton - Monica Lewinsky affair..wife bechari ghar me wait karti thi or yeh office me 20-20 ka match khelta tha.. or when Annie is explaining the role of FBI in Saddam Hussein, gatar se dhoond liya, phir check up karvaya aur suli par latka diya :D
Like the whole kidnapping business.. when the guy finally pays 25 lakhs for his father, he gets a receipt that guarantees that he will not be kidnapped again for 1 year.. It was pure black comedy but behind this lay a very strong comment on the state of our political system in rural hinterlands where kidnapping is as common as buying a vegetable.. just like the tragically comical Peepli Live..
Super super fun movie.. Worth checking out..strongly recommended.. Wish I had watched it in theatre..

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Of We are Family..

माया: रिश्तों को हमेशा बाँध कर नहीं रख सकते, कभी साथ देते हैं तो कभी नहीं..बस उन्हें निभाने का सिर्फ एक ही तरीका होता है.. प्यार॥
माया: मेरे पास उनका गुज़रा हुआ कल है और तुम्हरे पास उनके आने वाला कल है॥
Totally loved the movie We Are Family..
My love for Kareena grows every time after watching her super acting..awesome she is!! and Kajol is as usual terrific..(these dumb Katrina and others should take acting lessons from her who in the name of God are getting Best Actress and Entertainer awards for her pathetic acting in Rajneeti and for this item song??) .. totally justified the jealousy and fear in Maya's character when she thinks her kids will forget her..But I would have liked if Maya also gave something to Shreya as her necklace..she deserves so much more, she is becoming a mom to her kids and in a way foregoing her own right to be a real mother.. me likes the movie and also cried a bit as well :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

To my muse, to my whore, to my beloved...Dhobi Ghat..

There are films that when you come out of the theatre, stay in your head for a long time. Ever since I have seen Dhobi Ghat, I have been thinking of the film and must say, have added it on my favourites list. Yes, the film has flaws and certain issues but which film doesn’t. And people are not liking it which is fine. Think of it an average working class person has 2 days off and in those he is looking for something that can give him wholesome entertainment. He doesn’t want to get depressed. Take Guzaarish for example, it was not a bad film at all. It was perhaps one of the finest films last year but the problem was not that the audience did not like it but the problem was audience did not watch it in the first place thinking of the dull premise of the movie. They just didn’t come out and watch it. But I think entertainment is a very subjective thing. For me as a person, I like films that have layered characters and something hidden. So it is a subjective thing. I don’t look upon people who enjoyed Housefull or Golmaal 3, it is an individual’s choice. Perhaps, that is why I could bear Saawariya, the grim story of perpetual longing and sacrifice. Kiran Rao always said that she wants to make movies only for a certain audience and she is more looking for critical acclaim rather than commercial acclaim. She wants to tell a story that she wants the people to see and not a story that people will like to see. Perhaps that is why Aamir never promoted it much. The movie being made just in 5 crores and has recovered it already. The good thing is that there is now an audience for every kind of cinema which is a very positive thing for the industry.

Anyways, I am not writing a review, but some of the most amazing things that I saw in Dhobi Ghat.
1. The films open beautifully with Mumbai in the Monsoons shown through Yasmin’s taxi ride and she says "aaye hue to sirf 5 mahine hue gaye phir bhi sab naya sa lagta hai" to the taxi driver who is also from her home state UP, and the song dil dhadak dhadak ke keh raha hai a bhi ja.. and while she is sitting in the taxi, some kids come for alms and start dancing as soon as they see her camera, just like that scene in the brilliant Luck By Chance when Zafar Khan meets some kids on the traffic signal.
2. Yasmin’s treasure box containing her video letters to her borther Iqbal, her precious things like her chain, her surmachu..
Her video letters were an absolute delight.. there is this scene where she says “main kaisi lag rahi hun..pehle jaisn na ..abhi tak nahi badli hun” and the gradual transition she undergoes from a bubbly innocent girl to a betrayed wife shows the irony of the statement.. her eyes reflect this change beautifully..little did she realise that how terribly her life will change.
3. Remember the final scene in Wake Up Sid, when Sid wears Ayesh’s kurta as his acceptance of his love for her. I think one of the most recurring themes of the movie was our desire to be connected. We human beings are essentially loners and are looking for somebody we can connect to. Just like Arun, who has no personal life and watches Yasmin’s videos as if it's porn, wears her necklace and ring, probably to get connected to her if by wearing those he would be able to connect to her even more..or that taxi driver where he says to Yasmin that he is also from UP, or how Shai says that there was some different emotional connect with Arun, probably that is why she starts stalking him to finish some business. Another theme of the movie was the abruptness..Kiran essentially tries to show that life eventually moves on..she starts her movie in a taxi and ends it in a car, Arun shifts to a new place in the beginning and does the same at the end, Munna shifts places and starts a new life..the city of Mumbai is ruthlessly indifferent and that there is no option but to just move on with our lives..just like that old lady living next door to Arun..
4. The scene where Yasin captures her maid and her daughter.. so natural and her daughter singing The Brook by Alfred Lord Tennyson...that was perhaps one of the most poignant scenes of the movie..I came and googled for the poem.. the poem is probably a refrence to the city of Mumbai..
I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.
By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorpes, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.
Till last by Philip's farm I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.
5. When it is raining, Yasmin says “yeh bearish na ek dum lohri ki tarah hai jo sabko apni god me sula deti hai...and then she adds lekin meri bai kehti hai use bahut dikkat hoti hai..pani ko nikalne me.. baar baar ek mug se nikalna padta hai”...and when Arun is having a drink, he puts his glass in the rain to add some drops of rain in it to get a taste of rain.. I am sure all rain lovers would have loved this scene..
6. That old lady who is Arun’s neighbour..she doesn’t say anything in the entire film but says a lot through her eyes. So much pathos in her eyes. She is the silent spectator..just like Mumbai, the film’s fifth character..
7. My most favourite character was Yasmin.. the way she looks at the bangles in a shop, elephanta caves, she captures Ganesha Chaturthi..she was a pure delight..the way she writes her name in the sand before waves keep coming, the way she says.. "yeh samundar apni gehrai me sab kuch chuupa leta hai.."
8. The star of the movie according to me was Mumbai, as Kiran Rao says that Mumbai is her fifth character. The way she along with the cinematographer have captured the essence of Mumbai is sheer magic. I have been to Mumbai when I was just one year old of which I have no recollection. For the last 2-3 months, there is this craving in me to go to Mumbai..the city of dreams..the city of indifference.. the city with so many layers.. That shot when Munna is putting a water proofing sheet on his slum during the rain with 2 local trains passing by...such magic that shot.. or when Arun walks to sea after he realises that Yasmin committed suicide..what picturesque beauty..or that scene in which Aamir is walking with thousands of people in the bazaar..what amazing shot.. and when Shai says she wants to capture Munna naturally..not in studios as these look artificial..the way she captures those fisher woman, Munna in Dhobi Ghaat, local trains. I have re-fallen in love with the black and white mode..I want a camera just like her.. such terrific shots of the city..
9. The class difference that have become so entrenched in our society... like that scene when Shai’s maid serves tea differently.. a glass for Munna and a fancy mug for Shai clearly shows our hypocrisy as a society..we talk of class less society but ask our maids to sit at the floor and serve them tea in glasses befitting them.. and how Munna eventually realises that Shai and he are totally different people living in two different worlds.
10. The old world music sung by Begum Akhtar and Siddeshwari Devi reflecting the sombre mood of characters..
11. The brilliant portrait of Yasmin at the end reflecting her journey from a colourful life to her ultimate tragedy..
12. The way Munna keeps his money in the tape recorder..terrific camerawork in that scene..
13. The profession of night rat killers
14. Munna's final act of giving Arun's address to Shai..super acting in the climax by both Prateik Babbar and Monica Dogra
The only thing I did not like much was Arun played by Aamir Khan.. he looked as if he is trying too hard.. too much hamming.. too much overacting..
There were so many other scenes, I will surely watch it again just to understand the finer nuances of the film..I read a fantastic review which said that Arun's character could be seen in the way he sees Yasmin's videos..he could stop them and start them on his will..but he could not do the same for real people that is why it made him uncomfortable.. such layers in all character.. it was sheer poetry in motion that slowly grows on is a perfect tribute to city of Mumbai and as Arun says.. To my muse, my whore, my beloved...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Of Growing Up..

Few days back, I had written about how there seems to be no goal left in my life as soon as we turn adults. And today, the always-so-so-good Brunch columnist Seema Goswami writes in her weekly Spectator ( full article is here)

She writes...

I think, to some extent, that’s the problem with growing up – or even, growing older. The prospect of new beginnings begins to fade with each year, becoming more and more remote with every decade that passes you by.

I don’t mean to suggest that adults – young, middle-aged or old – cannot start over. Yes, of course we can. But without the optimism of youth to back us up, we find it much harder to take that leap of faith. It takes a certain insouciance to press alt, control, delete on the keyboard of life and start afresh. And the older we grow the less willing we are to take that risk.

That’s not to say that people don’t indulge in some sort of course correction at some point in their lives. Sometimes it comes as part of a mid-life crisis, sometimes as a wake-up call after a health scare, and sometimes it is the result of sheer boredom with the life you have been leading so far.

But no matter what you hard you try to re-invent yourself as an adult, there is no denying the fact that the older you get the more difficult it is to rid yourself of the baggage of your past.

So so true.. she always writes about things that I can totally relate to... Sigh..

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Of Profound Quote...

It has been 2-3 weeks, I have seen a further degradation of attitude of people towards me. Every one is trying to pull me down. Yes, I may not be a very good person or a worker, but what can I do? I know I am a mediocre person..but that does not mean I am dumb. I feel bad :(
I found this amazing collections of quotes from a person called Robert Brault. The following quote is perhaps one of the bestest quotes I have ever read...
In a soulmate we find not company but a completed solitude
This is just amazing..Just like Meredith was saying to Christina as I had written in the previous post about soul mates...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Spare me your judgements...Spare me your dreams..

Grey's is a treasure for some awesome lyrics..this gem I discovered on Season 7 Episode true ya :( I want to be like doctors but the best line was by Meredith..
Meredith to Christina: Derek might be the love of my life but you are still my soulmate :(
I want a soulmate too :(

Spare me your judgements and spare me your dreams,
Cause recently mine have been tearing my seams,
I sit alone in this winter clarity which clouds my mind,
Alone in the wind and the rain you left me,
It's getting dark darling, too dark to see,
And I'm on my knees, and your faith in shreds, it seems.

Corrupted by the simple sniff of riches blown,
I know you have felt much more love than you've shown,
And I'm on my knees and the water creeps to my chest.

But plant your hope with good seeds,
Don't cover yourself with thistle and weeds,
Rain down, rain down on me,
Look over your hills and be still,
The sky above us shoots to kill,
Rain down, rain down on me.

But I will hold on
I will hold on hope

I begged you to hear me, there's more than flesh and bones,
Let the dead bury their dead, they will come out in droves,
But take the spade from my hands and fill in the holes, you've made.

But plant your hope with good seeds,
Don't cover yourself with thistle and weeds,
Rain down, rain down on me

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Of No One Killed Jessica...

No One Killed Jessica is officially a hit now and has been able to break the January jinx! The film has done well at the box office. Raj Kumar Gupta of the hauntingly beautiful Aamir gives another critically as well as a commercially acclaimed film in No One Killed Jessica. So how did I like it? I liked the film a lot but I must add I was slightly disappointed after watching. I don't think it was the storyline that I was familiar with that we knew what is going to happen next but perhaps what was lacking was the emotional connect with the film that gives a film its high. There is this brilliant film called Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Maara starring Anupam Kher and Urmila Matondkar and directed by Jhanu Barua that talks about the protagonist who thinks that he killed Gandhi when he was a child using his toy gun. In the end, the film says that how we all have killed Gandhi by forgetting his values, his teachings (this film was before the cult classic Lage Raho Munnabhai, which I must add I didn't find it too convincing, was more of caricature)..

I was hoping the same for No One Killed Jessica. By its title I assumed that since no one killed her, we as a society failed her..the mockery of the judicial system that the case made was a watershed moment in contemporary political India. I thought the film would add certain of these elements that Manu Sharma might have killed her, but our system killed her spirit.

Moreover, the film was too simplistic in its portrayal of events. However, there are some stunning scenes in the film, such as the cop (the best character in the film) saying to Sabrina..har koi khata hai..kis duniya mein rehti ho tum..70 lakh liye the maine uspar haath na uthane ke or that scene where Sabrina is taking Jessica to hospital and says she is gone, or that gut wrenching scene of Jessica's mother crying or another one where Manu Sharma's parents visit the Lalls saying absolutely nothing or another one where Ram Jethmalani asks Malini Ramini what was she wearing that night or Sabrina's spontaneous laughing at Shankar in court.

I didn't like Rani's character too much. It was too caricaturing and it didn't suit her. It was like she is giving gaalis for the sake of it and trying too hard to show herself as a modern independent woman. Moreover, Sabrina is shown more as a defeatist but we know how bravely Sabrina in reality has fought this battle. I found that dialogue by Manu Sharma's mother..kuch bhi kijiye lekin mere Manu ko kuch nahi hona chahiye somewhat offensive. It was as if it is funny, it's not.

There were some hidden reference scenes as well like the one in which Jessica is travelling and on the road it is shown Caution! Men at Work referring to the manipulations of accused to destroy all evidence or another one in which Sabrina accidentally comes in front of an elephant perhaps a metaphor for the war she is fighting with the big elephants of the society. These scenes were few and I wish there were more of such insightful scenes.
But the true star of the film has been the music, the haunting background score of Aamir and the same for No One Killed Jessica shows once again that Amit Trivedi is the next big big biggg thing in Indian music. The songs Dilli Dilli, Aali Re and Aitbaar are just brilliant. Check Spelling

In spite of all the above, I will still say the film is so so much better than those mind numbingly brain dead films that we have been witnessing of late. Worth a watch!!

The next film I am dying to watch is Dhobi Ghaat. Just love its trailer.

P.S. - On Picture This, when Anupama asked Aamir about his reaction when Kiran was narrating him the script, he said that "I just kept looking at her and said to myself that I love her, how can she write so well". That is sweet no?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Of Post Partum Depression, Being Let Down, and Moving Up the Value Chain..

So, finally my project is gone. Went out yesterday night. for the last 40 days, I was all the time thinking about data on data (can we call it metadata??).. I don't know what the client thinks about it. She will let us know. Whatever! But as I went to office today, I don't know there was this weird feeling. I was almost feeling as newly-became-mothers experience sometimes a.k.a post partum depression! It felt as if I lost something very dear to me. No, I am not that obsessed about my work, it is just that after you have been thinking on a topic for so long a time, it gets ingrained into you, occupying a tiny space in the brain completely like becoming a part of the body. It didn't make me depressed, I was rather happy it went, but I could experience post-partum-mixed-feelings. My work is anyways like a delivery (deliverable) ;)

Anyways, yesterday papa who never says anything to me regarding my job, suddenly told me that I shouldn't have done engineering, instead should have become a CA. I felt terrible on listening this. It made me feel as if I failed him. He always wanted me to be someone worthy of respect in life, but when he said this, it was like I had let him down. My cousin Divya had once said that if you give happiness to your parents, you will automatically get happy. I kept thinking about it for a long time but...there is this community on facebook that says, Dad, one day I will make you proud.. I haven't joined because one should not promise what one cannot promise. I had made a resolution to be happy, so I will try to be :) Not to be sad! I have reduced the amount of cribbing especially about petty issues like cab problems, lack of time in life. What is the point to do it? Unless there are better options, all this cribbing does is spread negativity..

Meanwhile, one of India's most famous blogger Amit Verma of India Uncut writes on his blog

That’s really the great mystery about bureaucracies. Why is it so often that the best people are stuck in the middle and the people who are running things—the leaders—are the mediocrities? Because excellence isn’t usually what gets you up the greasy pole. What gets you up is a talent for maneuvering. Kissing up to the people above you, kicking down to the people below you. Pleasing your teachers, pleasing your superiors, picking a powerful mentor and riding his coattails until it’s time to stab him in the back. Jumping through hoops. Getting along by going along..

He adds
Besides this, I found that I was much more productive while working on my own than in a company environment. Maybe it’s just me, but I found that in a normal office day, I might be at work for 10 hours, but within that period I’d only actually work for a total of maybe one. The rest of the time would go surfing, faffing, idling, day-dreaming, gossiping and other such ings. When I am by myself, on the other hand, I may idle all day, but when I work, I work. It may only be for an hour, but at least I don’t waste nine more in a pretense of work, in an elaborate charade that benefits no one.
Still, that’s just me, and I speak of my experience in television (in the last millennium) and journalism (in this one), and I’m sure there are other corporate environments which are more productive. But Deresiewicz’s observation about the greasy pole, I suspect, holds true for them all. That’s the nature of the beast..

I was nodding my head all the while reading this, not that I am saying I am intelligent.. this is just so bloody true.. I wish I could think like him.. objective and to the point!!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Of Old Recyled Resolutions...

I know it's a tad late for making resolutions, but things have begun on a very gloomy and depressing note. My uncle expired 4 days back, although we weren't that close but still family is family, you feel sad when some one of your extended family parts away. I can only pray for his soul. And the fact that have been so loaded with work, was working on New Year's eve :(, things have been pretty dull in the new year.

But I have been thinking a lot about resolutions and it's never too late for resolutions, all that is required is will power and the strength to follow them. I had written one of other resolution posts in 2009 and these are almost carbon copies of each other.

1. Read, read, read and more read.. the number of books that I read last year have shocked me!! Reading is perhaps the only thing that I have inculcated and to lose such a thing would be a shame. More of Salman Rushdie, more of classics, more of philosophy, more of history..but no non fiction!!

2. Watch more movies and learn from them

3. Try to be a little more positive in life (considering the melancholy themed posts on my blog), perhaps most difficult to follow in view of my glass-half-empty outlook towards life

4. Continue with self learning of piano lessons and play at least 2 full hindi songs (have started with ajeeb dastaan hai yeh)

5. Write more and not necessarily my-life-sucks posts but more of interesting anecdotes, events, incidents to remember by..

6. As Monica had the resolution to click more photographs, I have the same (though Ross's seems more interesting to do one new thing everyday).. Photography is a brilliant way of capturing is perhaps the only way to go back in time and relive the memories that make us misty eyed.. So more photographs of people, places, poses, naturals, random, things, anything and everything..

7. Think something about the future..about the big picture..give some sense of direction to life..this should have been No.1 actually..

8. Be happy.. and enjoy the small tiny moments of happiness..

एक छोटी सी ख़ुशी की कीमत तुम क्या जानो रमेश बाबु! ईश्वर का आशीर्वाद होती है एक छोटी सी ख़ुशी॥

okok.. as Saroj Khan says in Nachleve ...नाचते रहिये, खुश रहिये, अल्लाह हाफ़िज़..

ok tata bye!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

Of Aman-Anjali-Rahul and Vanraj-Nandini-Sameer

Kal na TV par Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was of those films that reminds me of my childhood..I clearly remember Class 6 it was and in those days, I didn't go to cinema halls every week as I do now.. used to wait when cable vale bhaiya will show it on soon as he used to show his pirated version, there was discussion among gali ke bacche like hamare cable vale ne to dikha bhi di..tere vale ne nahi dikhai..

Anyways, of I watched it for I don't know like for the nth time, I think Aman's character was much superior to Rahul's. I have been fascinated by sacrificial love since long (perhaps that is why Vanraj of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam remains one of my favorite characters ever).. Talking of KKHH, Aman was the scene stealer..and just look at his character.. he knows that Anjali doesn't love him..he could see it in her he says to her at the end "maine tumhari aankhon me mere liye hamesha vo pyaar dekhna chaha jo meri aankhon me tumhare liye hai..aur aaj mujhe vo pyaar dikha..lekin mere liye nahi Rahul ke liye" .. He clearly understood that Anjali is just doing marriage for the sake of it..he even told it to Anjali's mom that he thinks that Anjali doesn't love him...but still he loved her immensely despite Anjali did or did not love him.. that is called true love..perhaps it was his love for her that he wanted to see her happy that he let go of her..

And compare Rahul's character!! He didn't even realise that Anjali is totally in love with him, even Tina could make out but how could he not?? And then he says.. hum pyaar ek baar karte hain, aur shaadi bhi ek baar karte hain.. then why did he marry Anjali if Tina was his first love? And not once did he say to Anjali to that he loved her..even at the end he just tells how he feel about her by using dumb charades of I-love-you and that when he sees Anjali fully dressed as a bride..Yes, perhaps he didn't realize that he was in love with her.. He coud not understand Anjali while Aman did, therfore wasn't he a superior character than Rahul..isn't love about understanding?

Rahul may have got Anjali but for me Aman came out the winner.. and in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Vanraj rightly came out the winner as Nandini says to Sameer..tumne mujhe pyar karna sikhaya lekin pyar nibhana maine Vanraj se seekha hai.. that is why she leaves Sameer and comes back to Vanraj..

But I still loved both the films.. movies are magic. 

More later