Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sameness, Blandness and New English writing

A few days back I finished reading all of Ashwin Sanghi. The Rozabal Line - in which he tries to do a Dan Brown on Dan Brown. Chanakya's Chant which is good read but nothing which you can recall after one week. And finally, The Krishna Key in which he regurgitates some of his ideas from The Rozabal Line and presents them in a new format.The books were fast paced and made use of cinematic techniques in presenting scenarios. No wonder that the books themselves have found favour commercially.

But, in a way the books were all same. They were all bland. The same underwhelming feeling I got when I finished reading all the parts the hugely successful Siva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi. There is no wow moment. No recall value and most importantly no repeat value.

Downloaded the app of Juggernaut Books. Again, it is bland and boring. Focus on Erotica with Sunny Leone being the anchor author. Free books section is laughable. Self publishing mode is interesting. Doesn't work offline.

People say Chetan Bhagat changed the direction of New English writing in India. I disagree. What he did change what the price point. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Deja Vu !!

Via Beware of the Blog, but was thinking along the same lines while watching the movie. Hence I quote liberally, with due respect to George.

Quiz Question : Which movie comes to mind when i say the following?
  • Three friends/roommates in Delhi
  • a two-wheeler that goes kaput at inopportune moments
  • spoofs of popular culture especially hindi movies
  • getting accidentally involved in criminal goings-on

Actually this "could" have been a real quiz question if the great Parnab had been the quiz master

The answer: Chashm-e-Buddoor, Sai Paranjape's cult classic comedy from 1981.

I don't want to shock anyone who thought that the answer is Delhi Belly. Nor do I mean to suggest that the Abhinay Deo-helmed film is a rip-off or that Akshat Verma was taking a hint from Sanjay Gupta and running a DVD of Chashm-e-Buddoor endlessly while doodling out ideas for his script. I just found it interesting that two films I enjoyed had such common elements.

And IMHO Chashm-e-Buddoor is an infinitely more satisfying film in that it is a more "Delhi" film than Delhi Belly and also that the comedy works beautifully without using any shock value.

Thanks George

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Sunday, July 10, 2011


Exhibit I

The ninth card of the Rorschach Inkblot Test, used by psychologists to analyse the personality characteristics and emotional functioning of patients

Exhibit II

The print poster for the movie Shaitaan

Clearly inspired and a brilliant idea if it was really done with the connection in mind.

And if not, an amazing poster nonetheless

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Woh Beete Din Yaad Hain

The Year is 1984, music director Ajit Singh creates a beautiful song for the film 'Purana Mandir'.
He sings one version himself -

Gets another version, with different lyrics, sung by Asha Bhosle

The film is a resounding success and the Ramsay brothers get a winner again.

Years later, Ajit Singh's daughter Tanya makes her musical debut and what song does she chose to sing? No prizes for guessing, it's her Dad's 1984 hit.

So which is the best version? Judge for yourself.

Misirlou, Cash and Kaminey

This is the title music from Tarantino's Pulp Fiction called Misirlou. A very very and should i say it again very commonly used and mis-used piece of music popping out everywhere even in the Kung Fu Panda 2 trailer

and even more famously in this

And there is this

although i admit this song sounds much better than it looks !

and finally

there is


And being the trivia hunter that I am here are some interesting points -

1. Both the Cash and Kaminey songs are sung by Vishal Dadlani.
2. None of these two use the actual guitar riffs of Dick Dale only the overall mood of the song.
3. Dhan te Nan uses some words from the Black Eyed Peas version like "pump the radio'.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Love Aaj Kal - For the Mango People

Liked the movie overall, but was mostly satisfied to see the small bits and pieces of trivia that were thrown around without much fuss. And in the end it all came together that's all.
Some observations -
What's with Imitiaz Ali and three-word movie titles Socha Na Tha, Jab We Met and now Love Aaj Kal
- Deepika looks and acts so much like early Aishwarya Rai (so there's hope for her yet!)
- Saif's looking too old in most of the Aaj scenes. He does rather well in his Sardar role, but Saif playing himself (or rather his Lays munching, Taj Mahal Tea drinking, Royale painting self) is too much of a bore. Bottomline, he'll do well in a period piece (e.g. Parineeta)
- Why take Rahul Khanna in for a thankless 2-line role?
- And why take stand-up comic Vir Das if all the funny lines are delivered by the protagonist himself?
- When was the last time we saw the iconic bharis (water carriers) of Kolkata in a movie....Cant remember. And them again at night (with lamps hanging) - nice touch. Infact the whole Kolkata episode was well handled, except the fact that it was totally redundant to the script. Harleen Kaur could have shifted anywhere, why not Gurdaspur or Ludhiana or even Chennai?
- Which area in Delhi is near to both the Red Fort and Qutb Minar?
- When Saif get mugged in San Francisco, the first person who comes to his rescue asks him 'Bangla Naki? Indian?' a nod to the huge number of Bangladeshi and Indian can drivers in Frisco. Another nice touch.
- Too much Yash Raj influence on the entire script. All the foreign locations were redundant and superflous. Saif and Deepika might as well have met in Pune or Guwahati and nothing would have changed. (Similar problem in Shaad Ali's Jhoom Barabar Jhoom)
- Harleen Kaur's character (played by Brazilian Giselle Monteiro) reminded me of Neha in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Kareeb. But was the Neetu Singh pay-off at the climax indispensible?
- And finally, loved the way the final meeting ws handled. They walk off together away from the crowds and then finally hug - very very unfilmy - But that's the "coolness" they are trying to show off right

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Funda"Mental"ly Similar

How are the two biggest movies of 2008 Ghajini and Rab Ne Ban Di Jodi fundamentally similar to each other?

1. Both are huge hits (Bah !! ...That's obvious. And after Satyam, who believes figures anyway?)

2. Both were hyper-hyped (Both Aamir & SRK have excellent publicity machines. End of question)

3. Both had new actresses (or is female actors the more politically correct term?) (Again, You can't depict a super-hero without a fresh face opposite him. It's about the im-balance, you see)

All of the above are true. But there is something even more fundamentally similar between the two.

In both the movies the protagonist suffers from some kind of mental disorder.

Yeah, I mean everyone in the world and their uncle knows that in Ghajini, Aamir Khan's character suffers from Anterograde Amnesia (Short Term Memory Loss).

But isn't it obvious that Shah Rukh Khan's character in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi also suffers from some form of dissociative identity disorder with some symptoms of schizophrenia also manifesting. Consider the symptoms -
  1. Characteristic symptoms: Two or more of the following, each present for much of the time during a one-month period (or less, if symptoms remitted with treatment).
    If the delusions are judged to be bizarre, or hallucinations consist of hearing one voice participating in a running commentary of the patient's actions or of hearing two or more voices conversing with each other, only that symptom is required above. The speech disorganization criterion is only met if it is severe enough to substantially impair communication.
  2. Social/occupational dysfunction: For a significant portion of the time since the onset of the disturbance, one or more major areas of functioning such as work, interpersonal relations, or self-care, are markedly below the level achieved prior to the onset.
  3. Duration: Continuous signs of the disturbance persist for at least six months (link)
Didn't Suri/Raj exhibit some or all of the above characteristics.

Well if you ask me it is a pretty solid case.

So where does that lead us to?

Is Hindi Cinema finally growing up and embracing mental illness into the mainstream?

Or is it that they just don't give a damn as long as there are enough fools (like myself) who are willing to shell out money to watch the crap they dish out?

I think we all know what the answer is ......