Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Movie of the week- Delhi-6

I never thought I would be writing on a movie anytime soon. But watching two movies, in otherwise uneventful day, with contrasting box office records set me to do some analytics. It’s true- we Indians sometimes perplex ourselves.

‘Namasthey London’ was the one which type proclaimed Akshay-Katrina as the ‘working’ pair in Hindi industry. But in this one it has been difficult to make out what really worked for the film. The movie takes liberal digs at the ‘firangis’. Akshay takes a study class for them in Hindi on our glorious culture. Then comes India v/s Britain rugby match where Akshay makes a run like Theo Walcott and wins us the trophy and saves our honour. As if these are not enough to make you sink deep into the sofa there is a dialogue in the very end ‘I know English better than you. But don’t get confused I am a Punjabi at heart’.

Have you noticed, we have been casting pathetic, homeless, wreaks of Englishmen as the British aristocracy. The hooker women dress themselves in basic lingerie to do a dance at pubs while our Indian heroines seem to have a superior fashion sense. In the end the wayward, Uppen Patel, learns a leasson on culture and religion from Akshay and he returns home. Katrina takes some longer time to come into senses. In the end all is well. Bottom line: We haven’t got over the East India Company attitude.

But what baffled me was- why did this work while Delhi 6 didn’t? What went wrong fundamentally?

Rakeysh Mehra has a problem in conceptualizing his films. The flaw was there in RDB and became all the more evident in Delhi 6. In RDB liberal dozes of patriotism and anti-institution feeling bailed him out. ‘Monkey man’ is too light subject to connect with mindless religious fanaticism. Cinematography failed him miserably in the movie. Some sequences looked worse than kiddie flicks. I think the producer saved a lot of money as the movie didn’t move out much from the same lane and same house. Delhi was shown very briefly when Bachan goes for a quick tour. Was this shot in Delhi at all?

Both in RDB and D-6 Rakeysh has shown that his main strength is the strong, unique and to an extent eccentric characters. In D-6, they turn out to be witty and simple minded. But at times, I felt they were painted a few decades back and seemed to have stepped straight out of 80’s movie. To makes matters worse towards the end, Rakeysh made the movie (which was running in a unique track) too B-woodish.

I still don’t think these are reasons enough for the movie to bomb. These would have been the flaws no one would have bothered if it had been a hit. The script was very strong. The characters were introduced at right time thus turning the ebb and flow of the story. Then there were powerhouse performances from the cast. When the music was released, I had an apprehension that it would drag the pace of film, which didn’t happen at all. Altogether it had a message and I was glued to the sofa till the end. This should have worked.

Still we humans are a mystery.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Saviour of Christmas

Hey, so another Christmas season has come by. You, being my faithful readers, deserve some gift to cherish. Here I give mine and this is a story I heard. The story is satirical but read deep into it and you’ll get a meaning.

The class teacher decided to do a skit on the nativity scene as part of the Christmas festivities. Pete had always been enchanted with character of ‘Joseph’. He was one of the most respected characters in the Bible. Nothing much is known about him, but the little information that exists makes him all the more venerable. Besides he gets a central place in the skit and could stand in all the pride with Mary, as the shepherds and angels dance and sing around them.

While teacher was assigning the roles, the dream role of Joseph fell into the hands of Sid. Disappointment would not be the apt word to describe the mood of Pete, that too when Sid was his arch rival. Pete had to contend with the inn-keeper’s role. Protest was not a favourable method as he may end up as a butt of jokes.

After much practice, the D-day arrived. According to the real story Mary experiences pains of childbirth. Joseph goes around looking for lodging but is turned down by everyone. Atlast he approaches the inn-keeper. The inn-keeper apologizes that he has no free room left. Joseph persists and seeing Joseph’s anguish inn-keeper offers them his cattle shed.

The skit moved on until Joseph approached inn-keeper.
Joseph(Sid): Sir, my wife is in pains. I have searched everywhere without any luck. Can you please offer me a room.

The audience held their collective breath. The teacher was on the verge of breakdown. For the first time in history the story of Christmas was about to be corrected.
There was a pin drop silence as Joseph walks in to the room.
Joseph(Sid) [in disgust]: Oh what a dirty, dinghy, stinking room it is. A cattle shed would be better than this. Come on Mary, let’s get out.
Thus Joseph saved another Christmas


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shift in Values

Everyone who knows him would say he is a pretty nice guy. The people who are not close to him says he is stubborn as a mule.

We were enjoying the evening sun at the beach when a pastor went around distributing anti-liqour pamphlets. Then my friend said, ’What moral authority does these guys have to preach against drinking? Christians drink wine don’t they? If the’ immoral’ drink is just judged on its alcoholic content, then beer has lower alcoholic content than wine!’ I hate to get into arguments especially, when the matter pertains to faith.

The next morning I read in ‘The Sun’ that Britain broke one another record. But this time it was for the youngest couple to make It to parenthood. In our times Age- 14 was for fantasy dreams like becoming a famous cricketer, getting a spider bite to turn into a spiderman etc. We saw our first hardcore porn picture at the age of 15 and later discovered that we were capable to produce the white liquid too.

‘The Sun’ went on to do a further interview with the kids. They were pretty excited to talk about the parenthood. The Mom claimed she broke up with the kid’s dad. But the dad claimed they were still an item. The funniest thing was they couldn’t make out if what they did was right or wrong!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The writers' generation gap

I am notorious in putting down outdated posts. It’s because the newer ideas get stacked on top (kind of last-in-first-out flow).

During The Hay Festival I made a startling discovery on the lineage of the writer, Jaisree Mishra. She is the great grand-daughter of one of the greatest writer in Malayalam, Thakazhi.

As Jaisree shook her legs drabbed in the neo-desi outfit, I couldn’t help but take a snap of hers. Due to poor lighting and movement, it came out as hazy. She might have looked on with suspicion at the guy who stared and impolitely clicked her. But it wasn’t exactly because I was enamored of her.

I couldn’t help but compare the contrasting figures of Thakazhi and J.M. The Thakazhi we have seen in pictures is a bare-chested man, relaxing in a chair flanked by his wife and adorned with the infectious smile. He wrote on the plight of poor farmers of central belt of Kerala and the out castes of the society. I still feel the tug at heart on recalling his famous work, ‘Thottiyude Makan’ (Son of the Scavanger). His works reflected the revolutionary era and the wide spread social changes that were sweeping through out.

Now I see, JM, writing on the make-break relationships in concrete jungles. Her target audience is the affable metro-sexual youth. The books are well adorned, well-publicized, costly and well-sold.

But what have we been missing?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Film Fest

The past month was not great for my hometown. The bad roads, the bad weather and bad accidents added to our misery. But there was a silver light in the horizon too. And it was called IFFK.

The official film festival of Kerala- IFFK has reached its 15th edition. Unlike the much hyped and big flop IFFI, IFFK marches on in style. The best part of IFFK is it’s run by genuine film lovers. Nonetheless Kerala is famous for the ‘good’ films we churn out. I hope the officials of IFFI understand the simple fact that ‘Bollywood’ isn’t World Cinema.

So I acquired the symbols of pride- IFFK delegate pass and the Kit. Strutting them on I marched in and watched three-four movies in the first two days. There are 5 shows in some 6-7 theatres. In the 7 day period some 150 films are shown. No one can watch the entire films that are screened. But he can rigorously plan his schedule to watch the maximum number possible.

But to make matters worse I was downed by a bout of stomach bug. But still I am optimistic and happy to be at the cinema lover’s paradise for a week.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I happen to hear a wonderful story on the TV yesterday(Yes, TV can be useful too.)

Gandhi was with the Indigo plantation workers of Bihar. It must have been during his return from S.Africa. It seems that one of the owners was mighty pissed off with Gandhiji.

He remarked, 'Gandhi is a coward. He surrounds himself with farmers. If I get him alone, I will shoot him on the spot.'

The news reached Gandhiji through hearsay.

One early morning Gandhiji's colleague and helper noticed him waking up one hour earlier than usual. Gandhiji started walking through the streets. He reached a big cottage and knocked at the doors. Someone opened the doors.

'I heard that you have taken a pledge. Sorry the farmers flock around me all day. So I couldn't free myself. Now I have got up a bit early and have come alone to you. You can fulfill your pledge'

Rest History

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The table and the book

My Mom was waiting for me to get away from home for a couple of days. She pounced on my desk, to do a cleaning job.Mind you, I have tried many a times to clean my table, but have failed miserably. I don't know how she manages it!The bad part of table cleaning is you will end up having no clue on what you have deposited and where it has ended up.

Well I give you a chance to compare the extremities. It will take some time for me to revert back my table to its ugly self.

As of now, I have finished 'The Age Of Kali' in the long train journey.Now I am into a biography on EMS by P.Govinda Pilla . The book is entitled 'EMS Nambbothirippad'.Well he has a few accolades to his name:

1. The leader of first democratically elected Communist governement.

2. The first Chief Minister of Kerala

3. The brightest party idealogues in India

4. One who started off 'The land re-distribution Act'. The reason why caste disparities are few in Kerala