Monday, December 24, 2007

Main Vyast Hoon

Some work, yes work for a change is keeping me busy these days. In case I don;t turn up before the new year dawns, a Very Happy New Year to all you people who land up on this page and also Merry Christmas. I hate saying these things but I sense that I am dubbed as an obnoxious snob at times for not being the first one to chirp with pleasantaries when I bump into people. See I am changing :)

Have a blast!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Cliched Love Isshhtory

Dus Kahaniyaan inspired me. I have been planning a short film with a couple of my friends for the past one year but the plan just fizzled out after we finalised the story, etc because of our other pre-occupations. That short story would probably sleep a little more so I thought of cooking up something else tonight to release that build-up within me. I am trying to write a story for others to read after a good 10 years and it might sound school boyish. I can't help it. I am trying to pick up from where I left. Here we go:

"So you broke your leg playing football? I think you should have stuck to playing cricket", she said with a smile on her face. How ‘A’ wished he had told her then that he too felt the same until he saw her cheering for the guys playing football and left cricket to fight his way to land up an extra's place in the football team. He sure would have been better off without a fractured ankle. There was still some hope that she would understand it some day.

She was supposed to play the Princess in the school drama in the Annual festival and A too took to stage acting. Though he got to play a semi nude messenger (wearing just a dhoti and that too Bapu style) whose only job was to carry messages from one king to the other and never shared the stage space with her, the fact that she was going to be around him was more than enough. A gave it his best shot but was still booed off the stage.
"You sucked big-time. I think you were better off painting those colorful land scapes", she told him in good humor. How he wished he had told her then that, that was precisely what he was doing when he got to know that she was in the play and decided to give up his position as the respected art champion in the class to play that stupid blink and you miss part. He had stooped down to abysmal levels for her and she still wasn't able to understand it.

"Everyone wants security, I would definitely marry an Engineer or a doctor," A heard her saying to one of her friends. Though his inclination was more towards Arts subjects, he opted for Science. He thought everything was falling in its place when the inevitable happened. Her Dad was transferred to some other place and then he never heard of her. Left sulking with two demons to fight, the pain of not seeing her anymore and the lifeless mathematical formulas, A still managed to slug it out. Love and its strange ways teach you the impossible.

But a love story never ends with a final twist, the unexpected rendezvous. A knew that all love stories follow a similar script and how right he was. 6 years later, he met her again at a coffee shop. It never felt as if they were meeting after a long time.

She: Hey, so what are you upto these days?
A: Working for an IT company here.

She: Engineer? I thought you would be into painting or something.
A: Even I thought so. But I did it for someone.

She: Really! Do I know her?
A: I guess so.

She: You know what, it now sounds so stupid but back in school I had a crush on you. I thought that you were pretty much the way I wanted a boy to be. But then as it turned out to be, and thankfully it did, you were quite opposite to what I felt about you. I liked cricket and you played football, everyone including me just loved your paintings but you fancied the stage somehow. Remember the “Rajkumari ka sandesh hai" dialogue?

Aha! I told you, all love stories toe the same line. He mustered enough courage to finally tell her that he did it all for her when he saw the ring on her finger. Damn the clichés!

She(showing her engagement ring): No prizes for guessing it dude. That’s from my fiance. We met at an art exhibition. One of these days I'll show you his work. It's out of the world. By the way who was the girl that you were talking of?

‘A’ hadn't lost hope. This scene too was straight out of a romantic caper. He had read this script somewhere, he felt. The third angle to his love story; he had to go. Now he just had to play the hero and sweep her off her feet. Was it improper? To hell with it, she wasn’t even married yet.

A (taking his chance): It was you!

A assumed that being a girl, she must have been a romantic movie buff who would understand what weight his three words carried. He even prepared to shed a few tears. It was much easier than getting hurt on the football field or the facing the booing on the stage for his acting. However, that heartless, devoid-of-all-emotions and tormentor of his life looked at him and then laughed her heart out.

"The boring engineer still hasn't lost his humorous touch it seems. There comes my man..," she said picking up her bag and then walked away with a friendly tap on his shoulders.

Tragedy for one, joke for another. It is probably the humor of life that makes you look or sound funny to people perhaps. You just need to learn to take it with a pinch of salt and smile it off.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Dus Kahaniyaan - Review

A brave, stylish and intelligent attempt at storytelling. Brave because attempts like these have failed earlier and bringing this style back with such a huge cast was definitely like playing a big gamble. It is stylish, just as every other Sanjay Gupta product is. Technicalities are deftly handled. It is intelligent because it picked its cue from films that were attempted in this genre but failed. Darna Mana Hai and Darna Zaroori Hai too had different stories but they all shared a common supernatural/horror theme. Therefore, by the end of it all the audience got fed up of watching similar looking ghost stories. This is where Dus Kahaniyan is different from them. Each story in the film is unrelated and has a different theme. With 6 different directors at the helm, each story comes out with a different flavor. The fact that each story has a twist only adds to the experience of watching this collection of short films.

Another good thing about the film is that the better-done stories outnumber the not so good ones so you don’t feel cheated by the end of it. An able ensemble cast ensures that you get what you invest in the film – your time and money!

Now since this is a collection of films, let me pick each one and write something about them.


Cast: Mandira Bedi, Arbaaz Khan and Sudhanshu Pandey
Director: Sanjay Gupta

A story well told with a sudden twist in the tale revealed in the closing minute of the film. Thumbs up for this one.

'High On The Highway'

Cast: Jimmy Sheirgill and Masumeh
Director: Hansal Mehta

It went over the top of my head. Hansal seemed to be paying a tribute to Quentin Tarantino by trying to weave incidents from one day with those of the present. But where was the story Mr. Mehta? I did not like it at all. A big thumbs down.


Cast: Amrita Singh, Minisha Lamba, Parmeet Sethi and Vishwajeet Pradhan.
Director: Meghna Gulzar

I carried this story out of the theatre too. Very well written and executed. It explores how messy things can become if you stray that one bit from your bounds. The best story according to me. Double thumbs up for this one.

'Strangers In The Night'

Cast: Neha Dhupia and Mahesh Manjrekar.
Director: Sanjay Gupta

The storyteller again recreates the magic here. Gives a new dimension to what was easily mistaken for lust when the story started to unfold. Extra ordinary circumstances but good nonetheless. Thumbs up!


Cast: Manoj Bajpai and Dia Mirza.
Director: Sanjay Gupta

The twist looked a bit kiddish. It made me laugh even though that was not intended in the story. I did not like it all that much but my friends did. No thumbs for this one. I’ll leave it to your judgment.


Cast: Nana Patekar, Anita and Rohit Roy.
Director: Sanjay Gupta

A story whose twists and turns you can easily foretell but it does not bore you. That again reaffirms Sanjay Gupta’s finesse as a storyteller. Rohit Roy gets a special appearance in a 10 minute film. It is Nana Patekar all the way in this one. Thumbs up for the emotional quotient.

'Love Dale'

Cast: Anupam Kher, Anooradha Singh, Aftab Shivdasani and Neha Uberoi.
Director: Jasmeet Dhondi

Supernatural twist but watchable. Since I am so used to watching love stories taking shape in a good 3 hours after all that song and dance that this 10 minute love story looked incomplete to me ;). Okayish. No thumbs for this one.

'Sex On The Beach'

Cast: Dino Morea and Tareena Patel.
Director: Apoorva Lakhia

Ramsay or shall I say Ramu effect coming into play. This again has supernatural element in it. It shows you how your pleasant fantasies can sometimes go wrong if they come real. Nothing great about this one. Thumbs down!

'Rice Plate'
Cast: Shabana Azmi and Naseeruddin Shah.
Director: Rohit Roy

Debutante director Rohit Roy handles the theme deftly. Shabana Azmi is good. You don’t get much of Naseeruddin Shah in this one which made me feel a bit let down. A thematic story that scores. Thumbs up for this one.

'Rise & Fall'

Cast: Sanjay Dutt and Suniel Shetty.
Directors: Hansal Mehta and Sanjay Gupta

The last story should have been a stunner. The audience should have left the theatre thinking about it. But nothing of the sort happens. With Sanjay Dutt and Suniel Shetty at the helm, you sure expect some fire crackers but there were none. A thumbs down for this story.

Overall, not such a bad experience. You sure would like a couple of stories. I was wondering whether Anurag Kashyap should edit his No Smoking to fit in this 10 minute slot. His psycho shocker film would have been something to watch out for had it been a short one and what’s more no one would have panned him so severely for a 10 minute long act. Now, why did I get into pulling poor Anurag Kashyap down here.

Watch Dus Kahaniyan folks! It gets over in 2 hours flat.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Who Let The Dogs Out?

Your destinies are written beforehand and I was destined not to exist in the same space as dogs. True, they are considered faithful and all that but I can’t stand these canines at all. Or, maybe it’s vice versa. I have had innumerable dog chases and each of the incidents actually reinforced my belief that there is something about me that dogs don’t like. The worst thing is that my brain stops functioning as soon as I catch the sight of a dog in my vicinity and then I am at their mercy.

This is probably one fear that I have not made much attempts to overcome and would probably never do it either. All efforts to have an Alsatian stand guard at home were rebuffed as I played the emotional card and took a stand – “Either the dog or me!” The biggest joke in my family to-date is – “It’s just some previous birth spill over. He must have been a petty thief who keeps getting chased even now.”

I, however, like to believe that my fear is not baseless. I am reasonable and appreciative of the “cuteness” and “faithfulness” factor associated with these creatures but how do I wipe out from my memories those chases where I was singled out and then subjected to ridicule in full public view by these wagging tailed villains of my life? Yes, I felt singled out and have more than one reason to feel so.

I remember playing cricket in the car parking as a kid when the batsman I was batting with called for a cheeky single. Bruno – the paumerian, did not like it perhaps and it ran down the pitch to catch hold of my ankle. Strangely, it did not care to bother the other runner who crossed its path. As I lunged forward to ground my bat into the crease, Bruno appealed aloud with a woof. I turned around and in a reflex action tried to scare him away with my bat. But lo! I was face-to-face with a Sree Santh incarnation. Instead of backing out, it jumped on me. I ran around and no one came to help.

The worst thing was that the beautiful girl next door saw it all. I had to fire a diwali cracker holding it in my hands to convince her later that the dog incident was just a one-off thing that didn’t turn out the way it should have. The Bruno encounter probably set the tone for my not-so-friendly relationship with dogs.

From then on, I have had quite a few other encounters like the one where a CRPF Doberman chased me around in an empty cricket ground when I sneaked into the ground through a gate left open to catch a glimpse of the stadium. It lasted a good 45-50 seconds until the godsend CRPF jawan called out to Sheru to back out. There was no physical harm done but it scarred me for life.

It is not that I have never ever attempted to get over this fear but the results have been bad. When I try to ignore them, they simply don’t like it. I once stepped on a sleeping dog’s tail unknowingly at a temple and then it threw a tantrum. The matter was resolved only after I made some – “eeeooooo…ayyyyeee” sounds and created a commotion to make a total fool of myself in the queue to express my apologies to the street mongrel. The victor walked away while the vanquished went inside the temple with his plea to God – “Khush to bahut hogey tum aaj mera mazak banake. Kya milta hai tumhe mere se ye sab karwa ke? Ek main hi mila tha us kutte ki dum pe pair rakhwane ke liye?”

Each time I bow down to a dog, my ego takes a big blow. Talking about it here too does the same. As for why I wrote about it then, some people wanted to check out if I could be self-deprecating. I hope I am not disappointing them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Same Pinch!

However hard I try to pretend that I am all-cool and give a damn about what people think but the fact is that I am not and I am very conscious of what goes in others’ minds. It is for this very reason that someone with very good sense of humor keeps putting me in situations where I am put to test. This weekend, I caught up with a few of my batchmates I was meeting after almost a year. Being the only punctual one amongst them, I reached the venue 10 minutes late. I bored myself watching the traffic across the road for a good 15 minutes, when finally Newton emerged. What followed was a very gentlemen like expression of male bonding and then it struck me. Newton and I were wearing the same sweatshirt!

I might lose out even in a lottery that has odds stacked heavily in favor of me but here I was, standing on the road with a person whose taste in clothes might have never matched mine but here we were - flaunting the same sweatshirt. I know that I am no cynosure of public eye whose actions will become a matter of public debate but I couldn't run away from my self that kept reminding me of the fact that Newton and I had chosen that day to commemorate our friendship by wearing the same sweatshirts. The next few agonizing hours were spent maneuvering around to avoid standing next to each other.

This was not the first time that something of this sort happened. A few months back, my brother and I had gone shopping to Noida. Mid-way through the journey, my brother pointed it out.

Me: Kya hua? Kuch gadbad?
Abhishek: Apne joote dekho

Me: Saaf to hain
Abhishek: Ab apni jeans, shirt aur chashma dekho

Me : Arre sab dekh liya ab inko gayab karoge kya? (chuckle)
Abhishek : Ab meri taraf dekho

There was silence and it spoke a thousand words. I was taken back in history and several events unfolded before my eyes.

Event 1: Buying specs at an optical store sometime in 2006

Me: Arre same frame hai to kya hua? Hum log ek jageh thode hi rehte hain. Le lo agar pasand hai to. Same hua to kaun sa pahad toot parega?
Abhishek: Tum doosra kyun nahi le lete?

Me: Chalo tum jab Delhi aaoge to nahi pehnunga. What’s the big deal if we both have the same pair of specs?

Event 2: On a phone call sometime in early 2007

Me: Yeah, I bought a new pair of shoes. It’s funky
Abhishek: I too bought one recently. Which brand?

Me: Ganuchi hai koi. Pata nahi kya brand par sahi lag raha hai
Abhishek : Arre wahi to maine bhi liya hai. Color?

Me: Mixture of white and maroon
Abhishek: Thank God green nahi hai. I bought white and green

Event 3: Buying shirts for gift a couple of days prior to the incident

Me: I liked these shirts so I got one for each of you guys
Brothers (in unison): Oh! we are cheap. We won’t thank you.

Me: They all fitted so well that I bought the same size and style for everyone
Brothers (in unison): It fits us well but you look odd in the shirt. But hey, we are not laughing at you.

Event 4: Searching for my pair of jeans a few hours prior to the incident

Me: Why the hell did you have to put all my jeans in the washing machine?
Maa: Because you have never cared to do so

Me: What do I wear now?
Maa: Borrow one from Abhishek

I never knew that a scheming plot was being written for all these months to make me face this day. My brother and I were wearing similar shoes, similar jeans, similar shirts and same specs and there we were, playing our parts at the Centrestage Mall in full public view. We looked almost the same in terms of nature of the clothing even though there was a difference in how we looked in them. We chartered out a quick contingency plan. We had to buy a pair of floaters and we rushed to the shoe shop. I finally slipped into the floaters and my brother kept away his pair of glasses so that we looked different. All this was done in a jiffy but not before the sales woman’s smile showed that she found it amusing and an aunty whispered something into uncle’s ears who then gave us a look that you would expect from a person watching a Charlie Chaplin movie.

Life indeed keeps teaching you something or the other each day. I have finally accepted it for a fact that life is difficult. You not only have to reconcile with the ‘differences’ that you have with others but also face the brunt of the ‘similarities’ sometimes.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Rocking Start To The Week

Delhi rocked – literally! I got my second mild earthquake experience. Thankfully, it was not damaging. I had one of my friends staying overnight at my place and he ensured that the adventure of the earthquake took a backseat as the unintentional humor generated by his divine utterances (when I tried waking him up to get running) took centerstage.

Me: Abe N bhukamp aaya hai, jaldi uth
N: Kahan se?

Me: Bed se..aur kahan se. Baat karne ka time nahi hai..jaldi idhar darwaze ke paas aa
N: Kya bol rahe ho? Abhi bhukamp kaise aayega?

Later he tried giving a call to star news to recount his harrowing earthquake experience and the mayhem in which he collided with the sofa trying to find his way out the hall in the darkness. He was thinking on the lines of blaming ISI for the ‘jolt’ from the blue. His call did not connect though. I remember the last time these tremors struck Delhi in 2005, I was having breakfast with Dad and was so excited to experience it that I kept staring at the glass of water that was shaking while Dad threatened to withdraw my name from his will if I didn’t get moving.

Monday morning was business as usual. I was surprised to find news of Pakistan’s political fiasco hog limelight while Delhi tremors found space in the scrollers at the bottom of the screen. It seems that nothing that I am associated with, even remotely, can become interesting enough for these newswallahs. Half of my friends didn’t even realize that it was an earthquake and half of them said that it was no big deal even though they were not from Japan.

I witnessed an after-effect of the tremors while returning from office today. A couple-in-love was driving in a Santro. Their expression of love every now and then in the non-romantic Delhi traffic jams was probably to make up for the quality time they might have lost out in the tremor confusion in the early hours of the day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Great Indian Wedding!

Marriage season is here and my only problem with it is that it has screwed my holiday planner for the rest of the year. I am sure that by the end of it all, there would be a few disgruntled faces but let me make use of this opportunity to inform beforehand that my schedule is packed more than that of the Indian Cricket Team and I can’t do anything about it! The fact that it saves me the pain of running at the last moment to a gift store to buy something and then getting it gift wrapped is a huge plus that I cannot ignore.

Yesterday was the first of the weddings that I attended in the action packed season. It was the first marriage that I was attending in a long-long time and it was quite an eventful one at that. Now enough of self-indulgence. I actually wanted to recount the characters you would find at such weddings. I found some yesterday but I would talk generic to include some more. So here it goes:

The Bride and The Groom

Poor souls! This is one day they are supposed to be happy and all cheerful but faith and photographers have other things in store for them. After weeklong hectic rituals, they are made to sit on a majestic pair of chairs while photographers sit and run their puppet show with them.

Photographer 1: Sir ji aap sar upar kijiye, Bhabhi ji aap thoda sharmaate hue neeche dekhein, Thanks!

Photographer 2: Sir ji ke dost aap bewakoofon ki tareh na hansein aur peeche khade ho jayein. Picture kharab ho rahi hai

Friends and family come up on the dias with their kids, pose with the couple and then make a retreat while the two hapless people are left showing their pearly teeth incessantly.

Photographer 1: Sir ji aapko daant andar nahi karne..please smile kijiye, Thanks!


There are two categories of Chachajis – real ones and then the self proclaimed ones. The real ones look all serious. Surveying and scrutinizing every minute detail.

“Ye paani ka fawwara yahan kyun laga diya hai, bachche geeley ho jayenge”

The self proclaimed ones go around with a swagger, telling all and sundry how the groom actually peed in their laps when he was a kid. Their claim to fame is their neighborhood association with the groom’s family.

“Arre ye to paida hi mere saamne hue tha. Hum bahut close neighbours hain”

Chachaji ke Bachche

They are the next generation neighbors who have actually played gully Cricket with the groom. They might not know if the marriage they are attending is actually a love marriage dished out as an arranged one for society’s sake and the orthodox values held by the family but they claim to ‘know all’ about the boy.

“Arre ye to aadha time hamare ghar pe hi rehta tha. Asal mein mera chhota bhai iske saath padha tha aur ye mujhe bilkul apne bade chai jaisa manta hai”

Yeah, I got you mate!

Lost Souls

These people know no one except the bride or the groom. These include colleagues and college friends. They don’t know any one else in the family and the only one they know is held at ransom by the relentless photographers who show no mercy.

Photographer 1: Sir ji aapne fir se sar neeche kar liya. Aur ye pair thode aage kijiye, Thanks!

These lost souls look all lost until the groom sends someone from the family to take good care of them. As if 'good care' translates to making one comfortable at the bar, they are led to a secluded area which has arrangements for hookahs, cigarettes and all other things that you are asked to abstain from as a kid. There is a misconception that greater care means forcing people to gulp down more than they can handle. The already lost souls try hard to find other ways to divert the attention. They bore the other people with talks about their college or workplace stories and form their own group within the larger drunken group. I, for one, get on the offensive and attack one of my acquaintances in the group with soft verbal barrage. The hosts feel that I have been taken ‘care’ of and I am saved of the pestering.


Delhi DJs who perform specifically in weddings and can’t think beyond “Baari Barsi” songs are a treat to watch while they change tracks. Just when the people start swaying, they blurt out something as stupid as:

“Ye poora program organize kiya hai Raju Sharma ji ne”

The good thing about them is that they don’t act fussy and would repeat a song 10 times if you want to. You don’t need to haggle with them as they are no DJ Aqeels and have no reputation to protect. Play what you please but bear with the – “Saare relatives aa jaayein dance floor pe” act time and again.

Lat but not the least, the most difficult part is making a retreat later in the night. When you are almost out, one of the brothers of the groom, who happens to know you sees you escaping. You freeze as he comes along with a smile:

Bhai: Abhi kahan ja raha hai?

You: Bas bhaiya wo idhar hi thoda (Main aur kya karne rukun?)

Bhai: Abhi to ferey aur saari rasmein baaki hain

You: Haan haan bas aa gaya (Rasmein..meri shaadi ho rahi hai kya?)

Finally, you camouflage yourself in the bevy of other guests who are leaving and make an exit with pleasant memories of the beautiful girl in the blue dress and the navratan chutney that you savored while the girl in blue walked so close past you that you could tell the name of the fragrance she was wearing. Indian weddings are indeed great.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Om Shanti Om - The Review

The King is back. After playing a subdued Kabir Khan in Chak De, SRK is back to playing what he is – a larger than life Bollywood superstar. OSO is a film that does not follow logic but it entertains to the core and that is the USP of the whole affair. Filmy is how I would describe OSO.

I know that the film is not going to appeal to all connoisseurs who look for substance but for someone like me who grew up on a staple diet of hindi potboilers, OSO is just what I would have asked for. In all fairness, let us give credit to SRK and Farah Khan for following their convictions and deliver what they set out to make OSO from the outset – a commercially viable product that scores with the audience. So the fairer sex got a new look six pack abs Khan to drool over and the rest of us got an exquisitely carved hot bod in the form of Deepika Padukone to dream of. Uncle SRK got lucky indeed!

Now getting back to some serious analysis. Let’s start with the positives.

1.) Scale: The film was about Bollywood and so had to be big. Did it live upto the expectations – it exceeded them actually. A plethora of stars descending for a 6 minute song, Abhishek Bachchan and Akshay Kumar chipping in with their small appearances. It was one big party and I was left overawed by the scale of the film.

2.) Humor: SRK’s brand of humor was evident throughout the film. The film was full of jibes mostly aimed at self and at times at others (Manoj Kumar getting beaten up by a security guard has left him fuming and calling up press people I hear!). Akshay Kumar and Abhishek Bachchan make a one-scene appearance to take pot-shots at themselves. Kiron Kher plays the overacting filmy mom. The most hilarious punch, however, is provided during the southie film shoot where SRK plays the big shot from south Indian film industry. If you have a liking for senseless humor, you would simply love it.

3.) Music and Visual Effects: Hit and ruling the charts. Dard-e-Disco was novel and so was the picturization of the Dhoom Tana song that had Deepika dancing with Sunil Dutt, Rajesh Khanna and Jeetendra. Note that the effects might look kiddish but they go quite well with the mood of the film.


1.) Hangover and clichés: True, the film was designed to be clichéd but it goes to such an extent that it seems that there was no attempt to do something new. The film is based on rebirth and to say that the film has a hangover of the Subhash Ghai blockbuster would be an understatement. Starting from the title of the film, to its opening credit song and finally the climax, everything has references of Karz. Our filmy hero actually plots to trap the villain by replaying the Karz scene with his side kick.

“Pappu, Mukesh Mehra ko hum Karz ka repeat performance karke hi pakad sakte hain”

The last scene came as a surprise because it deviated from the Karz track to tread the Ramsay track with a prettier face (If you get what I mean!).

2.) Loopholes in story: Huge ones at that. Even if you are making a film which isn’t supposed to be intellectually taxing, things need to be coherent. Deepika’s character is that of a superstar of the yore but 30 years hence no one even knows her name (not even the reigning superstar). Then you have the villain burn the entire studio and get away without anyone noticing it. What’s stranger is the fact that no one even bothers to come back to that place after the huge fire guts it. The end too was not thoughtful. Too amateurish in the story department. But Farah is a smart filmmaker. She gave the audience what it wanted in the form of this glossy affair even though she forgot to tighten the other screws. Or maybe she didn’t even have the time to focus on other aspects amidst the razzmatazz.

My over all rating would be a 3 on 5 for OSO. Take is as one point for each of its strengths or a minus one for each of its weaknesses. I would recommend it to all those who are either in a festive mood, indulge in senseless humor, belong to the Vidhu Vinod Chopra hate club or do not belong to the National or Oscar film selection jury.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Dil, Dosti, Etc - Review

It’s been more than a month since this film released and the review comes in quite late in the day. But can’t help it, I have not been watching movies for a long, long time. Dil, Dosti, Etc might not go on to become a cult film but I would still call it a decent attempt. Coming from the stable of Prakash Jha (he has produced it), Dil, Dosti has a high reality quotient associated with the film. The scenes in the film are straight away pulled from life. The college environment depicted in the film is not the Lovedale College set up shown in candy floss movies and neither do the characters break into a jig every now and then to woo their lady love.

When you are young, you feel that the possibilities are endless
– This film revolves around two people, their aspirations and how they go about achieving it with the backdrop of university politics at DU. As for how it fared, I felt that the movie gained pace from the very outset, reached a crescendo and then plummeted. I might be wrong in judging it this way but I feel that the script was flawed.

I went in to watch the film with a hangover of Haasil which marked the arrival of Irfan Khan and I couldn’t keep myself from comparing the two films. Both had the backdrop of University politics but Haasil was more filmi and commercial in its approach while Dil, Dosti has a more arthouse flavour. The film has its share of a few ‘bold’ scenes too.

High points:

Performances: Shreyas Talpade gives a clean performance, getting his Bihari accent correct and suiting the part he played. I felt that he was underplayed in the film and seemed more like the support hero. Imad Shah is a revelation. He does not have that chiseled look or anything that can be called heroic about him but the director has tried his best to give us a new Emraan Hashmi avatar. He gets to lip lock with all the girls who are given some screen space in the film – lucky b******!

Characterizations: Manish Tiwary, the director of the film hails from Bihar and it seems that he has also been a part of the DU milieu. Both these aspects were evident in way he has created the characters, not just the protagonists but also the supporting ones. The ragging scenes reminded me of the superman days some of us had to brave during our own ragging days at college. I almost felt a part of the whole set-up.

Dialogues: The film has good and measured dialogues. Nothing over the top. Smart lines and the point is put across.


Script: Imad’s character lets go off an offer from Yale to live and experience life that thrives in the nooks and corners of India. He goes a step further to leave the cool, cosy comforts of a Mercedes Benz to drive around on a Yezdi (which people rode eons ago). I don’t know what prompted him to take on the bet of bedding three girls in eight days. Although the film started with him trying to search for love and Shreyas trying to find his bearing in the political arena, the one sided bet seemed to have become the whole premise of the story by the time it ended.

Having said that, I must also point out that you cannot keep yourself from praising the way the writer has actually brought out all that goes through the minds of a young college going kid. Imaad’s portrayal of a confused and searching young ‘pseudo-intellectual’ as he is referred to in the film as well as the depiction of the cosmopolitan and middle class values through different characters is praiseworthy.

Music: There was not much scope for music in the film. They still managed to have that item number forced into the plot. Some might say that the song actually took the story forward but I will never be convinced. To add to it, the song and its picturisation were awful.

Dil, Dosti is a film that DU people should not miss out on. As for others, I would call it a casual film. Casual because you don’t plan to go and watch such films, you watch it when you either have nothing to do or you have no better thing to do.

I am now looking forward to watching No Smoking, not because of the lineage it boasts of (directed by Anurag Kashyap of Black Friday fame) but because I have been challenged to weather this high voltage, abstract, infathomable..hmm..lemme rather reserve the epithets till I watch the film. Is its DVD out?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Some Spill Over and a Refreshing Attempt in Creating Music Albums

I finally feel that my blog might finally arrive some day. A look at the comments to my last post gave me that glimmer of hope. True, only a couple of people contributed to it but what the heck! The comments did make the last post look very relevant even though it wasn't exactly meant to be so.

There can be no last word on whether PhD has 99% quacks and 1% genius or whether it is the other way round. I might not even qualify to judge them because I am not in their seat. PhD to me is a career choice – made with a lot of thoughts put in or maybe by just following the herd mentality with no idea of where one would end up being. Some research papers published might serve or support future research but there would still be a lot more that would languish as volumes of crap in a quiet corner of a library and would be reminiscent of wasted funds allocated to (re)search.

Getting into PhD does not necessarily guarantee intellect. So all you PhD’s out there, don’t expect reverence just because you are certified somewhere as a Doc. You burden this earth as much as anyone else does!

Today I got to hear 11 of Gulzar’s poems in Dus Kahaniyaan and I must say it was a novel experience in contrast to what we get to hear in the name of giving a ‘different’ touch to music. I couldn’t understand half of the words used (mamool, jumla-hukuk) but still it was a refreshing change amidst the hordes of remixed stuff that we are exposed to. Kudos to Sanjay Gupta for thinking of such a concept. I might not like his habit of picking stories ‘as-is’ from world cinema but this one scores an ace.

The poems are recited by different actors and from what I get; they give you a gist of each of the 10 stories in the film (10 stories in a film?? Didn't the director learn something from Ramu's Darna Mana Hai?). I wonder why they have the 11th extra poem. I specially liked the one recited by Naseeruddin Shah, titled Khuda. This is how it goes:

Poore ka poora aakash ghumakar baazi dekhi maine,
Kaale ghar mein suraj rakh ke tumne shayad socha tha mere saare mohre pit jayenge.
Maine ek chirag jalake apna raasta khol liya.

Tumne ek samandar haath mein lekar mujhpar dhel diya,
Maine Noah ki kashti uske upar rakh di.
Kaal chala tumne aur meri jaanib dekha,
Maine kaal ko tod ke lamha lamha jeena seekh liya

Meri khudi ko tumne chand chamatkaaron se maarna chaha,
Mere ek pyaade ne tera chaand ka mohra maar liya.
Maut ki sheh deke tumne samjha tha -- Ab to maat hui!
Maine jism ka khol utaar ke saaunp diya aur rooh bacha li.

Poore ka poora aakash ghumakar ab tum dekho baazi..

This one has that arrogant touch to it and it somehow reminded me of that Hero Honda ad shown a few years back. This is how it went:

I am not a star.

There is no halo over my head.
Fate doesn't like the colour of my eyes.
Struggle and strife are old friends of mine.
Who am I ?
I am survival. I am guts. I am pride.
I like odds.
Especially when they'restacked against me.
Because there will come a time when I will stare them in the eye.
And smile the smile of the one who's pulled it off.
I am the guy who will have deep lines on his face someday.
And it'll make me look good when I laugh.
Because that is the dayI will fear no fear.
And taste sweat that is sweet.
And look back for the very first time and say,I did it my way.
The long hard way.

Most of the other verses in the CD3 of the album released have an undercurrent of separation, longing and search. I would rate it as a mixed bag. Good rendition of the poetry by the actors that can be classified as typical Gulzar stuff. How about "4.6 billion saalon ki umar beet chuki hai, kitni der laga di tumne aane mein" ;)

As for all you Himesh and Pritam fans don’t lose heart. I hear that Himesh just went on a film signing spree which will see him back at the helm as actor-singer-music director and Pritam’s next set of inspired but “original” compositions might also be round the corner.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

We Don't Need No Education

D(o)r(k). - Is that you?

I was born intelligent but education ruined me” – A slight look at my graduation grades and you too would approve of the second half of the statement being true in my case. As for being born intelligent, with a sigh I admit that I couldn’t inherit everything from Dad after all. I sneaked my way into probably one of India’s best engineering colleges only to realize later that those sharp deserving kids were more than a handful for me.

Come to think of it, I made friends with a whiz who could solve incomprehensible probability questions in the same time that I could multiply 23 with 0 and then there was this other guy who took a couple of analytical tests for a competitive examination and then got through India’s best management college only to refuse the offer because he didn’t feel like going for it!

While I spent most of my childhood scurrying away from the “You are Prof. Sinha’s son, you ought to do better boy!” compliments after school examinations, my entire ‘feeling young’ phase of life was robbed by these geeky fellows who wreaked havoc when the grades were let out. I studied in a place where relative grading was the norm and sometimes even a good score in absolute terms didn’t make much of a difference.

With time I learnt to master the art of faking intelligence. I have always been a keen observer and the fact that I was in the company of some of the brightest young minds during the formative phase of my life, it was obvious that I would get it right some day. But deep within, I look around perplexed at the geeks who never cease to churn out new ways to keep themselves immersed in building a knowledge skill set that would one day become insurmountable.

At least 5 out of the 20 wingies* that I had at college went for higher studies. 3 of them dropped out after Masters but 2 of them are still going strong – Bloody losers!! ;).

PhD is akin to a 3-5 year celibacy vow after getting married. You are at your young and energetic best to go out and make money but you restrain yourself and learn to manage life in the scholarship offered, helping out the 50 something guide of yours and sitting back reading research papers. What I find more amusing is that their zest of life doesn’t end and they get the biggest kick when one of their papers comes out in a publication not read by even 1% of the total populace of Vatican City.

I might sound like a total idiot speaking like this despite coming from a family where my Dad and uncles all hold PhD degrees and are professors but I somehow felt more at ease experiencing, inferring and then moving on rather than reading, inferring, proposing and then making others dwell on it to create a never ending chain of scholars. Someone questioned my thinking saying that it is the second process that actually takes life forward and makes you evolve. I too feel it does but I still prefer the rush that Archimedes had when he immersed himself in that bath tub and then ran naked in the town. I am sure he wasn't reading a research paper then.

I would really love to know if there is some research or a study on what forms the primary motive for people to get into research. Is it some inquisitive zeal to learn or is it the fame and money that comes in once your idea gets going or is it simply because some people just love romancing books in a library?

When I talk to such people today, my graduate degree seems like a matriculation certificate to me. I feel just about literate and painfully useless. After grappling with issues in life and tremendous soul searching, I find reason in taking up need based education to realize my future goals but self penance and single minded devotion to something that might not eventually come off is something worth bowing down to and the feeling comes from the bottom of my heart.

Here's a message from a lot of lives ruined by education to the lucky people belonging to the other realm – “Now that education has made you intelligent, be sure to thank your stars!

*Wingies - Wingmates; Students living together in a hostel wing.

PS: A tiring day at office and losing your money due to your silliness is enough to get vitriolic. Now that I have spewed the venom, I feel purged. Thanks for bearing with me.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hopelessly Romantic

Experiencing love is not a Eureka! Eureka! moment of life. The feeling catches you unawares and by the time you realize it, you are already head long into it. So there is not one moment which you can pick as the moment you fell in love. The reason why I bring this up is to introduce you to the class of individuals who mistakenly search for that special moment and in the anxiousness to do so unwittingly end up playing an Archimedes in Love by proclaiming their love at every killing smile that they catch hold of.

I first fell in love quite early in life after learning about the virtues of seizing opportunity as an early mover. It remained my first love until I learnt an English word called 'infatuation'. From then on, I classify any feeling of attraction to the opposite sex under that category. One, because I want to avoid going through the motions that people go through while in love. Two, because I really don’t know how to go about it and most importantly because I sincerely value opinions that rate me as a disaster in everything besides coming up with awful practical jokes to trap unsuspecting victims. In that sense I have tremendous respect for these gutsy guys who at least listen to the call from their hearts and go out to pursue what it asks them to do.

I have known quiet a few of these hopelessly romantic folks from my school, college and now my professional days and I have often marveled at the commitment that these guys show to these sometimes non existent relation in the hope that it would some day materialize. I had once tried to play a love guru to a first timer (my college room-mate, read Parth!) and failed miserably, so I don’t resort to suggesting them ways to woo their love interest. However, I still love to give them a patient hearing and that forms the basis of this post.

In case you are wondering about what I did to fail miserably as a love guru, I made my roomie write a ‘supposed’ love letter that had references to a robot, remote sensors and some such silly engineering stuff with an aim to create a stud image for him. His 'She' replied back with a mail that had references to words that you won’t even find in Barron’s GRE word list and her impeccable sentence structuring and control over language could put GMAT’s verbal section to shame. Since we were not able to comprehend half of the mail, the love life of my shishya was ruined before it could take off the plane. I am sure he still carries that grudge against me. Parth, if you are reading this, lemme request you to give me another chance if it is in sight to redeem my pride and your glory and do something about this dil pe rakha hua bojh.

Coming back to what we began with, sighting these romantics at heart is not as difficult a proposition as sighting an alien in the holy land of Bihar. Here are a few cues to help you figure out this variety:

Polished look alternating with a disheveled look every now and then

They look polished when they try to catch the attention of the target. This continues for a few days during which this specie tries all possible things under control to win her over. The disheveled look takes over when they think they are already in love but the girl doesn’t give it a damn! The cycle repeats each time a new target comes within striking distance.

Starting to act secretive

The mobile phone is the biggest weapon that these guys possess. After a few public interactions (call it date for their sake) with a girl and post exchanging mobile numbers, they act swift in taking the relationship to the next level. SMSes are exchanged and love blossoms. Please note that this exchange could be two sided as well and that makes me think whether these girls are really so silly not to get the vibes - "Main to tumhe sirf ek dost samajhti thee". Anyways, once these exchanges start, all idle talk with friends about the girl are met with deadpan expressions or a wry smile at most. He doesn’t ever forget to leave his cell phone unattended. All goes well and looks under control. The relationship does start to take shape and long chats follow at nights until the girl drops a bomb one day saying that her family has chosen a boy and she can’t go against their wishes. The disheveled look returns and he doesn’t really care where his mobile is for a change.

Acting sensitive

You will not realize why your abuses and slandering jokes are no more taken in the right spirit. They either stop reacting to it or issue an ultimatum. “Don’t you dare do anything to tarnish my image in front of her.” Point taken!

However, this is a transitional phase. Since these guys switch allegiance every season, you will find them back on track soon after the courtship period is over and they are back to business looking ahead in life and in search of their next tryst with romance.

Everything I do, I do it for you

Don’t be surprised to see them trying out a radically different look or doing something weirdly unique to please her. I have seen a fairly dark acquaintaince of mine buying green contact lenses to look different. Some outspoken romantics at heart go that extra mile to make sure that the love of their life understands it. An approving nod makes them go ga ga and it’s understandable. But at this point the hesitancy of trying to be something out of your skin gives way to a swagger that bellows – “Don’t you know that I am happening?”

All stays rosy until someone up there decides to play games and by a quirk of fate, they get back to where it all started and the cycle is repeated. After all Saccha pyaar saal mein ek baar to zaroor hota hai.

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
('If' - Rudyard Kipling)

I salute the infallible spirit of these people.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


With Sholay and Aag already used, I had to come up with a new title for my tribute to Ramu's Aag and what better than Angaarey. It goes well with the tone set by Sholay and carried forward by Aag. The characters might remind you of Sholay but all resemblances to characters from that film are purely coincidental. I have been solely inspired by RGV in coming up with this script.

My apologies for the formatting issues with this post, I tried hard to get the HTML work fine but failed :(

Act I - Prequel: How it all began?

Gabbar (front), Thakur (back), Helen (Right) in their childhood

Two kids - Gabbar and Thakur who came from diverse backgrounds were the best of friends at one point in time. Gabbar, coming from an uneducated background, was not well cultured. Profanities came out from his mouth as if it were poetry - "Suwar ke bachchon..dhikkar hai"

Thakur's family was against this budding friendship between Gabbar and Thakur as Thakur had begun showing signs of hooliganism at home. One day while Helen, the small little daughter of Thakur’s neighbours, was dancing at a b'day party in the village, Thakur exclaimed with joy – “Naach chhamiya naach”. This was enough for the well cultured Thakur family. They decided with a heavy heart to send Chhote Thakur to the city to complete his education while Daaku Hari Singh sent Gabbar to Chambal to learn the tricks of the trade.

Fifteen years on, Thakur and Gabbar both returned to the village on Holi. Happiness knew no bounds for Gabbar. He had been waiting for this day all his life and used to ask all and sundry the same question over and over again while in Chambal - "Holi kab hai, kab hai holi?"

As fate would have it, both Thakur and Gabbar were returning to the village oblivious of the fact that they were on the same train - Thakur as the police inspector and Gabbar as a bandit. Keeping up his tradition, Gabbar was travelling without ticket and when asked by the TC to furnish the tickets, he unleashed a barrage of curses - "Kutte kameene tu ticket lega Gabbar se..bahut naainsaafi hai ye"

Thakur heard these noises and was stunned to see his friend up against law. He was in a fix. He had to either stand by his childhood friend or respond to the call of duty. He chose the latter and arrested Gabbar. Gabbar could not take this lying down as his pride was hurt when he was made to kneel down holding his ears while others sang praises for Thakur Sahab. Gabbar's gang attacked the train mid-way to save Gabbar from the clutches of law and also took Thakur as captive.

Gabbar: Thakur tu dosti ke naam pe kalank hai. Tuney aaj mujhe kisi ko munh dikhane layak nahi chhoda. Ab jab gaon se 50-50 kos door bachcha royega to maa kahegi ki beta so ja warna tujhe bhi Gabbar ki tareh kneel down holding your ears kara dungi
Thakur: Well, it was all your mistake

Gabbar: Dhikkar Hai! Inhi haathon se tuney mujhe hathkadi pehnaayi thee na, ab ye haath humko de de Thakur
Thakur: Nahi..

Gabbar: Ye haath humko de Thakur
Thakur: Nahi....iii..(faints and wakes up without hands)

Act II: Jai and Veeru

Signing the contract - "Tum mujhe Gabbar do, main tumhe paise dunga"

Jai and Veeru were two fugitives who were on the run. 30 years back when they were born, Ramesh Sippy's Sholay was released and their parents named them on the two popular screen characters Jai and Veeru. They enjoyed all the respect and love from their near and dear ones when by the twist of fate Ramu decided to remake the film Sholay. These poor fellows were banished from their town and were on the run ever since Ram Gopal Verma Ki Aag released. When they came to know about Thakur and Gabbar in a distant village, they decided to go and help him fight this Gabbar's menace to redeem their pride.

Thakur needed the help of these two dullards to do his household chores. He hired them on the pretext of fighting Gabbar and used to make them feed his cattle and bring water from the well in the name of physical training. Jai fell in love with Thakur's widowed daughter-in-law Radha while Veeru found solace in the incessant blabbering of the Tanga wielding Basanti.

Act III - Bhaag Dhanno Bhaag
Gabbar eve-teasing: "Basanti aaj to main naha ke bhi aaya hoon. Please chalo na"

One afternoon Basanti and Dhanno were at the lake side on the outskirts of the village drinking water when Gabbar appeared with his men. Basanti, sensing that Gabbar was after her, pleaded with Dhanno to save her.

Basanti: Chal Dhanno..aaj fir se teri Basanti ki izzat ka sawaal hai
Dhanno: Aaj to faisla ho hi jaane de..tu roz roz gaon se itni door paani peene aati hi kyun hai? Acche ghar ki bahu betiaan aisa nahi karti. Ab to jo karega Gabbar karega

Gabbar: Utha lo chhamiya ko..Jalal Aaga aur Helen ki jageh isse aur Veeru se item number karwayenge
Kaalia: Sarkaar bahut bhaari hai..humne aapke yahan sirf namak khaya hai...thoda khaana khila dete to utha bhi leta.

Tum teen aur ladki ek..fir bhi nahi utha sakey? Dhikkar hai.

Act IV - Jai and Veeru at Gabbar's den

Jai and Veeru at the battleground

When the news of Basanti's kidnapping reached Veeru he was aghast. Hearing Gabbar’s invitation for a dance performance in the beehad, Veeru developed cold feet. Although Basanti was trained in classical dance, Veeru had two left feet. Performing in front of a demanding audience was going to be a daunting task. Jai came forward with a plan to wipe out Gabbar and his gang to soothe Veeru’s nerves. He asked him to take this performance as one of those Nach Baliye couple dance performances.

Veeru finally relented and trusting Jai’s promise accepted Gabbar's invitation. As the entire ravine reverberated with the nasal twang of RDB (I hope Asha Bhonsle's not reading!), Jai managed to steal a whole lot of ammunition from Gabbar's armoury. Meanwhile Thakur Sahab went shopping for a fresh pair of spiky shoes.

Act V - The Fight The last laugh!

A tussle ensued at the break of dawn when all the dacoits were busy attending their respective calls from the nature. Sambha was the first one to die as he was the easiest to spot sitting at the top of the hill.

Veeru tu basanti ko leke ja..bak bak karke bahut paka rahi hai
Veeru: Nahi Jai main Basanti ko chhod dunga par tujhe nahi

Jai: What the f*** man, this is not 'Brokeback mountain'. Take her away and let me get some quality screen space alone!
Jai..jab tu angrezi bolta hai na..meri kuch samajh mein nahi aata. Mujhe darr hai ki kahin Gabbar Basanti ko pata na le is liye main usse leke yahan se chala jaata hoon.

Jai fights hard but is eventually killed by the ruthless Gabbar. Veeru comes back to find his friend lying in a pool of blood.

Veeru: Imli ka boota beri ka ped..
Jai (dying): Ye wrong song hai

Chaahunga main tujhe..
Jai: Mere paas waqt bahut kam hai..antakshari khelna band kar aur ye dosti gaa (dies)

Veeru: Nahi Jai…Gabbar main tera khoon pi jaaunga..main aa raha hoon Gabbar

Thakur: Ruk jao Veeru
Veeru: Nahi Thakur Sahab, usne mere dost ko maara hai

Thakur: Can't you understand simple logic? It was I who killed Gabbar in the original. We have to repeat the formula dickhead.
Veeru: Angrezi..fir wahi angrezi. Ye cross-over hinglish filmon ne mera market down kar diya hai?

Act VI - The Climax

Hoardings on display in Ramgarh. Thakur had launched an extensive campaign to catch Gabbar

Literally dressed to kill (with his spiky footwear), Thakur Sahab left for Gabbar's den after pacifying Veeru. Gabbar was busy packing his bags to run away but the super acrobatic Thakur Sahab displayed some unbelievable stunts straight from those Chinese Martial Art Films and beat the hell out of Gabbar. Ramgarh heaved a sigh of relief and Gabbar lost it again!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Shaadi Ke Side Effects

Warning: Not meant for people under-21. It won't make sense to them.

The only problem with growing old is that you start running out of time and options. One of my early fantasies was to own a yacht and sail around with a Miss World. I was maybe 13 then but times have changed today. Even the fantasies are now grounded in realism. The enthusiasm to get a Miss World on board my yacht has given way to answering the more pertinent questions that life throws at me every single day – did I pay my credit card bills, when is that meeting with the client, why did they deduct so much of tax from my salary? I defer the question of marriage to a later date and avert the prospect of being burdened with another question – When are you getting back home?

I am at a stage when people begin getting married. The approaching marriage season would see me on an India tour to wrap up a round of marriage invites so as part of a home-work, I finally put on my thinking cap and gave marriage a deep thought. I managed to come up with certain observations on how life undergoes a metamorphosis post marriage. My case studies were essentially my friends who interact with me on a daily basis and are or about to face the inevitable – Marriage!

While we (read 'the useless lot') while away our time playing TT or pool at the office during office lunch breaks or after office hours, these guys have appointments with Insurance and Loan agents. Your request to join the vella group meets with a wry smile from them that sums it all – “It’s over dude..I am married!”

Getting home early, increase in the frequency of attending social functions at relatives’ places, routine calls to check if she is doing alright and morality questions coming to hound the conscience whenever a beautiful girl smiles back at you are part of the baggage that marriage brings along with itself. With Metros coming up with the idea of huge Shopping Malls, life becomes tougher for the poor soul. A shopping spree is inadvertent and sometimes justified. However, that strangely crafted piece of decorative furnishing with a price tag that makes your heart bleed forces you into realizing that life is not all about breathing in and out but also about watching that three pronged candle stand with fragrance candles hanging in air just above the corner of your dining area. Note that I might be incorrect in the positioning of the candle stand bit but it doesn’t matter, I am not married after all!

It's not that marriage only has down sides. There are some good things about marriage as well. It changes the way you are perceived by people. Recently I met with this guy who was “just married”. Standing in a queue to pick up some sandwiches for his wife at a shop, the “Help me! I am married” look on his face could be read from quite a distance. Now, I have this reputation of getting into the act of unleashing sarcastic verbal vollies that I brand as my sense of humor at people the moment I get a chance to. Moreover, this guy was a specimen of a few good people who unwittingly end up entertaining a group with their off the mark remarks and jokes that go awry due to their timing. The one special thing about them is that they don’t really know what they are upto – they are, in short, the Bharat Bhushans (Bheja Fry fame) of the real world!

With his wife at his side, he felt that it was an opportune moment for him to seize initiative and make an impression. After proclaiming that post marriage he was searching for the real meaning of life, he talked at length – disagreeing with us on topics as diverse as why HLL started calling itself Unilever and if a brand name really matters while going to a B-School. Had it been a different setting with Bhabhiji not around, we might not have submitted meekly to him with a – “Maybe you are right” reply to all his arguments. But we controlled, all because of respect – not for him but for the fact that he had braved to enter a different world that he had lived in for the past 25 years.

I could probably go on and on but people have complained to me saying that I write pretty lengthy stuff so let me just shut up. Discussion on marriage is a never ending topic and you will never find yourself short of examples that are pro or anti marriage. Although the transition is imminent, till we lose our freedom and space let’s just live as if there is no tomorrow - "Jaa jeeley apni zindagi"

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Taaron Bhari Wo Raat - My Sufi Conquest!

Every now and then I love to do a Ramu. No, I don’t make a load of shit and package it an as inspiration and tribute to Sholay or remake a disaster like James to end up creating another one in Shiva. I try to explore the other world, a world of “intellectuals” who essentially are apostles of the elitist society. Last year I tried to rub shoulders with them at the MoMA, NYC and returned vanquished and acerbic. I really couldn’t find sense in a crude depiction of a pregnant woman or a giant olive green canvas and I was convinced that I really didn’t belong to the exclusive variety. Maybe that’s a reason why I love watching the “Sannate ko cheerti hui Sansani” brand of news channels rather than the news channels on a mission to unearth and dissect information to its deepest levels (Although I must admit that my preference for these pesudo news channels is just to get my daily doses of laughter!)

Time is a good healer and I mustered enough courage to try out something different yet again. On Sunday, I attended the Qutub Fest at Qutub Minar and waited with bated breaths to be mesmerized with the voice of Sufi singer Shafqat Ali Khan. Being from the lesser world, I generally find it difficult to get someone tug along with me to such places and I had to go all out to ensure that Nishant didn’t change his mind to go to the belle dance performance that someone else was taking him to.

As we neared the parking lot at the fest and were about to park the car next to a beautiful damsel’s straight from the page 3 of Delhi Times, we got our first taste of “You don’t belong here!” looks. The parking was at a secluded place and she preferred to take another round of the parking lot to find a slot far removed from ours. Prevention is better than cure but we didn’t look like rapists for sure!

Anyways, the greeting at the main entrance wasn’t all that good either. We first tried to get into the Qutub Minar with that pass and were politely shown the door that took us to the concert. At the other gate, a 50 something man was quite shocked to see two 20 somethings walking in amidst a swarm of educated and formally dressed lot. The divide between the two worlds was quite evident here in the tone of this 50 something gentleman who literally shoved off a family who had by mistake tried gaining entry to the concert with a ticket bought to visit the Qutub Minar.

The show had already begun and we managed some standing space just behind the seated rows. It was a bollywood night to start with and two successful participants from a popular singing talent show held last year were trying to woo the audience. Call me a born cynic but their performance was enough to convince me why these singers coming in dozens don’t make it big after the initial hype and hoopla.

They egged Delhi to sway to the rhythm but our feet were just not moving. That gave us a reason to loiter around and we ended up meeting one of our batchmates who was standing in the queue to get something for his wife. What followed with him gave me ample masala to cook up another blog entry so I would leave him aside for the time being and focus on the ‘Sufi’ trail of mine.

We finally settled on the green lawns of Qutub while Shafqat Sahab cleared his throats by singing the alaap. Some raagas followed and I tried sounding a music connoisseur by talking about what a Jhala is in a raag. The fact that I ended up being a laughing stock for having been fooled into learning a Hawaiian Guitar (Mohan Veena) instead of a Spanish one during my childhood was a different matter altogether. You sometimes walk on a razor sharp edge if you are in a gathering with a school friend you have known for the past 18 years. They know it all and have potential weapons to embarrass you anytime with a small anecdote dating back to the days when you first blushed when a girl said a happy b’day to you and smiled.

We finally managed to seat ourselves later besides Uncle White Kurta. Uncle was all alone and a true romantic at heart. All sufi verses met with appreaciation in the form of “Waah Waah!” and “Uff..ahaa”. We too got into the same mould. But I must admit that the appreciation was not fake. “Taaron bhari hai raat” was a soulful rendition. We finally made a retreat and ended our Sufi conquest by celebrating at Yo! China in Priya.

Talking of China, Red FM faces a ban for uttering something against the Darjeeling lad who won the Indian Idol recently. Oops! Did I say something more than required? I wonder why we Biharis and UP wallahs too don't take up cudgels against being called the Bhaiyaji's?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bengali Poetry

Poetry is something that I could never ever attempt. Here's a piece that I got in some forwarded mail. Don't know the original source. With all due respects to the community, here's presenting - "Jongole Ka Sher":

Through the jongole I am went
On shooting Tiger I am bent
Boshtaard Tiger has eaten wife
No doubt I will avenge poor darling's life

Too much quiet, snakes and leeches
But I not fear these sons of beeches
Hearing loud noise I am jumping with start
But noise is coming from damn fool's heart

Taking care not to be fright
I am clutching rifle tight with eye to sight
Should Tiger come I will shoot and fall him down
Then like hero return to native town

Then through trees I am espying one cave
I am telling self - "Bannerjee be brave"
I am now proceeding with too much care
From far I smell this Tiger's lair

My leg shaking, sweat coming, I start pray
I think I will shoot Tiger some other day
Turning round I am going to flee
But Tiger giving bloody roar spotting Bengalee

He bounding from cave like footballer Pele
I run shouting "Kali Ma tumi kothay gele"
Through the jongole I am running
With Tiger on my tail closer looming

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Golden Jubilee!

50 blog entries finally and I already feel like a Sachin Tendulkar talking about his long and illustrious career ;) If you really knew me, you would understand that commiting to a blog for over a year and a half is really some sort of an achievement for me.

Before I start sounding philosophical, lemme list some of my personal favorite entries that I wrote in this VERY LONG journey!

One of the better film reviews - Rang De Basanti

Learning an Art - Aao Sikhayein Tumhe Cheat-Plead Ka Funda

Thought Provoking - 'S' For Sex

EmotionFULL - Things That Remain Unsaid

Excuses Galore - Adam, Eve and the Apple!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Films that drew me closer to Bollywood

Disco Dancer - Indian Elvis is Here

Mithunda rocked the nation with this rags to riches story of a street singer. He also popularised the 'scooter kick start' and 'pulling an imaginary rope' dance steps that earned fame in India as Disco Dance. Mithunda became the poor man's Amitabh Bachchan after featuring in this literally electrifying film (an electric guitar held a central role in the script)

"He's got guitar phobia. A guitar killed his mother." - P.N. Oberoi (Courtesy: Wikipedia)

The novel thing about the film's story was that it was not about making music or dance but using music as a source to seek revenge from the oppresive world - original! To quote Jimmy, the protagonist in the film:

"Mother, I have my music. I will sharpen this music like a sword and stab the city's heart with it."
(Courtesy: Wikipedia)

Aye saala..kasam paida karne wale ki, aisa jhakaas jacket

Tarzan -…eeeeee

Not many of you might be knowing who Hemant Birje is but you must be knowing about his hit film Tarzan. Such was the impact of the film that it led to a flurry of rehashes like Jungle Love, among others. As a kid I was not allowed to watch this film which to me seemed like a children's film with all those wild animals having fun, the singing and dancing. What was worse that I was not even given a reason. That made me all the more inquisitive to watch this film. My first memories of the film are that of a skimpily clad Tarzan carrying the sultry Kimi Katkar in his arms. It was done so aesthetically that it left an indelible mark on me.

A very emotional story about a boy who has been losing on the better things in life due to his upbringing in the Jungles. It is left to Kimi Katkar, the Rakhi Sawant of the yore, to come and teach him how to appreciate things in the correct light. To quote her in the film - “I shall teach him love and the meaning of it”

I heard that NatGeo has taken this film to be a part of its archive as it gives a good understanding of Indian Wild Life.

“The guy who played Tarzan was good but the elephants were more facially expressive” – A Fan

Awwal Number - First Superhero

Cricket is a religion in India and Dev Anand played the God in this film. As an actor/writer/producer/director he delivered a knock out punch that left the audience awe struck.

Dev Anand plays Vicky - the Police chief, cricket control board president, selector and the former Indian cricket team captain who scouts a new talent Sunny (Aamir Khan) who is all set to replace Vicky's younger brother Ronny (Aditya Pancholi).
Ronny cannot take this lying down and plots to bomb the stadium just as the prolific Sunny goes on a rampage in the cricket field, hitting sixers at will and on special requests from his beloved sitting in the crowd.

While the action takes place in the ground, the superhero Vicky aka Dev Anand surfaces and makes a poignant request to his errant brother:

"Ronny, every one has his day (meaning to say that Ronny's role in the film was over). Tum ye mat karo mere bhai"

Ronny does not relent and DIG Vicky has to kill his dear brother in this breathtaking tale of devotion to a game, a nation and the call of duty.

“Awwal number hum hain..baaki sab paani kam hain” – Dev Anand when asked who the hero was.

Gunda – Transcending norms, a classic!

The hysteria surrounding Kanti Shah’s magnum opus Gunda remains unparalleled. You visit the interiors in Bihar, UP and MP and you will get to understand what I mean. The high points of the film are its dialogues. They stay with you long after you leave the theatre.

A fast paced film that can truly be called an entertainer. Another specialty of the film was the way sub texts were interwoven into the plot. There are several film connoisseurs and intellectuals who discuss each dialogue and scene of the film to understand the mind behind the film – Kanti Shah, the Stanley Kubrick of Bollywood.

The story doesn’t matter as the film transcends all general norms that define a film. It is an experience of a life time and I am grateful to the deadly duo of Kanti Shah and Mithun for providing us with a classic.

Some crispy and poetic dialogues:

“Ae kafanchor neta, mere naam ki qawali gaana chhod ,kaam ki baat bata, jis kaam ke liye tu billi ka dudh peeke dilli se aaya!”

“Bheegi hui cigaret kabhi jalegi nahi aur yeh tay hain ke teri maut ki tareekh kabhi talegi nahi”

“Bulla toone khullam khulla lambu aata ko maut ke tave par senk diya, Uski laash ko worli ke gutter mein phenk diya!”

“Baap pe Poot, Pita pey Ghoda, kuch nahi toh,THODA THODA” (let me know if anyone understood this)
“Do, char, chhe, aath, dus.. bus..”

Darna Mana Hai/Darna Zaroori Hai

If Fountainhead had its Howard Roark, Bollywood has its Ram Gopal Verma. At times he acts human and makes films that ‘humans’ understand and at times he takes us into a world totally unexplored which makes us feel so shallow and apologetic about our IQ levels for not being able to comprehend his sensibilities that we end up calling him names to hide our inadequacies.

Darna Mana Hai and Darna Zaroori Hai leave you awestruck. An ensemble star cast and pool of directors exercise their creative freedom to the hilt and unleash one story after another to ensure that you sweat like a pig in an air conditioned theatre by the end of it all and there lies Ramu’s victory. While the ghosts in Ramsay’s films were typecast as ugly looking, trapped in a coffin and predictable, Ramu changed the face of the ghosts by bringing them in a more congenial environment in the cities where they chose to live inside the bodies of sexy sultry sirens like Urmila Matondkar and Mallika Sherawat rather than those nailed coffins.

Mummy: So ja beta warna Darna Mana Hai ki chudaail aa jayegi
Beta: Accha, fir tum kamre se baahar jao. Mujhe usse akele mein milna hai

Ghosts in earlier films – The ugh! factor

Friday, September 07, 2007

Walking Down the Memory Lane, Sometime in Future

I just happened to find this piece that I wrote a couple of years back. I had mailed it on my wing's yahoogroup ID. It had that nostalgia element associated with it, something that the odd 20 of us who shared it all would cherish. But it does make good reading I feel. Here's my attempt to capture where I saw my wing mates in the year 2029

On April 03, 2005 Anurag Wrote:

Was going thru the yrbook entries today..and couldn’t help imagining wht I wud write abt the others if again given a chance 25 years down the line during the reunion.

Abhijeet: I wonder how this guy has so much of hair on his head still..maybe God compensated for its scarcity on his face. He looks smarter..I remember there were many people(read sushil kumar) who felt he had a beautiful body..wonder wht that meant. This guy loves playing phatta with his kids and he still wears those red shirts and white pants... 'Khusboo' bhabhi cudn’t change everything abt him after all!

Birla: Finally he has decided to call it quits as far as eating chicken is concerned. Thanks to his better half who is a PETA activist. We tried finding our way to anaichas for having reshmi kabab one last time tonight but cudn’t locate the restaurant..its no more there..well some things do change! I remember writing something abt his hair in the yrbook back in 2004..i can’t now becoz there’s no visible sign of it left. he likes to watch the XXX dvd’s tht his kids hide in their closets. Wouldn’t it make good reading that the head of Morgan Stanley likes watching porn secretly?

Toshka(I forget his real name):Blame it on memory but I vaguely remember calling him by some other name when we studied at IITK. He tried to do a SRK aka Mohan Bhargav’s Swades type of comeback to India..he bought a trailer van ..moved around villages near patna and sang ye taara wo taara…but then his van got stolen and after he received extortion calls from a local musallahpur goon, he decided to return. So until Ashutosh Gowariker makes another poignant nationalistic call like “ye jo desh hai tera..” its au revoir for Sabya..aha! that was his name..

Parth:Still gives an impression tht he is on cocaine or some such drug. Everyone had a hard time explaining their better halves that he did not take drugs. We had thought of GPLising him today but then dropped the idea..its such a happy occasion and we won’t like to be booked for murdering a foreign national(chinese). His chinki looking son came running and asked us why we called his dad Choduram…it means The loved one in hindi we explained.

Jaish-e:He has lied to his family that he was the best batsman for the wing’s team in his IIT days. And is making us sing false praises in his name. Jaish-e fell in love several times before finally deciding to marry. He is also not bald..thats because of the ‘cool-it’ attitude that he has I guess. We played 29 last night and lost. Jaishe, partnering me set the trump in the deciding game..needless to say he didn’t have any!

Guptaji:Shakespeare said once while describing the various stages of life..that a round belly symbolizes maturity and wisdom. Going by that guptaji is the wisest of us all. Though he has lived most of his life abroad..he still behaves like the purab aur paschim ka manoj kumar. He was searching for abida parween’s CDs in the shopping mall yesterday and was bragging that he still has the greatest music collection on the planet.

Dhibree:U won’t believe this..this guy has toured around in the world more than anyone else. He still likes to be called dhibree rather than champu as guptaji loves to call him. During the whole trip here at kanpur this time, dhibree never parted with his digi cam wherever he went..shooting whatever he fact he shot meena peeing in the urinal as well. We hope that he wud upload the pics soon at

Suman:The first one from the wing to get married..he’s going to celebrate its silver jubilee next year. Marriage changes you..and so it has as the customary moustache that he sported has given way and I saw him wearing a jeans!His kids complain that he makes them go to school everyday..No bunking classes..poor they!

Anila:While we were having dinner yesterday.. “anila ne apni biwi se kaha ki neebu chaat lo”. Anila wanted parth and my friendship to be like keke and kallu’s..(i wonder why)..we hope we haven’t disappointed him. Anila also read a few of his couplets for all of us. He doesn’t seem to lose his touch.

Sam Baba:I never knew that he still ‘toongs’. He says he toonged outside the house of his sweetheart for several hours before she finally relented and agreed to his proposal. They now toong together.

Omji Baba:Frail then..Frail now..Frail forever! Omji was offered a job somewhere in US. Baba refused to join the job..the reason being, the place frequently had winds blowing at high speeds. He didn’t want to leave home for office and end up in another city by the time the wind stopped blowing.

Mondal:He had named his kid ‘Shishn upasak’ because he did not know hindi well and when someone suggested this name..he thought it was hep. After we convinced him abt wht it really meant he has decided to change it with a trendier and mondal-like ‘Oane’ . He was happy “ki hum sab reunion par AAYI aur khoob masti KIYA.

Meena:Life comes a full u u reap..all these apply to him. He had worked on some signature recognizing stuff in his BTP which was later used by banks to fight forgeries and then one fine day he himself was caught while trying to dupe a bank. He was let-off after he came out proving that there was something wrong with his software and all that… “Oont buddhi” they say.


They kept asking me what happened to my sense of humor..after three divorces and two lawsuits to brag about do they really expect me to be humorous? We all went to the Campus restaurant for dinner and I paid the bill once again. I have noted each one’s name and the money he owes me after the lunch in my personal notebook. I will make sure that they shell it out this time around for sure.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Things That Keep Me Busy


I have been busy all this while editing stuff for people and writing a whole load of crap myself that cannot be put for general exhibit. I know the world has changed quite a bit during all this while and I need to get back before this blog becomes extinct and a once upon a time affair to the few people who actually read it!

Watch Chak De if you haven't. I was moved by it. The fact that I was under the influence of spirits when I watched it is a totally different matter altogether.

So till I get back, here's the update from me - I am alive and kicking!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Shootout at Lokhandwala - Review

Films with underworld as a subject fall exclusively within the domain of Ram Gopal Verma School of film-making. Starting from Shiva all the way to Satya, Ab Tak Chhappan, Company and the the latest 'D', Ramu and his proteges have held sway in this genre. Shootout At Lokhandwala is an exception and that was a reason enough for me to go ahead and watch it.

The film was under the spotlight because it was based on rumors surrounding a real life incident. With Sanjay Gupta and Ekta Kapoor being at the helm as producers, the publicity of the film was good enough to generate curiosity amongst the cinegoers.

When I did enter the theatre I had a lot of questions in my mind:

- Does Shootout live upto the promise it generates?
- Does this starry effort light up the screen?
- Is it any different from the regular Underworld films that Ramu's factory churns out?

I got my answers by the end of this two hour pacy enterprise which followed the trails of the dare-devil Maya Dolas and his accomplices and a cat and mouse chase between police and the underworld.


Sanjay Dutt's cinematic portrayal of the man behind ATS towers over the rest of the cast. Whenever he came around on the screen there was always a sense of assurance. He carries off the part with elan.

Vivek Oberoi is good too and that again was a refreshing thing to watch. I won't say that it is like a come back for him. You give him the role of a mean and fiery gangster anyday and he will do justice to it but dude, he just can't get his romantic hero act right. After watching him in Company and now in Shootout, my suggestion to him would be to go ahead and give roles with shades of grey a try..he might just get a second lease of life in the industry.

Tusshar Kapoor in the role of a dreaded gangster is a dud. Suniel Shetty and Arbaz Khan are strictly okay.
If you thought that I never mentioned anything about the first family's of Bollywood's contribution in the film it is because they were in guest appearances.

Behind the scene work/Direction:

Apoorva Lakhia has been associated with some Hollywood films as an assistant and despite delivering flops like Mumbai se aaya mera dost and Ek Ajnabee, his understanding of the medium was not in dout. With Shootout, he tries to change his style and delivers in pieces. He chooses a diffrent style of narration but loses hold in some places trying to give appropriate screen space to all stars and accomodating songs.

The whole episode of Abhishek Mhatre's encounter with terrorists and climax are not convincing. Also, the songs that he chooses to add in between could have easily been done away with as they just retard the whole pace of the film rather than adding any value to it. A man of Apoorva's sensibility should know that better.


Music of the film is catchy. Anand Raj Anand does a good job and so do the Pakistani band Strings but this film did not require any of these songs.

Let downs:

- Songs weaved into the film - Good songs but not required
- Climax court scene - It begged to have more punch

Things that work in favour:

- The pace and length of the film
- Good performance by the cast
- No strong competitors at the Box Office which gave it a relatively smoother run
- Banner

Is it any better than a product from Ramu's stable - only BO results can reveal that! Direction wise there is not much to choose between the two but it surely is narrated differently.

My verdict: Not a film that you would mind missing out on. Time pass none-the-less if you can bear with some profanities and brutal tooth breaking scenes...par film mein ye Ganpat kaun tha? ;)

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