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..