Monday, 24 December 2012

Siege of New Delhi

Shutting down the roads in New Delhi and suspending the metro service may be warranted as a security measure by the government but it shows how much highhandedness the administration and the police can resort to when faced with a popular agitation.

Just think, if they can do this to the people of the national capital in the full glare of national and international media then what they are capable of or they are actually doing in the remote villages where the common people are being branded as Maoists. What we are experiencing is a spontaneous outburst of people, especially the youth against the breakdown of administration. This is a rejection of the belief that the government is for the people, of the people.

Whenever the administration and the politicians become the ruling class and detach themselves from the people they are supposed to serve and use force as oppressors, they have never been successful in the long term. By using coercive measures, the government may have won the battle for the day but they have already lost the war. Nobody will now believe the government or its ability and capacity to do anything constructive for the people or the nation. Those who were so much euphoric about the passing of FDI may ask themselves the question – Who will invest in this country if this type of helpless and indecisive administration prevails. Does anybody expect quality resources to be deployed on the mercy of these blundering buffoons who pass muster as our elected representatives?

When a healing touch was required, the government has taken firstly an unconcerned attitude, then a defensive attitude and thereafter the highhanded approach. Now they are blaming the people for violence and trying to save their face. No sense of accountability and ownership is evident from their knee-jerk reactions. What more can you expect from a heartless and brain dead administration which has run its course by faltering from one blunder to another.

The leaders could not rise above their political compulsions and become statesman. No politician worth his salt from any of the political party has tried to identify him (her) self with the anguished psyche of the people. The matter is not only of the rape of a young girl. The malaise is deep rooted. It is about the rape of the society as a whole by these self seeking politicians as they have reduced the administration to a non performing heartless juggernaut.

It is surprising that the President of the country has not even issued a statement when the action is happening at his doorstep. It would have been a good gesture if he had come out of his safe environs with a statement to assuage the hurt feeling of the nation and restore normalcy. But then it is expecting too much from a political apparatchik. By keeping silence he is only following the footsteps of many of his predecessors, all appointed at the discretion of the Congress party, or rather the Gandhi family.

I am not in favour of anarchy. Neither do I support riots or destruction of lives and property. But salute the energy and the anguish of the youth which has crystallised into the agitation at the capital city. However cynical we may be, the youth deserves to be praised for standing up. They have proved that in spite of the onslaught of commercialism and material values, there is still that spark of rebellion in them. They need the support of all well meaning people all over the country.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Last Act.

The Last Act turned out to be a very engrossing movie . I may be sounding a trifle trite in praising it , maybe because it actually exceeded expectations. But the fact remains that this movie is meant for serious cine-goers who don't always watch movies for pure entertainment, fun or the escapism attached to celluloid screen. Saying that let me also clarify that The Last Act also entertains, in a zara hatke manner.

First things first. The movie was released last Friday on the 14th December. I was waiting eagerly for it because of the pre-release buzz of experimentation around it. But strangely or maybe not so surprisingly after all, the movie got a very sparse release. In Mumbai, it seemed to have been released in only four multiplexes , all of the PVR chain. That too in very few showtime slots. I was determined to see the movie and so took the step of going all tthe way to Kurla, which is neither near my home or my office , but somewhere in between to watch the movie .

I expected thin attendance but was not prepared for the shock of finding only three persons , me included, in an amply spacious theatre when the National Anthem was sung. It was a very demoralising feeling no doubt. Later eight more persons trouped in after the movie started taking the total tally to eleven. I was somehow salvaged from beating my own record of attending another movie - Maharathi -with five persons as audience . Incidentally I hear from oldtimers that Dev Saab's movie Ishq Ishq Ishq in the seventies also opened to single digit audience and bombed miserably at the box-office.

But let me not digress and come straight to the point and say someting about the movie without testing the patience of my dear readers any further. I would first like to tell you the storyline as traditionally it is called so because there is no other name by which we can call it. The movie is plotted as a mystery connected with a corpse in Mumbai, an accident victim whose face is badly mutilated and therefore unidentifiable. The police discovers, along with the corpse, twelve items as clues to the identity of the dead person. Each of these clues point to different cities and towns viz. Kalyan,Nagpur, Pune, Kolkata, New Delhi, Chandigarh, Ghaziabad,Lucknow, Gwalior, Chandigarh, Bangalore and Chennai.

The narrative of the movie traces each of the sub-stories connected with these clues at these different places and how the truth is unravelled. each of the stories are seemingly not connected to each other yet integrated by themselves to solve the puzzle. The element of suspense never overwhelms the viewer and the mystery never becomes the focus of the movie. Rather the subplots add to the understanding of human nature and the places by capturing the local milieu and the surroundings in a very capable manner.

The movie is fully subtitled in English and rightly so because the conversation of the actors take place in the local languages and dialects. One therefore finds the dialogues in Bengali, Tamil, Marathi etc. which forms an inherent part of the narrative . It adds more life to the proceedings instead of being an impediment to the flow of the movie.

So far so good. But now comes the most interesting part and the USP of the movie. For those who are not aware or heard about this movie before, let me surprise you by saying that these twelve stories have been directed by twelve different directors besides #Anurag Kashyap who has conceptualised the whole idea and also directed the Mumbai part of the story. This makes it perhaps the biggest collaborative attempt in the history of Indian cinema, inasmuch direction is concerned. The different styles and treatment of the plot by the directors stand out separately as independant efforts but adjusted marvellously into an intriguing collage.

This movie has nothing great to speak on the quotients of acting, glamour, emotion, drama, thrill,action, sex,love, dialogues etc. etc. all which we associate with a great movie. Yet it is an outstanding piece of work because it addresses the basic needs of cinema which are a taut screenplay and a tight edit . The directors are excellent, good and average in their presentations but the overall result is superb. Hats off to Anurag Kashyap for the concept, vision and experimentation. He deserves all the credits along with his full team and collaborators.

As my last act in the form of last word, I am tempted to add a potshot; I know many will not like it because they believe and rightly so that cinema or for that matter all forms of art are meant primarily for entertainment and should return the value of the money spent on it. I do not want to join issues with them . Neither do I have any grievances against them. I would only like to point out that movies like The Last Act do not get proper release or audience that it deserve while Dabbang 2 which will release tomorrow ( is that a part of the Mayan prophecy too ?) may break all previous records at the box office. Doesn't it bear a striking resemblance to the phenomenon of people not going to exercise their franchise and later criticising the elected government for the next five years.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Heady flavour of love

Smell now the heady flavour of love
in this irrational season of flowers;
to talk of reason is oh so boring.
Only morons will count their gains
now, when everything else decides
to take a break and embrace
this heady flavour of love.
This is the time to dance away
with these naked flames of passion
flickering in their unabashed rhythm.
Get consumed, leap into the unknown
lose control in this heady flavour of love.
Taste it dripping from the honeycomb
then remain unsatiated with the craving.
There is always a risk that we bear,
of living through countless deaths,
in this irrational season of flowers.
Only the gambler knows, how it feels
to fritter away all wealth , gathered,
over all those years of hardships
worth every drop of sweat .
But still driven by the madness
of the season without the reason,
in these strange and sultry nights,
with the heady flavour of love.
Silently crave for the night to cover
everything to oblivion in its dark tresses.
Take time off to delve into those recesses
never reached by her past lovers.
Don't hesitate now , reach out,
grab this moment before it slips away.
Hold her, take her, as she comes to you.
Go,sink in this heady flavour of love.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Along the banks of rivers.

Civilisations are built, empires established

along the banks of rivers

People live , people love and also fight wars

seeds are sown, harvests reaped,

granaries filled and taxes paid;

all along the banks of rivers.

We talk in awe of ancient kings and their deeds

who ruled over these lands.

Such is the way history is written

everyday and every where in this world.

Only if those ruins could say the real story

of what had really happened

Why the river changed its course

leaving the flourishing hamlets to their fate.

What became of their Gods

who were supposed to bless them

bring prosperity to their homes .

Sands buried everything of whatever remained

all traces of those untold stories,

with the artifacts,roads , granaries.

The rivers changed their courses

and never returned back .

forgetting the people who built the cities

along the banks of rivers..

Friday, 30 November 2012

No reason to look back

It is amazing how swift change of situations dot life with a regularity providing us with lessons and an overall humbling experience . In spite of the best laid out plans one finds the designs of fate throwing surprises at us and turn the course of life to a totally different direction . But when a situation repeats itself and one faces the same dillema once over it becomes a little too much to call it a coincidence. In all such contradictions of life one has nothing to guide self but to depend upon the instinct of survival and the call of the heart.

I have always believed that actions should be backed by the mind while decisions taken by the heart. And there should be no regrets after choosing the way of the heart. So this time too , I will let my heart decide and walk across the point of no return. Then I will open my mind to the new vista opening up beyond the horizon. What could have been will be a fond memory to fall back on times of self doubt later as the excitement of the unknown challenges on the new way ahead shapes life until the next crossroad is faced, again.

Following the heart may have sometimes looked foolish by the conventional wisdom but I have never regretted the challenges it had brought in its wake because in retrospect I have been blessed with the satisfaction of finding things fall in place, ultimately. When I wrote this poem,it was of a different context but strangely now it reflects the situation I am placed now. So let me repeat this once again , as a prayer for myself and reiterate my faith on myself .

I know I will live only once.
But as long as I live this life,
I will live it on my own terms.
The world has its own rules ,
I have a set of mine.

Why conform to set standards
and live with regrets ?
Time , whatever of it is left,
is borrowed.
Someday we all have to leave.

On the one way street of life,
let me walk facing the Sun.
No reason to look back
on the shadows
that I leave behind.

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Smell

Something here , something there;
seems to somehow remain.
A lingering odour , a slight tangy smell
just stays back , even after
so many hours.
I could have tried to use a perfume
to freshen up the air , but then
I don't have any with me now.
This simple fact , this lack of resource
makes me uneasy by reminding me
of my utter helplessness.
So I stay put , pretending to be
unaware of the irritating smell.
Hanging all around the room,
in the corners, on the walls,curtains
and other furniture ,even photographs.
Something here , something there,
must be decaying  in this room.
I don't know exactly what it is
but I can sense it well, from the smell.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

If I pray for England winning the second Test match ?

If I pray for England winning the second Test match will it be an unpatriotic act? I can visualise many of my friends squirming uncomfortably at this question because they think I am a genuinely nice person and this type of a question shows that something is genuinely wrong with my mind. Dear friends, now don't jump to a conclusion and term me as a gadfly , a philistine or a traitor trying to kick a fallen soldeir on his wounds . Neither I am a non believer. On the contrary I am an ardent fan of Test cricket as a game and the Indian cricket team, strictly in that order.

After sparing a thought on the subject and analysing the situation,post stumps on day three of the second test match between England and India at the Wankhede stadium , Mumbai ,any sane person would say that Cricket is a funny game and India is staring at a loss which will square the series position to 1-1. But the diehard Indian fan will stress on the funny part of the game and pray through out the night for an unlikely Indian win as a miracle . I have myself done this since 1971 on numerous occasions since the Carribean tour by the Indians . A handful of times miracle did happen but mostly my prayers remained unfulfilled. I have no grudge against the God for this because whatever few games where India managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat are all treasures for the memory. From Gavaskar to Tendulkar, from Amarnath (Jimmy) to Dravid, from Wadekar to Ganguly, from Chandrasekhar to Kumble, from Bedi to Harbhajan, from Kapil to Zaheer via Srinath, from Azhar to Laxman , I have witnessed many memorable rallies and fightbacks down the four decades that I am savouring the pleasures of this great game.

Then why am I rooting for an England win today and why will I pray for this tonight before going to sleep ? That's because if somehow England manage to lose this test match then that will be a great dis service to the cause of Indian cricket. Then again these demi gods will strut along shamelessly, the TV channells will again eulogise their feats, the advertisers will spend their millions on getting their products endorsed by the heroes, the diehard fans (shall we say of the stupid variety) will again do all those jingoistic rituals and the BCCI will laugh its way to the Bank. But nobody would care to look into the malaise and try to see the obvious – how they are killing cricket just like the goose which laid the golden egg.

This Indian team has the dubious record of losing eight consecutive tests overseas and then on their home turf they are presented with rank turners where the ball talks with a spin from the very first hour. All this to ensure wins and the media hypes it as the revenge series. The first test match is won and people fall over each other to hail the captain and the team. But wait, the second test match shows that the Indian batsmen are matching their overseas forms and the bowlers are not capable to produce the venom to dislodge quality batsmen even on pitches doctored specially for them.

What more do you expect ? When a player , who is a normal human being is declared God by everybody and given the option to play as long as he wants , when the captain , living upto his cool image , cooly calculates the benefit from endorsements and evades any questions on his role and responsibility by aligning himself with the BCCI power, when your pace spearhead is actually unfit but you still do not want to try out the best pace bowler of the country at this point of time, when your team has a spinner living on his past glories . All these and much more of fallacies and blatant mismanagement is eating away the charm of cricket. Losing is not a shame . But preparing pitches to trap the opposite team and then get caught foolishly in the trap set is downright idiotic.

Cricket is a funny game. There's no doubt about it. Fortunes can change anytime and it always favour the brave, but not idiots.

Hope England wins this game and provides BCCI with the resounding kick on its back which they really deserve.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Nowadays, often I have this recurrent feeling
that I , by myself, am an empty cell;
which gets filled by all those tired evenings
which walk away silently at the dawn.
Without a trace , just as nomads do,
with no roots to hold them down, 
no obligations either to make them
look back, hesitate, then mumble , "Sorry".
Sometimes it also so happens that 
small joys, like loose changes seek refuge
with me , most probably as a mistake
guided by the magical moonlit nights
and expecting an one night stand,
they tiptoe inside the extended courtyard.
Still there is so much confusion abound
in the common perception of people 
about love, commitment and happiness.
Even after the catastrophe of bondage,
festering as the aftermath of relations,
there is a constant buzz of expectations; like,
flies hovering on a big, fat, overripe jackfruit.
The mesh of compulsions strewn around
to trap the unwary are nets that are useless
when the boat reaches the estuary.
So live with all these apparent fallacies 
as long as you can live through them .

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

By hanging Kasab, the Government has done the best thing to redeem its otherwise lacklustre performance.
No death is a matter of rejoice but justice carried to its logical conclusion is to be applauded.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Just a stampede.

The news of stampede at Patna today which claimed so many lives saddens the heart. Then a sense of rage takes over. Firstly at the regularity of such incidents happening in our country during religious festivals and social gatherings. Secondly at the systemic apathy towards handling such incidents .
There will be lot of finger pointing and politicking over the incident and accusations will be made left and right without trying to understand the real reasons for the tragedy which will later be termed as an unfortunate accident and then conveniently forgotten. The state government will no doubt announce for compensations and nobody will care whether these amounts will reach the beneficiaries. Some sort of inquiry will also be instituted and the report will perhaps be published after a gap of two to three years with a lot of recommendations. By then many such accidents will take place at many other places in the country. But nothing will happen as n
obody will be ultimately made accountable for the lapses.
The whole administrative system runs on the premise of being not accountable for anything that happens to the public and passes the buck to the maze of different departments and agencies that make up the monolithic system of governance in the country. At the end of the day its the politicians who take the flak as the last recipient of public ire. But even this does not make any impact because nobody expects a politician to do anything constructive any more. This helps them to shrug off any responsibility like a duck out of water .
What then is left for the people to do ? Nothing but to pray that such things don't happen to them . After all prayer and religion helps us to forget and forgive . Isn't it ?
Otherwise one can just end up being a cynical skeptic like yours truly.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Lonely night

No phone calls for me,
nobody bothered to send a message.
Maybe people are not aware, 
that I live here all by myself.
Or is it that everyone I know
have forsaken me ,
sentenced me to this exile.
I venture out to find the sky,
spend some time in search of stars,
play hide and seek with them.
But its so dark outside,
with clouds covering the sky.
I can't find any of the stars.
Again I come back to the room,
within the walls of solitude.
I don't like it, I am bored.
What stops people from contacting me,
Why don't I find love tonight.
I am alone, time sits so heavy on me,
Impatient with this endless wait,
I may end up doing something silly.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Skyfall - Bond dynamics

Skyfall - Bond dynamics   

Watched the Indian premiere of the movie at PVR Phoenix yesterday night.

For a Bond buff like me there is no greater thrill like watching this latest 007 movie on its India premiere. And I have thank @Ashok Gautam entirely for the pleasure. That too the movie which marks the golden jubillee of the most charismatic human character created in the modern era. 

Bond's impact on the public's perception of espionage, through both Ian Fleming's novels and the films made of them, is hard to overestimate. He is the most successful adventure hero on celluloid spanning generations.What is it about James Bond that makes  people like me go gaga over him in a manner that beats the first crush of a teenage girl ? Maybe its the  concept of masculinity and virility which is exuded from his screen presence. Also the charm,the style,the elan and the magnetic personality which  we sorely want to imbibe in ourselves. Or is it the ruthless, cold,daring,calculated cruelty that appeals to some primordial instinct. Some of the atraction may also stem from his devotion to the country and call of duty. Whatever it may be and whatever people may think of me, I remain and will always remain Bonded.

There is no need for a review of the movie or knowing the story. It is not a matter on which any intellectual discourse is necessary or required. One goes  to a Bond movie for the guns, females, locations, chases, actions, stunts, oneliners and above all the romance of 007. This time Bond is more ruthless and focussed. Not many girls or gadgets are there and no explicit scenes were shown. rather Bond's persona has been given some emotional touch and the man behind the name has been explored. The movie also tries to change tack somewhat and in future we may see a different Bond evolve. Q and Moneypenny has changed and M will change next time. The villain in this movie is Javier Bardem and he has done a very good job. Old timers may find the movie slightly hollow in content  but then evolution has to happen. Daniel Craig is the fittest looking Bond and a veritable eye candy for all his female fans who will drool over him. Men like us can only feel envious or admire him.

Still for those who would want to know for the record, the storyline as per wikipedia is as below:

MI6 agents James Bond—also known as 007—and Eve Moneypenny assist on a mission in Turkey in which an MI6 operative has been killed. A computer hard drive has been stolen containing details of all NATO agents operating undercover in terrorist organisations. Bond and Moneypenny chase the assailant, the French mercenary Patrice, and attempt to recover the disk. During the chase, Bond is shot in the shoulder. He nevertheless continues his pursuit until he is shot at long range by Moneypenny, who is attempting to kill Patrice. He is posted as "missing, presumed killed".

The head of MI6, M, comes under political pressure to retire during a meeting with the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, Gareth Mallory. On her return from the meeting, MI6 is hacked and an explosion occurs in the offices, killing a number of MI6 employees. On hearing the news of the attack, Bond returns to London. Shrapnel taken from his shoulder wound points to Patrice, and Bond is sent to Shanghai, where it is known the mercenary will shortly arrive.
Five of the agents' names are released, with the promise of more releases in the ensuing weeks. Bond finds and follows the Frenchman, and witnesses him carry out an assassination. The two men fight, and Patrice falls to his death before Bond can find out who he is working for. Searching the assassin's equipment, Bond finds a gambling chip, which leads him to a casino, where he is paid €4 million for the kill. Sévérine, who Bond saw earlier at the scene of the assassination, warns him that he is about to be killed, but promises to help him if he will kill her employer. Bond beats his attackers and joins Sévérine on her boat. They travel to an island, where they are taken prisoner by the crew and delivered to Sévérine's employer, Raoul Silva. Silva had previously worked with M and blamed her for his capture, torture and imprisonment by the Chinese. Silva kills Sévérine, but Bond overpowers his guards and captures Silva for return to the UK.
Back at MI6 headquarters Q attempts to decrypt Silva's laptop, but while he is accessing the computer it hacks the MI6 systems, allowing Silva to escape into the London Underground tunnel system. Pursued by Bond, Silva disguises himself as a policeman and attacks M during a public enquiry into her handling of the stolen hard drive. Bond arrives to join Mallory and Moneypenny in beating off Silva's attack, and M is hurried from the building by her aide, Bill Tanner. Bond drives M away from the scene in her car and, after exchanging it for his own Aston Martin DB5, drives her to his empty and remote childhood home in Scotland, Skyfall Lodge. He instructs Q to leave an electronic trail for Silva to follow, a decision supported by Mallory.
At Skyfall, Bond and M are met by Kincade, the gamekeeper to the Bond family estate. The trio are only lightly armed, but they improvise a series of booby traps. When Silva's men arrive, Bond, M and Kincade fight off the first assault, although M is wounded. Silva arrives by helicopter with a second wave, and Bond sends M and Kincade off through a secret tunnel at the back of a priest hole to a chapel on the grounds. The second assault uses firepower from the helicopter, and Silva throws incendiary grenades into the building. Bond detonates a stick of dynamite with two gas canisters and retreats down the same tunnel as M and Kincade. The resulting blast causes the helicopter to crash, killing a number of Silva's men. Silva sees Kincade's torch beam, follows and arrives at a frozen lake ahead of Bond. Bond attacks Silva's sole remaining follower, and the two fall through the ice, where Bond kills him. Silva meanwhile makes his way to the chapel and forces his gun into M's hand where he begs her to kill them both. Bond arrives and kills Silva, but M collapses from her earlier wound and dies. Her position as head of MI6 is taken by Mallory, while Moneypenny decides not to return to the field as an agent.

Friday, 26 October 2012

If nothing really changes

I eagerly waited for my world to change
sometimes with hope, often praying for it.
I wanted it to be more colourful
with lots of lovely patterns drawn .
I wished it would be less suffocating
and more open for me to breathe .
I searched every nook and corner
for that elusive sense of blissful serenity.
I desired myself to be surrounded
by the warmth and assurance of love.
I tried very hard to experience within
the golden touch of abundant joy.
Nothing happened , as everything remained
the same inspite of my fervent wishes.
Then I decided , if nothing really changes,
I have to change myself, the fault lies in me.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Seasons change

After about a week of hiatus , started the regulation pre morning jogging again today after realising yesterday night that the five funfilled days of Durgapuja has increased my weight almost instantly. But more than the physical aspect of the exercise, what was noteworthy today was the perception of the weather change which has happened in between. Strangely we don't realise the subtle changes in 
our daily grind or preoccupation.

This dawn, at about 6 a.m. before sunrise , as I set feet outside, I could distinctly felt the cool air a little more chilly and the weather having that slight bite of cold. As I jogged on the sun rose and I found that the shrubs, plants and bushes which were of bright green foliage just a week back now had changed hue with brown leaves which showed signs of dryness. They would soon be dry and the landscape will change. Autumn was in full swing . In Mumbai winter is as transitory as the dewdrop on a grass before the sun rises. But still , the prospects of clear skies and migratory birds dotting the waterbody just behind my building suddenly made me feel looking forward to winter with an eager expectation.

Seasons have to change, after all .

Seasons change

After about a week of hiatus , started the regulation pre morning jogging again today after realising yesterday night that the five funfilled days of Durgapuja has increased my weight almost instantly. But more than the physical aspect of the exercise, what was noteworthy today was the perception of the weather change which has happened in between. Strangely we don't realise the subtle changes in 
our daily grind or preoccupation.

This dawn, at about 6 a.m. before sunrise , as I set feet outside, I could distinctly felt the cool air a little more chilly and the weather having that slight bite of cold. As I jogged on the sun rose and I found that the shrubs, plants and bushes which were of bright green foliage just a week back now had changed hue with brown leaves which showed signs of dryness. They would soon be dry and the landscape will change. Autumn was in full swing . In Mumbai winter is as transitory as the dewdrop on a grass before the sun rises. But still , the prospects of clear skies and migratory birds dotting the waterbody just behind my building suddenly made me feel looking forward to winter with an eager expectation.

Seasons have to change, after all .

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Chakravyuh- a story of no comebacks.

I have always liked #Prakash Jha for his attempts to raise the social issues and examine the contemporary political milieu in his films. He blossomed into direction with the hard hitting Daamul and then gave us such wonderful movies like Mrityudand,Gangaajal, Apharan etc, all dealing with socio-political themes. With the superhit Rajneeti and then the lukewarm Arakshan, he seemed to have made the
 necessary adjustments with the demands of commercial Bollywood setup and diluted a lot on the sharpness of his commentary on the issues he raised on celluloid. But he had gained a lot on the other aspects of filmmaking and production value, no doubt.

It is thus with some trepidation and prejudice that I entered the theatre on the Vijaya Dashami evening to watch his latest offering #Chakravyuh and from the initial information gathered about the movie, I had already put its story as a cross between Namakharam(Beckett) by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Ravaan by Mani Ratnam and Drohkaal by Govind Nihalani.

As the story unfolded my anticipation about it was proved correct . The storyline is based on the much used Beckett syndrome as was done in Namakharam and had small traces of the other two movies. But that does nort take away any credit from Prakash Jha for his presentation of a good movie as he addresses the issue as an impartial observer without taking sides.

Why is the film not excellent. Well let me tell you the reasons. Firstly the movie is too long and could have been edited by about 20 minutes shorter. Secondly the heroine Eesha Gupta is totally misfit and a bad choice. She spoils every scene which she is in and that includes the climax. This also points out to the dearth of good actresses in Bollywood. Not all roles can be played by Vidya , Kareena or Priyanka. For an athletic looking heroine as needed for this role of a lady IPS officer, someone like Neha Dhupia would have been a good choice if not some better stage actress from NSD.

Thirdly Arjun Rampal even after taking much pains to suit the role he plays could not come out of his heavily urban accent which was jarring . But one should give due credit to him for taking all the pains for the physical part of acting. As long as he does not speak the dialogues , he fits the role to a tee. Fourthly there was no need for the item number by Sameera Reddy for its titillation value.

After the negatives let me point out the positives which redeems the movie from being another run of the mill Bollywood fare as dished out in numerous movies where the oppressed versus state (police) has been depicted ad nauseum. The best feature of the movie is , as I said earlier an unbiased presentation of the story. The first half of the movie follows a somewhat documentary format whereas the tempo and the drama picks up in the second half. The action scenes are very good and the night scenes stand out. Also the location totally matches the story and serves as the perfect backdrop to deliver the message. The camerawork is also superb. Production value is of a high order and some scenes are better than Hollywood movies. The honest efforts by the director to make things believable to the best possible extent is apparent

Inspite of a predictable climax once the storyline is more or less fixed on the lines of the police mole who has a change of heart and becomes a renegade and a not so tight screenplay, the director shows touches of his creative brilliance in making some scenes speak for itself. He is ably supported by the acting of the entire crew other than the aforesaid two mentioned earlier. #Abhay Deol with his underacting is superb and #Manoj Vajpayee has done a great job as the revolutionary leader, once again. But the surprise package is #Anjali Patil , who gives a powerpacked performance. Om Purie has played such parts many times earlier.

But the biggest positive of the movie is the human touch which the director has given to the story which will make the audience think. To generations of Indians being fed on the pseudo nationalism and fake patriotism glorifying the state, the director tries to expose some hard hitting truths. The questions raised in the movie remains unanswered and will probably remain so because we are actually afraid to know the answers. Till then there will be many more insurgencies, the state oppression will shed blood of its own citizens, the police and the forces will be used against the poor and the oppressed and they will in turn also lose their lives in defending the mistaken notion of patriotism at the behest of politicians who are nothing but hand maidens of the rich and the corporates .

The movie is a good watch but not good fun . It will entertain to a certain extent but will also make you uneasy at some points. You will not come out of the hall with a clear conscience. But still I liked the movie. And I recommend it to people who would put content and message above simple entertainment.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

You , you and you

With the setting sun as witness, 
I remembered you. 
With the gentle breeze blowing, 
I reached out to you. 
Seeing the green grassy paths, 
I wanted to walk with you. 
In the crowd of known faces ,
I constantly searched for you. 
With a cup of steaming coffee, 
I waited patiently for you. 
Hearing a bird chirping away,
I hummed a tune for you.
Standing inside a jampacked train,
I was day dreaming of you.
Whatever it was,felt never alone
I was always there with you.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The legend of Master-da : Chittagong

Generally my wife is not too demanding and very understanding about my limitations as a good husband but whenever she wants something to be done she makes it sure that it is done in an emphatic manner . And me too, feel glad to carry out her instructions in the tradition of the most obedient husbands. She is not an avid movie goer and likes to watch movies that are different from the run of the mill kind. Last week she had announced of her desire to watch the movie  Chittagong and I happily agreed to take her along as I too wanted to watch the movie. 

Then I discovered that the movie has got a very bad release at the Mumbai distribution circuit with lesser number of shows.I also noticed that other than a 12.15 p.m. show at Max Cinemas Nerul , it was not running at any other cinema at Navi Mumbai. Inwardly, I was relieved that this only daily show at Navi Mumbai was running in my neighbourhood. But online booking is not enabled for this cinema and we generally watch movies here the old fashioned way , by advance booking manually.

To confirm the showtimings, I called the Cinema thrice in the morning but somehow could not get connected. So right at 12 noon we were there , me and wife, before the small ticket counter. Imagine our surprise when we were informed that the  movie Chittagong was not having any show there. Like us there were a few other families too. In fact one of my colleagues and FB  friend @Pinaki Halder too faced the same predicament as I found him in front of the ticket counter along with his daughter. On pointing out that the newspaper advertisements carried the name of the theatre , the semi-literate counter person expressed his helplessness and directed me to speak to some Manager sort of person on mobile. By this time I was exasparated and with the loss of face in front of my wife, I was getting angry too. Before I could blow my top, she led me away from the scene and we returned home.

But I was not satisfied and then after a little research, thanks to internet and Google , I located a theatre at Bhandup (HDIL Broadway, Dreams Mall) for which tickets were available online. The theatre was about 27 kms away from my house. I booked two tickets for the 4.30 p.m. show. While booking the tickets, I noticed that we were the only two persons who have booked the tickets for the show. While it would definitely be a most pleasant and welcome experience for both of us to watch a romantic adult movie together in an otherwise empty hall, for the movie which we were visiting , it was an ominous sign.. With much apprehension and trepidation,we embarked upon our journey to watch a movie. I was reminded of the excitement which we used to have in our good old salad days when we decided to watch a movie. Only this time it was a matter of angry determination  which led me to Bhandup about which I knew very little and there was a distinct possibility of getting dejected with the outcome of the whole exercise.

My son who was at Dadar and returning back home also became excited with this adventurous streak displayed by his otherwise boring progenitor and probably with a fair degree of pity and empathy decided that he too should join the fun. He was directed to reach the theatre directly and have his lunch somewhere on the way. With all these arrangements, we started off at about 3 p.m. from our house. The only silver lining was that I had visited the mall twice before and had a fair idea of its location. 
Saw the movie Chittagong today. The first reaction as the movie unfolded was of surprise. I went with the expectation of watching a documentary like and slow but decent movie but what i got to watch was far more superior fare. The movie touches the heart. Its beauty lies in its simplicity and unpretentious screenplay. Contrary to my prejudice, it is not about Masterda but based on another revolutionary, Mr Subodh Roy (Jhunku) who at 15 years of age was the youngest freedom fighter to be sent to the Cellular jail , Andamans. Also other characters of Ganesh Ghosh, Anant Singh, Loknath Bal, Nirmal Sen and above all Pritilata Waddedar, the first female freedom fighter to die in an encounter with the British are brought out very well along with the towering figure of Surya Sen.
The beautiful camerawork blends very well with the simple narrative structure of the story and brings out the essence of Chittagong. The period is recreated very well and art direction ,set designing and costumes depict the place, time and the characters wonderfully. The music by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy is probably the best contributor to this movie . It literally creates the scenes from the pictures . I have not seen Ashutosh Gowarikar's Khelenge Hum Jee Jaan se . So will neither comment nor compare the two movies.
The director has done a tremondous job and should be really applauded for this movie. I always maintain that we cannot match hollywood with action, stunt or massively mounted sets . Indian movies should dwell more on the emotional quotient. This is what has been done in this movie. The cast of actors are mostly drawn from the team of Gangs of Wasseypur, probably because Anurag Kashyap is connected with this movie. Manoj Vajpayee in the role of Masterda brings life to the role but all other supporting cast including Nawajuddin Siddiqui have displayed a brilliant teamwork where everybody has coplemented the other's acting more like that seen on stage. Probably Barry John must have some hand in this. He himself is excellent in the role of the conscious District Magistrate feeling the pangs of conscience but with a typically stoic British stiff upper lip.
 Only 27 persons were in the hall to watch the movie. I watched them closely during interval and the end. None of them seemed to have disliked the movie. Everybody waited for the title to roll out at the end. So what is wrong with the movie ? Why are the distributors and cinemahalls not encouraging such movies? Why do people take their children to watch Chhamak Chhallo and mindless violence of Agneepath but not the simplicity and the piece of history. I will probably never get the answer. But request everyone to see the movie. If any of you my friends, after watching the movie,claim that you did not like it then I will refund the price of the ticket. But the best thing for me was that both my son and wife liked the movie very much.
As a child we were often given his example as the epitome of a revolutionary and a freedom fighter just a notch below Netaji.. Much before I learnt about Che Guevara, Surya Sen aka Masterda along with Bhagat Singh had  fired my imagination as the ultimate in patriotism. I still remember a bestseller book in Bengali named "Aami Subhash Bolchhi" which I read when I was just about 12-13 years old where the exploits of Masterda and the Chittagong armoury raid was described at length. 

Actually Surya Sen is not from a distant past in our history . On calculation I find that he died just about 28 years before I was born and was born after my grandfather. But the collective amnesia which have covered us , maybe because of our efforts to discover our national identity just after independence and then to become an economic power, have probably made us forget and discard everything connected with the freedom struggle and the period under British rule . Except for the mandatory and inescapable reference to the Mahatma, everything else has been relegated as sentimental and useless stuff which has no relevance in our quest to live in a better world, materialistically.

From my interactions with people everyday,more so in Mumbai, sometimes I wonder how we Indians are living our lives without any sense of history, geography or society at large. People are so much disinterested about knowing anything that doesn't help them in getting admission in a good school, buy a new flat,make gains in the share market,earn more salary and bonus or take them or their children to a foreign country that they are happily erasing all references to their connection with the society and its fundamentals.Maybe what I am saying will offend many but I think it is necessary. I don't claim to be a messiah or someone different from others. I share the blame too by having the same traits.

Coming back to what I had mentioned. A revolutionary freedom fighter who waged an armed struggle with the might of the British empire, someone who led  a kind of guerilla outfit  long before guerilla strategy became fashionable after being used by the Latin American groups is forgotten. And to think of it he was a  person from the generation of my grandfather. Someday our children will also forget and  care less about their grandfathers and will not bother about the times which we have lived.

But have the things really changed ? Is there nothing to be learnt from history ? Are Engineering MBA combinations with fat salaries the pinnacle of achievement in life ?  These are some useless questions which bothers me nowadays, I am afraid.

But the silver lining is that the director of the movie Chittagong was a NASA engineer .And the current heartthrob of the nation  AK is also an IIT graduate. Some good things still happen.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Reform factor

There is a lot of sound and fury that is going on the issue of the so called economic reforms initiated by the government last week. The main reason for so much heat and dust being  raised on this matter  is perhaps the timing of the announcements. They seem to be not only late but also felt unnecessary at this stage by many who would have supported the proposals a decade back. If we examine the proposals in the context of the the global economic scenario with a neutral and unbiased perspective we will find that indeed there is a serious problem that faces India . But surprisingly the problem is not only related or confined to the economy alone. Rather it is a telling indictment on the lack of leadership and the fractured  polity which is acting as the dragging force pulling progress behind inspite of the not so bad performance of the economy, overall.

The pressures of a slow down are showing up now as the stagnating economy throws up major challenges to all the sectors. We have a pro capitalist Prime Minister who seems to be shackled by the chains of populism . This creates confusion in the atmosphere and every move to kick start growth is seen with a lot of valid suspicion. The government seems to be running away from confronting the issues either on the floors of the parliament or with the public by seeking a fresh mandate . Whatever be the merit of all the  reformist measures proposed, it is doubtful that they can be implemented  by the government . In a democracy, whether you like it or not , whether it suits you or not, only the parliament comprised of elected representatives of the people in the country has the power to change laws and pass regulations.

What is being forgotten in the debate for and against the policy  for FDI is that the country actually needs a growth strategy which is inclusive and investment oriented at the same time . The sectors like agriculture and small scale industry should be an integral part of the policy. The only way by which the inclusive growth is possible is by creating more job opportunities and flow of funds to the above-named sectors. The burgeoning population of India is sometimes touted as a capital for the country. Paradoxically  it is the same population which makes over reliance on heavy industries a dangerous proposition. The basic premises of a capitalist economy embracing the concepts of free economy is what the votaries of reform like to happen in India. But one should not overlook the fact that an economic system which which prioritizes profit making above the welfare of people is self destructing , more so in the context of a country and population like India. Those who point out to the effect of trickle down effect of the capitalist system may note that the effect and end use is lost all along the way due to massive corruption.

Talking only of efficiency and cost effectiveness in the face of poverty and glaring social disparity is not only erroneous, it is downright obscene. The thought process of the people who blindly follow either capitalist or communist model of economy without analyzing the cause effect relationship and the social dimensions of the country has to undergo a drastic change. This actually needs a large dose of empathy towards the ground realities faced by the people. Also the fact that we managed to steer clear of the financial crises hitting the world in 2008 because India not being fully integrated to the global economy should not be overlooked while making an objective evaluation of the proposal to open up the banking sector, insurance sector and pension sector to increased FDI . It represent a clear risk.  All out privatization is never the answer to economic slump. Mobilisation of the entire population to growth by a sustainable model and increasing the skill level of the polpulation is the only way to fight back the deceleration. That should be done without corruption eating away into the efforts. Otherwise you will waste all your efforts capitalistic or socialistic like filling a big bucket with its bottom eaten away by corrosion.

And off course, the will and ability to govern is the last but not the least which is needed.

Friday, 28 September 2012

The burden of negativity is too heavy to carry

The burden of negativity is too heavy to carry.  Once we are able to shrug it off, we feel light.

When someone identifies with the negative traits within self , it always leads to a thought process devoted to negativity. Then this negartivity seeps through and covers all aspects of conscious or unconscious actions, be it the way things are done , seen or spoken. It is difficult to free oneself from this negativity because with each passing day the identification with it becomes stronger. Slowly other's perception about the person also becomes negative.

It is therefore very important to not allow negativity take over our soul. This not only makes our soul lighter but also lifts our spirits to higher planes.  Often people provoke us with their negativity and it is very tempting to join issue s with them with the notion of fighting negativity. But actually it sucks us into the vicious cycle. Therefore one must not allow any margin of error on this count and fall into the trap . Because by having a positive outlook we can terminate our association and identification with negativity.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

After having too many at a cocktail party you will definitely hear these

.1. Tu to Mera bhai hai...bhai !!!

2. You know i am not drunk...

3. Gaadi mein Chalaunga... 

5. Tu bura mat maann bhai... 

6. Mai teri Dil Se Izzat Karta hu... 

7. Abe bol daal aaj usko, aar yaa paar.... 

8. Aaj saali Chad nahi rahi hai kya baat hai?? 

9. Tu Kya samajh raha hai mujhe chad gayi hai... 

10. Ye mat samajh ki peeke bol raha hu... 

11. Abe yaar kahin kam to nahi padegi itnee... 

12. Chhote, Ek Ek Chhota aur ho Jae...lovely waala !!! 

13. Baap ko mat Sikhao… 

14. Yaar magar tune mera dil tod diya... 

15. Kuchh bhi hai par saala Bhai hai Apna... 

16. Tu Bolna Bhai, kya chahiye...Jaan chahiye hazir hai ??? 

17. Abe mere ko aaj tak nahi Chadee...shart laga saala aaj tu.. 

18. Chal teri baat karata hoon usse, phone number de uska... 

19. Saale teri bhabhie hai wo…bhabie ki nazar se dekh usko… 

20. Yaar tu samjha kar.. wo tere layak nahi hai… 

21. chal bhai tu kah raha hai to tere liye chodh diya usko.. aaj se wo teri…bana issi baat par ek – ek aur peg !!!

22. Tujhe kya lagta hai chadh gayi hai... abhi ek full aur khatam kar sakta hun… 

The best one... 

23. Yaar aaj uski bahut yaad aa rahi hai

And Finally...

24. Salla... aaj se daru band...............!!!

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Sunday, 23 September 2012

To reach some obscure place

To reach some obscure place
and spend the monotonous hours,
studying the minute details of the
woodwork ,worn out at places
Like old memories hanging perilously
in the shape of retributions; a reminder.
Try out the rigours of penitence or face
the repurcussions of losing faith.
But then again, the placid interiors
endorse the eerie stories often heard
about unfortunate things happening
at unknown places with strangers.
So, at a certain point of time,understand
that there is no use trying anymore.
Long as the wait maybe , utilise it
absorb the surrounding within.
After a while, a strong desire takes over.
An urge to abandon everything,
as they are and move on again.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Just face the sky above

Face the sky above and
find your own image mirrored,
there in the play of clouds.
The whole story reflects by itself
for who ever that cares
to take a look above
Just hold the future and feel it
in your own fisted hands
and then see it slipping by
like the grains of sand.
Whatever you discard will surely
come back to you with all those
that you wanted all along;
now within your reach .
Now try to fathom the deep mystery
or why things happen as they do.
As you unravel own hidden obsessions
watch how everything just falls apart
on the verge of consummation.
The secret behind your dreams
is just an infallible truth;
Just face the sky above, that's all.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Barfi is a differently made film dealing with challenges of the differently abled persons.

Darjeeling, Toytrain, Kolkata and...............Chaplin .

Barfi is a superb example of how a film can be made without action,rape,item number,special effect gimmicks and excess hardsell and yet make you feel light and easy while making your eyes moist .
The story line is very simple and deals with the difficult subject of autism and muteness on the outer core. But within the simple storyline lies the intricate details of human relationships and above all how love and faith conquers everything

Anurag Basu has made a very emotional film , not of the sugary, syrupy kind but one that is created of poignant shots and subtle nuances. It is out and out a Director's film and he deserves credit for such fine handling of the subject. The movie actually makes you feel good . There is a lot of pains and sorrow in the story but all of them have been tackled in a polished manner. A layer of humour covers the whole of the movie, much like a comfortable shawl which you need to wrap around in Darjeeling.

Very intelligently, the director has used Darjeeling and North Kolkata as the location of the story as he needed to depict the late seventies and these two locations have undergone very little change from outside. The scenes of Darjeeling , particularly will make you feel nostalgic if you have spent some time there. Here I have to make a point . Surprisingly and probably intentionally or being logistically challenged, the Kanchenjungha has been omitted and has never been shown. I wonder why ?

The fascination with Howrah bridge as a motif of Kolkata is strong in this movie and the rooftop Barsaati (Chilekotha in Bengali) along with trams and narrow byelanes (Galis) are brilliantly shot and perhaps after Kahaani, again the national audience will discover the charm in the madness of Kolkata.

The movie has minimal dialogues as the two main protagonists are not able to speak properly. Yet the acting of all the three main actors and also the supporting cast is terrific. Coming to the acting by the lead players I would give full credit to the beautiful Ileana for her outstanding performance as she had to play second fiddle throughout and her role needed a lot of underacting. She looks terrific and brings out freshness on the screen which I last felt watching Amrita Rao in Welcome to Sajjanpur. I hope and wish that she has a great career in films. Priyanka has already proved that she is one of the best actress among the present crop of A listers (after Vidya Balan, off course) in her previous movies. But this time she was up against it as an autistic young girl sans glamour , She has taken the challenge by the horns and have delivered a fantastic performance. Her acting sets a new mark obliterating the previous portrayls of challenged personalities by SriDevi (Sadma) and Rani (Black). Full marks to Priyanka, one of my favourite actors . Her physical attributes of fleshy lips and strong white teeth have been so convincingly used by her to display vulnerability and candidness.

Ranbir Kapoor has got a very meaty role and dominates the screen by his presence as a deaf and dumb character. He portrays the role very well and comes out the tops. But he and the director both lean heavily on Chaplin for inspiration . Still , he is a much greater improvement on his grandfather in copying the great master. For a person who has seen almost all great works of Chaplin, it will bring a sense of deja vu and one will always measure his otherwise superb acting with a different yardstick. But you have to admit that here he is neither a chocolate hero nor an angst ridden young man with heavy doses of action. Yet he has brought life to Barfi with his acting.

What really stops the film from becoming an excellent movie is the narrative structure which sometimes gives you a feeling of discontinuity and is neither here or there. The editing also lacks imagination. These technical flaws mar an otherwise well intended movie. As a total package, Barfi is very good and will touch your heart. As long as you watch the movie, you will like it and carry the good vibes generated from the movie along with you as you leave the theatre. And yes one must make all children see this movie to make them appreciate the problems of the physically and mentally challenged persons . Also they need to see these sort of movies to understand how beautiful the gifts of life and love are.

Barfi is a differently made film dealing with challenges of the differently abled persons.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Morning Walk

I have noticed the small tree
on my morning walks everyday, 
standing there, in a silhouette 
waiting eagerly for the Sun to rise. 
As the first rays of crimson,
covers me and the world beneath, 
in its tender warm glow; 
I have,actually seen the tree
looking up and smile at the Sun. 
It really looks lovely,
like a young girl in her first flush of youth.
Happy,carefree but slightly nervous. 
Someone whom you could kiss 
gently on the cheeks,not on the lips, 
in a gesture of love without passion. 
Like an old admirer, I watch her daily. 
In that corner, with a greeting smile. 
Today,it was a wet and moist morning 
hiding the Sun behind layers of clouds. 
Very few people had come out for a walk. 
As I passed the tree, I found it forlorn. 
As if she knew her lover, the Sun 
won't come to meet her today. 
Still she waited for him. all by herself. 
I noticed the flowers falling
from the branches,one by one silently. 
I stopped,to collect some of them 
in the cupped palms of my hands, 
I felt them with all my senses. 
Moist, pure and smelling fresh, 
they reminded me of somebody, 
far away, somewhere,years ago. 
Was she still waiting for me ?

Sent from Samsung Galaxy Note

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Waiting for my reports

Somedays just don't seem to pass,
they hang so heavy on me,
soggy drapes on a rainy day;
blocking the sunlight, gloomy and dull.
And I wait , sitting here
on a wooden bench in a shadowy corridor
with a bored expression on my face
slightly confused, hiding my anxiety.
The smell of disinfectants ,
does nothing to calm my senses,
rather in a way they irritate me.
Reminding me of all the lost ones
and the tragedies , each one of them,
who went away and never came back.
All these thoughts come to me,
as I wait on a wooden bench,
in a shadowy corridor of a hospital,
with nothing else to do but wait .
For the reports of all those tests they
did with my body, just to tell me
things which I will never understand.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Me with myself

How many of me live and die
everyday within myself
How many times they come and go.
I have lost count,
What do they tell me all the while,
these me-s that grow and fade.
I face myself in them,
much like a room with mirrors;
each reflecting a profile of mine.
Some dark, some bright,
some in shade and some incomplete.
They are all me, all of me.
I am their hope, and their despair too,
the reason for their birth
and the rationale for their death.
Its me that they search,
and I look around for them.
Whenver the emptyness of time,
or the fast pace of life takes over.
They are there, surely and certainly,
I feel them, within me , in parts, in pieces
the whole of me in a scattered array.
Nothingness without them,
or nostalgia in their embrace, whatever,
creeping sadness , deep melancholy,
feverish excitement, endless expectation.
All of these and much more,
make them rise and crumble again.
Sometimes as doubts, sometimes questions,
and yet sometimes as the direction.
Leading them to me as the final destination.