Sunday, September 25, 2011

Of Talent-less Me...

Ok.. my sabbatical ends tomorrow.. I am feeling so so depressed..ab phir se itni lambi chhuti nahi is 25 days since office and still I don't feel like going to office..koi zindagi bhar muft ki roti kyun nahi de sakta :{

I had planned to do N number of things during these holidays but about N/2 have been done..Somewhat better than my target of N/4 =)

I really wanted to do certain things though, however, by the turn of events they could not be done.. I seriously hope ho jaye vo..

Mummy also doesn't keep well these days :(

Every third day I had a cold in these holidays, mujhe itna nahi hota tha pehle but  ab to bahut frequently hone kag gaya hai..very irritating it is..huh!

I don't know ya..pata nahi phir se I am feeling that restlessness..hehe..lagta hai kuch hone vala hai..

Anyway, India's Got Talent aata hai na, usme yesterday Sonali said to a participant, "You are just brilliant! I feel so tiny in front of you. And I feel jealous ki mere me aisa talent kyun nahi hai."  I always feel the same when I see talented people all around me! I feel so hollow in front of them. Mere paas to kuch bhi talent nahi hai. Some people are brilliant photographers, painters, artists, singers, writers, technocrats, dancers, actors, sportsmen, geeks, know-it-all, designers..I feel like so shallow.. I know I know..these things can be one is born with these..only with time these things come..but jab ab tak kuch nahi cultivate kiya aage bhi kya hoga! I seriously feel so jealous (My maths teacher had once said, never be jealous, be zealous!) The only talent I have is a) to appreciate someone else's talent b) to perennially crib that my life sucks (which  does suck BTW)

I don't know..I feel very talent-less as a person which is a shame! 

And I had gone to college..I saw this super car made by people..It is so cool..maine to college me bhi kuch ni kiya aisa.. Maine socha tha I will do this..I will do that.. but sirf soch hi reh gayi..

Anyways, theek hai..mediocre log hamesha mediocre hi rehte hain :-{

Will write more later..

P.S.- I read this amazing chapter on Shah Rukh..will write more about it!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Of Mausam :(

Finally, I saw a movie after nearly three months!! Mausam..

I had high hopes from the film but I am somewhat disappointed :{ The first half is splendid..the Punjab part is gorgeous! The detailing is done to such an extent that in one scene during the night, there is a dog roaming in the streets! Or in another one in Gulzar's tanga, it is written "Main bharke chali jaungi tu dekhte rahiyo." The hand knit sweaters, Rooh-hafza bottles, the yellow mustard fields..the awesome song Rabba..Sonam looking ravishing as ever without makeup! Shahid- the charming Punjabi munda..there after the film just goes down and down and down..I don't feel like writing why I didn't like. I am disappointed. But mind you, there are some superbly crafted moments.. I wish there were more of these! Could have been so so better! 

Some things I liked -
Rabba current favorite! what picturization.

Even more beautiful was the picturization of the song Zara Si Mendi Laga Do, in which Ayat and Harry write notes to each other while Pammo sleeps..Super super idea! Loved it totally!

The name Ayat (meaning a couplet!)

Sonam..she is just so pretty ya..she should not put makeup! stunning she looks in the entire film, however, this is the first film which I thought she was not able to act :( I have loved her in all films even though people have just hated her! I loved her in I Hate Luv Storys..even Aisha but this film I found her acting to be somewhat mediocre..maybe the script was at fault..there were no good lines given to her..she just had to look pretty and helpless throughout which she does!

The binocular sequences..something really different!

There were few dialogues I liked- 

At one point, an air force officer asks Harry that it is seven years and he still loved Ayat..he says "the fire is still there" and Harry replies, "the sun only sets, it never dies." In fact, this was the entire premise of the film. And I totally agree with it. You cannot stop loving anybody, only someone else might take his/her place but you just cannot stop loving anybody.

I think Rajjo's character totally epitomizes this.Even after getting married and having a kid, she says to Harry "tu kahe to aaj bhi tere saath is chalti train se kud jaun." But she did what she felt was right..I would have given Ayat's letter to Harry if I was in her place.. I felt really sad for her :[

There is this another dialogue which Shahid says, "Mujhe koi bhi aisa nasha pasand nahin jo waqt ke saath utar jaaye. I love life."

Finally, the film is completely Shahid's..he is there in almost every scene..he dances brilliantly..he was terrific as the Punjabi guy but too stiff as the Air Force pilot but still, he invests his heart in the film.

Rest all film is okok.. one-time watch maybe.. I am disappointed :( Sob next awaited movie Rockstar.. zilch hopes from Ra.One!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Of God and Unselfish Love...

Today Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam was coming on Sahara One! I think I need to watch all my favorite movies again because every time I watch them I learn a new thing which I didn't see before. Been thinking about this stunning scene again and again! 

समीर: मैं मानता हूँ भगवान् सब जगह है..बल्कि अभी हम दोनों के बीच में ही है..
वनराज: भगवान् हमारे बीच में नहीं, हमारे अन्दर है.. 
समीर: अगर वो हमारे अन्दर है, तो हमे इतना दुःख क्यूँ देता है 
वनराज: क्यूंकि हम उसे तभी याद करते है जब हम दुःख में होते है और ख़ुशी में भूल जाते है.. वो हमे दुःख इसलिए देता है जिससे  की हम प्यार करना सीखे. और निस्वार्थ प्यार करने से ही हम उसके और करीब हो जाते  है..

Isn't this very similar to the concept of Tree of Life? How true is that ya!! Vanraj is too good to be true..almost utopian!

And see the colors? Sameer obviously a very colorful character is wearing a blue coat, and Vanraj who is more restrained and introvert, is wearing only black and white!!

And then there is this scene where Vanraj and Nandini both pretend to act like lovers so that they escape paying the ticket amount, when the station comes, Nandini's mangalsutra gets stuck in Vanraj's coat!! What a scene that is?!

Bhansali creates some brilliant moments. He is a rockstar!!

Seriously, I need to start watching movies again!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Of Pulp Plus Poetry...

Exactly half way through my sabbatical..I get so tired studying all day :{ That is why there is a sudden spurt in the number of posts for the last few days..


I have now started reading First Day First Show by my favorite writer on Hindi cinema Anupama Chopra. Anupama is a well known film critic who also hosts the show Picture This on NDTV. She is also the wife of Vidhu Vinod Chopra and sister of director Tanuja Chandra (Dushman, Sangharsh, Zindagi Rocks, etc.). 

There are innumerable film critics but I think there are hardly any writers on Hindi cinema. Anupama writes a weekly column in the Open Magazine as well as for The New York Times. She gives such fabulous anecdotes that any lover of Hindi cinema would treasure them. I have always said that more than the film itself I love the process of film making and that is why I love collecting trivia about films. How does a director think, what goes on the thinking behind, hidden references, et al.

She has also written two books before - Sholay - The Making of A Classic and King of Bollywood - Shah Rukh Khan and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema but have not got a chance to read them (due to them being perennially out of stock). So a few months back Anupama brought her third book - First Day First Show, essentially a collection of her writings over the last 20 years.

I have only read a few chapters and must say I am hooked. I am posting some things which  I really liked.

Shah Rukh Khan writes a beautiful foreword, where he says that 

"We have to accept the truth. The acceptance of truth actually makes the truth vanish. When you accept that you have a big nose, you stop hiding it." 

A profound thought!

And then Shah Rukh writes 

One of the funniest stories was told to me by a bearded, arty-type director who narrated the following script to him: I play a man who is unable to marry the woman he loves and becomes a Scarface- style mafia don. She marries a policeman. At some point, the cop chases the don and shoots him, but somehow the don ends up, wounded, on a train with his ex-love. He is thirsty. She is pregnant. There is no water. So she does the only thing left to do: take out her breast and offer him her milk, after which, somehow their relationship changes to that of a brother and sister. I die after that and she goes back. I told the director, this scene is a little odd. He got very angry and told me that my mind was cheap. A woman feeding a child is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. I said, 'Of Course. But I find it odd that she is feeding me at the age of twenty-eight or twenty nine.' It seemed a little sexual to me. The director got mad at my interpretation.

Hahaha :D

And then as a prologue Anupama goes on to tell how Hindi cinema has changed over the years. At one instance she says 
"Javed Akhtar once dourly told me that most directors came to him asking for 'an original script', which had been done before."

And did you know Yash Johar had mortgaged his house for Duplicate. And if Kuch Kuch Hota Hai had not worked, his house was gone.

I also read an insightful chapter on Honey Irani - Javed's ex-wife and Zoya's and Farhan's mom. She says 

"Come on", Honey Irani is saying,"there are more photographs of Shabana than me from Farhan's wedding. We are all mature now. Ab woh buddhe ke liye kya ladna?"

In one of the chapters, she writes the following brilliant lines.

"For me Hindi cinema has always been a sort of melodramatic magic realism, a necessary comfort, and  a collective expression of hope. I love the color and overblown emotions, the exuberance and fantasy, the unapologetic lack of cynicism and irony. American film critic Pauline Kael had described the type of films that she most admired as 'the genre pictures whose forms had been imaginatively opened up: pulp plus poetry.' Pulp plus poetry. I think that is a near-perfection description of Bollywood. Which is why twenty years later, I am still seduced."

How true is that!!! For me too, Hindi cinema is escapist realism (perhaps an oxymoron!).. it's sheer poetry..

Will keep posted more on the book!! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Of Restlessness..

There are days when I feel so restless.. that nothing is going quite right..

I am feeling the same since morning..very restless..scared..demotivated..worried..

I know it is a passing phase..

Go away negative thoughts :(

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Of Geet's Pyaar and Mausam's Rabba...

Geet: Tumhe apni maa ke bare me yeh sab nahi bolna chahiye..
Aditya: Kyun nahi bolu main yeh sab?
Geet: Kyunki vo pyaar me thi..aur pyaar me kuch sahi ya galat nahi hota hai


And have you seen the stunning video of the song Rabba from Mausam. There is this scene where Shahid touches Sonam's shadow. I love that! Awesome...Koi itna pyaar kaise kar sakta hai kisi se ya..

Love seriously makes the world go mad...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Of the Brilliance of Cuckold and the Betrayal of Urmila

Finally, I finished reading Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar. A great book. Brilliant, amazing. Touches your heart. Makes you want to introspect. Cuckold is basically the story of Maharaj Kumar, the heir apparent of Mewar and husband of Meerabai. It is a story told through his eyes, how does he feel when his wife is in love with someone who he can't even kill. How does he cope with his wife's mad love for the Blue Flautist? He is jealous, troubled, disturbed, and so madly in love with his wife but the thing is he cannot do anything. As he says, "You can exorcise a devil but how do you rid yourself of a God." I had first heard about this book from Hindustan Times journalist Poonam Saxena who had written in her weekly Saturday column Small Screen that how she wished someone could make a TV serial out of it. I was immediately fascinated by the subject of the book.

And you know why I was so spellbound. Because I always thought the same about Urmila — a woman who history never gave its due. Urmila was Lakshman's wife. I think she made a much bigger sacrifice than Sita. At least Sita had her husband by her side. All fourteen years Urmila prayed in the temple, lighting diyas, and wishing for Lakshman's well-being. Her love for Lakshman stood the test of time. History extols Ram and Sita but nobody talks about Urmila. Can anybody imagine what she would have gone through? Lakshman had refused to take her along as he wanted to take care of her in-laws. Why does nobody talk about her? It is so unfair. So is the case with Maharaj Kumar. He has been forgotten in the annals of history. Two other women I have always felt sad about are Mandodari (Ravana's wife) and Rukmini (Krishna's wife). Mandodari was an ideal wife and she copes with her husband's love (or lust) for Sita so gracefully, all the while knowing that this would lead to his end. And, Rukmini? I mean the whole world says Radhe-Krishna. Where does she go? How would she have felt..jealous? I don't know. But I always pause and think about these people who in spite of being betrayed never stop loving their partners. Maybe I should also write a book on Urmila and Mandodari inspired by Cuckold.

A had gifted me this book on my last birthday. I finally started reading it this year and finished it yesterday only. I have become so slow in reading, earlier I used to read so fast but ever since my job has started, I don't get the time. The thing with me is I need to read the book with full concentration and enjoy it. I can't read when I am tired at the end of the day or when I am in a cab or just randomly. Anyway, too much off-topic.

Kiran is a fabulous writer. He writes so deep lines that leave you enchanted and enthrilled to the core. Sheer poetry in motion. Beautiful prose and language. There are so many creative people all around, be it any field, people are simply outstanding.

I am writing some of the most beautiful lines from the book. I wish I could write the entire book here. 

It was the stuff of bad nautanki plays. Man, Woman. And Lover. Except that the last one was an Almighty God.

The green of grass is a possessive, greedy color. It doesn't leave an inch of space for anything else.

The lapping up of the void is a soothing sound.

To combat a God, one must become one..or at least masquerade as one. (This was my favorite  part in the book when Maharaj Kumar dresses up as the Blue Flautist Krishna in the hope of getting some love from his wife.)

We were that rarest of couples. Even after years of marriage, we were madly in love. I with her and she with somebody else.

Identical twins are close but true enemies are closer.

Can Gods have birthdays? We thought they had no beginnings and no ends.

Ah! yes, the truth. What a to-do we make of this word when we all know we could be so much better off without it.

Is there anything more painful and lonesome than betrayal? Yes, there is. It is loss. And worse than loss is the tricks the memory plays.

There is no truer meditation than music and no journey of discovery greater than that of looking within. 

If detachment is fear of failure, and hence never putting oneself to the test or if it is the fear of being hurt, humiliated, or rejected, then one is closing all doors to life, to the possibilities of happiness, pain, dejection, achievement, and experience. The thought of the afterlife or lives or moksha does not mean that we miss out on this life. This is our only chance to engage it.

Eyes. You cannot unlock them. They conceal almost as many secrets, suffering, and the follies of men as the flowing river.

Bhishma is the ultimate icon for our notion of sacrifice and loyalty. But it might have helped if had ventured to question his beliefs. Is he recommending that we abdicate ethical choice and thus abandon the responsibility for our acts. Do we stick to people, however, mistaken or evil they may be, merely because we were born on their side, or should we owe our loyalty not to people or institutions but to values. Bhishma may have served humanity better if he had the courage not to follow tradition blindly but to weigh in on the side of the right. Integrity is not enough, only when it is in the right cause then it matter. (On Bhishma's vow to remain celibate all his life)

There are so many more lines but I wish could write more. Its deep passages hit you like a thunderbolt.

In love with Kiran Nagarkar.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Of Being Haunted by The Tree of Life

I had been waiting to watch this movie 'Tree of Life' by Terence Malick ever since the buzz around it at the Cannes. Tree of Life is Terence Malick's sixth film as a director in a career spanning over four decades!! I had watched it last month and wanted to write ever since but am still trying to make sense of what I saw!! 

After watching, I will say that I did not understand the film at all!! Maybe only 10% of it. You are not going to understand what is going on the film, even if you do you cannot be sure is this what the director really wants to convey this to you?! I have tried to understand what the film is trying to say through opinions of other people and the more I read, the more I am able to develop a faint idea of what the film is about.

The film is basically about a family in America comprising a strict father, a compassionate mother, and their three children. The film's premise is based on the following quote - 

"There are two ways through life: the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you'll follow. Grace doesn't try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries. Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love is smiling through all things. The nuns taught us that no one who loves the way of grace ever comes to a bad end."

And incidentally, these are the very questions that I have been trying to find answers to. The film tries to say that there is an equilibrium between nature and grace and none can exist without the other. 

In addition, Malick creates some spell binding visuals trying to re-create the Big Bang theory. They are simply out of this world. Malick raises existentialist questions about what is the purpose of our life? Why do we have to suffer? Where does God come into play? Does God really take care of us?

Bradd Pitt said some beautiful lines about the film, he said "And then there is the bigger questions of the impermanence of life that I think we all go through. I grew up being told that God's going to take care of everything and it doesn't always work out that way, and when it doesn't work out that way then we're told it's God's will. Many people find religion to be something very inspiring and leads them to opportunities. I myself find it very stifling."

Someone said that - 
As intense, real, and important the suffering of this family is to these characters, in the greater scale of things…it doesn’t matter. A human lifetime doesn’t even represent a nanosecond in the history of the cosmos. How important could any of our individual lives, let alone our suffering within those lives, be?

And this is what I have been thinking for the last few days. Do any of our problems really matter? Does any one care four our suffering? At the end of it, we are just a tiny speck in this universe. How are things going to change even if you die? Human life ain't that important. We just have to choose the path of nature or the path of grace and try to live our lives fully.

In one of the scenes most powerful and confusing scene, we see two dinosaurs. One of the dinosaurs is injured and almost dying. Passing by is another predatory and a much larger dinosaur who then comes and sees the injured dinosaur. Then the larger dinosaur forces its clawed foot onto the wounded dinosaur either in an attempt to stomp it to death or suffocate it. Suddenly, the predatory dinosaur instead of killing him, gives a couple of affectionate taps on the head, and hops away. Why did he do that? Out of compassion? This is the lager point the film is trying to make that compassion is not only in humans, it exists in the world everywhere. The path we choose is solely ours. This is how someone brilliantly put it:

The dinosaur scene is emblematic for the movie, since it symbolizes that through humility, calmness of the mind and non- aggressiveness one can defeat the aggressor or at least bring reason into him/her. Another point of view might be, that efficient and violent as it is, nature has some grace in itself... one animal can completely "irrational" "choose" to not eat the other, because its weak. You can, indeed, observe this in nature sometimes... The implications of those two are that no matter if one is facing the ultimate evil, one shouldn't use the means of evil to defeat it, and more importantly one shouldn't be afraid of it. The dinosaur could have succumbed to Nature and eaten the other, but it didn't. Instead it demonstrated compassion. I think that is the message of the movie: you can choose to turn away from desire, anger, and hate. You can embrace compassion, love and grace.

There is this amazing quote comes in the film:

The only way to be happy is to love. Unless you love, your life will flash by.

I want to be happy ya :(

The film will continue to bother you even hours later. Watch it and get haunted! ..and explain me some more of it :(

P.S. - I had met P when I went to watch this. He also did not understand it..and D told me this was the first move he ever walked out of. But I did not hate it. Like I did not hate Saawariya. Infact, the more I read about it, the more I like it :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Of Deepa, Sid, Tara, and Dil Chahta Hai

Hmm..Long time no see.. Finally my three week sabbatical has started. I am looking forward to it and not looking forward to it. So much work to do..anyways, vo sab to chalta rahega..

This past week I have been thinking of Deepa, Sid, Tara, Dil Chahta Hai only..and the more I think of them, the more I fall in love with them all over again. I have already written about how much I love Deepa (here). She was the best character of the film. The more I think about her, the more I am able to relate to her..Hell, I am obsessed with Deepa!

 I found about Sid as well..Now there is this person who has written about Sid's love for Tara so brilliantly that I have fallen in love with the guy or girl who ever it is ;) can any body write so so so so well..Just read the entire post here

And I am copying some things which are absolutely stunning. The brilliance of this writer as well Farhan Akhtar..I am more in love with Farhan! Here the author is writing about the song Kaisi Hai Rut and he tries to decipher the meaning of the song.. Just read this section!!

"No! I know! Tara is like a McCallister's Paint-by-Number I once saw!"

Tellingly, Tara is not actually present in any of these fantasies. A shooting star, however, does make an appearance. (Behind Akshaye.)

Whoa! Dysmorphia! Sid gets turned upside down (get it? geddit?!)...

And merges with Tara's hair.

She's like the moon to him. Heh. Heh.

OMG!! How did he come up with this thing????????

And here he talks about some bears on Sid's painting probably referring to her daughter. I have seen those bears in the movie but just could not come up that there could be any reason for them!! Shit!! Brilliant!

Tara's neck.

A FREAKING TEDDY BEAR WITH A PARACHUTE. Clearly Sid's artistic vision was acquired from his 10-year-old feminine side.

A little girl with a parachute. I guess that could be about her daughter.


And these expression on Tara!
What will she think?

Yaaaaa I have read that post about a 100 times in the last week.. I loveeee it..I have always wanted to write a book on this movie..I guess I will watch it again and then start writing my book on why it is such a mind blowing movie but I wish I could write like these people.

And in another blog by somebody, she has given such an amazing portrait of Sid (I lost the link) will fall in love with Sid all over again.. the blogger says that Sid is perhaps the best male character you ever saw in Hindi cinema..and she cites one character of his. She says that Sid is perhaps trying to find himself and is troubled from within. She makes this point because of the scene where Sid and Sameer are at Aakash's place and Aakash is saying to Sameer to become a man in front of Priya!! ;) all this while Sid was trying to solve the Rubik's cube!!! Shit!! It is so true..he was solving that cube, a reflection of his inner battle to find himself.. I want to observe such things ya :{ But I guess I will never have these :(

And one of the another bloggers proposed an alternative storyline for DCH. He writes

"Sid will continue to be in love with Tara. His love for her will be complicated because she is a cirrhotic alcoholic who's twice his age, and no doubt his (otherwise kindly) mother will object.
Meanwhile Tara is probably ACTUALLY falling in love with Akash, and I bet that Akash will find himself falling in love right will be the beginning of his maturation -- the first woman he has ever loved -- but he won't be able to share this monumental milestone with Sid because Sid will hate him because of it. After a vicious fight where Tara is forced to let Sid down gently he will go off to painting school and Akash will go to Australia to oversee his parent's business...there he will run into Shalini again, and now she will fall in love with him too. This will create additional growth opportunities for Akash, who will find himself rejecting this fleeting love affair that he once strived for, while at the same time deciding to reject Tara out of a sense of loyalty for Sid (who he hasn't spoken to for years due to their grudge...a grudge they both wish would end, but which neither has the fortitude to do anything about). 

Then, the distraught Tara -- rejected now by two men, since Sid will no doubt refuse to speak to her after she fell for Akash -- will drink herself into the hospital, which will prompt all three friends to finally reunite to see her. In a touching deathbed scene Tara will reveal to all of them that Akash refused to marry her because of his loyalty to Sid, and Sid will feel horribly guilty for rejecting and underestimating Akash, and Sid and Akash will put aside their differences once and for all and have another."

But I like Dil Chahta Hai as it is :)

Did you know there are three deleted scenes from the movie that are available on You Tube. I found a very very interesting one about Tara. Here is the one..

Tara wants to be happy like the bird. She feels trapped and wants to fly with her daughter or probably wants to die..  

I have so much more to write about the movie.. Will continue in other posts...