Saturday, February 14, 2009



Dev D is freakin' awesome!

(bows down to Anurag Kashyap and Abhay Deol)

A lot of movies claim to be different, avant garde and what not but this is one movie which does absolute justice to all these terms. In all facets of the movie the team did something or the other which was never attempted before.

Take the music for instance. I bought the album a day after I watched the movie and was fascinated to realise that there were 18 songs in the movie. But the songs were so brilliantly integrated with the movie that they did not feel like an encumberance. They seemed to blend beautifully with the scene and without ostensibly being present they set the mood for the scene. Infact as I listen to the songs (as I write now, all the time when I'm driving :) ) I see myself recollecting what was happening when the song was playing in a movie. This is just phenomenal for any album and shows the success of the music for the movie.

The songs themselves are extremely psychedelic. Yes, and you never thought that 'psychedelic' could ever be used to describe music?

Just sit in a dark room and listen to the songs full blast with your eyes closed. You'll understand what I'm saying. The music transforms the space around into a particularly degenerate club with an awesome DJ mixing weird elements into basically simple songs, neon lights from the cluster and a lot of smoke- and not your basic tobacco smoke at that!

The sounds are amazing. One song starts with a sitar ( ) and then mixes electronica beautifully with it.

Ok, moving on from the music (Also because the first part of this post I wrote alomst 5 days back - since then work's been killing me)

What I also loved was the unapologetic way in which they show Dev's various addictions. There's no justification given about his drug abuse, or alcoholism or no emotion involved sex. This is what he is. He gives no explanations and doesn't give a rat's ass if society wants it. Like the bus-ticket scene with the old aunty. That was simple and silent but showed the contempt he felt for societal norms amazingly. Like the way he stalks and fools around with his former paramour's sister-in-law just to get back at her and to stalk her and see her suffer. But at the same time he also suffers agony whenever he sees her happy.

The movie is peppered with moments that have layered meanings when you go back and think about them but the funny thing is that when I came out of the hall I couldn't recall any particular scene but was absolutely in love with the movie.

And what do I say about Chanda, played by Kalki Koechlin ( ). I've become a fan. In fact while Abhay Deol reinforced his position on my i'm-a-fan list, Kalki made a great debut at number 1 on it. Playing the innocent school girl embroiled in a life altering event (by the way the show down scene between her parents and her - simply amazing. Especially the anger and frustration of a child suddenly realising her pillar of strength was not actually on her side) to the hardened adult who hides her sadness to the innocent girl re-discovering her hope for love - she played it all with elan.

All in all this is one movie you cannot afford to miss - and that too in a theatre.

Small warning though - you'll have to be careful about company as you need open minded people who don't get perturbed by some explicit dialogues and thoughts in the movie.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Culture? Really?

A friend of mine read my post on my solitary trip to Kodaikanal and buzzed me despondently.

Ive always wanted to go on a trip alone!

so why dont you do it?

Im quite chicken.

huh? why?

hmm, maybe I should learn some self defence or get a gun licence.Then id feel safe.

I thought it was a really sad commentary on the state of our nation when a woman feels unsafe to such an extent that she would want to get a gun to go for a vacation. And its not even a remotely exaggerated reaction. It is the fact of life right now considering the state of affairs.

Everyday you have one or the other group of people coming up with violent actions in all parts of the country. And who do they target? The easy targets.

A 17 year old girl and a fellow commuter were pulled down from a bus, pushed into an auto and taken to a lonely place where both were beaten up. The crime? The girl was speaking to the guy who happened to be muslim.

And this is becoming a visible case with a few of the psychos being arrested, because in their misplaced and basically crazy thirst for notoriety and compensating for their inferiority complexes they picked on a girl who was a sitting MLAs daughter. So there is a whole hoopla around it and there may even be some action. But think about it - for one girl attacked without reason or rhyme and turning out to be an MLAs daughter, there must be thousands across the country who could be abused and assaulted with no reprisals every single day.

If that were not enough it seems now that people have come up with the idea that to be acknowledged as a political power to reckon with the only thing that works is to target a community / action / gender / location and pour heaps of vitriol on them in speeches to paid mobs. And then to follow this up with mob actions to cement the words. And as is the wont of bullies, the person targetted would always be the lowest guy in the food chain. As if he did not have enough problems of his own, now hes on the easy-to-hit list of all these marginal parties that have no chance in hell of ever getting their 15 minutes of fame through decent, good activities.

So you take the Marathi Manoos era in Mumbai where taxi drivers from North India were beaten up. If you have any conviction (and balls) why dont you dare to target someone who has the clout to hit back.Why do you have to target those who have become used to drinking up abuse and staying quiet. Actions like these dont show conviction, it just shows that youre bullies. And without conviction noone can gain respect from anyone.

Similarly, these bullies have decided that to target women behind the pitiful excuse of protecting the Indian culture is the easy thing to do to get headlines for a week,and then spend the rest of their useless insecure lives by terrorizing their small area of influence basking in the clout they created. Whether it be the Mangalore incident where five-five pseudo-Indian hooligans chased down and hit women in pubs - and what Indian culture fetes five men ganging up on a woman and beating her? - or this new one that happened on Friday in Bangalore:,+pub+hoppers+attacked+in+Bangalore&artid=PFfa8x72|io=&SectionID=Qz/kHVp9tEs=&MainSectionID=Qz/kHVp9tEs=&SEO=Kerala+CPM+MLA;+C+H+Kunhambu;+assault;+Revathy,wom&SectionName=UOaHCPTTmuP3XGzZRCAUTQ==

And now the call to ban Valentines day. I mean its just exasperating how such people are even allowed to live in decent society. They have chosen, one after the other, easy targets and gone about doing their dirty acts. And now they want to attack teenagers and kids just having some harmless fun. Yes, it may be a western concept but really is it really something that would affect and obliterate the Indian culture which has stood the test of time for thousands of years and was one of the most open hearted to newer people and customs? Are two kids surreptiously holding hands (or kissing or making out- we do have one of the fastest growing populations in the world - are we really in a position to say that sex is not part of our culture?)with a blush of joy as they stroll around really going shake the roots of our culture? Does India really need weak bullies to protect herself?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Blast from the past...

This chat, facebook etc. is so embarrasing at times.

Has it ever happened to you that someone from a very long time ago - primary school-mate,old colony cricket buddy, unknown hot junior chick who had a massive crush on you, kid taking the school bus from the same bus stop or the part time spinner in galli cricket who always bowled you - have added you on facebook or orkut or something? (ok, maybe the hot junior chick is a bit of an exaggeration) and then buzz you some fine day with a remember me?

And if you dont, and you really really want to know who it is, you have to resort to innane questions. And its mutually embarrassing when both of you realise that while one person cherishes the memory of the other, the other has absolutely no clue and has not thought of / remembered the other in all possible reminiscences over all the intervening years. A few awkward lines and then one of the two ends the misery by logging out.

Its an understandable thing, but nevertheless very embarrasing...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Alone? Not quite...

Well, i have been back from the previously prattled about Kodaikanal trip for about a week now. Frankly speaking, I have mixed feelings about doing a solitary trip with the balance actually shifting in favour of it. Not that I dont enjoy trips with friends and family, but this kind of trip does sort of rejuvenate you a bit.

Except its bloody impossible to be alone anywhere in India!

Picture this, a decidedly handsome and, to put it mildly, drop dead gorgeous guy ( In case you didnt quite manage to be at the head of the line when God was passing out brains) gazing across the expanse of a picturesque lake nestled serenly in the mountains with boats floating along the rippling glassy surface reflecting the dying rays of the sun blissfully daydreaming and contemplating the meaning of life, love and what not, when suddenly this rakishly good looking guy hears a loud phrase erupting in Tamil in uncomfortable proximity to his left ear. Ruffled, our hero shakes himself from his philosophical reverie and looks around. Apparently a family (all the way to third cousins with their assorted kids in tow) on its annual vacation from Chennai has decided that because said hero is standing and looking dreamily out, this MUST be some kind of tourist spot with one of those innocuous views that any hill station finds itself teeming with (dolphin view, monkey point-all being imagined shapes of distant mountains when you look at them from some specific spot.You find them in all self-respecting hill stations here). So the entire family crowds around me and starts staring in the general direction I was gazing in. I am not kidding here - one moment I was lost in my thoughts and staring glassy eyed while my thoughts were soaring else where, and the next I am surrounded on all sides by different bloody shrieking members of that vast family trying to see what I was looking at. This lake is so huge that it takes an hour of brisk walking to go around it (My feet know only too well) and those 15 odd people crowded around the one spot I was in. So much for contemplating alone.

I moved a 100 metres to one side and saw to my consternation that as I moved the entire group broke up and started walking away from there. Peace, at last? Not quite. In fifteen minutes another group of old ladies did the exact same thing and I had to just walk away in disgust.

Travelling alone has another interesting problem. You dont find any particularly dainty restaurants in such places and as you settle in with a book after ordering your food you suddenly look up and see some other gentleman looking across the table. Apparently if you are sitting alone at a table for four, any other single person will be directed to sit at the same table even if the restaurant is half empty! And then of course, even though I have made peace with people using hands to eat rice (hell, even I like to eat rice with my hands occasionally), I have NOT and will NEVER make peace with people chasing sambhar and daal with their toungues trailing half-way down their forehands! And when such a gentleman is plonked infront of you and he starts eating in this fashion you begin to wonder why you are bothering to eat at all as youd be barfing it away at the sight of the lick-your-arms-clean eating show that you have the front row seat to!

I noticed that when I am alone i eat a lot less - only a meal in a day (and not due to the last paragraph). Also, all was not bad. The good stuff as usual doesnt make very interesting reading so the funny (hopefully) lines are thrown on the minor irritants.

Actually I really liked having no plans for the day or itinerary. Kodai doesnt have a lot of places to see but I loved the fact that I didnt have to do something just because someone else in the group wants to go home and tell everyone how he saw all the monkey, dolphin points that there are to see. I spent most of my time around the lake itself. Lounging around in the sun with a book in hand. And I went to one that sounded interesting right from the beginning - Coakers walk. Its a path cut right at the edge of the mountains and the cloud filled valleys that one can see from there are quite surreal. I spent hours there just staring out and feeling the breeze on my face.

A really good trip - and maybe I will try this solitary travel a bit more.

But for heaven sake, if i am staring into space I am NOT at some tourist spot, so please move on and huddle elsewhere. Let me have my peace and quiet!