Sunday, November 18, 2007

Picture Abhi Baaki Hai Mere Dost....

What happens when you go with an intention of watching 'Jab We Met', buy tickets for 'Saawariya' but end up watching 'Om Shanti Om'? You come back with a smile on your face.

OSO, as they call it, was not a movie I was dying to watch ever since I saw the promos. I thought Shah Rukh Khan looked too old with his six packs, Deepika looked too pretty, the set looked too made up and everyone seemed like they were trying too hard. I could not connect with anything. I read the review, like i always do, but I have never taken any review seriously, i have to watch the movie myself to say anything about it. And so i did!

I am not a Shah Rukh Khan fan. But he is a people's actor, he gives them what they want and he works his 'abs' off to do it! I admire him, and thats that. Or so I thought. His best performance to date for me is Swades. He was Mohan Bhargav and not Shah Rukh Khan.

Om shanti om in all its entirety celebrates Indian Cinema. Cinema with all its extravagance, illogic, cliched dialogues, manmohan desai style milna-bichadna, purely co-incidental, naach gaana, hundred costumes in one song, poor boy- rich girl, the maa and her dil, the kaash aaj tere pitaji zinda hote, the aaj se bees saal pahle (and beyond). The audience loved the 70s.

I have grown up watching a lot of seventies. So much so, that I can tell the name of the movie by just looking at a scene. I cant say the same about the 90s though. I am yet to come across an actor as brilliant as Amitabh Bachchan (Anand, Agneepath, Chupke Chupke, zanjeer, sholay, Deeewar), as natural as Shammi kapoor, not exactly 70s( Teesri Kasam,Junglee, Brahmachari, andaz) as romantic as Rishi Kapoor( khel khel mein, bobby,Kabhie kabhie, karz) , as versatile and effortless as Sanjeev Kumar ( you have to watch Koshish, Sholay, Khilona, Pati Patni aur Vo) as intense and as good looking as Vinod Khanna.

Not to forget the beautiful Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi (watch Arth, mirch masala) Rekha in Umrao Jaan and Khoobsurat, Jaya Bhaduri in Abhimaan, Mili, Guddi, Koshish and Sholay. Sharmila Tagore in Aradhna, Amer Prem, chupke chupke. Outstanding.

Also Amol Palekar with movies like Baton Baton mein and Golmaal. Naseeruddin Shah in masoom, sparsh and mirch masala. There was a bad bad villian, there was a too good to be true hero, then there was hero vs the establishment (mostly during the emergency) milna- bichadna still continues. Numerous love triangles, one very well made that I distinctly remember is 'Sangam.' My friends in school used to tell me, i need to go with the times. But i am a 70s fan and I love it.

Which is also why I loved OSO. yes, the dialogues could have been better, screenplay less dragging, but at the same time attention was paid to the details. In every sense of the word, OSO is an innovative movie. I felt it showed the routine re-incarnation drama with a million elements and that to me is intelligent cinema. You get the feel of that era, there is a subtle connect with Karz, only if you wanna see it. There is a lot of exaggerated play up of emotions, there is that trademark music.

Post-thirty years, running around trees is replaced by item numbers, the actor or the main lead has more say in the movie than the director himself. Cinema is more real but at the same time more plastic.

Arjun Rampal was superb. Deepika can act. Shah Rukh Khan looks sexy with the six packs. Shreyas Talpade's timing is brilliant. Kiron Kher's rendition of Nirupa Roy is worth watching.

Music was not bad either. The title track and 'ankhon mein teri' are songs you take with you. I also liked 'kaise naino se nain milaon sajna!'

OSO was a blend. The struggle of a junior artiste, a filmi mother, star struck Om, so much in love, the villain with his cruelty, pappu his best friend forever and the love for cinema. It was entertaining. It was colourful. I laughed till I cried. After a long time, I was taking back with me just the feel good factor. Happys Endings!

It was special cos I watched with one of my bestest friends. An evening I wont forget for a long time to come.

Tum bore to nahi hue na?


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Shit Happens

Yes, I know. I know I have written this several times over and some more. But now its not for me. This is for a dear friend who is special in a special way, someone whose poetry goes beyond mere words, someone whose writing amazes me every time I read it and someone who I have grown to admire each passing day. But, this is not about her. Its about what she feels and what she feels is important.

This seems like its going nowhere, but it is. We always have questions, I have many, all the time about everything. Some of my questions hardly have an answer, when i cant find them, I write. I also write when I find them. Questions like why people meet when they have to part? Or why people decide that its time they parted ways? And when they do come back for whatever reason, what do you do? Welcome them with arms wide open or say screw you too?

No, its not about love. Not at all. Its about friendship and the love within. Ok that sounds weird, I shall rephrase. Its about memories, gathered, nurtured, fallen and gathered again. Enough and more to fill a life time. 'Memories' is not a plural of 'memory'.

What do you do when a friend walks out on you? A friend who meant more than life itself, who meant music beyond orchestra, who meant poetry beyond prima facie phrases, who meant all that and much more. You go back to all those songs that dint mean the same once. Those conversations that lasted hours, when time was just another word. So now are they all meaningless? Or had I forgotten that nothing lasts forever? Or was I expecting too much?

What do you say when they tell you 'I dont feel the closeness anymore, I have changed, not you?' without realizing that everything changes for the 'you' post-profound-statement... It happened to me, not once but several times over, it happened to her and I am sure it happens to you too...But only because something happens so often it doesn't mean life is like that! Or maybe it does, I don't know.

My best friends have walked out, moved away, without a warning, a sign or a signal. But if you know them well enough, you would understand that they have better things to do than making memories with you. Thats a sign, you choose to ignore. Well, I chose to ignore.

I was telling her, I cant write about this cos my wounds have healed or i have scratched them so bad that they don't bleed anymore. I am immune, or so I thought. Her wounds are fresh, mine don't seem any different. But i am only wounded, not dead yet! Neither is she.

Life goes on, people change, you change too. Sorry for sounding like an introductory paragraph of some crappy psycho book, but its true. What remains is the M word. What do you do with those?

For you, my friend I have only this to say:

'Meet and part is the scheme of life, Part and meet is the hope of life'

Shit happens. We need to learn how to flush, now and again and forever.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

19, Dravid

1996: An eleven year old, young girl, surfs through boring TV channels, looking for a reason for the invention of television. She finds it. A ball running towards the boundary, a fielder hopelessly behind it. Camera moves, batsman in frame. Girl has never seen him before, cricket was still Sachin Tendulkar for her, like everybody else.

Things changed. He had arrived, but right now only for testing times. Scoring a 95 on debut versus England, he found himself replacing an injured Manjrekar. He was the new rising star. Not yet.

But for the girl, he was the new idol. What struck her was his silent aggression, his determination, his temperament and his way of silencing his critics. When he was on the field, only his bat spoke. In an age of swashbuckling, stylish batsmen, no. 19 jerseyed Dravid played all strokes in the book to perfection. Branded as technically sound but slow (BTW he is the fastest to reach 9000 runs in test cricket, breaking Brian Lara's record by one innings), he found himself splashed in sports pages of dailies, but couldn't find a spot in the one-day squad.

That was then. Batting at No. 3, 4, 5, 6, keeping wickets, even bowling, he did everything in his might for the team and some more. His batting hardly failed him, his gut never. Girl had a new definition for cricket. Rahul Dravid.

From being a 'defensive' batsman, to standing shoulder to shoulder with the best batsmen in the world, finding his name etched in records previously broken, made and shared, Dravid had become more than just another name. He had become an ambassador of consistency, grit and team spirit. Girl came to know him as the 'wall'. Girl doesn't like labels.

So, the 'Wall' that has now crumbled as they say, is the only player to have scored a century against every test playing nation away from home. First Indian batsman to have scored five double centuries, each bigger than the other. Girl witnessed all. A silent, but loyal spectator.

Waiting for a wicket to fall, just to see him bat, waiting for him to take on the field, snatching the ball from the air at a speed of naughts, taking the most amazing catches fielding at a spot known as the 'slip'!

Today, dropped from the side, he doesn't need this post. But, the girl needs to tell him that he is, was, and will be her hero, now and forever. He needs to know that he has been the teacher, the guide, the mentor. He needs to know that he has provided the game of cricket with a follower who wanted to be like him, but who realized that being Dravid is not easy.

Cricket is not going to be the same. Just not going to be the same.

No. 19 Dravid, will walk again, this time to prove a point to those in the selection committee. You say, its no big deal? For the girl, it is.

For the girl it is because the cover drive still haunts.

Coming of Age

Did you know the Japanese have a coming-of-age holiday? So, every year, the second Monday of January is a national holiday to celebrate...