Sunday, October 28, 2012

Of Armaan, Strengths Finder, and Halloween...

Yesterday, I watched Armaan. Remember, it was the first film of Honey Irani. She is a very famous screenplay writer. She wrote screenplay for movies, such as Lamhe, Aaina, Darr, Krissh, and Koi Mil Gaya among others. She is also the mother of Zoya Akhtar and Farhan Akhtar and the maternal aunt (or massi) of Farah Khan and Sajid Khan. I had always wanted to see Armaan but never got the time to specially download it, so this week while I was browsing some films at the library, I found Armaan. I immediately took it with me. Armaan is the story of Dr. Siddharth Sinha (Amitabh Bachchan), owner of a hospital in Chandipur who requires funds for running it. His adopted son, Dr. Aakash Sinha (Anil Kapoor), is a top neurosurgeon. He meets with Dr. Neha Mathur (Gracy Singh) and falls in love with her. Due to some turn of events, Dr. Siddharth dies and Aakash marries Sonia Kapoor (Preity Zinta), a short tempered, stubborn and spoilt daughter of a rich industrialist, who promises to give him funds for the hospital. Honestly, I was very disappointed by the film. Some unintentionally funny sequences in the operating room, terrible acting by Gracy Singh, even more terrible acting by side characters - Armaan was a big let down. The film had the potential to go to some new boundaries. In one scene, Sonia meets with an accident and is lying on the operating table having just 5% chance of survival. Siddharth's ghost comes and asks this question to Aakash. What is she died during the operation? What will the world say to him? That he killed his wife because she was troubling him? And if he doesn't do the operation, he will fail as a doctor because he didn't do his duty. If she survives, she is going to make his life hell again. I thought this scene could actually have been such a fantastic theme to explore..the moral dilemma of a doctor. But the film chose a very simple path rather than exploring some ethical issues - a successful operation with a change of heart in Sonia - no dilemma. There were so many scenes which I thought could have provided a very meaty film but it didn't. There was this film that had come - My Wife's Murder starring Anil Kapoor and Suchitra Krishnamurty. I think that too explored some of these issues. I haven't seen it though. So many movies to be seen and so less time. But I was disappointed with Armaan. However, Preity Zinta was fabulous. She was the best performer in the film even overshadowing Amitabh Bachchan. She was effortless as the impulsive Sonia, a very natural performance, perhaps one of her best till date. The last scene where she walks away from Aakash's life with tears rolling down her eyes is stunning. She saved the film from utter boredom. The music is soothing, one of my all time favorite songs, Mere Zindagi Me Aye Ho, is in this movie. Some dialogues were really good, after all Javed Akhtar wrote them.

अपनी मोहब्बत को अपने हाथों से दफनाना आसान नहीं होता

ज़िन्दगी अगर एक धुन है, तो हम दोनों उसे अलग अलग सुरों में गाते है, और इसलिए साथ नहीं गा सकते...

As part of the course, I had to take the Gallup's Strength Finder Assessment. Yeah, I know what my strengths are  - to constantly get worried, under confidence, and a loser in life :{ But I had to do it and this is what it threw. My top 5 strengths are:


This is what the personalized assessment said in detail about the top five strengths. The more I read in detail, the more I think it that it is somewhat true. 

You like to think. On the other hand, this mental activity may very well lack focus. The theme of Intellection does not dictate what you are thinking about; it simply describes that you like to think. You are the kind of person who enjoys your time alone because it is your time for musing and reflection. You are introspective. In a sense you are your own best companion, as you pose yourself questions and try out answers on yourself to see how they sound. This introspection may lead you to a slight sense of discontent as you compare what you are actually doing with all the thoughts and ideas that your mind conceives. Or this introspection may tend toward more pragmatic matters such as the events of the day or a conversation that you plan to have later. Wherever it leads you, this mental hum is one of the constants of your life.

You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome of the learning is less significant than the “getting there.”

You can sense the emotions of those around you. You can feel what they are feeling as though their feelings are your own. Intuitively, you are able to see the world through their eyes and share their perspective. You do not necessarily agree with each person’s perspective. You do not necessarily feel pity for each person’s predicament - this would be sympathy, not Empathy. You do not necessarily condone the choices each person makes, but you do understand. This instinctive ability to understand is powerful. You hear the unvoiced questions. You anticipate the need. Where others grapple for words, you seem to find the right words and the right tone. You help people find the right phrases to express their feelings - to themselves as well as to others. You help them give voice to their emotional life. For all these reasons other people are drawn to you.

Your Responsibility theme forces you to take psychological ownership for anything you commit to, and whether large or small, you feel emotionally bound to follow it through to completion. Your good name depends on it. If for some reason you cannot deliver, you automatically start to look for ways to make it up to the other person. Apologies are not enough. Excuses and rationalizations are totally unacceptable. You will not quite be able to live with yourself until you have made restitution. This conscientiousness, this near obsession for doing things right, and your impeccable ethics, combine to create your reputation: utterly dependable. Your willingness to volunteer may sometimes lead you to take on more than you should.

You look back. You look back because that is where the answers lie. You look back to understand the  present. From your vantage point the present is unstable, a confusing clamor of competing voices. It is only by casting your mind back to an earlier time, a time when the plans were being drawn up, that the present regains its stability. The earlier time was a simpler time. It was a time of blueprints. As you look back, you begin to see these blueprints emerge.You realize what the initial intentions were. These blueprints or intentions have since become so embellished that they are almost unrecognizable, but now this Context theme reveals them again.

We also had a session for this and they said Context is one of the rarest strengths in people. 

Anyways, yesterday was Halloween Party. To tell you the truth, I hated it. I don't know why but it felt so weird. Ewww.. it was at some body's place..if it was at a pub/bar, I might have enjoyed it slightly though. But don't know why I just hated it. Fake people with fake feelings, fake dresses, photos only for Facebook.. I am such a socially outcast person no? Perhaps that is why...

I totally missed Saif Kareena celebrations. I was checking updates every day. Ya, call me cheap but I was going through all their wedding pictures on the news sites :) Saif and Kareena make one of the most beautiful couples ever in the world. Just look at their picture below. Fifty years later, this picture would become a classic. 

Anyways, more later..

Dialogue of the Day:
"अपनी तनहाइयों का मुझे कोई ग़म नहीं, तुमने किसी के साथ मोहब्बत निभा तो दी, चलो कोई वादा तो पूरा कर रहे हो" - नेहा, अरमान

"मैं कौन सी मोहब्बत निभा रहा हूँ, और कौन से वादे पूरा कर रहा हूँ, लगता है तुम कुछ समझ ही नहीं पाई हो" - आकाश, अरमा

Monday, October 22, 2012

Of Yash Chopra, Emptied and Replenished, and All I Want Is...

Long time no see..

Yash Chopra died a few days ago. I felt terrible. I don't know whether I have felt such a feeling of loss for any film celebrity before. I was shocked by the news. I actually shed some tears, where as otherwise I am usually emotionless about whatever happens. I don't know why. Yash Chopra taught me to love movies, and more importantly taught what love is and what it feels like. His movies created this world with larger than life characters guided solely by emotions. Whether it is Viren's unrequited love for Pallavi in Lamhe, Nisha's heartbreaking poise when she learns that Rahul is not in love with her in Dil To Pagal Hai, Vijay's grace in accepting that his wife could once have a lover in Kabhie Kabhie, or Veer and Zara's supreme sacrifices for each other in Veer Zaara, no body seriously no body can project romance as perfectly as Yash ji did. He was so ahead of his time. I don't think anyone had the guts to make a film like Lamhe which was sheer poetry in motion. In an interview, he says Lamhe remains his favorite film. Lamhe remains my all time favorite film too and I have already written about it many times here. I have learnt so much from his movies. It is a great loss for all of us. The thrill of watching a Yash Chopra film is simply unmatched. Isn't it befitting that his last film is called Jab Tak Hai Jaan..who would have thought that he won't even live to see it being released? I am going miss watching a Yash Chopra movie...RIP

Shah Rukh, who is my favorite person on Twitter these days (seriously he should think of being a writer, he is awesome) gave a moving tribute to Yash ji. It is so beautiful. He says,

Whenever my loved ones depart...I feel a part of me extinguishes itself with them. Will there come a day, that I will no longer have a bit of myself to let go of? And then the thought follows...that every time they have taken some of me, with them onto their last journey , I have found a fragment of them left inside me too...I will always have some love to give and I will always be both emptied and replenished by the loved ones I lose. I keep you with me Yash ji and I miss u too Yash ji...lots.

I also found the interview where he says why Lamhe is his favorite film. It is a three part interview. The first one is here. There is so much to learn from people no?

As Shah Rukh tweeted those magical words, Meredith said almost similar lines in Episode 2 of Season 9. She talks about how the hospital has given her as much as it has taken away from her similar to what he says that he will be emptied and replenished by the love of the people he loses. She says,

This is a place where horrible things happen. You were right to go. You’re probably escaping disaster. Look at me, I practically grew up here and you’re right. It’s hurt me in ways I’ll probably never get over. I have a lot of memories of people. People I've lost forever but I have a lot of other memories too. This is the place where I fell in love. The place where I found my family. This is where I learned to be a doctor. Where I learned how to take responsibility for someone else’s life. And it’s the place I met you. So I figure this place has given me as much as it’s taken from me. I've lived here just as much as I've survived here. It just depends on how I look at it. I’m gonna choose to look at it that way and remember you that way.

Beautiful words...

And as Mark died, in the episode they showed how he died. While he was dying, he said this to Avery.

"I want you to promise me something, if you love someone, you tell them. Even if you’re scared that it’s not the right thing, even if you’re scared that it will cause problems. Even if you’re scared that it will burn your life to the ground, you say it and you say it loud. And then you go from there.” 

It is as if someone also believes in what I have always said before here :)

And when the episode ended, the song played was terrific. It is called All I Want by Kodaline.

When you said your last goodbye
I died a little bit inside
I lay in tears in bed all night
alone without you by my side

but If you loved me
why did you leave me

take my body
take my body
all I want is
all I need is
to find somebody
like you..

I have been listening to this song for the past two-three days. Its original video is very different. I cringed at first but after you get used to the initial shock, it tells an awesome story. Watch it here.

It is a funny thing. My friend P was discussing with me how she has a crush on this guy and she has told this guy but she feels embarrassed now. I was like what is there to be embarrassed, and then told her that being in love is such a beautiful feeling which only some people can feel, so she should enjoy this as much as she can. One doesn't know how time changes. She got so happy on hearing this, perhaps she heard what she wanted to hear.

Some things happened and I don't feel like talking about them..Why does it always happen like this? No more mood off because I have to be happy for myself :) Nobody is going to help me.

Dialogue of the Day:

This is life, bad things happen, it's hard. But you find your people, you find your person, and you lean on them.
 – Meredith

"काश....काश मैं तुम्हारी जगह होता रोहित."
- Aman, Kal Ho Na Ho 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Of Thinking, Barfi, McGregor and Moms..

Long time no see. Had exams this was fun giving an open book exam..everything was allowed from notes to book to cheat sheets except the Internet. It was very challenging. The professor made one comment during the exam. He said to learn to think rather than use the Internet for everything. You get paid for thinking else they pay minimum wages to people in India who make beautiful PPTs for picking stuff from the Internet. Ouch! I was the one who used to do that at minimum wages ;-) but I love reading everything and anything on the Internet. Perhaps that is why I am not such a great thinker. My viewpoint is formed by what I read on the Internet. But I loved what Barkha Dutt writes in her column today. I know she is scam-tainted and all but her style of writing is beautiful. The way she uses words to bring that emotion (which seems forced on TV though) is what I wish I could have. She writes:

Surely, irrespective of our ideological proclivities, our minds would be more drawn to a conversation that tells us something we don’t know? Or at the very least exposes us to a contrarian view that fiddles around with our doctrinaire comfort zones? After all, wasn't the job of the journalist to dig up the nuances left buried by an avalanche of polarized politics? If you’re shaped by the Socratic ideal of the unexamined life not being worth living, the absence of self-doubt and the assertion of smug certitude can make for extremely dull television viewing — even when it’s your own ideological compatriot doing the hectoring. As a student of mass communication, one of the first films I watched was Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece Rashomon in which the same crime is recounted in completely divergent ways, casting a doubt on the singularity of Truth. Wasn't journalism meant to explore these many shades of truth?

And after exams got over, I finally watched Barfi. No prizes for guessing, I loved it. The stars of the film - Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra. Two of my favorite stars who always try to do something new..that challenges them constantly. They are rockstars. What acting they have done.. I am so happy that got appreciation for their role after the boring Anjaana Anjaani (the film was nice but was really difficult to watch again) they had done together. I haven't seen any of the English movies which Barfi is copied from - The Notebook and all. Maybe he made it for people like me who haven't seen these movies. Anurag Basu, who himself suffered from cancer at one point in time, has made such a remarkable film without the pity and sentimentality that is typically associated with such movies. As Rajeev Masand puts it, Bhansali should watch Barfi to realize that specially-abled people can have a happy life. It is difficult to believe that Basu is the same man who made Murder. I loved Murder and Life in a Metro but was indifferent to Kites. Even Ileana was terrific in the movie. One of my favorite scenes in the movie was the test that Barfi used to do on his friends. When he tested Shruti, she doesn't leave him but slightly steps back whereas when he tested Jhilmil, she didn't even move an inch. That actually was the story of the film. Shruti was in love with him but perhaps she didn't have the courage to take some difficult decisions and when she did it was too late while Jhilmil stood the test of time. What I also liked was the hard-to-believe honesty of the characters. At one point Shruti says she wasn't that sad that Jhilmil was lost but was happy as she got Barfi. We all experience some pleasure when we get something at the cost of others but we do not say such things no? In fact, during the end, I was thinking that when Jhilmil was calling Barfi, Shruti would pretend not to hear and both she and Barfi would walk away from the school. Or the terrific scene where Barfi realizes that has no competition in front of the Ranjeet..and my absolute favorite (which could never be possible in real life) was when Shruti's mom takes her to the jungle and shows her the man she used to love once. Was Shruti's mom wrong? She made some pragmatic choices that she thought would give her happiness. She did not get love in life but at least she got what she wanted - a secure life perhaps. What I also liked was the fact they did not judge Shruti's mom at all. They did not try to portray her as a selfish woman who left a guy just because he didn't have money. In fact, she was one of my favorite characters in the movie. The conversations between Shruti and her mom were profound.
श्रुति: माँ, खामिशी भी तो प्यार की एक जुबान होती है
माँ: वो ख़ामोशी ही धीरे धीरे एक दिन तुम्हारे प्यार को खामोश कर देगी... किसने कहा की प्यार सिर्फ एक बार होता है..

The film talks about making choices and taking risks because not taking a risk is another risk in itself. These were my favorite dialogues, all by Shruti:

हम शब्दों को सुनते थे लेकिन उन्हें महसूस नहीं करते थे..हम हर तरह से पूरे थे लेकिन हमारा प्यार अधूरा था..बर्फी अधूरा था लेकिन उसका प्यार हर तरह से पूरा था..

झिलमिल ने सोच समझ कर प्यार नहीं किया और न उसने प्यार हो जाने के बाद कुछ सोचा समझा..उसने सुख और आराम की ज़िन्दगी बिताने के लिए प्यार नहीं किया..उसने बस प्यार किया और ज़िन्दगी अपने आप सुख और आराम से बीतती गयी..

बर्फी ने सिखाया था खुशियाँ छोटी छोटी चीज़ों में होती है..हथेली पर पानी में भी जहाज़ तैरते हैं..कागज़ की चिड़िया के भी पंख होते है..

And as always my cosmic connection theory comes into play. Yesterday, I watched Barfi and then started the Season 9 of Grey's Anatomy. The same thing happened in it as well. Mark and Lexie died together. My favorite people on Grey's. The same thing happens in Barfi as well. And one more Barfi connection. Today I went to this small town called McGregor. I loved it. I was the only one from my class who went. Rest of the people were busy partying. It was sponsored by the University and I know I am not going to visit any place on my own. I don't want to miss these chances. Phir pata nahi kab milega..if I am thrown out of here after two years :{ It is a small town surrounded by mountains and a river. There was an art festival going there on the streets. At one kiosk, a man was making bubbles exactly like those in Barfi..the types that Jhilmil sees just before that song Aashiyaan. I was amazed by the coincidence. It always happens..these small cosmic connections. I was trying to click some pictures and the man comes and says to me.."You know I have had a bubble show so many times. Of the 35 people that come, 30 are photographers. What is with bubbles and photographers?" Then I told him about Jhilmil and the way she used to see everything upside down. But these days if you carry an SLR, people think you are a good photographer. I have had a D-SLR for one year and still know nothing. I struggle so much with manual mode..use it only for macro pictures ..just cannot cannot cannot keep the camera steady at low shutter speeds :{ And you know there was another young girl who seemed fascinated by the bubble just like Jhilmil. I tried clicking here as well. It was my Barfi moment and I have named it the Barfi girl.

This week Varsha Bhonsle, Asha Bhonsle's daughter, died. Rachel Dwyer posted a moving article that Varsha had written for her mother Asha. It is such an amazing article. What is with people that they write the best about their moms or dads? So many of the best articles that I have read are written movingly about their moms. I wish I could write one such for my mom someday. 

If I were to sum up my mother in one word, it would have to be zidd:'wilfulness' or 'obstinacy' doesn't connote the shades of determination and the readiness to toil that I associate with it and her. The more formidable the task, the harder she applies herself to it.

Haven't people on Twitter lost all their sense of shame? They make jokes about anything and everything even a person's death.

I also wrote an article for my school blog. Since everything I write is posted here, the link for that one is 

Have to write about so many other things. The next two months are going to be more difficult. Something happened yesterday but am not keeping my hopes high. End me I only get disappointed. More later.

Dialogue of the Day:

"बर्फी ने आज़ाद बादल की तरह जीना सिखाया..उलटे पैर में सीधे पैर की जुराब पेहेनना सिखाया..पर सबसे बड़ी बात यह सिखाई की Life में सबसा बड़ा risk होता हो कभी कोई risk नहीं लेना."
 - Shruti, Barfi

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Of Imperfect God

Just saw this heartfelt interview of Jerry Pinto by Madhu Trehan on Newslaundry. I don't remember seeing any interview with such genuine honesty and a child like innocence. Jerry talks about living life with a mad mother, atheism, belief in God, the imperfection of God, doubts, Leela Samson, Arundhati Roy, writing, teaching.

I loved the part where he talks about the dilemma of an atheist - who to blame for your misfortunes and suffering. Also, when he says that there are two places he came closest to finding God - Banaras and Rome. And also where he recounts the guilt of a child - narrating a story of little girl who thought she was responsible for her house being bombed. The following is an excerpt from his book "Em and The Big Hoom", in which he has written about his mentally challenged mother, learning to let go and losing faith in God. He narrates the same passage in the interview as well. It is deeply moving...some absolutely beautiful lines in there. Will write more about it later.

"I lost my faith as an hourglass loses sand. There was no breaking moment but one day I found myself reading the Gospel without a twinge. I had always hated the Gospels because they had unhappy endings, all four of them. They seemed rush stories. He's born. He grows up. He preaches. He cures. He saves. All this is in the course of a few chapters. And then that Thursday and Friday, the horror of his foreknowledge, the last desperate plea to be permitted to elude this ordeal, the abandonment by friends who cannot keep vigil with him, the humiliation of his nakedness, the pain of the scourgings and the crown of thorns, the mocking crowds, the crying women, the cross, the crucifixion and even the last request – 'I thirst' – denied. I had always felt genuine distress at all this. I could not bear to read it, could not bear to put it down. It was the pain of empathy, the sorrow that this should happen to anyone.'

"That pain vanished one day. I read the passion through to check myself again. I read another version by another evangelist and was left unmoved. I remember being vaguely relieved and slightly guilty. I did not even realize at that moment that I had lost my faith. What I had left was a syrupy sentimentality and aesthetic appreciation of the Gregorian chant, the form of the fasting Buddha, and a love of stories. This is the standard equipment of the neo-atheist: eager to allow other people to believe, unwilling to proselytize to his own world which seems bleaker without God but easier to accept.'

"No one could offer any explanation for the suffering I watched my mother go through. Nothing I read or heard fitted with the notion of a compassionate God, and God's compassion, one uncomplicated, unequivocal miracle of happiness, was the only thing that could have helped. The sophisticated arguments of all the wise men of faith – their talk about the sins of a past life, the attachment to desire, the lack of perfect submission – only convinced me that there was something capricious about God. How could one demand perfect submission from those who are imperfect? How could one create desire and then expect everyone to pull the plug on it? And if God were capricious, then God was imperfect. If God were imperfect, God was not God.'

"But being an atheist offers a terrible problem. There is nothing you can do with the feeling that the world has done you wrong or that you, in turn, have hurt someone. I wavered and struggled for a long time before I exiled myself from God's mansion."

Do watch the interview here. I love Madhu Trehan and what she is doing with Newslaundry. I think this is my dream job.

Dialogue of the Day:

"खूबसूरती सादगी में होती है. इसे नकली सजावट से ख़राब मत करना"

  – Kaho Na Pyaar Hai