Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Is Delhi Burning?

The 3-day strike called by the traders in Delhi is finally over.

But there is no solution yet in sight.

The government has done what only it can do.....postpone the issue.

As The Times of India reports, the traders have tried everything from "gandhigiri' to "dadagiri".

Nothing worked. Nothing can. You just can't create a mess and walk away from it as if nothing happened.

Now political parties are getting into the the fray (as usual) and wanting to extract maximum mileage. Some have called this an open invitation to disrupt law and order in the national capital.
And indeed it is so.

Schools are scared. Parents are scared.

Delhi, it seems, is burning.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

DON – Music Review

There is something about remixes that irritates me.

I mean, you take a perfectly acceptable song ( in some cases, classics) and then squeeze it, grind it, cut and paste bits from other songs and overall make a mickey out of it and finally the output is – for want of a better word – a “raped” song – titillating , yet obscene. Very very few “remixers” (or DJ’s, if you will) can actually take a song and take it to a higher level and make you listen to it on a repeat mode instead of searching for the original to restore some sanity.

The “Dance Masti” albums by Instant Karma managed to do that. “Samne Yeh Kaun Aaya” and “Dil Kya Kare” from the first album, then followed up with “Hum Bewafa” , “Bahon Mein Chale Aayo” and “Hawa Hawa” in “The Return of Dance Masti” and then and “Aaja Piya” are arguably the best remixes by far (and with proper credits in the dust jackets, unlike others). And Instant Karma was none other than Loy, Ehsaan, Farhaad and Shankar, who also gave film music as Shankar – Ehsaan - Loy.

So why do they make a hash of the one genuine project where they have to do nothing new? I mean when they have already done the best remixes, why do they screw it up in the in the manner that they have. In addition they (and this includes Farhan Akhtar also) have left some of the other gems from the original movie that are so critical that I seriously doubt whether they will be able to cover those up.

The album begins with “Main Hoon Don” by Shaan, which starts so much like the Baadshah title song that I had to listen to the opening strains again to confirm that I was indeed listening to Don. No, the song per se is okay, but it does not have the character the “Main Hoon Don” song in AB’s Don had. The lyrics are “boring” and tedious. Shaan sings well, well. And the techno trance hooks that S-E-L tries to juxtapose, simply don’t work. There was a remix of the original song called “DJ Don” some time back, the video of which had Jackie Shroff as the Don that had more impact than this one. I mean for a title song of a movie that you want to be “THE MOVIE” of the year, “Main Hoon Don” disappoints.

Next up is Sunidhi Chauhan in “Yeh Mera Dil”. Now I have two serious issues with this one. Firstly they truncate the classic opening strands, which were techno beyond anyone’s wildest dreams and copied shamelessly by Black Eyed Peas in “Don't Phunk with My Heart”. Secondly, Instant Karma had a near perfect remix of “Yeh Mera Dil” in “The Return of Dance Masti” and this song is no patch on that one. Wouldn’t it have simpler to just keep that song instead of remixing the remix? And mind you this song is still the best song in album, coz Sunidhi sings like a dream and S-E-L don’t deviate much from the original soundtrack.

Next is “Moreya Re” a Ganpati festival song, which I suppose will do the same job that “Yeh Hai Mumbai Nagariya” did in the original. This song is well, OK. But how well it will work as a set piece to introduce the “other one” remains to be seen till the movie releases. You see the film “Don” by Chandra Barot (of which you can a read an excellent review here) was a film that was symbolic of the seventies. It was iconic in all sense. It was a movie built around set pieces. Each character had a set piece scene for which he shall be forever remembered. Each song was a set piece. “Main Hoon Don” was a set piece for the Don; “Yeh Mera Dil” was for Helen”. “Yeh Hai Mumbai Nagariya” was for the lookalike. “Jiska Mujhe Thha Intezaar” was for Zeenat Aman (which by the way is not present in this version). And “Khaike Paan Banaraswala” was another story all together. All the characters were etched put even if small. Pran, Helen, the two kids, McMohan, On Shivpuri, each one had their roles cut out. It was set piece after set piece after set piece. And that is why the film worked. It gave you no time to think, no ‘whys’ only ‘whats’.

OK. OK. Enough deviation from the track already. The next song is the classic “Khaike Pan Banaraswala”. Enough has been written on how “bad” the song is. Let me not punish them further by saying anything worse. But really, it is difficult to separate which part of the song is the worst part. Is it the starting ditty by Udit or is it the middle of the song blabbering by SRK.

Finally there is the 80s “Aaj Ki Rat”, which is so much like “Raat Baaki Baat Baaki” that I could almost hear Bappida crooning behind the mike.

I am not commenting on the remixes of the remixes, because I did not hear them, very simply because I was too tired already, with the uninspiring music.

I had to go back to S-E-L’s “Bunty Aur Babli” to soothe my nerves, and my ears. S-E-L’s latest albums have not been up to the mark at all. Complacency, anyone? After sweeping all awards last year for B&B, this year has been such a dull year (read as Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna) from Shankar Ehsaan and Loy that all you hear nowadays are nasal banalities from you know who.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Kyunki Ba Bhi Kabhi Beti Thi

A well known fact is that all the "K" serials that are telecast on all the channels are a pain in the a%^@. What is not publicised is exactly how much painful they actually are.......
Bereft of all logic and common sense, they continue to assault our senses day in and day out. And the sad part is that they are all so frighteningly addictive that you simply cannot do without them. (The other options do not exist if you stay with our family and both your parents are glued to Tulsi and Kashish and Prerna)

But that is not the whole point of this post.

This has more to do with the age of the characters in the serials. Or rather the agelessness of them. Take for example Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, the lead character Tulsi, by conservative estimates, is at least 80 years old. Yes, Eighty years. And you should see the spright in her step, her total body language and all that. Don't believe me...Well here is a back of the hand calculation.

Assume she got married at 18 (the minimum legal age of marriage). The serial has taken two 20 year time leaps. Then she was in prison for about 10-14 years. So add it up and it comes to 70-72.

Then let's add the normal course of time shown during the serial (barring time leaps), say it's around 5-7 years.

OK and add to that the years in which Tulsi's husband was absent and was in Australia or New Zealand with the Mandira Bedi character. That should be around 2-3 years. So adding it all up again....Viola!, we have the character aging 80 years at least. And this is just a rough estimate.

So her husband should be around 82-83. By the way he was about to get married a couple of weeks ago !......

And where does that leave Ba, the matriarch. She was a grandmother when Tulsi got married. Assume around 60-65 minimum. Add to that the 62 years that the serial has moved on and we get a character aged 125 plus.

Wow ! This is one hell of a geriatric friendly show !!

And one does have to admit that India finally does science fiction with ease. And this serial is a living proof. This serial began in 1999 and assuming real time dynamics this serial is now showing us things that will happen in the year 2061....Amazing..!!!!

And this is not the only serial to do so, the other popular soap Kasautti Zindagi Ki also has similar , or rather even more bolder geriatric romance themes. The serial has taken three time jumps and all the lead characters in their early 90s and they are still yearning for other people's wives and getting married and all that, without even a gray hair on their head.

All this geriatric action surely proves that you can actually be "old and bold and beautiful".....

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Love him, loathe him but you cannot ignore him...Now he will act.
Oz finally completes his "work of fiction" (or maybe it isn't! - Isn't any community in India getting hurt?) "The MBA Gang".
It is all in all a very good read.
Dan Brown take note...There is a new Conspiracy Theorist in town...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Shoot the Messenger

A few weeks ago there was a full-page article, in the Sunday Times of India, on a certain Raghav Mahto, a 22 year old mechanic in Mansoorpur, Bihar, who had started his own FM radio channel, which had quietly transformed the lives of the villagers, cut off as they were from the world, ironically because of the public broadcasters, AIR and Doordarshan. He was giving them their programming, in their language and about them. The article commended the actions of the young man and gave him as an example of how a small idea can bring about a major societal change.

Yesterday, while reading “Men and Ideas”, the weekly column by Gurcharan Das, again in the Sunday Times of India, I came to know that “Two weeks ago, on March 27, his station was closed and his equipment seized because he broke two laws, he did not possess a license and he gave news on FM Radio. A formal complaint has also been lodged against him”

My simple question to Mr. Mahto is, What were you thinking, giving the people what they want? How dare you try to take on AIR, which has the sole right to rule the airwaves in India? And news, have you gone mad, Instead of giving excerpts of a daily diary of the minister of state of agriculture, you give local news? Insane, I must say.

So, a criminal you are and thou shall pay the price for it.

And so shall shooters Samaresh and Anjali Jung. You shall be seeing less and less of them in the future.

Their crime, they dared to speak about the Sports Infrastructure in India. (To their credit, they did steer clear of any comments on their own federation, and they also did not directly make any comments on any other sports federation) But when they stated the simple facts about the conditions of sports camps - ill-kempt toilets, mosquito-ridden sleeping quarters, poor training facilities, power problems, unhygienic food and official apathy, what they left unsaid actually said a lot. So do you think they will get away with it? I doubt it.

As they say, if you can't stand the message - Shoot the Messenger (or may be in the second case “Shoot the Shooters”?)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Love is like baldness

Came across this nugget in the blogosphere…..

This from Has some more interesting posts….

Love is like baldness*

and other insights from and thoughts on The Adventures of Hir and Ranjha by Waris Shah (transl. Usborne)

*Love is like baldness. You cannot get rid of it even in twelve years.

Introduction, Note 14,: The Chenab is the most romantic of all punjab rivers, and one of the most romantic anywhere. The romances of Hir and Ranjha, Sohni and Mahiwal and Mirza and Sahiban are all associated with the Chenab. Incidentally all of them are tragedies, the story in each case ending in the death of both lover and sweetheart. [note to self - avoid meeting girl near Chenab] The idea of 'getting married and living happily ever afterwards', so popular in Europe, seems to be alien to punjabi tradition [wonderful. what I thought was bad luck turns out to be a proud cultural tradition], where great love affairs are concerned. To the average punjabi, it might even appear cheap and vulgar.


Chapter 1:
We are introduced to Ranjha. He doesn't do any work, preferring to spend his days admiring his reflection, putting yoghurt in his long hair, singing and playing the flute. He is his father's favourite child, who may have thought Ranjha was his daughter.

His father dies, and Ranjha finds that 'evil days have fallen upon me'! He has to work for a living now, you see. He decides to leave the village.


Chapter 5: Ranjha sees the beautiful Hir for the first time. His chat-up line is: 'Be gentle with me, sweet heart.' Hir is so impressed, she goes and sits in his lap before another word is exchanged.

Small talk follows [what is your name and caste? how much is your salary? may I be a leper and lose my sight and limbs if i seek any husband save Ranjha]

Hir decides that she must convince her father to hire Ranjha as a cowherd. Cowherding may not be a glamorous profession, but Hir knows it offers opportunities to the young lovers for discreet and frequent romantic liaisons.


Chapter 7: 'Their soft eyes were lotus buds and their teeth like rows of pearls.' Ranjha finds himself in charge of a very attractive herd of buffaloes.


Chapter 8: Hir goes to see Ranjha in the 'forest', where he has taken the buffaloes for grazing. There they exchange sweet-nothings:

Ranjha: 'The word of women, boys, hemp smokers and bhang smokers cannot be trusted,'
Hir: 'I am yours to do with as you will. You may sell me in the bazaar if it so pleases you.'

Their relationship is blossoming. Hir begins to visit Ranjha every day.


Chapter 9: Hir's mother Milka knows what is going on, and she disapproves: 'Daughters who are disobedient to their parents are not daughters but prostitutes' she sniffs.

While Hir did tell Ranjha in the previous chapter that he could pimp her if he liked, we feel Milka is exaggerating matters. But as we will see throughout the story, Hir's family like to exaggerate a lot.

Note 2 for the chapter states: The expression [daughters who are...] is by no means unfamiliar in the punjab villages even now. [now = ?]


Chapter 9 cont.d: Hir's family have now all learnt of the affair. They have lots of creative ideas to set things right.

Kaidu, Hir's uncle: 'Marry a naughty girl as soon as you can. Or else break her head and cut her into small pieces'

Milki, Hir's mother: 'You bad girl, you should be drowned in the deep stream for causing such a scandal'

Chuckak, Hir's father: 'Why did you not suffocate her when she was born, Milki, or poison her when she was a baby?'


Chapter 10: doesn't make any sense to me. First Ranjha gets fired, then the romantically inclined buffaloes refuse to eat and generally get in trouble, then Ranjha is asked to come back, and so we are back to where we started.

But one must also find time to admire the neat sexual double-standards. While Hir was previously called a hussy and a prostitute and threatened with murder by her own family, Ranjha is called friend by Hir's father and merely relieved of his job.

Then there's the offer Hir's mother makes to Ranjha to return to his job. Come back and milk our buffaloes and spread Hir's couch. They don't mean he is to be the domestic help either. Our cattle, our wealth...and Hir are all yours

It seems that family honour and scandal and a daughter's chastity are all subordinate to the welfare of the family buffaloes. This is good news for our lovers.

Meanwhile, I have the uneasy suspicion that Hir is not the only one in love with Ranjha. I am thinking of course of the buffaloes.


Chapter 11: Hir's family don't know what to make of chapter 1O either. So they pretend it never happened and continue where chapter 9 left off:

Chuchak, Hir's father: 'Rip open her belly with a sickle, pierce her eyes with a needle, and smash her head with a milking stool' By now he is just showing off.

Your correspondents feels too ill to eavesdrop further on this family conversation, and withdraws.


Chapter 12: This chapter's highlight is a passage of great ethnological interest - a comparison of emotional amorant characteristics of various womenfolk of Desh. This stuff is pure gold.

...the love of a sikh woman is as violent as the current of the chenab...the bengali woman's love is fitful. the hindustani's is childish...the love of a khatri woman is as soft as dough. The hill woman loves openly but the peshawar woman in secret.

The young men of Desh who find this useful may also wish to refer to the Kamasutra, which provides a similar comparison in respect of the physical amorant preferences of the women of Desh.

A word of caution: The information provided in the texts may be out of date, and any attempt to rely on or apply it to contemporary Desi women is done at your own risk.

Chapters 15 and 16: Hir's father decides it's time she gets married. He is tempted to give her to Ranjha - what better way than marriage to kill this romance? But a good muslim father must take into account many things. And so Hir is married off to the Kheras instead, because they are a. of much higher caste than the lowly Ranjhas, and b. the only fools in Punjab who have not heard of Hir's affair.

Chapter 17: Waris Shah builds the tension by switching from one emotional scene to another.

...thus did Hir lament on being parted with Ranjha
is followed immediately by
Meanwhile the buffaloes were ill at ease...

Chapter 17 cont.d: The Kheras must also be the most absent-minded people in Punjab. The large baraat heads back to their village Rangpur in celebratory mood, without noticing the romantic Ranjha following them. But surely they would have been aware of the beautiful new bride they were taking home, the new daughter of the village, the wife of one of their sons? But to hear Waris tell it, Hir finding herself alone and the Kheras merry making, made a signal to Ranjha, called him into her palanquin and embraced him tenderly.

These two are addicted to danger! Not for them running away, it has to be making out in the middle of the girl's wedding baraat or nothing.

Chapter 17 cont.d: There's an exciting and pointless tirade against the Jats generally. Sadly my translation omits it.

Chapter 18: Hir is now at her new home. Meanwhile, Ranjha resolves to become a fakir and 'bore his ears'. Not to mention everyone else's. He also decides to bring back Hir.

It is not clear why he needs to be a fakir to bring back Hir, or how being an ascetic is even consistent with pursuing his beloved. But anyhow...

Chapter 19: A year passes. Hir sends Ranjha a message. Ranjha rejoices and again resolves to become a fakir, and bring back Hir. Ranjha is somewhat lazy.

Chapter 2O: Ranjha finds himself a holy man to be his Guru. The Guru likes what he sees: My lad, your looks are saucy... The guru continues dreamily: have painted your eyes with lamp-black; you play on the flute and stare at women. You tie up cows and milk them. He makes it sound so kinky.

Two line movie reviews

A post after a really long time….

Have been catching up on a few movies lately, so here goes my two line reviews

  1. Rang De Basanti – Much talked about, but the fact is this - It is not an Aamir Khan film. And if you watch it thinking that it is an Aamir movie, you will be disappointed. Biggest plus - It has a very good musical score, both song wise and background.
  2. Taxi No. 9211 – A very good reworking of Changing Lanes. The musical score works very well. Nana is in his element. This fellow has been giving on a roll these few months after Ab Tak Chappan, Apharan, Bluffmaster and now Taxi ….. Plus any movie that has Sonali Kulkarni is definitely watchable.
  3. Zinda – Was expecting a lot. Very very disappointing. But again, the music works where the scenes don’t
  4. Bluffmaster – If it was a little bit pacier, I would have compared it to my all time fave caper film Ocean’s Twelve. And again the music works where the scenes don’t (Isn’t it strange that Hindi film-makers have suddenly realized the importance of a good background score!!!)
  5. The Spy Who Loved Me – Well, What can I say, a James Bond movie is always a treat and this one has all the masala – Action, Locations, Gadgets and Babes - especially Agent XXX.
  6. Fight Club – Begins slowly, but then suddenly it has a pace that grips you. If anyone out there who hasn’t seen this…..Please do

(Note – Not the Hindi one please)

[This film actually deserves a whole post……..Hmmm]

More movie reviews coming up soon….

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Sania Mania a.k.a "I didn't manage my best"

So Sania Mirza loses again in the second round Unfancied Pin stuns top-seeded Mirza.
OK. I agree it was a tough match and as she says "She wasn't hitting the ball powerfully and I had to generate everything,". "It was hard playing someone like that. She played the best she could, and I didn't manage my best,".

Her best.

One question I would like to ask her is when will she manage her best?

After breaking in to the Top 50 of the WTA world rankings, she has been, to put it mildly, "a disappointment". She plays in major tournaments in the world only to crash out in the first/second round. And yet the media keep on going ga-ga about her. ( Of course there are several other things the media does, that is the matter of another post altogether).

Her T-Shirts, her earrings, her dresses, her attitude, her thighs (Sorry that would be the mullahs). It just goes on and on.

And then there is the Padmashree. The moment I heard that Sania Mirza is going to get a Padmashree, I was surprised, shocked and hurt. I mean what has been such a spectacular achievement so far that she deserves a Padmashree? P. Gopichand had to win the All-England to get it, whereas she got it just because she went so far as the Third round of the Australian Open and face Venus Williams. I just don't believe this.

I have nothing against Sania. I love the way she plays and I am proud of the fact that she gives me a reason to cheer for India during a tennis match. But giving her so much attention and importance so early in her career is just not done. That is the best way to kill a career. We know what happened to Paes and Bhupathi once success got into their head. Do we want Sania to head in the same direction?

Dear Sania, I am still waiting to see your best.