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 clich├ęs!

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.

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