Tuesday, April 13, 2010

There was a power-cut last night and I was left with no option to sit at home, sweating on a bean bag. Since everything these days runs on electricity, I decided to listen to the radio. Since most of the FM stations were playing, I was listening to AIR Rainbow. This is an often ignored radio station, lost amidst the Mirchis and the Reds, that runs on government funds and listeners' patience.

Listening to the songs sent me back into the past. Most of the songs were Nadeem Shravan hits of the 90s, which we used to call Barber Songs, as you could hear them being played in barber shops all across the country. Now, Nadeem Shravan might not be AR Rahman or RD Burman, but they surely are amongst the largest selling music composers in the Hindi Film Industry. Much of it is due to the fact that they had simple, hummable tunes and easy understable lyrics by Sameer. Of course, Kumar Sanu lent his nose to all their songs. I remember scenes in my village every time I hear the Nadeem Shravan songs.

Add to that, there was this RJ hosting the show. He wasn't exactly Ameen Sayani. I suspect he was an insurance agent in the day, going by the number of times he reminded his listeners that "Zindago bahut chhoti hai" and "Kise pata kab chali jaye?" I also thought he was upto some other fishy business in the daytime because he kept reminding his listeners that "Mujhe aapki massage ka intezaar rahega". Thankfully, he got to speak for a minute at every interval. He made up for that by the songs he played. None of the listeners were responding to his nocturnal calls for 'massages' and so I was treated to some hits by Nadeem Shravan.

Now, the angst of Hyderabad youth about Sania Mirza marrying someone from across the border is well-known. It seemed like this young man was hell bent on taking potshots at Shoaib Malik.

The first song was 'Saason ki zaroorat' from Aashiqui. After talking of the importance of 0xygen and Carbon Di-oxide for survival, it says spoke about how just ONE lover is required for love.

Here, there was another appeal for the listeners to send in their massages. The next song was an appeal to return home, "Chitthi aayi hai". With mindblowing lyrics like

Tere Bin Jab Aayi Diwali, (When the festival of Diwali came without you)

Deep Nahin Dil Jale Hain Khaali (Not the lamps, but the hearts have burned only)

Tere Bin Jab Aayi Holi, (When the festival of Holi came without you)

Pichkaari Se Chhooti Goli (Bullets shot through the watergun)

The next song was the extremely sarcastic 'Pehli pehli baar mohabbat ki hai' from Sirf Tum. This song has a banter between the boy and the girl. Sample this:

Guy: Tum kitni bholi ho (Oh you are so innocent)
Girl: (sarcastically) Tum kitne achhe ho
Guy: Tum kitni seedhi ho (Oh, you are so simple)
Girl: Tum kitne sache ho (Oh, how honest you are!)

By the end of this song, I drifted off to sleep, wondering what the ruckus was about.

In the morning today, I saw that Shoaib and Sania had married in a preponed ceremony last night.

Ah! The angst of a resented lover!

Friday, April 9, 2010

'Clash of the Titans' is a Sunny Deol film shot in 3D in Hollywood

I had never watched a film in 3D. I watched 'Avatar' on my laptop, and going by the orgasmic responses that my friends gave to the film and the technology, I was quite kicked about going to watch a 3D film. Another reason was that I have always been a fan of the Greek mythology stories. They are as full of action as our epics, but with lots more of sex. And then, there was this hero, Sam Worthington, who, according to my friends, "acts well in 3D films".

You know something is wrong with a film when the catch phrase is "From the hero of 'Avatar'. But then, I was not paying for the tickets so I thought it must be alright. We waited in line to get the 3D glasses and I was disappointed. I thought the 3D glasses were something cool. One look at it, and I knew I would like someone who was suffering from conjunctivitis.

Then the film began. There was the initial excitement about the 3D technique. Pretty soon, I realised it wasn't going to be a comfortable feeling. I wear specs. And it is impossible to wear the 3D glasses on top of my regular 2D glasses. I had the option of watching hazy pictures on 3D, or watching clear images on 2D. Since we had paid for the 3D tickets, I chose to watch the film in 3D. I had to hold the glasses over my regular glasses.

Now, coming to the film. It really is terrible. It is like a Bollywood film of the 80s. Hero found as a baby by poor man who raises him and in typical Ramu kaka fashion, dies in front of the hero. The hero gives a "Dog! Rascal! I will drink your blood" look to the camera. You know what happens after that. He meets villian after villian but nothing happens to him. Don't bother about the plot. It is about the hero here.

I was surprised that the hero did not ask the villain to "Step out if he drank his mother's milk". I wouldn't be surprised. But anyway, since this is supposed to be a review and I am obliged to tell you the story, here goes. Zeus, the king of Gods (in a white shiny suit that looked like it had been saved from the sets of 'Ajooba') has a 'najayaz aulad' with a human queen. He is sent to earth and then later realises he is a demi-god. The Gods decide to teach human beings a lesson because human beings are mutinying against the Gods. Zeus has an evil brother, Hades (who wears a black dress. Evil, dummy!) who wants to wipe away human beings. So, anyway, our hero goes from one level to another till he kills off all the villains and is helped by huge, scorpions, mummy-like characters etc.

The action scenes are nothing to speak of, and the Perseus' encounter with Medusa seemed more interesting in Gulmohar Graded English Course, Part V. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes are part of the film, but it is like Amitabh Bachhan doing 'God Tussi Great Ho'.

Don't watch this movie, unless someone else is paying for the tickets. If you wear specs, don't even think about it!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Smile now, Ms. Roy

On Monday, 73 security personnel were ambushed and killed by Maoists in the jungle of Dhantewada. I am sure this must have brought a contended smile on the face of Ms. Roy. Ms. Roy, (for those of you who do not know who) is an intellectual. She is above us mortals, and her logic is not to be understood by us. Her enemies are the state of India, the US of A, the large corporations, HInduism, the common man, and many others whom she will gradually discover. She has won the Booker prize and written numerous essays and so that by default makes everything she says true.

Ms. Roy has a surprising number of followers in India. Most of them belong to the middle/upper class. They are well educated and are aware of situations around them. Arundhati Roy is their pagan Goddess. It is, after all, cool to quote her. Such disciples can be found debating on a variety of topics, ranging from atrocities of the USA, to the injustice meted out to the tribal populations, or, 'tribals' (as they put it, with full sensitivity, of course). Imagine walking into a room of lesser mortals with your kurta and khadi bag, and talking about the injustice of the capitalist world. Isn't that the coolest thing? It sure is.

Some would argue that Ms. Roy is a fundamentalist. But surely, she cannot be one? She has won a Booker prize. She wants Kashmir to be a separate state. And she thinks that Mohd. Afzal is just a spoilt brat who in one of his childish pranks, ordered his comrades to attack the Parliament. It is ghastly that the government tried to hang him. Oh, and yeah, she and her husband own a posh 4,346 sq. ft bungalow in Panchmarhi, which violate forest laws. But she is not God, is she? She is only human. And a very intellectual human.

For Ms. Roy's followers, wearing a Nike shirt is a vulgar endorsement of capitalism, and buying a kurta from Fab India for Rs. 554 is alright. "It is made by Indian weavers. I do not mind paying a high price for it." Such patriotism!

Ms. Roy and her band of intellectuals have been staunch supporters of the Naxal movement and endorse the right of the tribal people to use violence as a means. "Who is going to listen to them? What about the injustice meted out to them? What about those who cannot speak out like you and me?" Point well noted.

The security personnel are not human beings. There has been no injustice done to them. They have been slaughtered and shot at, but surely that can't be injustice? For, they do not have families, and they earn salaries as high as 12,000 a month. They are a privileged lot. So let us not speak about them.

The Maoists have said that they want to 'take over' the country by 2050. I am sure they mean it in a good way. Blow up a few police stations here and there, damage a few schools, recruit some young teenagers into their ranks. Nothing very serious. Of course, then there is the spreading of chaos in the administration. And as a means of connecting with the common man, they would stop trains and lay a few friendly bombs here and there. You know, just regular 'Hi-Bye'. The Maoists are the answer to the problem faced by the tribal people.

Construction of buildings of any kind is again a sign of globalisation. There should be no buildings at all. The Maoist areas are run on the simple principle of brotherhood of man. As a result, there are no police stations in these areas. There are no hospitals as well. Government hospitals and dispensaries are regularly blown up, as they propagate something as sinister as free medical facilities for all. There are no schools in these areas as well. Children do not need to study. Whie their counterparts across the country are whiling away their time learning about World Wars and the Freedom Movement, the children in these areas are actually contributing towards such issues. They are recruited in the ranks and wield guns. They lay their lives down for their land. They are not children, they are martyrs. We are talking of generations of injustice towards the tribal people here. None of the Maoist areas have such unnecessary side-effects of globalisation as schools, hospitals and police stations. Roads are another unnecessary expense that the government is incurring. Not needed.

Our intellectual brothers also remind us time and again of the atrocities of the Government towards the tribal people. Tribal people are the same as the Maoists, not to be confused as two different people. It is the tribal people who are trained in guns, run drills, and plant landmines. It is the tribal people who are fighting their war, and they are not being instigated by Maoists. They are one and the same.

These intellectuals are also the only people aware of the skewed R&R policies of the government. Of course, wearing chappals and kurtas entitles them to a greater understanding of such issues, issues which the common man has absolutely no idea about. None of us, the common men, are aware that there has been injustice meted out to them, we are not concerned. We do not care about them. We are lost in our own world, mere spokes in the vicious cycle of globalisation-development and injustice that is going on. They have been historically sinned against, something that none of us admit or acknowledge, cruel and myopic as we are. This fact is to be hammered into our brains till we turn into intellectuals ourselves. What is the way forward? How do we resolve the issue from here on?

That is not important. It is important that no force is used against the Maoists. They have suffered so much, it is only humane to give them time and space to express their angst. Evil conspiracies like laying down their arms and dialogues across the tables are for the mediocre. Ideologies as rich as the Maoists need not succumb to these. There is no point in looking at the future. There is no point in trying to find a solution. Letting them be is the only way the tribal populations can have a better life.

The Maoists have plans and social schemes that can ensure that the tribal people are ensured of their land, their rights, and to a better socio-economic status. There is an agenda for social well-being, yes. It hasn't been implemented in any of the areas as of yet (the movement has only been in effect for the last 30 years. Revolution is a lengthy process). So, there is not a single area that is run by the Maoists where the tribal people lead lives of economic independance and well-being. But those days are not far away.

Utopia will arrive in 2050. When the Maoists will 'take over' the country. Only then, my friends, will we be an intellectual country.

Till then, take homage in the knowledge of Ms. Roy. There is hope for salvation.

Monday, April 5, 2010

An open letter to the Indian Premier League

From someone who has been tracking the ups and downs of the IPL over the last few years, here is a kind letter to the Who's who and WTF's WTF at IPL.

Mr. Lalit Modi: Please ask the guys on TV to stop referring to you as the Primo/Supremo/Numero Uno/One and Only and other such adjectives. Not only does it stink of sycophancy, it makes our ears bleed. The IPL is a great concept and now I am sure inhabitants of other galaxies will be aware that it is your brainchild. Now please stop appearing on every match. Relegate yourself to the background now. You do not add to the glamour quotients. And yes, your ties, do something about them

Preity Zinta: Lets face it. Your team sucks. There is not one single player in your team whom we feel like rooting for. Each one of them seems to be on their own trip. The only reason I watch your matches these days is to see you. Please do not wear a Salwar Kameez with the Kings XI Punjab insignia on it again. Ever. I am sure Kirron Kher would look real hot in it. Not you.

Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar: Admitted, you guys are the only two Indian ex-cricketers who make sense behind the mike. But after ten years, it has become repetitive. I can predict in advance every line you are going to say. Please reinvent yourselves. It's crunch time now. It's do or die (Please stop saying lines like that anymore)

Angad/Anshuman/Gourav/Samir: Agreed, Mandira Bedi knew as much about cricket as you guys. But she wore noodle-strap blouses. Till the day you guys start growing female body parts please try to consume as little screen time as possible. Talk lesser, save energy. Listen to what Arun Lal has to say. Laughing is good for health!!

Other Commentators: What on earth is a Citi Moment of Success? Or a Karbonn Kamaal Catch? What happened to that thing called originality? And please stop mentioning that MRF Blimp and Dennis Lillee's contribution to Indian Cricket. His greatest contribution was when he tried to kick Javed Miandad. But that's it. For heavens' sake. The Blimp is just a huge, idiotic balloon shaped like an aeroplane , something you would expect Mr. Mallya to gift his grandchildren. It's not all that cool.

Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu: Shut the f*ck up!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


What would 'Anand' be if Rajesh Khanna was a healthy, 6-pack abs flaunting fit-fat guy? Or if SRK was Mr. Universe in Kal Ho Na Ho? I have always found something romantically tragic in being sick. Right from my childhood.

I was surprised when a friend told me that she experienced stomach-ache for the first time in her life. This reminded me of the days when I used to boast to people around me that I had not once in my life had a sprain, a fracture, stitches, or even a capsule. It's still the same, except in Class 5 when our class teacher added me to the list of poor students in the class after my performance in Maths and I was asked to eat the Memory Plus tablets that were endorsed by Vishwanath Anand.

The reason I was drawn to being sick was all the attention and sympathy that the 'sick boys', (as they were called then in our hostel) got when they fell sick. My favourite teachers would check upon them regularly, they would be allowed to skip classes and prayer sessions, and they would get sweets, comics and chocolates. It was so much fun. If you got a fracture, you would be sent home, and if you got a contagious disease, you would be quarantined away in the hospital, away from the cruel world of mathematical tables and 6 AM prayer sessions.

Another reason that I liked falling sick was my eternal crushes on nurses. Though I still maintain that it is a myth and there actually are no sexy nurses in the world. Of course, there was Zeenat Aman in Don, but then she was masquerading as a nurse to get Don out of the hospital. And Don was Don. Even though the intelligence agencies of eleven countries were after him, they forgot that it was not only difficult to catch him, it was impossible!

My point is that there are no sexy nurses in the world. Only kind nurses and cruel nurses. Coming back to my childhood, I always wanted to fall sick and be fussed over. But thanks to the healthy diet and some strong White Blood Cells, I was more or less disease-free. Not that I didn't try.

There was this really kind teacher at school who was incharge of medicines. We would rush to her for the smallest of ailments. Even something as silly as a mosquito bite. And she would pop in a few pills of unmedicated homeopathy pills in our mouth. When we went on doing it for some days, she would say, 'This is serious. Turn around, I think we need to give you an injection". We'd quickly say "No, ma'am. We are fine, and rush out of the dispensary".

I was always looking for methods to injure myself or get a disease. Of course, the most obvious way was to climb up the giant wheel and jump from it. But I was too scared of that, and moreover I was always playing more genteel games like Ramayan and Mahabharat.

There was this guy in our class called Vishnu who had just recovered from mumps.I would keep asking him how he got it. May be he was sick of me pestering him or that he was interested in becoming a doctor back then, but he gave me a remedy. He said, "When you are in the bathroom, keep your hand immersed in the mug with the tap running for a lot of time, and you will get mumps". Now, this would sound ridiculous even if you said it at Hogwarts, but for someone who believed he could get better at Maths by eating drumstick seeds, it sounded reasonable. So I would sit in the potty, my hand in the mug, and my mind full of dreams of mumps. After many such futile attempts, I got a cold but no sign of mumps.

Finally, at the end of the year, I successfully acquired Chicken Pox. While everyone was in misery, I was over the moon. We were taken to the hospital beside our school. There were no teachers to monitor us over here. And the best part was that the girls were in the room opposite us. We could sit in our rooms and look out of the door with hope, expecting one of them to step out. There were mountains behind us, and the seniors there would tell us amazing stories about how they killed snakes and ghosts that had creeped into the room. We were asked to give the annual exams from the hospital itself, and I remember Loka mam, my favourite teacher, gently hinting to me what the answers could be.

When my father came to collect me from the hospital, I was surprised to see that he was touching me and not staying away. When he told me the reason, I was crest-fallen. Like true love, Chicken Pox happens only once in a lifetime. I felt cheated!!