Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Movie of the week - Dum Maaro Dum

I have had the privilege to visit one of the saddest movie of the year- Dum Maro Dum. After the huge fanfare half of the Indian population would have had the privilege to go through the experience I had.

Ever since I heard Bipasha was acting in a movie for which Deepika was doing an hot item number, I was wanting to watch this. It has become the practice of film makers to bank on the popularity of an yester-year flick and do grave injustice and humiliation by borrowing the name and numbers. Bipasha, Deepika, Goa and the name did the trick to lure me into the cinema hall.

I have been noticing that heavens provide advanced warning signals before I enter a movie. This time the orange juice tasted like a cheap soda and the masala peanuts tasted very fake. But the opening of the movie assured me that for the first time the warning signs may be proved wrong!

The opening of the movie was truly exceptional with the brownish yellow tones and wild colours. The opening narratives were quite different from the ‘once-innovative-now-boring’ kind like, ’This is Ramesh. He has….’ The opening was pacy and crisp.

First came Prateik Babbar. This guy has a load of talent. He is going to be a sensation very soon. Then came in Rana. A hulk of a guy roaming around lonely in his bike with a guitar at his back. He croones to the baddest of music when the hero is in problem. Then comes the brooding Abishek. He was left with no lady love in the movie, so had to brood throughout. Then comes in Bipasha in shortest of skirts. She sheds in a tear or two at regular intervals proving that she can act. Then there are lots of assorted characters who have no clue why they are there. But the first half rolls on majestically except for the horrendous music from Pritam, The screenplay is really good, with a taste of ‘Alenjandro Gonzales’ style where different characters meet together halfway.

The movie undergoes a tumultuous change in the second half. When the first half ended the director left us with a feeling of huge thriller going to unravel soon. The second half looked like it was hot by an entirely different crew. The visuals that were awesome in the first became ordinary in the second. The color tones altogether disappeared and I had to spend half the time trying to figure the logic. Sadly I had rightly guessed the elusive villain in the beginning itself. When a character has no role except when he comes up in the crucial junctures, we are not too dumb to pretend this guy is a good man. Sadly if Abishek had my brains he would have shot him off in the beginning sparing us the horror.

At last the moment I waited for arrives. Deepika walks in for the hottest number of the decade. I had read somewhere that she insisted her skirt should be shorter than Bips’. There it was pieces of clothes hanging precariously on her navel. The song maker and choreographer worked together to produce one of the worst remixes in history with Deepika gyrating meaninglessly.

After this my whole spirit dipped down. But only to dip down further. A movie that had to finish soon after that painfully rolls on with each death coming one after the other and Prateik reuniting with his lover in the end. To make matters worse the wooden faced Rana sees all the dead and smiles at them.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ban the poison

A long time ago in USA a drug was discovered which reduced the birth pain. Many women who have had enough of these pains volunteered to experiment the drugs. The religious conservatives cried foul, as it opposed the biblical concept that women were cursed by God to suffer at birth. The volunteers had a smooth birth. But to their horror the babies suffered from many deformities. It shook the conscience of a nation. The drug was subsequently banned.

At this era of rule of corporate, humankind is bound to suffer from the immeasurable greed of a few individuals. But then the government comes as a check to protect a few lives or at least guarantee justice.

But India offers a different set of norms when it comes to corporate genocides. The victims of the infamous Bhopal Gas Tragedy have received no justice till date. Our Nuclear bill doesn’t hold the private companies liable in case of a nuclear mishap. Now the government has broken all senses of decency when it voted against the ban of the dangerous chemical Endosulphan.

Endosulphan is a chemical used as pesticide for cashew nuts in the northern districts of Kerala. Soon after its first application people in the vicinities of the farms developed medical conditions. The children born resembled a catastrophe worse than a nuclear accident. Even to this day the evil has not left the land. I would request my readers to search for the images online to come to a clear grasp with the situation.

Ever since then the people of Kerala and activists have been calling for a ban on the drug. The National Council submitted a report implicating Endosulphan on the mishap. But the first report was ignored and a second one ordered with no bound time frame. 80 countries around the world have banned Endosulphan. Only three studies have favoured the use of Endosulphan. Interestingly all the three were published by the manufacturing firm.

Yesterday all over Kerala, people from all walks of life, irrespective of religion and politics joined hands in asking the Centre to ban Endosulphan. But yesterday Centre laughed at the suffering of the innocent by opposing the ban in Geneva. When 80 countries have banned Endosulphan why does our government insist on feeding the people with it. When almost every study have confirmed the danger in its use, what further report is our government waiting on.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Mrs. Jose stood at the church window and motioned me wildly outside. I was bit surprised, She wanted me to help her son in participating in the Maundy Thursday Mass. Her husband was out on an errand. The ‘son’ is much older to me. I am not fully aware of his condition, but he has some problems with controlling his body parts. He is very sound mentally but there are restrictions with hands, legs etc,

I helped him in and guided him to the seat beside mine. Through the corners of my eyes, I saw him wiping his nose on his hands and shirt sleeves, he apparently had problems with picking up his hanky from the shirt pocket. I retched on thinking I will have to hold his hands after the service to help him out. The service went on with beautiful music and images of silent faithful remembering the sufferings.

I stretched out my hand to him. Apparently a small sacrifice compared to the hands that voluntarily stretched out to be nailed.


Friday, April 22, 2011

God of Rich men

I look around the church and am surprised to see a sizeable portion of the rich in church. The lent season is particularly harsh on the worshippers. The wealthy are turning more meek than the ordinary man. They don’t mind sweating it out a bit. The olden films used to portray the rich man as a baddie who mocked at God. Then one fine day he would see himself turning poor and the poor hero coming to his help. Today the wealthy have turned more pious than the ordinary mortals.

The dilapidated temples and churches easily find donors to finance the renovation. God no longer bothers about white money or black. As long as they are provided with spacious palaces, they are happy.

There was a small temple in the neighborhood. A fine morning they started huge face-lift, which by no means the temple faithful could finance. It was rumored that some rich expatriate was laundering his black money through God’s work. There was an income tax raid one day. Thankfully the faithful found out that the officer was a Muslim. Communal angle was pointed as an ill-motivation behind the raid. The raid was stalled.

It’s not just the Gods, his servants are more happy with the rich faithful. They get a better parsonage, dinner and plum postings. It’s a rich man’s world.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nothing as good as an election

The Kerala elections this time had its own share of drama, anti-climaxes, laughs and bluffs. No wonder people preferred news channels and newspapers to movie halls. Here are a few interesting pieces:

Sindhu Joy phenomenon: Sindhu was a firebrand student leader of the communist party while we were in college. She was a hero among the college kids when she led the rallies from front and beaten to pulp by the police. One infamous incident happened when the police threw a grenade to disperse the mob. It blasted off her knee.

Image of Sindhu joy in crutches was a dynamite enough for the communist opposition to brand the government anti-people. Sindhu had been a regular figure in crutches in the city along with male leaders challenging the police and tearing down the city to pieces.

5 years ago she contested against the then Police minister and promised to arrest him and lead him through the streets manacled. And a few weeks back she did a total somersault and claimed the then Police minister is a father figure to her and jumped over to the Congress. Well if you think this is not joke enough go on.

In a public rally, someone threw an egg at her. The Sindhu who would not faint on a grenade years ago, fainted at the spot. She was rushed to hospital. But the twist of the story is her new found father was already present at the hospital verandah, as if waiting for someone, even before the incident happened.

No queues for a film star: Kavya claims for herself the soft spot in every Malayalee heart. Her figure basically resembles a hormonised broiler chicken. There are a media coterie surrounding her, proclaiming her ‘versatility’ and ‘family-ness’.

In a busy polling station, Kavya walks straight into the booth. There was a slight namaskars and hand waving for the tired and eager people in the queues. Surely she is a very family heroine. No one would bother but some may even swoon on seeing her. But that’s not what happened that day. A young man got out of his bewilderment and shouted at her to get back into the queue. Contrary to her expectation no star struck fan walked into support her. Sadly she had called up the media to witness the momentous occasion. We had the chance to see the LIVE proceedings on screen.

The sympathy vote: Surendran didn’t have a big party to back him up. He had to contest against a tough opponent with little or no support. Then he devised a plan to win the votes of soft hearted mallus. He stages a false attack on himself where he is seriously injured. This happens two days before the election.

The day before the election, it’s revealed that the attack were staged. So now he faces a serious criminal charge and an injury on his neck. No prize for guessing who is going to win.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Gen Y

Many years haven’t passed since I graduated from childhood to adolescence and adulthood. Recently I got a chance to spend a little time with cuddly toddlers. A lots have changed now. Doomsayers would say the change is for the worst.

I am looking into the urban locality I grew up in. The kids have been more exposed and are more brand conscious. They wear the best of clothes, eat best of foods and have the best healthcare. When I say best of foods, sadly they may lack the value. Kitchens are getting deserted when the junk food courts are filing up.

Speaking of health gone are the days kids used to run out and play without checking the financial status of the playmate. The parents have grown more cautious. This have given rise to an insecurity among the kids. Moreover the financial ghettos we build up can destroy the social fabric of tomorrow.

Nevertheless the playgrounds have grown rare and kids have to squeeze themselves into parking lots of flats. I know colleagues who buy up kids’ CDs to engage them. As for exercise, they may go to the parks once a week. The kids have grown strangers to bruises.

Kids have become more exposed to knowledge. Recently I overheard a small kiddo reciting the planets and stars. I tried and came to know that I am not aware of every planet! But still when it comes to decision making they go immature. May be it’s because it’s the sops and movies that help them decide. The interaction with the society has grown sparse.

‘Losing the innocence’ is a common usage today. I think it is not anything about sex. It’s when you learn that you can cheat your way to solutions. It’s when you learn that your best friend is disposable. In that sense kids today are losing their innocence real fast.

Last week I got a chance to volunteer for the children’s programme at our church. It made me yearn to go back to a time when there were no cares and worries. I tried to copy those nice innocent moments in my frame and have done that to some extent. The great thing about photographing the kids is that they aren’t overwhelmed by the camera and would not put up a false smile or seriousness. It was a job easy for me.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wine and Cricket

I took a sip from the wine glass. There was an entire bottle of beer on the glass table. I turned around to take a look at Ajay. In the dark interiors I strained my eyes to make out Ajay slipping more and more into the cushions. No diet seems to be working on him. He was growing huge every day. He had finished almost two packets of potato chips and masala peanuts. Now I will have to finish up my wine and his beer and there was one entire match left.

On April 02nd India was gearing up for its final in the cricket world cup. Cricket is the only team event in sports India has got real chance in. So everyone was making plans to watch the finals together- with friends and relatives. Pubs weren’t preferred in Kerala. Here people prefer to drink at home. That’s when Ajay calls me up to Purple Lounge, the only hip pub in our city. I was reluctant as they were no other friends to share the cheers. And I am not a drinker. I usually prefer the girl’s drink, wine. I am not a good ‘glass-mate’.

The harder I tried to dissuade him, the more he persisted. I relented. It would be a change to watch the finals drinking wine. I was eternal optimist when it came to meeting desperate girls in pubs. I reached there well before time. Suddenly he calls me up and says he’s coming in a transport bus. The next second he says he is on his bike. I asked him, ‘Dude are you really coming?’. I prayed no one will see me getting into the Lounge. This was my first time here and I hoped I wouldn’t end up with the label alcoholic. Ajay reached 10 overs late.

We have an impression that in a good pub we get to see a humble, loving, caring bar tender. But the guy here thought we ended up there by mistake. He announced the price list for all the drinks plus an entry charge of 150 bucks per head. The wine costs 250 bucks. Thanks to the faulty system of my company, I was a wage-free worker for the last month. I begged Ajay, ‘Dude we can buy the bottles from somewhere and watch the game at home’. He offered to take the bills and we stayed. He ordered beer and wine for me.

Then the funny thing happened. He ordered a mineral water bottle and ate up the touching. He announced that he had had enough. Now I will have to finish the beer. I took turns in taking a sip from each. Anyway the combination of beer and wine proved to be lucky for india that night.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lesson from a Mango Tree

The last week has been a bit painful. I aggravated my wrist injury. I guess there were some ligaments strained. I will have to spot a splint over my right hand for a month. It had been a bit of inconvenience for the first one week. The load you had been giving to the right hand had to be distributed to the left. Even the basic human functions such as bathing and eating were becoming a chore. Anyways things are getting better.

My dad belongs to the old school of thought when it comes to spending and saving- Save as much as you can and spend as little as possible. This species are on the verge of extinction now. Thanks to higher income, people develop an itch when they don’t spend.

While I were doing my college, dad developed a passion with farming. With the little space we had, he did a vegetable garden. He went to different places to get the seeds and other technical necessities. I used to get pissed of at this. It was difficult to get the pocket money out of him. But he had no problems in spending on his garden.

During those years of rebellion, I used to question his actions. The trees failing to produce anything became a good weapon for me to jeer at him. The mango trees used to grow with much foliage but with no signs of produce.

A few weeks back they did flower and mangos have sprouted in numbers. When I look at them, I see the pointlessness in the years of rebellion. But then you’ll have to pass through all phases of your lives!