Saturday, February 21, 2009


The only one criteria to watch a movie is it has to be engaging. There is nothing wrong with moral/a serious approach to cinema as long as it meets the above criteria. Even if a movie is trying to say something good or is a thought provoking one, in general has a noble tag, that is no excuse to skip the engaging part.

Rakesh O Mehra's movie satisfies that. Quite a bit of effort has gone into showing societal problems in a light hearted manner. You dont feel it, its there but the scenes are so funny that you are laughing out loud without forgetting the underlying problem in the frame as well. But with all the complex problems discussed with subelty till then, the childish climax doesnt cut it. In the theatre, people literally went wtf. Those speeches just doesnt have a place in movie that so stayed away from it for the first 2 hours.

Rang de basanti had parallelism running between the contemporary story and the freedom struggle. D6 also has one but the impact is hardly powerful. This could also be because I grew in Tamil nadu where there is no Ram leela culture.

It is more of an ensemble cast at play and they all do a fine job. I like abhishek bachchan but I feel he is becoming repetitive. Some one else could have brought in some charm in his role. Definitely worth a watch once. You can laugh sensibly for the first hour and a half:)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Kushboo, meena, roja - idhar udhar stuff

"Mujme he woh kushboo he.."

That is a line from the song "aarziyaan" in dilli6 album and every time I listen to these lines, I immediately let a chuckle out.Imagine some Tamilian listening to it and going, kushboo seri meena roja asin ellam enga? And I am also reminded of the way we pronounce kushboo.

I have been meaning to talk about the music for past 3 weeks but never got around to it. But may be after watching the movie tonight(yep, first day baby). I also think I will shift the chitrahaar day or the cuckoo day to monday. atleast cheer me up while fighting monday morning blues.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tell me, is it going to be bye-bye book shelf?

Source: uk.gizmodo

I might not read books as much anymore but books will always be one of the things I feel inherently passionate about. And when I say books, i mean the whole process. First spotting a book's name, hearing a friend talk about it or reading about it somewhere followed by the must read urge. Then trying your luck during the next trip in cycle/scooty to the neighbouring Shakti lending library/platform second hand book shop or tapping the friend's network.

Grad school library was a Paradise. After the semester exam, the roomie and I will rush to the library. We wouldnt have slept the whole week for all you know but we will make the trip, rushing directly from the lab or the exam class room. That univ. library remains my favorite simply because it had a floor(or a semi floor, since it was some form wooden floor within a floor) for each alphabet. Quite a scary place. If I had been killed by a avalanche of books, noone would have come to know. American libraries also introduced me to concept of checkouts of unlimited number of books and 3 renewals. The county library people are misers they seem to have a 300 books limit. And you can only keep the book for 2.5 months including the 3 renewals. Grad school library checked out books for six months!

Once you have the book, if the book is of the unputdownable kind, for the next 24 hours the book and I( and I am sure several of you readers) will suddenly act as if we have janam janam ki rishtaa. Amma would say, etha pada pusthakithala katlame? Translation: Why can't you show the same enthusiasm for the course books? May be I will, may be if Dan brown wrote IC design, may be then.

A slight detour. The 'unputdownable' book doesnt mean it is the greatest book. The great books are the ones which years after you will recall, you will think of the characters. In case of Dan brown and Sidney sheldon, you might not most probably recall even the name of the character and the books might not make it to your top ten list but will make just tag of 'unputdownable'. infact the only reason we hold their books is because of that one single attribute.

Reading books more often physically drains me. I enter their world and the wierd characters from the book are roaming around in my head confusing me when I am talking to real life persons. Like reading maximum city, with Honey the cross-dressing dancer and Satish the Gangster's life running in my head while talking to my parents. You go through the emotional roller-coster ride of the characters.

After finishing the books follows the funnest part in the process, the immediate urge to discuss it with a friend. I no longer have the luxury of this. I had like minded friends right upto my gradschool to discuss. During those days, friends used to urge you read to a book just so they can discuss it with you. I still have L in my life but the reading as well as the discussion seems an occasional affair these days. Once a year affair:(

I still make once in a month trip to the library. But all I seem to do is just renew the books and then return them when I reach the maximum number of renewals. I read the first pages that gives me an idea of what lies ahead. And I take a deep pensive breadth at what I am missing out on not reading further. But I dont know what it is, I no longer read a book unless otherwise I am in a plane.

It might be the blogs or the fact I dont like reading books in piece-meal and unlike school/univ./gradschool days, I no longer get chunk of holidays. I forced myself to read a book in piece-meal as a result heathcliff still remains in my head as an irrational sad grumpy sadistic human being. May be even if I finish the book, he will still be irrational. Its been year and a half and I havent found out. I dont know if I will ever get to know.

Part of the process of reading a book is to lie on the couch/bed, covering yourself with a duvet(no,who has time to make hot choclate,not my lazy posterior) and flipping through the pages. I have a preference for hard covers because they appeal to my aesthetics, some weak-hearted people prefer paper backs for they are cheaper and lighter.

This form might change/most likely will change. But something tells me just like I never warmed up to google reader and prefer to visit the blog pages(you know its like going to a personal space, adds to the mood), I dont think I will warm up to these kindle readers, however sleek it looks.

Friday, February 13, 2009

idhar udhar ke baatein

I am completely lost in all the hungama happening around the valentine's day. There are several things I dont understand.

I understand people are bored of signing petition online so they wanted to do something now. But Why Pink Chaddis? I haven't read any post on this topic. Everytime the I saw the pink sign, I did not feel like reading the post. I dont understand the logic. Is there some kind of cultural context I am missing? Hawkeyeview's post kind of made me understand it better or rather that I cant understand this just as I cant understand several things from north of India.

The other point is you are losing out the opportunity to push your laundry by day. C'mon, I know, you know what pushes us to eventually to do our laundry.

And then those Ram sena people declared that they will send Sarees back to people who send them PCs. That kind of got me worried that I am missing out on somekind of exchange program. Unless and otherwise, you send VS PCs, I think this would end up being profitable exchange.

The last part of this hungama made me almost faint, the whole protest might have worked. I dont know what was the reason but Ram Sena and Bajrang dal both declared they will not interfere with V-Day.

I dont understand the Pink chaddi reasoning, but could we send some to LeT, Pakistan?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bollywood, you are a tad bit late

Growing up in the bollywood era of dil deewana, I find it hard comprehend all the high vocab hindi words in movies today. If only they had started this trend earlier, I could have alteast avoided a 'Bol basha me mat lekhiya' comment from Kannama in 10th standard. Now, Kannama was ok, she would still mark you in 80s. My own Hindi teacher who would keep screaming & ranting on how she prays & fasts for us day after day, would mark us only in 50s. Not much of the use, those prayers I can tell you.

oh, the nightmare of 50 appearing in my board exam mark sheet drove me crazy enough I studied a full 24 hours before my Hindi exam. Roted the Hindi guide inside out and spitted out.
The gap between spitting and roting shouldn't be more than 24 hours. A Kanamma must have graded my paper or the VC's prayers might have helped. My nightmare was avoided.

Roobaroo Roshni.. only.

The reason why I mention this is I find myself looking for meaning of the words as I listen to Hindi songs these days something I rarely had to do in the 90s.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Absolute State

"you know, till college I was very Happy." The work friend continued on about how she was the teacher's pet, Parent's delight and so on. My mind stayed back on the absoluteness of the statement. The quoting of 17 years of your life with a single word? I have seen that in Cinema. A family of 4 in a park with kids playing around with all their teeth at display, that is how happiness would be defined in cinema. But that is just few seconds.

Friend then explained on how the Professors at college gave her a hard time by being partial to another student as a result of which she could only stand second in university and how miserable those four years were and so on. Was that all? Now, dont mistake her she is not one of those self-absorbed or the typical crib pot of our Madras schools. I dont know how to capture her essence here. Take it from me, she has no ill-meaning bone in her body.

I know her life today, as a married woman with two kids and in-laws to put up with, she has seen a lot of the world. Yet, the happiness and what she described as misery made me uneasy, slightly jealous and slightly puzzled.

I am not the odd one out, am I?

I am a Sinner. "I can understand what you mean, the typical north indian girl obsessed with her looks." I saw the face twinge, she was from Delhi and her mother tongue is Hindi. I have known her for couple of years and I have had my foot in my mouth from the time I was born.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Every one will get their bone to pick

Couple of weeks ago, Amrita of Indiequill had written about why she felt what felt about Mumbai Blasts. Does Mumbai blasts get special attention because a privileged section got affected this time?

Even before that, Dilip wondered in his blog, why the killing of 2000 people in Gujarat in the 2003 Godhra related riots, did not evoke similar emotions from our people.

As for me, I have been pretty much agitated with every Bomb attack in India. Mumbai blasts shook me to the core because it wasn't a sneaky operation rather an audacious arrogant attack questioning the very threads of our borders.

But during the time of Gujarat riots, I was busy arguing how the Muslims started it and how each religion is equal to blame. I did not believe Narendra Modi was responsible for those killings till Tehelka investigations revealed it. How ever horrible it sounds, that is what I had said then.

If you ask me, don't I care about peoples lives lost? I do. I love my life way too much and know the value of each and every life lost. An unjust cause like this where we aren't even battling the nature's inevitability hurts me.

But I don't know what makes each one of us react strongly to one incident over another. For example sitting in the theater watching Ghajini(laugh all you want but who knew i was that innocent), i got disturbed by the Kidney racket scheme. It was a movie, unfortunately reality isnt any different. Poor People losing their kidneys and worse paid a pittance for them.

There are people dying today across the world from diseases for which medicines were discovered centuries ago. How do we even let one human being die when we could save them just because he did not have the printed paper?

But we do and I don't have it in me to bear all the crosses, so I pick mine and you pick yours. Some don't carry it at all.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My right to drink

I don't like smoking. I don't like drugs either. But I don't see any problem in Social drinking.

Even if I had, I don't see why I should be restricted from drinking because I am a Woman. After all Man or Woman, the liver is the same.

Let us say even if you are some one who thought that Men can indulge in vice and Woman cannot. All you can do is tell me your thoughts. Tell me you prefer me being in a way. But force me, no mister, you cant do that.

And that is what culture is about, it isn't about resorting to violence. Isn't Indian culture atleast in theory as much about not raising your hand against women?

On the other hand, I wonder if these mob of goondas were actually concerned about Women drinking or Indian culture. They probably were waiting for an opportunity to show their anger against girls who wouldnt turn their eyes towards them. Who have privelleged life that they can only dream of.
Meanwhile, it is funny how the Ram sena actually wonders why of all the cases this case gets prominence in. I heard in the grapevine that Lord Rama has actually sued this Ram Sena Chief for misusing his name, special hell waits for him apparently. And the government at bangalore says it is against Pub culture. We only favor oine shop and tasmarc culture, the ministry was seen commenting.

I think the oine shops are also not part of our culture, we should all switch to Soma Banam. At which point Karunanidhi objects saying only Kallu is the true dravidian drink. Kamakshi of Kallapuram commented that traditionally woman have been part of kallu manufacturing and as such can drink kallu.

So, kallu, here I come.
Update: Anamika's comment just made me realize how I am so into my world. I read the rediff piece and just blurted out without ever giving you guys the context. Few members of Ram Sena attacked girls coming out of a Pub in Mangalore. According to them, it is against Indian culture for girls to drink. Even if you consider it morally wrong, why should the code be different for woman is what led me to rant.

India = Poverty = Oscar

In the first few minutes into the movie I told myself, these type of slums do exist in India. An Indian director is never going to showcase them, so may be we shouldn't complain about it. But then it suddenly hit upon me the kind of questions I might face strangers/ other non-Indians about the movies. Only then it occured to me what the movie is to western audience.(based on the questions I can predict, they wont stem from their disturbance rather from some kind of perverted joy about the poverty from my country).

In good old days, people will get together in an amphitheater and watch two people fight against each other till one of them dies. Fight a lion. Fight a bull. Such things are banned nowadays.

So these days, people go to theater to watch Poverty. For some strange reason these make the white skinned very happy. Look guys you are all very poor. It is a recent sport. Derogating other humans have always made quite a few humans happy, when you get an opportunity to derogate a whole country why would you not?

Otherwise, why would a movie which has so many factual inconsistencies and loopholes make it to the oscar nomination? Dev Patel's actions while being interrogated are so rich spoilt brat like than an Indian from the slums. I have watched KBC pretty much every episode till I was in India. Never was an participant ever mistreated. And I have seen a Milkman star in it and through sheer prayers getting upto 10 questions right. Amitabh treated him with atmost dignity. Never do they make fun of partcipant's class/ social status. Way too many loopholes to even list them. (Friedo Pinto is hardly there in the movie for her to hog as much limelight in post movie celebs)

Yes, Some Indians do seem to run away from their poverty. There are some popular persons like Preity Zinta who think in order to abolish slums we need to stop new workers from coming to mumbai. She wouldn't know what a common person like me would know. That these people are migrants from villages. They don't have any opportunity in their villages and are forced to migrate to the city to live in an inhuman condition. The problem is not migration to mumbai. The problem is development tends to be concentrated in the cities in India. But Preity zinta did not feel like thinking it through before commenting on them. So acc. to her, Let these people without jobs die some where else why come to mumbai and actually earn a living.

But apart from few Snooty, selfish and also brainless Preity Zintas, for most of us poverty is a problem we don't want to deny rather one we cant solve. We hope these economic development will trickle down to the lowest of the lowest in the economic order.

Meanwhile, some people would like to capture it in video camera and use it for their entertainment!

Poverty is neither a sport nor a lie.

Ps: I watched it with the same friend with whom I watched Vaaranam Aayiram. For the past few weeks I have been waiting to watch SDM. I have been missing it for the past 4 weeks for one reason or another. Today, I badly wanted to watch Luck by chance which plays in AMC here( I live in mini India:)). My friend was more inclined to watch SDM so I turned the car after taking the route to watch Luck by chance. I feel I should have just stuck to my gut instincts and watched Luck by chance instead.

Pps: For an authentic portrayal of mumbai's dowtrodden, please watch Salaam Bombay. I didnt sleep for two days after that movie and tried hanging on to the after the movie interview of protagonist. A real life urchin, now as a grown up he is renting a lower class apartment. Thanks to the movie and the renumeration he got. He says how he is one of billion to get an opportunity to like this to move out of the streets. your eyes do well up.