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Showing posts from August, 2009

Games people play

Power politics. In school, it was about who became the class monitor or who distributed the most expensive sweets on their birthday. In college, it was all about who could get out of assignments by hating ther eyelids or who was more popular with the opposite sex. Till now, we played power politics with our own peer group. We knew the rules of the game, the players, the strategies and the outcome. But once we became 'adults', the games changed, the politics got dirtier and the consequences far-reaching. We became a small fry in the big bad world, where more experienced players bent the rules, manipulated the strategies and ate us for breakfast.

I've always been an introvert, definitely not a people pleaser or a crowd-puller and nor do I intend to be one. When I think that anyone of authority might get offended with something I say or do, I shut up and swallow my pride, even though I'm right. So far, I've managed to remain in the good books of most people. I rational…

Go On, Live A Little

Have you noticed how all of us seem to live in fear all the time these days? We are scared of getting swine flu, we are frightened of getting into aeroplanes in case they fall into the oceans or crash, we are terrified of becoming old and decrepit. We are scared of becoming fat; getting wrinkles, or putting on too much weight if we eat desserts or sweets. We are terrified of failing at our jobs, at our relationships, or at our diets. We are frightened to death of being judged by those around us and found wanting. We are petrified of failing to meet our own-self imposed standards of perfection.

Hell, it's got so bad that we live in fear of everything you can think of: all the way from carbon emissions and UV ray exposure to carbohydrates or full-fat cheese. Well, you know what? We don't need to be like this. In fact, if we keep the big picture in mind, none of this should actually matter very much--and very little should matter at all.

It shouldn't matter of our homes are no…

Movie Review: Kaminey

When you go to watch Kaminey, which surely you must, make sure you are well on time. For Kaminey is that rare Bollywood film in which you cannot afford to miss even a minute. Kaminey speaks a fresh new international cinematic language, very dark and film noir, mean and sharp, yet firmly rooted in Mumbai.

True to its title, Kaminey is a film about ruthless bastards, escept that the treatment is pure thoroughbred much like the Quentin Tarantino movies, establishing Vishal Bharadwaj as the most complete auteur in Bollywood today. Vishal is the writer, the director, the music composer and in Kaminey he whips all the three skills into a gritty crescendo, churning out to mean broth that leaves you with a chilling high.

Coming to Shahid Kapoor, the boy has finally grown up. Shahid essays a challenging double role, with grit and finesse. In the character of Charlie, the small-time horse racing bookie with a lisp and a deadly dream, Shahid puts in a powerhouse performance filled with a reckles…

Movie Review: Before The Rains

I've never appreciated many movies directed by cinematographers-turned-filmmakers considering most of them just work because of their picturesque frames, the camera angles and techniques, rather than the characters, doing most of the story-telling. Here too in Before The Rains, cinematographer and director Santosh Sivan captures the eternally romantic backwaters of Kerala with exquisite artistry and creates a period film that is set in 1937 and lives more through its visual opulence than its story.

Harry Moore (Linus Roache) has a dream. He wants to build a road in the undeveloped rural terrain of rural Kerala to help further the spice trade. Helping him fulfil his dream is his faithful servant T.K. (Rahul Bose) who forms the bridge between the Englishmen and the locals. T.K. has his motives clear. He wants to savour the best of both the worlds, be it the high culture of the burra sahib's world or the family linkages with his tribe. But life cannot be sailed in two boats; that&…

In The Tree He Lived On....

He couldn't believe that he was going to be a father. Swati had called him as soon as she had got the report. Positive.. it was incredible! For seven years, they'd tried for a baby. Then they gave up trying. Now, after a decade of hopelessness, the miracle had happened! He had to get her a gift. A diamond pendant? No, a rock seemed so cold. A bouquet of red roses? That was so trite! As he waited for the light turn to green, he spotted the nursery by the road. The line-up of green plants nodded to him. It was a moment of epiphany!

He went home with a sapling of a gulmohar tree. Swati loved it. Since it would soon get too big to pot, she found it a patch of good earth just below their balcony and planted it there. Over the next nine months, it grew along with the baby. Then, Shantanu tumbled into their lives. He brought with him chaos and cries, yet they cherished him and their tree too, that was now within handshaking distance. Five years later, they lost Shantanu. Who would hav…

Waking Up !!

I was channel-surfing as usual and stumbled upon the promos of the Konkona Sen Sharma-- Ranbir Kapoor starrer 'Wake Up Sid'. The first thought that crossed my mind isn't Konkona a little old for Ranbir? Nevertheless, it's a fantastic pairing and not only that but the film too seems promising with a coming-of-age storyline. It took me to the time when I had to make some pretty challenging decisions for my future.

After school, inevitably, a majority of school teachers and friends asked me, "So, what are you going to do next in your life?" When life at the time is aimless, relatively free of responsibilities with no rigid routine to follow, no cut-throat pressure to earn money, and all the time in the world to waste, answering that question can be nothing less than a harrowing experience and when you think of it with closed eyes, it's even more tormenting. The lesser said the better.

As I write this, 24 hours have passed since Independence Day and I can'…

Use Independence wisely

On this Independence day, I'd like to discuss something else--interdependence. The concept has been on my mind since I began college last week. It's funny how important a concept it is yet, it's a word that we don't hear it very often. So, I wanted to use today as an opportunity to do just that.

If you think about it, interdependence is something that applies to our lives at every level. We are interdependent with nature--needing the oxygen trees provide while they thrive on the carbon dioxide we emit. We are interdependent with each other on all levels--from emotional to survival. We depend on animals to sustain the ecology as they on us not to destroy exactly that. We need each other, don't we? Take it to the national level. We need our farmers, our lawyers, our teachers, industry, our artists, our singers etc. We need each other. Let's go global. We live in a world where a stock market crash in one country can push the planet in the dark secret of economic r…

Movie Review: Bombay Talkie

I admit that I've gone mad to review such an old 1970 English movie. As I must have mentioned earlier that I choose to be a part of parallel cinema than the run-of-the-mill stuff. I was searching for good movies in the shopping cart and I finally picked up Ismail Merchant's Bombay Talkie. Bombay Talkie is a trip down memory lane with the young Shashi Kapoor, Jennifer Kendall-Kapoor, Aparna Sen, Jalal Agha and I was pleasantly surprised to see pop queen Usha Uthup in this movie. Now, Bombay Talkie was never meant to be an Indian movie considering it is a Merchant-Ivory production.

The movie begins with Lucia Lane (Jennifer Kendall), an English writer who's previous book was about Hollywood emerged as a bestseller. She has now come to check out Bollywood for inspiration for her next book. Lucia, a self-absorbed woman meets Hari (Zia Mohiuddin) and Vikram Kumar (Shashi Kapoor), an upcoming film star. Through her story, she makes fun of the film industry of those years. The mo…

Movie Review: Love Aajkal

Love Aajkal has the effervescence and the adrenalin rush of impetous love of Shahid and Kareena has been replaced by a more serious, realistic and modern love story. Love Aajkal literally holds up a mirror to the commitment phobia of the young, professionals, film stars who keep changing their status from 'committed' to 'single' on social networking sites.

Love Aajkal instead of relying heavily on a three-hour long script, chooses to concentrate on crisp, concise and today's urban lingo dialogues. All of Jai's (Saif Ali Khan) babblings about love sans marriage and Meera's (Deepika Padukone) discourses on careers and cumbersome commitment are straight out of real life ramblings in coffee shops, discotheques, pubs. The characterisations literally set the screen on fire, with their highly individualistic streak coupled with their sad vulnerability.

Jai (Saif Ali Khan) dreams of building bridges like the Golden Gate and cannot see romance coming in the way of …