Is it really that simple?

Is Romanticism that simple?

" ... we don't get married for passion ... we get married because we need a witness ... we get married so we have someone who can tell us ... you're life isn't insignificant - its significant to me .. your life will not pass by unnoticed - for I will be there to witness it"

Is that the crux? The root of the root and the bud of the buds ? Is that what companionship means? The companionship between a man and a woman who bind themselves together in sickness and in health, till death do them part ???

Is that what we crave? It is isn't it?

... for I know if I didn't at regular intervals in my life, have someone to make an impression on, be it a man or a woman (for this is about the mental aspect of companionship rather than the physical) ... I would perish into insignificance, stricken with melancholia, aimlessness, rootlessness ...

I am blank these days. When I think of what lies ahead, I think of work with as less passion as someone like me can possibly, dangerously have and I know this is what is driving me one step closer to the edge each passing nanosecond ... and it hurts.

I am eager now more than ever to have my old life back - a life full of turbulence like bad weather - a life replete with tears of heartache, of joy, of sadness, of nothingness. I am waiting to meet someone again who will instill in me emotions that will move my heart, and make it want to do all things 'insane'.

I am dying to feel that insatiable sensation of butterflies in the stomach every morning one wakes up ... when there is someone to please ... tasks to be achieved ... when each act natural or unnatural is as pleasurable as soft bursts of light upon closing your eyes, which smell infantile and heavenly.

Is it right? Is it justified? This dependence?


for i have no 'cause'

"our travels in america have changed me ... i am not the same me ... at least not the same me i was before"

is that what one looks for at 23? each one of us? is this thrist, this craving innate?

every time something inspires me ... from a centipede to che guevara ... look back in anger to aboriginal integrity ... i want to take off ... in order to find something ... something deeper, more meaningful.

But that also just signifies that what i have right now is less meaningful ... yet who am i to decide that? ... who am i to say that the house of dreams that my parents built 30 years ago, the world of joy that they created with their tender hands that are now tattered and sometimes shaky is in any way lesser than the dreams the world outside holds for me? ... who am i to say i will not settle for this mediocrity that i have inherited and not earned? who am i to think i can do better ... for what is better? more money or embellishments or services ?? what will i do with them? ...

also i will have to learn to live anew in them for i am nothing but mediocre myself by birth ...

yet if i do not explore will i learn to appreciate the mediocrity that is my nature ... will it become just social conditioning? for i will live in this mediocrity just because i was born in it !!! ..... by exploring other conditions wherein i could survive (mediocre or otherwise) i will eventually learn to abide by my natue ... to abide by myself ... to abide by mediocrity ...

are these musings of a naive child ... a duckling who doesnt even know yet whether she wants to be a swan - a beautiful one at that or not ???

will i live to do something great? ... will i revolutionize? ... would people want to know me? ... would people appreciate who i am? ........ do i want to be all that? ....... do i want all that because its fun to be popular and soothing to have many on ur side at the time of depature (of death) ... or do i want all that because i want to make a difference ... change the world ...

did all those who made a difference before me set out with a goal like mine ??? or did things just happen to them?? was life just good to them?? was life fruitful for them ???

each day i wake up and remind myself that in order to continue with this peaceful co-existance with my neighbours and surroundings i must continue to play my part in this play ... the part that i have been assigned ... for the world is a stage .......................


my dear friend

there are certain key moments in life when you realize how important it is to express your feelings of love, how importanct it is to paint a picture of your emotions so the one who those words are meant for can have proof of what you feel towards them ...

this is one such moment for me. and you my friend deserve such praise as no other and never before.

it might sound cliched considering you have written something similar for me but i feel that you must know that you inspire me ... in more than one way.

your love and compassion inspires me ... your dedication, committment does too.
it inspires me to see you the way you are with one and all ...
it inspires me to hear your words of wisdom, praise, positivity, love and encouragement to one and all ...
it inspires me when i realize you're not listening to me anymore for infact you're watching and praying for the dog crossing the road ...
it inspires me to think beyond myself ... to think of others like or unlike me... and take heed that there is much greatness in life and to witness it i just need to open my eyes and look ...

to you i dedicate this a second time ...

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it (anywhere i go you go ,my dear;
and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)
I want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

Here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart…

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)

von E.E. Cunnings


Omkara - the film

Dhum dhum dhadam dhadiya re, sabse bada ladaiya re Omkara, hoooo Omkara!!!

The first of what I heard about the film apart from this caller tone on my eager friend’s phone was the fact that a journalist went to watch the film post which he reported the number of times profanities were used in the film and that simply broke my heart. Its thanks to that journalist that tonight I am forced to keep up post midnight after watching the film in order to jot this down and mail it to him tomorrow.

Has Mr. Journalist-Man never called anyone C****** or Bewakoof? I somehow find it hard to believe. All right, lets say he has not. Has he never come across anyone from U.P. or Bihar or any of those other uber cool Indian states?

Well, I take any sort of skepticism about any film worthy of appreciation as personal insult, which is why I am taking this opportunity to vindicate Omkara. Anyone who has problem digesting profanities … Do not Watch the film - simple!

Filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj’s third attempt at adaptations and a rather beautiful one Omkara exceeded each person’s expectations who loves Shakespeare and Othello. Why? Because the news that Othello was going to be adapted into a Bollywood film had an anacathartic effect on all Othello fans, Bhardwaj or no Bhardwaj. Yet, the film managed to win their hearts. Each character in the film shares the same alphabet or sound in their first name as in the original Shakespeare classic. Omkara is Othello; Dolly is Desdemona; Langda is Iago; Keshu is Cassio; Indu is Emilia; Raju is Roderigo and Billo is Bianca. Bravo!

Jokes apart. The director has achieved such ingenuity in terms of performances from the actors, Saif Ali Khan being the prime example here. Langda/ Iago/ Saif in Omkara becomes larger than life, larger than all others. His roguish persona is overwhelming so much so that the monotonic Omakara/ Othello/ Ajay D. seems like an amateur in some scenes. Omkara’s/ Ajay D.’s only claim to fame in the film is his quietude, which brings him in tune with his character sporadically – not that Othello is meant to be an extremely quite sort of character but Omkara’s quietude brings him in semblance with Othello’s strength of character. The other actors do not come even close. Indu/ Konkana, is the only other who leaves an aftertaste.

A story of the ‘Baahubali’ – Right hand man/enforcer of a political party who has a gang of his own which includes Saif Ali/Langda and Vivek/Kesu along with several others. His tryst with love and politics. The twist in the story of this ‘Baahubali’ becoming a politician himself and picking his successor, making the mistake of picking Kesu over Langda and Langda’s idea of revenge that ends in the death of almost the whole lot of them. An impressive adaptation no doubt.

Despite discrepancies, despite diversions form the ideal adaptation the film holds as a cohesive whole. Two scenes from the film that haven’t left my head which means they were ‘really something’ are the exchange between Langda and Raju on the Bridge and the concluding scene of the film or rather scenes – the ones inside Omi’s bedroom and in the courtyard along with the short and sweet dying adieu’s of the characters. For those who cried watching the concluding scenes of this film I have no words but – May god be with you, you depressed souls. The opening is spicy and captivating enough and thus deserves a word or two.

The film’s USP might have been fellowship with Shakespeare’s timeless play but anyone remotely Indian will realize that there is something else which makes its hold on the mind – the film’s fellowship with reality. A spectacular image of rural Uttar Pradesh, the people, the politics, the positions within these politics, love and lust and all that jazz. The cinematography was remarkable, hats off to Taussaduq Hussain – if not for anything else then for making Indian audiences like moving pictures of such close proximity to reality. The film has succeeded in metamorphosing the ‘down market’ rural U.P into the ‘cool’ U.P. Not to forget what a nice chord the film has struck with anyone remotely Upiite.

All in all not the most heart rendering adaptation yet one not to be missed…


I'm getting a bit emotional

What happens to a generation of people who are revolutionaries without a cause? No, not what happens in Osborne’s play. Not the claustrophobia of a single room where one man comes and a woman departs … woman enters and another man departs … No.

A revolutionary generation without a cause in reality creates an alternate cause to feel like revolutionaries in order to achieve something radical before hitting six feet under.

As I read about hormones and the effects they can cause in the body if their balance is disrupted, I wonder if Hitler had a hormonal imbalance … if Charles Shobraj had elevated testosterone levels and if George Bush has a similar sort of medical condition as well.

But then I don’t want to get into the intricacies of each of the above-mentioned cases even though my doctor mind would very much like to.

Well I guess in each and every corner of the world there exist some tiny or large population of these rebels without a cause and they make it their lives’ motto to create a cause and fight for it … fight … fight … fight till the death. Kill the innocent in Sudan … its only common blood … it doesn’t matter.
Kashmir deserves a special mention … its closer home. ____ no. of People died in the blasts in New Delhi in December. Tragic incident reported by frantic news channel reporters … as they ran to and fro amidst the flying ashes from burnt houses, bodies and commercial goods … trying desperately to catch hold of an eyewitness. Some being unlucky … going back home (the news studio) without one … some not so unlucky ones achieving the unachievable … a foreign national with additional hands on footage of the blasts … the dead bodies being carried by the survivors.

As I sat in my studio (where I work) that night I felt nauseas and something started brewing in my stomach. And then I heard the words that put my world in perspective. Before that the whole world around me besides me had started spinning at supersonic speed while I remained motionless in the middle. Someone on my left hand side said with a straight face and a monotonic voice … “But it happens everyday in Kashmir” and suddenly everything stopped spinning.

I question myself each moment I live … what do I live for? Am I worthy enough of being a revolutionary? Will I ever find a cause? Will I be able to win a place for myself in the pages of history?

… And with the same suddenness as the one with which the question drops by I hear my answer. No. I will live a life without revolution … I will lead the life of a heretic … I will lead a life very ordinary … I will lead a life without fame … I will lead a life which doesn’t leave even a single mark on the pages of history … because I “choose” to live a life wherein I don’t shed another’s blood. I “choose” to live a life wherein I heal and not destroy.

Cinema - Life Like ???

If you imagined life to be like cinema, life would seem much simpler.
Life is like some cinema or some cinema is life like. I may not have seen much but what I have … has moved me enough.

The past five minutes of the cinema in front of this computer screen have been something like this… (The sound of the projector running is distinct and the print is old … the negatives have blemishes) but it is still beautiful … you only have to have eyes to see.

I pick up my empty bag of crisps, dust my hands, wipe them with my old tattered sky blue t-shirt, throw the empty bag in the bin that I open by pressing the peddle. The lid drops with a slight musical trampoline like thud. I walk to the refrigerator from my room, I take out a bottle of cold water, and drink half of it in one go (glug glug glug). Then I walk into the kitchen, fill up that half empty bottle of water and keep it back in the refrigerator. I close the refrigerator and reluctantly walk to the bed and fall flat. I am sick. Love sick. I haven’t been out of the house in three weeks. I sit at home all day, eat more than my fair share and drink myself to sleep each night. I am in love with someone who is dead.

close to reality ... yet not quite there. at least it sounds close to it.

Passion Cinema!!!

I couldn’t name it anything else? Is that too hard to believe? May be … but it could be may be not as well. I will satisfy myself with the belief in the existence of the latter.

Love can be a brute sometimes. In cinema more so. Ever felt this magical sensation sweep you off your feet, when you sit in that darkened room and the flittering images pass in front of you whilst you sit with baited breath not even once blinking your eyes?

Verisimilitude they call it? I detest that word. It isn’t just as simple as suspension of disbelief. This word just makes it sound so mechanical … its steel-like skirls drive away the warm impassioned sensation. Its not even butterflies in your stomach or belly or bottom or however else they describe it … the barbarous critics … ignoble buzzards the whole lot.

It is more than that ... much more than that. The sensation is beyond the realm of the physical …its surreal, its heavenly, uplifting, makes your body feel lighter so much so that it floats. Its orgasmically cathartic. When the crescendo of the cinema builds and falls so does that of one’s heart beat.

It is another world all together. Each piece of art bound and gagged in around 14 thousand feet of film roll giving us anshchauung pleasure. Its exalting if not anything else.

When a crippled boy starts running to save himself from the local goons and becomes the fastest runner in town in about 15 minutes, one cannot help but feel an exhilarating pang of joy, of contentment. When an American girl stuck in 1950’s Havana, Cuba; meets young Javier and love starts brewing up in the sizzling, musical, impassioned streets, corners and beaches, of Habana one cannot help but feel like falling in love, for the first time or all over again whilst dancing in the privation of solitude.
More than an emotion insinuator … cinema is art … and art has always always and forever invited trouble for itself like a juvenile with an overactive imagination from its contemporaries. Understandable!

But … Ok! Lets say there are 5 of these juveniles we study here.

Numero Uno – Bride and Prejudice. Directed by Gurinder Chaddha. Rating – Fair enough hit on my charts.

Numero Dos – Black – Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Rating – Super Hit.

Numero Tres – Passion of the Christ - Directed by – Mel Gibson – Superduper Hit.

Numero Cuatro – Fanaa – Directed by Kunal Kohli – Rating – fate yet to be decided.

Numero Cinco – The Da Vinci Code – Directed by Ron Howard – Rating critics hate it crowds love it for starters. We shall wait for it to run for more weeks.

Now, problems lie with not uno and dos but with tres, cuatro and cinco. In Tres Mel Gibson made the wise mistake of painting the ‘well rounded’ character of Mary Magdalene through the ever so enchanting strokes of Monica Belluci. For obvious reasons people had problems with this portrayal of Jesus’ life. According to some critics this would enflame anti-Semitic feelings and with their atavistically current arousal rate this could be explosive. Fine. Kill the art!

Poor Cuatro, hadn’t done any of that. Its just an innocent portrayal of innocent terrorists trying to get a last key ingredient into finally making Kashmir autonomous. “Now isn’t that what everyone wants?” Tut! … Isn’t that what each one of our militant organizations want? So anyway poer nano cuatro was admonished because Mr. Kohli made the wise mistake of hiring Aamir Khan. Helooooo? What was he thinking? Aamir Khan might just be one of the greatest Bollywood acts around at this time but he did whatever he did for the Narmada Bachao Andolan. I mean Duuhhh! What was Aamir thinking? All that being out in the sun could’ve been very bad for his skin. So anyway, cuatro wasn’t admonished for what usually these type of films are admonished for. It might have had the capacity of aggravating tension in the already extremely tensile and truly current issue of Kashmir had it been a well made film. But hey, what do we care. We just need a reason to be out there protesting … Aamir Khan hai hai! Weeehhaaaa!

Cinco Poor Cinco. Its elder brother Cinco Sr. has been rated the best selling book of all times after only the Holy Bible. Cinco Jr. though faces trouble. Lots of it. Now everyone understands that dappling with theosophical issues can be extremely hazardous for the film team’s health. Ron Howard like some others obviously overlooked that. Despite it being an established fact that cinco is a piece of fiction … it seems its journey from novelland to filmcity has conjured its corpulent personification. Its art. Love it don’t try to live it.
Cinco has been banned out of all the places … in Punjab. My little brain obviously fails to put two and two together in this case. My problem being why wasn’t uno banned in Punjab. According to the rest of the country and its resident religious communities … Uno was an act of defamation against the city of Punjab, a slander depicting the people in a very derogatory light. I mean did u SEE the song sequence in the street. It was completely filled with anagrams and acronyms symbolizing the miniature brain size of the people of Punjab and their subsequent flakiness.

And why on earth did everyone love dos. He’s a pure pure devil. The name says it all. The opulence of its canvas, the flatness of the characters, the lack of sincerity, the lack of ingenuity, the whole jing bang. In each of the scenes, Mr. Bhansali and everyone else involved were busy talking big words, getting peoples over active tear glands grooving than touching upon the main issue. Who cares what people with dysfunctional organs and body parts really feel. Who cares what helplessness really is. What I care about – is Mr. Big B’s fake accent … Lighhttth …Woiiaattaa. What I care about is the fact that Khamoshi didn’t work so I need to churn out opulent grand colossal hits irrelevant of the fact that they might be superficial. Fine. Kill the art!

There is a point to all this and you will see it now. When we are so capable of appreciating cinema that is derogatory to our own selves, cinema that jests our existent behavioral practices, cinema that condemns the way of our lives … why cant we appreciate cinema that condemns someone else’s. Who cares, just watch it for what it is. A beautiful treat to the eyes … most of it. Taking you places, showing you make believe characters in actuality, singing “I can show you the world, shining shimmering splendid, Tell me princess now when did you last let your heart decide…”
Cinema is not about ‘U n’ Me’s’ personal agenda. Its about the filmmaker’s agenda. You take it or leave it. How is protesting against it going to help. Someday when you’re dead and knocking on heaven’s door, who knows they might not open the door for you … because you protested against someone else’s bread and butter. Which is why you didn’t see me protesting against the release of Uno or dos.

When will we finally grow as human beings? When will personal agendas be refrained from becoming societal or public agendas? When will art be appreciated for what it is … juvenile and delinquent or honest and peaceable, whichever the case.

You can be superman my son!

Clark Kent enters the elevator and presses the button for the floor below but as soon as the elevator door closes Clark starts taking his clothes off. Yes, we all know who he is! He is our very own superman. Who will fly out of the elevator into the sky, above the Manhattans skyline, and over the north atlantic ocean and meanwhile realize what is happening and turn around to save the …

Over the course of the film the words that resound every 5 minutes inside the screen as well as in my head are – Why the world does not need Superman! And this voice in my head, not my own keeps asking me – is that true?

I pacify it by saying we will talk about this later. Well, now is the time to ask these questions again.

If we really could have a superman … Why shouldn’t we have one? Would it be so bad? Of course not! Superman could bring an end to each and every crime taking place on the streets of Manhattan. He could save Lois Lane every time she lands up in trouble and while he is at that he could save some other people as well.

Although, it would be nice if Superman on his daily rounds takes a look at some other countries as well that need lets say, a bit of ‘tweaking’? If he is ever flying over Somalia he could probably drop of a large consignment of food. I am more than positive he is capable of that because I have seen him lift and throw this whole island, which arose out of crystal into outer space. I admit he landed in the hospital after that but this would not be the case with the food, as food does not contain Kryptonite. If he is ever passing over the White House he could quietly pick up Bush and subsequently his whole senate and throw them onto this island, the kinds on which Rex gets stuck. If all goes well he will ensure that there is only one party left in the United States after that and the States will become a one party democracy. Why not? Aritiria runs the same way and the people there are still extremely nice and hospitable. The States can follow that example. After that Superman could perhaps go to Iraq and take all the bullets in his chest and not die, thus scaring militants and army forces alike who will flee the country and Iraq will be able to start afresh. After doing all this may be Superman could fly to India for a little while and give me an interview to release along with this article so I could be rich for a little while. Whilst his sojourn in India he could also beat some sense into the Politicians and Police alike to remind them of their duties.

May be not.

Is larger than life cinema healthy for us? Is it worthwhile? Am I asking the wrong questions? Perhaps yes.

I cannot blame the cinema. Its not unhealthy for us. It gives wings to our sometimes decrepit imaginations and helps us fly so high into the wonder worlds of our imagination … making us capable of Super-human deeds … making us capable of rising above ourselves … of looking at the world differently … of hoping the Superman within us can save Somalia or Sahara or a baby Zahara.

Yet is it all right for a tiny young mind to see all this when he/she is still too young to decipher what he is and what he isn’t capable of?

Am I not supposed to be aroused with concern when I see all the toddlers trying to fly off into the sky whilst they walk out of the theatre exit holding their parent’s fingers? Is viewer discretion being paid heed to? Are the Universal/ PA/ Adult /Over 12/ Over 15/ Over 18 ratings being overlooked?

How extremely foolish of me! We do not have that kind of a rating system in our country. Why? I do not have an answer to that. However, I wish to ignite this debate. If we are aping everything of the west then why not the rating system? If we have the multiplexes then why not the rating system? If the censor board is willing to pass Swimming Pool and Da Vinci Code and others like them, then why not the rating system? If Bollywood is being very forward then why not the rating system? If each Bollywood film is decreed to have one or more item numbers then why not the rating system?

But then again, if the censor board as every other board in India is sleeping over this, are the parents as well? Or do they take the toddlers, the children to witness these adult behavioral displays for lack of a babysitter. May be that is the answer. If it is then what is the solution to this?

Do parents need to be given tutorials, “How not to mess up your child”? Does the censor board need to be instigated into creating a more appropriate rating system and arrange means for it to be strictly put into operation? Will Bollywood, the distributors and the theatre owners listen to their conscience and be with this decision whenever it is taken – 20 or 200 years down the line?

I wait for my answers … ever so eagerly …


Paainth Ith Saaffron !

My countrymen’s serious lack of taste in good cinema has always failed to baffle me. I know my country well enough to understand that we are light years away from beginning to appreciate good cinema. How it came to this I still need to understand.

We started off on an excellent note when cinema came to India in 1920's approximately, we did exceedingly well and deservingly possessed a marked stature on the world map of cinema. But somewhere down the line the originality and brilliance of the men and women of India produced a mutated gene, which like a bizarre cholera outbreak reproduced into an acutely parvenu generation … a generation that lacked taste in good anything leave alone cinema.

A country full of novices we look like the African baboons, which I personally feel, is one specie of animals that epitomizes buffoonery. We look like baboons clad in cheap sadakchaap copies of Western designer wear. If you’re thinking of the ever so famous words of some ignoble buzzard, ‘copying is an art in itself’ then you and me obviously are not on the same page.

May be I am being extra harsh on my kitsch nexus which is interminably admiringly the object of affection of the west but I am disappointed. In us. In our sudden lack of taste.

Rang De Basanti is an ordinary film, just another Bollywood drama which invokes emotion through its impassioned invocation of our bloody colonial contemporary history.
Bollywood is the King of melodrama, which in itself is not a downtrodden identity but excess of anything is not good. I personally have become immune to its excesses. And so have a lot of my countrymen. Which is what I don’t understand, as to how they got so excessively intrigued by this average film.

Fine Bollywood isn’t half as sound technology-wise as Hollywood or creativity wise as European cinema but it has its high points. Rang De Basanti is perhaps one such or a half such high point. The reason for that is the film’s treatment, which is, I must admit interesting and if not copied then original but that’s about it.

Naïve in its approach towards our reality, the reality of the youth of India, the youth of India that spends three to four years studying inside dilapidated buildings of the Delhi University or some other university rather than the plush porches and verandahs of the India Habitat Center. In reality the youth of India do not learn about their proud past from frail uncharacteristic British documentary filmmakers. White people do not come to India to tell us about our previous generation’s achievements. They come to India to ask us about them. And we do tell them. We show them around … show them the real India.

What I also fail to understand is how everyone suddenly believes that the youth of my country have forgotten this history. I beg for you to reconsider. We cannot get past it. Its something we study and as we grow begin to appreciate and admire. We understand it and learn our values from it. We do not overlook our contemporary history.

But one must also understand that we cannot possibly be obsessed with it. At the end of it, it is history for us. And one in their youth must look toward their future rather than just the history and culture.

Here I rest my case … it is my bedtime ;-).