Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I finally managed to watch Rab Ne...a full 10 days after it released! God bless Ba for I had no company till then! The movie...well it certainly didn't live up to the expectations...the girl looked bad, the music was insipid and the end predictable. SRK was actually looking like Vince Mcmahon, For WWE followers- too beefed up (read steroids) and really looked ghastly! The story was non existent, wonder in which dreamland the heroine lives in...Mohabbatein gave better value for money if you ask me. And for the last time its really NOT cool for guys to wear short tees, let us at least leave that one thing to our counterparts!! The director managed to make even the tried and tested retro dance number (with kajol and three others in it) look tasteless!! All in all immensely forgettable!!
Ghajini is releasing tomorrow and with its phenomenal amount of over exposure I wouldn't be surprised if it bombed!!(No screams a Google search,the advance booking is enough to recover its cost!!)Lets wait and watch!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Boom to Bust

There was a time when a serial on Doordarshan meant the penultimate glory. Family functions were postponed, meal timings were arranged in such a manner that no one missed any minuscule portion of a serial and television became the nation’s favorite pastime which was both addictive and alluring. From the charming Chitrahaar to the humility personified Hum Log, these reel life entities transcended their boundaries and loomed larger than life. The actors were real and wholesome entertaining was given the pride of place. Buniyaad, Fauji, Shanti, Swabhimaan, Dekh Bhai Dekh and Shriman Shrimati were only some of the serials with which people could identify with, chatter about them at impromptu places and relate to them as if they were an extension of their own life. They moved people with their piquant narration, had them in splits over innocuous humor and moved them with the compulsive play of human emotions. It was truly the golden era of Indian Television.

With the advent of cable television Zee took the reigns from DD becoming its legitimate heir, although it did not do such a holistic job, it did manage an enviable task-that of presenting to people the power of change. Serials like Tara, Banegi Apni Baat and Rishtey not only were path breaking but were also hugely successful in breaking stereotypes. They did not limit themselves to pose questions but also demanded answers. Breaking away from the moulds of propriety and chauvinism they played an instrumental role in the coming of age of Indian Television. With an assorted and assiduous range of soaps like Sailaab, Teacher, Campus and Hip Hip Hurray they succeeded in not only retaining viewers but also in attracting new ones. It was a path breaking era and one that explored hitherto virgin territories with finesse.

Circa 2000, entered Ekta kapoor with a magic wand and with her brought a change which would strip Indian Television of its simplicity and naivety. With Star Plus as home ground, she revolutionized television with her unprecedented success and a blitzkrieg to rival that of films. Garish saris and grotesque facial expressions became the order of the day and men became the weaker sex of the small screen. Kyonki, Kahani, Kahin Kissi Roz, Kahin To Hoga brought in TRP’s and money at an unparalleled rate. While the heroines became saintly and god like, vamps became meaner and more menacing. Idealistic Bahus were virgins, voluble and virtuous, capable of enduring inhuman agonies and anguish with a silly smile. It was a phase when Indian television changed forever.

Currently we are in the fourth stage where an alarming 63 channels jostle for attention, Real life Drama, expletives and abuses are all a part of an actor’s ensemble. There is no clear victor and the poor viewer is bereft of choices. Innovation is dead and formula is in. There is no clear winner today, everyone loses! The best entertainment is provided by 24/7 news channels!

Disclaimer:The article was Pt's brainwave not mine!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Things left behind

As we move farther and farther away from who we are we leave behind us remnants of ourselves.Things which were taken for granted just a decade back are rarefied today. Symbols which were not merely symbolic but an expression and extension of who we were, some things whose extinction I rue
1.Ink pens- Nothing feels the same, its ink pens or nothing. Although I still use them (which is rare considering I have no need to write)it is curtains down for the once pervasive must haves. Ink pens, the smell of ink and the paraphernalia associated with it! Miss all of it.
2.Greeting cards- Nothing can even come close to expressing yourself with the help of the good old card. Warm, personal and an expression of intimacy… but greeting cards are no longer in vogue…one look at the terrible stocks in any Archie’s gallery should suffice…what’s taken over?? smses!! sigh!
3.looong summer vacations-by long I mean only 10-14 days, I still miss spending a week in the summer at my granddads. Nowadays people don’t have time to vacation on a weekend. Holidays wee never so hurried…rush in and rush out. As keats said “no time to pause and ponder”…vacations have become so crammed that one wishes not to have any!!
4.Scooters: I miss them, not only because I can drive one but because they were elegant, charming and the ultimate in chic! Right now they are antique but nevertheless for me they are the absolute in old world charm!
5.Others which made it are cameras, black and white photographs and tape recorders.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Of justice and its cost

Like everyone else, I was appalled at the "event" in which three guys attacked two helpless girl armed with acid and succeeded in blurring their entire lives in one instant. Swift action met with an even swifter reaction and these guys were killed in a police encounter. I, for one welcome the police encounter. We've been subjected to many voices of dissent that say that this is police excess and should not be lauded. I disagree and vehemently so. The act was heinous and dastardly and deserved something more than the usual rounds of courts and adjournments, a reaction like this would in the very least discourage other lovesick people to pause and ponder in case their purported "love" is not accepted. In case the police didn't act, fingers would be raised on their ineffectiveness! these poor guys are caught between the devil and deep sea, criticized on all counts! I agree, this might trigger off unseemly incidents but then unless a precedent is established, you cannot work on its failings.Exaggerated examples like next time there is a robbery the thieves would be shot down in cold blood is merely that-exaggeration and trivialization of what is obviously a very serious issue.The act of throwing acid on people whom you allegedly love reveals a frightening sense of perversion and we are better off without such people. Hope the swift action would stop people from this utter insanity of toying with lives! And hope the police wont get carried away by this one example!!
Am so glad the Government has given out the Bharat Ratna this time and that too to an amazing persona. Wish it was given out more often, we have many of these gems!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jai Shri Krishna

Lord Krishna was supposed to personify the words- dark and beautiful. One look at the Lord Krishna in the serial “Jai Shri Krishna” on Colors dispels all preconceived notions. The God here is played by an amazing cute and endearing child who is winning over friends and foes alike with a charisma unheard of in a two year old! Targeting viewers of all age groups the serial has been wowing one and all as witnessed by its steady climb in the TRP charts. A prime time slot (at 8.30) has only helped the ratings zoom northwards. The cast consists of relative new comers who are content with playing second fiddle to the child. A remarkable feature is the amazing use of child actors all who are below the age of five. One can only imagine the effort which has been put it to extract such incredible performances.
The chemistry between the kids is crackling, be it during the portrayal of the doomed love between Radha and Krishna or the misadventures of Krishna and Balrama. The serial clicks because of its exuberant energy and the tacit handling of story which keeps viewers hooked and because of the deft manner in which it chronicles the childhood of one of India’s best loved Gods. It is also a medium through which children who are otherwise hooked to play stations and palmtops can learn about the age old mythological stories which define the paradigm of our cultural ethos. One commendable feature is that the serial doles out the all important message about the victory of good over evil without being too preachy or tedious. However a criticism which has dogged the show is that regarding the glamorization of innocuous childhood and indulging in certain liberties thereby trivializing the message imparted. What comes to its rescue is the fact that the presentation (especially in cases where children are involved) needs to evolve along with the generations to make them more relatable. The music, being immensely hummable blends itself in the narration. It goes on to prove that all one needs in dealing with epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata is simplicity and not gauzy sets, intrepid costumes and six packs unlike a la monster called (Ekta Kapoor’s)Mahabarata!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Shantaram, the amazing biography of Gregory David Roberts has had a buzz about it ever since it has hit the bookshelves. Candid, unobtrusive and irresistible in storyline and narration the book stands out for it description of the entity called life .At times awe inspiring and at times spine chilling this is the account of the author’s life, a beauteous journey which made him break out of an Australian prison and come to India on a forged passport, live in a slum as a doctor, work for the Mumbai Underworld and even fight against the Russians in Afganistan, every line of this fascinating book is profound and verbose. For a book of more than 900 pages to be a page turner is no mean feat and the author has done this with an amazing sense of alacrity. The supporting characters are well etched out and completely justify their use in the story line. One of the outstanding features of this book is the celerity with which it espouses philosophy which is all encompassing and includes everything from the Big bang theory to the ancient wisdom of India. The book is chronicled with examples and one liners which manage to convey the amazing depth of the writer’s thought process.
An astonishing fact is that the book was destroyed as many as six times when the author had first written it in the prison, it is but an exemplary example of the tenacity and grit of the author who has finished it in the face of such adversity with such élan! No aspect of life is left out and the nefarious ways in which life doles out blows to individuals who struggle to come to terms with the startling turn of events is captured in a compelling manner. Another quality which leaves a mark on the reader is the restrained lyricism of words which manage to leave a lasting impression. It is extremely easy for one to relate to the events unfolding in the book because of the sheer force of story telling employed. It poses questions, demands answers and induces many such incidents which are thought proving and gut wrenching.It also unleashes the hypnotic power of truth by concealing it in the simplest of words.
The greatest achievement of this book is however the manner and spirit in which it chooses to express itself, lines which seem commonplace but are not, incidents which seem trivial but are often hiding in them the mystical force of fate and the tacit method it employs to drive the point home-don’t ever give up! It manages to transport the reader to a world of adventure, triumph and sorrow with the usage of its exotic words and eclectic vocabulary. A survivor’s account the book is an uninhibited victory over odds. It coerces you to challenge its notions, seduces you only to spurn you and rivets you with unabashed fury. In a world where everything shiny sells,this book is the uncrowned and unparalleled king of understatement.

Friday, December 5, 2008

An interview and a great book!

Took my first Interview ever yesterday!! after years of watching people doing it I finally did it! although it was for the print media and not for its electronic counterpart,still that didn't stop me from wanting to brag about it to all and sundry. The person in question was Ishq Bector (dont say who!!),hip hop artist and songwriter/producer.It was such a relief that he was so easy to speak to,and my job was done in ten minutes flat!
Finished reading Satyajit Ray's "The unicorn Expedition" last week and was completely bowled over by its simplicity and old age charm.The visionary in Ray was embossed all over the book and eloquent in every line.Cell phones,oral computers the man thought of it all!Also the book is an illustration that complicated ideas can be expressed in simple and understandable language,unlike Kafka whose way of putting things is so complicated that you literally have to tear your hair apart!Cant wait to watch his movies now!!Waiting desperately to receive the copy of "Tales of Beedle the Bard" by JK Rowling (Pt ordered it and I am reading it!!)...will update news about it very soon...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The aftermath!

As the mighty Mumbai is brought to it's knees and is busy recuperating,some people seem hell bent on disturbing the already fragile peace of mind of its citizens and others who reside in this country.On one hand you have a chief minister reduced to giving adverts for disaster tourism (with a loser director in tow),on other hand you have his deputy (who I suspect is a somnambulist)who irks one and all with his stupidity! Not to be outdone in this circus, you have Naqvi with his Lipstick remarks landing him into major trouble.But if you do ask, mirror mirror who is the most insensitive of all-pat comes the reply Ath-choo-taa-nandan!The Kerala CM who managed to make any sensible person thinking of joining our army to make a rapid detour.Dog Indeed!
Another amusing Spectacle was made by Jayanthi Natarajan who in a discussion with a clearly agitated Shobha De (who blasted politicians of all parties to her credit) said that Sonia Gandhi "gave" the ultimate sacrifice in the form of her husband and mother in law! We now want her to sacrifice her Rajya Sabha seat (as she clearly cant win one in the lok sabha )in 2009.Also was a refreshing change to see the doll-like Simi Garewal shed her wax sculpting and become passionate about an issue for once.Attack Pakistan,says the lady!Hear,hear!!
Two images which will forever remain etched as the face of this tragedy are that of Major Sandeep's mother lovingly caressing her dead son and that of the iconic Taj erupting in flames! How the mighty have fallen! And to think that such grief and such dumb politicos can co exist!Amen!
Note:thanks for chucking Patil out.Wanted one to quit got another free!