Bollywood

First Day, First Show

The first time I saw Her was on the cover of a Reader’s Digest. I think I must have been in Class VIII. Classes then (as perhaps, always) used to be bloody boring; and as natural, it was incumbent upon any level-headed chap to resort to whatever means necessary to keep himself occupied (At a later point in life I had been reduced to devising alliterations while somebody stood at a lectern and went muda-fada and fada-muda-fada, but I’ll probably blog about that later).

In any case, that day, as mentioned before, variegated mean no. 223 was that month’s issue of RD (And whatever the faults RD might have (and precious few they are), timeliness of delivery date is most, most certainly not one amongst them). So there I was, reading RD, minding my own sweet business,wondering when the next hols were, letting the cool breeze waft over me, the works basically, when suddenly, I was caught in the act by Mr. D. Now, I’ve never really understood how any reasonably sane person can pass a blanket edict proscribing all kinds of non-curriculum material at a school. I mean, if I’d been a teacher, DON’T LAUGH, and if I were to catch any of my students reading something nifty, say Tolkien or even Calvin, that in my book would call for a couple of high-fives (Paulo Coelho would have been fit grounds for expulsion though).

Mr. D’s reaction though, that day, was highly surprising 🙂 I’d never seen him that thrilled. Ever. It was all due to Her. I did have to listen to a monologue on her luminescence, and brilliance, and greatness, and thespian smarts. But that was alright. I might mind monologues, but not as much as confiscations and being made to stand outside classrooms. See, that’s what you get when you read stuff with Meryl Streep on its cover.

Saw me a movie recently. Starring Streep. Loved it. She’s pulled off an almost impossible impersonation of Julia Child. And the accent is simply out of this world. Leave you with three clips; this is the official trailer, this is an actual clip of Julia Child, and this is THE Dan Akroyd clip. Bon appetit 🙂

Jan A.P. Kaczmarek composed the background score for this movie. More importantly, he composed the Piano Variation in Blue. A track which I am listening to as I type this out, and which, in my considered opinion, is one of the most delightful pieces I have ever come across. Kaczmarek, btw, also did the score for this movie. You live. You Learn. And You Marvel.

Somehow, prior to yesterday. I’d never caught a First Day, First Show. As a matter of fact prior to yesterday, I’d only caught two movies on the very day they released; Omkara and The Dark Knight. Simply put, there are very few movies which enthuse me enough to land up in a movie-hall on the very first day, so that I can make a statement to my own immortal self. And frankly, I thought 3 Idiots would be a decent enough yarn, but nothing exceptional. Don’t get me wrong, I like Aamir, but Ghajini was utter Tripe, and the capital T ain’t a typo; and even if you were to forget everything else, there was the you-know-who, and his novel (sic.), which had spawned the flick.

Well, a bit of background first, Christmas Eve was a crowded and liquid affair at Park Street. I, as usual, wanted to hog somewhere, but my esteemed batch-mates, again as usual, had their priorities all wrong. Don’t blame ’em; people perhaps do derive a perverse sense of pleasure from getting plastered. And I gotta admit, watching the Existentialist Mallu stand outside St. Paul’s and shout, “Where’s my Santa, Where’s my Santa”, was much fun 🙂 In any case, post-revelries I crashed at The Boy in Red, Doctor Saab, and the Poltergeist’s pad. The Poltergeist was leaving on an afternoon train the next day, so basically, the only show we could catch together was the morning show. So First Day, First Show it was.

Won’t say much about the movie. Won’t say anything about why its definitely the best movie I’ve seen all year. Or possibly amongst the best movies of this decade. I won’t say a word about how this movie excels as a package, and how even some of the corniest moments, somehow fit in. Not a word about Rancho. Or about Chatur Ramalingam, in a debut act by Omi Vaidya which deserves to go down in the ages.

I’ll just say this much; through out the movie, there must have been at least five moments when the capacity audience at Mani Square burst into spontaneous applause. And a standing ovation at the end of it. And when, I, and the four other gits I’d gone to see the blasted movie with, walked out of the theatre, we were all flashing our pearlies to each other. The School of De Sica might have its admirers, but I wouldn’t watch The Bicycle Thief a second time. 3 Idiots though, I could watch again and again.

P.S. Just a word of advice though. If you do go to watch the movie, watch it with a blank slate. Do not draw parallels with what happened in the Munnabhai series, or RDB, or Taare Zameen Par, and analyze how derivative and inferential a work this truly is. Give your mind a rest, watch it with your heart, and trust me, All Shall Be Well 🙂

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Movies, Cinema, Muck (And a Couple of Non Sequiturs)

Exhibit A: Chintuji. Had heard so many poltroons going gaga about how nice, how sweet, how cutesy it was. Well, the darned thing IS sweet. The only problem is that it is so bloody sweet it almost reaches saccharin overdose levels. Methinks the director was probably aiming for a good old fashioned Hrishikesh Mukherjee-Basu Chatterjee feel. And given the times we live in, he was probably obligated to throw in a song-and-dance routine as well. But the poor chap overshot it. By a helluva long way. Muck

Exhibit B: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. How does someone, who made such a bloody decent movie the first time round, so totally screw up the sequel?? Transformers has got to be the worst sequel I have seen. Ever. I know Bay ain’t exactly the cat’s pajamas when it comes to cinematic derring-do, but this has to be pretty special, even by his not-so-exacting standards. Or maybe, it was just Megan Fox which distracted the poor man. Utter muck.

Non Sequitur 1: Caught snatches from a trailer of a Chetan Bhagat interview on CNBC a few days back. The man was mouthing lines like “Chetan Bhagat knows what he wants”, “Bollywood shall work for Chetan Bhagat, not the other way around”. Not only does he churn out you-know-what, but he also speaks in third-person. Cult

Non Sequitur 2: MNS activists have declared war on Wake up Sid. Apparently, the movie refers to Mumbai as Bombay. Cult-er.

Non Sequitur 3: Roman Polanski raped a 13 year old. But that’s alright. ‘Coz he directed The Pianist and Chinatown, you know. (%$@#@, some more dosh here)

Non Sequitur 4: Phul Singh v. State of Haryana, AIR 1980 SC 248. Per, Krishna Iyer, J.

“A philanderer of 22, appellant Phul Singh, overpowered by sex stress in excess, hoisted himself into his cousin’s house next door, and in broad day-light, overpowered the temptingly lonely prosecutrix of twenty four, Pushpa, raped her in hurried heat and made an urgent exit having fulfilled his erotic sortie.”

(Some more extracts from the same order here.) Cult-est.

Dhum Dhum Dhadam Dhadaiya Re

Yeah, I know……….its been an eternity, and more. Saw Omkara a few days back, first time ever I caught a movie on the day it was released, and have to admit, the friggin flick was worth every damn penny. Firstly, its almost the most un-multiplex muliplex movie you can ever hope to come across. Replete with profanities of the crudest varieties, I can’t exactly visualise family audiences making a beeline to the theatres to witch this one, but man, what a flick, what dialogues, what cinematography, what performances, a brilliant soundtrack, refreshingly different from the usual run-of-mill syrupy sweet Bollywood numbers, and ofcourse, Saif Ali Khan, in probably the best performance he has or is ever likely to deliver. If Othello was less about the eponymous hero, and more about the webs of deceit and subterfuge spun around him by the cunning, wily Iago, its no different over here. Omkara is Langda Tyagi’s magnum opus, period.

Of Pain and Nails

Yup, been quite some time since my last post. Finished Name of the Rose. (infinitely better read than Foucault’s Pendulum) Watched RDB with a couple of very old school friends and broke my toenail in the process. (clumsy oaf as I am, crashed into a flight of stairs, literally, and my nail came off, again literally. Hope I wouldn’t be needing an operation to extract the nail or I would be confined to bed for the better part of a fortnight) RDB was brilliant in general, average in parts. Methinks the last half hour was a tad too cheesy. However, the casting was superb, the colours riotous, and all-in-all, one of the best flicks I’ve caught in quite some time.

Mr. Pandey, I presume

The time to roll up my sleeves and get down to some serious studying has finally come. I will be leaving for college tommorrow and will be staying in the hostel for a couple of days atleast.Hopefully, I should be able to complete the syllabus in the next two days and not have to take recourse to the path of selective study. God, I still remember that Bio exam in Class 8 when I had left one measly chapter dealing with some weird classification of some sort and around half of the bloody paper dealt with that chapter only. I barely managed to scrape through. Now, if skl was bad this place is worse. Really, anybody who ever said law skl was easy didn’t have the faintest idea what he was talking about. Deadlines upon deadlines, assignments and whatnot. Thankfully, after the VIVAs only the end-sem exams would be left which would start in roughly a month’s time.

With all the hoopla that has been surrounding The Rising and the hype that has been created around it, I just can’t help wondering about the movie and its central character. Not to indulge in a baseless excoriation of a man who has been variously hailed as the forerunner of other like-minded, hot-blooded revolutionaries such as Azad or Sukhdev, but can any individual be truly hailed as a patriot, who was galvanized into action not by any sense of a loss of a national identity, but instead of a fear of religious persecution. Would Mangal Pandey have been Mangal Pandey if the Enfield cartridges had never been introduced in the first place? Patriots are fuelled by the courage of conviction not compulsion. Mangal Pandey was compelled into action by virtue of the prevalent societal norms and consciousness which placed religiosity at a pedestal far above all others. It was the internalization of this aspect which resulted in whatever followed. Undoubtedly, Mangal Pandey was an individual who had a determinative role to play in the events of his time, but whether he did so in the capacity of a patriot or not is something, which is in my opinion still open to question.