Friday, November 03, 2006


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I am not a movie buff; I don't watch movies as soon as they are released or pick out obscure ones that a select few have gone gaga over.

I watch movies if and only if I have company to do it.

So, last Saturday, as Aarti, Manu, Vivek, and I reached Forum after dinner in The Hungry Buddha, we didn't really anticipate that we were going to watch a really nice movie. Yes, the reviews were good but like they say for the pudding, the proof is in the experience. And what an experience it was!

For starters, the contrasting landscapes sort of sets the principal characters apart. Like the barren desert with soft undulating sands washing over towns and the countryside, Meera (Ayesha Takia) is a young bride who lives her life under the feet of the men in her family. Solely devoted to her husband (I was extremely surprised to see Anirudh, a Kannada theater and TV actor as Shankar Singh, her husband), she meekly follows orders and bears all painful references by her mother-in-law towards the caring Shankar. Up north, amidst the cold winds of the Himachal, a resourceful woman Zeenat (Gul Panag, a revelation) accepts a proposal from her "fiance" and shows gumption to make a living even after wedding and her husband goes to Saudi Arabia to..what else...make money.

Some months later, fate drives Zeenat in search of Meera. On the way, Zeenat encounters a human chameleon, simply called Behrupiya (Shreyas Talpade, the pick of the cast). At once entertaining and dubious, he accompanies Zeenat in her quest for Meera. As the two women finally meet and befriend each other, they realize that they have much in common, despite the glaring differences. Until the day comes when their friendship is set to face the trial by fire.

Nagesh Kukunoor is an intelligent filmmaker. He knows the pulse of the audience and with some God-given gift, manages to create films that appeal to a wide audience, without stoking their expectations too much. When I saw 3 Deewarein some years ago, I was blown away by Juhi Chawla's performance. And he went ahead and made Iqbal. Which was easily one of the best triumph-of-spirit genre of movies from Indian mainstream cinema I've seen in some time. And now, Dor is that kind of movie that you wouldn't expect a suave director like Nagesh to make. Then again, there no rules to creativity, so this works and works exceedingly well.

Though I ain't no expert in cinematography, I can guess that it takes a lot of effort to capture the emotions and moods of actors when there's not much makeup. To ensnare that natural look without letting it show as "jet-lag" or "the morning after look" is a pretty good skill and the camerawork for this movie is quite impressive. Ditto the background music, full of Rajasthani folk songs and a very hummable "Yeh hausla kyun jhuke".

The best certification came from my friend Vivek, who has a tremendous anathema to Bollywood. He's the kind of guy who doesn't mind watching a Chinese flick dubbed in Tamil coming in Vijay TV instead of "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna".

"Lovely movie" is what he said.

RATING: 4.5/5

Thursday, October 19, 2006

When Bangalore was burning...

For long, Bangalore had been a peaceful city. Lush with parks, sedate traffic, laidback cafes (most famous among them being The India Coffee House on the erstwhile sparsely populated M.G.Road), it was deservingly called Pensioners' Paradise.

Now, Bangalore doesn't hesitate to erupt over the slightest incident. The death of Dr. Rajkumar in April saw brainless acts of extreme violence and most of the targets were innocent houses and corporate buildings which suffered huge losses of property. Loads of people lost their lives due to mindless miscreants (some of whom were allegedly paid to create disturbance and thereby show the current govt's inability to handle law and order issues). The roads remained blackish for a few weeks and only when the first showers of monsoon arrived did they come back to their original tint.

Couple of days ago, there was an accident on Airport Road. Apparently, a Volvo bus under the service of BMTC creamed two bikes and an auto-rickshaw before ploughing into HAL staffers waiting for their shuttle bus on the sidewalk. Result: two lives lost and more disturbingly, a mob venting fury on the bus, each of which costs Rs. 75 lakh for BMTC to purchase and approx Rs. 54 per kilometre to operate. The full details can be read here...

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The burned down BMTC Volvo bus
(Picture courtesy:

The driver has since been arrested and his claim that the brakes flopped, leading to the accident, has been blown away by statements by both BMTC officers and Volvo experts who have categorically said that Volvo buses have quite powerful brakes. (I can vouch for that to a little extent, having smacked my knee painfully while traveling to Tirupati on a KSTDC bus some months ago).

Be that as it may, the point remains that Bangalore's janta is increasingly showing a profound lack of respect towards public property. And this is not an isolated incident. Late July, a similar private demon bus knocked down a female pillion rider and ran over her, leading to an irate reaction from the people who not surprisingly resorted to burning the bus down. Torching buses is not only an insult to human sensibilities but also betrays an anger that is destructive and extremely contagious.

I read this quote by Mahatma Gandhi somewhere.

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

When are we going to stop blinding one another like this?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Every roz (morning) has a marathon...


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Yatin, me, and Vikrant before the marathon started. Notice the smiles which are due to the cloudy weather, assuming 7 km will be a piece of cake.


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Here's what a marathon will do if there was no practice. And notice the sun beating down cruelly.

But one friend of mine was still feeling quite ok.
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Honestly, running in a marathon is an enjoyable experience. Notwithstanding breathless gasps for air, its a load of fun to watch the young and the old participate in their own ways. There were lots of corporate guys with their beer bellies jingling at each step, pretty young things running in jeans (ok, I have heard about warmups, but denims for running???), celebs huffing and puffing after the Celebration Run (I congratulated a rather pinkish looking Pankaj Advani on winning the Khel Ratna award), a supremely fantastic looking Keerti Reddy, kids from abroad and from homes like Bosco, Kushal foundation-they were all there. And it was truly a celebration of life.

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With a bit more practice, next run at Mumbai Marathon in January. Gotta recover from the stiff knees soon though...:)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Our baby... born.


Our volunteer group ~Pankhudi was officially registered as an NGO in Mumbai yesterday. The people involved with the process have been many so it would not be right to name just a few and say "Congratulations". Its only fair that all of us in the group soak in the sweet feeling of happiness at being recognized, with the quiet realization that we were all in it together and still are.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Did we really need a Rang De Basanti?

A fortnight ago, I was out with friends for our regular Sat nite dinner. Post dinner circa 11PM, we were about disperse after dropping off a friend in his home, when the rain came down in buckets. It didnt seem to subside (and since we had come in bikes), we decided to watch a movie and spend the night in his home. We were running through his list of DVDs when I thought of putting RDB.

A friend said, "No, put something else".

Our host dude remarked, "Why dude? Dont you like RDB? You must be one of those specimen Indians who dont like RDB. Or probably didnt understand it." and let out a laugh.

The guy who refused to watch RDB blew his top and screamed, "Whats the big deal about RDB man? What is the @#$&* big deal? You think we Indians need a movie like that to remind us how great we are? What untapped potential lies within us? How unity can make us such a force to reckon with? You think we youngsters are so dumb that we need reminders like that to understand that we have a responsibility towards this country? GIMME A BREAK!!!"

We ended up watching "2 Fast 2 Furious" on Star movies and later "Glory road" on DVD.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Chase the sun

I have a major dislike for disco songs, especially the trance variety. To start with, they are so noisy I can't even recognize the melody in them. If they do have any, that is. Secondly, most of their videos are either full of garish lights or doped out sluts or both. And most importantly, the ones which are really popular are in turn copied so amateurishly by Bollywood, the outcome is an undisputed cacophony, so gloriously named Techno mix or some such horsecrap.

But there is one song, an old one (5 years is old in these days or meteoric technological advancement in everything), that is trance-ish ambient. I like this song a lot though its a bit one-dimensional like all trance numbers are. I love the female voice solo in the middle. And when I saw the video, my mental images of a blurring landscape as seen by a low-flying jet were dispelled by people presumably deranged and staring at light. But that didn't stop me from viewing it again. Here it is:

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Monday, August 07, 2006

I am a paradox, I am not...

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I am an ox, I am a bull
I am clever, I am a fool
I thought I knew it, I didn't know
I am the rock, I am the river in flow

I am dazed, I am in control
I wander about, I have a goal
This is it, no there's more to come
Seems the world doesn't have just two poles

I have taken, I have given
I thought there was no heaven or hell

I remembered, I forgot
I am a paradox, I am not

I am moving, I am still
I am the ink, I am the quill
I was wrong, I was right
I am chained, I am in flight

I sang, I cried
I am alive, I died
I am cold, I am fried
I am the truth, yet I lied

I recalled, I forgot
I am a paradox, Oh no, I am not!!!