Wake Up Sid: Serene Serendipity Tuesday, 6 October, 2009Posted by ~uh~™ in Bollywood.
Tags: Amit Trivedi, Anupam Kher, Bombay, career, entertainment, family, Iktara, Konkona Sen Sharma, life, Love, movie, Mumbai, Music, photography, Ranbir Kapoor, Review, Rom-com, Shankar-Ehsan-Loy, Supriya Pathak, Wake Up Sid
I know, I have developed a reputation of writing bad movie reviews. The interpretation can either mean reviews of bad movies or bad reviews of movies; depending on how much disgusted you are with my reviews.
The point is that, I find it much easier to write on bad Bollywood movies. I normally don’t write on movies I like. There are two prime reasons for it.
One- the movies I like are quite obscure, mostly non-bollywood, sometimes even non-hollywood, rare and unheard of [check this article], which restricts my readers putting any useful comment. I find, getting a paltry response and not adding any value (other than notifying handful cinephiles about the existence of such movies) is not enough motivation for me to write about them. However, I have the intention of writing about them in future.
Two- the other type of movies I like are already famous and have obtained a cult following. The reputation of those movies won’t change irrespective whether I write about them or not. Such movies are too popular and have been discussed to death in popular forums. Hence there’s little left to be discussed afresh. So there’s not enough motivation to write on them either.
That leaves me with a very rare occurrence- a new Bollywood movie which is also a Directoral debut, that I can’t resist writing about. Examples- Khosla Ka Ghosla (Dibakar Bannejee),Manorama 6 ft Under (Navdeep Singh), Taare Zameen Par (Aamir Khan), Barah Aana (Raja Menon), 99 (Krishna D K). I beleive a good debut deserves a good review.
I liked Wake Up Sid, the debut film of Director Ayan Mukherjee [writer and asst director of Swadesh and KANK]. Honestly, I kept my fingers crossed knowing it’s the first bonding between K-Jo and Yashraj, both I hate to the core for their overdose of romance, melodrama and uncommon nonsense.
The basic story of Wake Up Sid is an intelligent cocktail of the ingredients taken from the following successful movies, especially the ones by Farhan Akhtar -
1. Jane Tu Ya Jane Na – Today’s youth culture, electronic lifestyle, hedonism and confusion between love and friendship.
2. Dil Chahta Hai- A today’s perspective of urbane and jovial youth, living for the present, escaping from the future
3. Lakshya- Dilemma of youth towards the right choice of career, life, ambition and it’s repercussions
4. Luck by Chance- Tale of struggle and aspiration of a newcomer in Mumbai.
5. Life in a Metro- Relationship and stress in a big city life.
As it should be well understood, nothing in this script is ‘new’ at all- a young boy, college friends, parties, rich self-made dad, a sweet mom semi-blind with affection, hedonistic lifestyle, carefree friendship, defocused future and love disguised as friendship. On the other part we have a new girl in town, confident and aspiring, looking for independence and a future in the big city. They meet, they live together and the rest is formula. Like most rom-coms, the script takes some liberty of over-romanticizing of the situation.
Yet, the movie is a superior from the bollywood bandwagon in lot of aspects. Unlike other bollywood potboilers, it’s not an over the top, melodramatic family drama soaked in bucketful of emotion and impossibilities. Rather it’s a sharp, soft, suave, elegant, practical, colorful, joyous presentation of humdrum life sequences which involves the audience with its not so unexpected twirls. It’s simple, feel good entertainment.
For a change, I would keep this one short and list out my reasons for liking the movie-
Exceptional direction by Ayan Mukherjee with a difficult combination of fresh faces and veteran actors like Anupam Kher and Supriya Pathak. Like most Bollywood movies, there’s a radical and distinct change in ambiance in first and second half in terms of pace and progress, which would have different appeal to different viewers depending on which generation s/he belongs to.
Ranbir Kapoor is outstanding in his roles, with his natural and high coolness quotient, expressive eyes and just the perfect body language. Konkona heavily reminded me of her role in Luck by Chance and Life in Metro, especially for the conversations on overhead tank scenes of the latter. She is brilliantly ordinary and poignant. I think, this would be one of her best role in commercial Hindi film and one of the best on screen chemistry after Irrfan Khan in Life in a Metro. Anupam Kher’s rock-steady performance as affluent but unconventionally responsible dad, complements Supriya Pathak’s projection as a lovable mom, trying to bond the pieces of mother–son relationship with her broken English. Rahul Khanna did much better than Bobby Deol (Dostana) and himself (Love Aaj Kaal) in similar roles. In other short roles Namit Das (Rishi) and Shikha Talsania (as Laxmi, is she daughter of Tiku Talsania btw ?) did wonderfully well, the sparkle in Namit’s eyes and friendship in Shikha’s heart is too bright to be missed. Kashmira Shaw does her bit believably. However, the eye candy girl Tanya’s (Kainaz Motiwala- weirdly fair and fresh) story ended abruptly. The Amit guy (Munir Kabani- facebook profile) of the Mumbai beat magazine was prominent with his intellectual-photographer get-up ( something like Prateek Babbar in Jaane Tu, who was also named Amit)
Shankar- Ehsan- Loy’s music with Javed Akhtar‘s lyric is trendy, catchy and groovy. The title track is a potential chartbuster, but I liked the softer ‘Jaisa hai koi Iktara Iktara’ composed by Amit Trivedi ( Aamir, Dev D) sung by Kavita Seth/ Amitabh Bhattacharyya. The song and visual combo of “Life is Crazy” is probably the most conventional one, yet enjoyable.
The details in the movie is well thought out, the continuity objects are used very well, like the red Lamy used by Konkona or the DSLR of Ranbir. The production quality, camerawork, locations and overall theme is artistically vibrant, urban and contemporary. The set design of the Mumbai Beat magazine office resembled more like a Artist’s studio! Some part of the movie reminds us about the fading romanticism of Bombay (Mumbai, for some sick touchy retard whose a*shole is bigger than his brains) which most of us have lost, in the run. It talks about loving it’s people to love a city.
The movie talks about one’s choice of passion over convention as career, in Sid’s case – Photography. I could connect with him when he realizes that he inherited his flair for photography from his dad, and gives his first pay check to him. That was one of the most emotional yet life like moment of the movie.
This movie would definitely connect strongly to the generation of the achieved Ram Mehras and the generation of the aimless Sids, yet for us who belong somewhere in between, who has lost something to gain something, can pause to say ‘been there, done that’, before stepping into bigger responsibilities of life.
Overall, a clean cinema with abundant light humour, nominal drama about subtle sweet truths of life packed in a superior production design- a perfect treat for the family!
In Good Company: Having pets in life Saturday, 7 February, 2009Posted by ~uh~™ in General Advice Humour.
Tags: animals, cat, childhood, companionship, dog, home, Humour, Love, pain, pets, tortoise
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“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” — Anatole France
I was brought up with pets. Plenty of them. Two parrots, a dozen dogs, many cats, 2 goose, a dozen pigeons to start with. I am not sure whether the innumerable cockroaches, few lizards & spiders should be considered as pets too. The house we used to live in north Kolkata was built in old villa(ge) style with a central courtyard, a good-sized garden overlooking a large pond.
My family members were fond of pets. My earliest memory till my college days was a life with pets at home. Spending good years of my life with various pets taught me a thing or two about them.
“You enter into a certain amount of madness when you marry a person with pets.” — Nora Ephron
Why have pets?
1.They are good companion (at times better than human company)
2. Keeping pets increase the owner’s organ size e.g.- heart.
3. Pets take care of their owners in some way or other.
4. Kids grow faster in company of pets.
Cons of having pets at home
1. Mobility reduces grossly
2. Pets demand dedicated time.
3. Pets petrify some selected people (blame it on the people)
4. Pets normally die before the owner does.
“Man is only animal that blushes-or needs to.”– Mark Twain
Based on my experience with various pets I have lived with, let me share my thoughts here:
Dogs: Universally most commonly loved pets & great faithful company. Dogs never cheat, argue or ask questions. Dogs can guard, sing, dance, & scare unwanted guests out. But dogs may get jealous of a newborn in the house. My first dog-friend was “poila” [Bong version of pehla, as he was the first puppy among other 6]. He loved Dharmendra’s action movies & used to enjoy Chitrahar every Wednesday, sitting under the sofa, his favorite place. When I was 10, my grandfather expired & poila stopped eating. He died after 4 days of starvation. Poila did not have any pedigree, but had a heart full of love. After few months Kuttus was brought in [ Kuttus is bong version of Snowy, Tintin's dog]. Kuttus was again a furry mixed breed with Alsatian looks. He gave me company during my night-outs to finish my Design assignments for days at a stretch. He never objected to the heavy metal of Def Leppard/ GNR I played. He died when he was 8.
I decided not to have a pet dog, ever. They take away a portion of your heart.
Cats: Real politicians. You feed them, cajole them, feed them more & still they will sip the milk or steal the fish. You kick them out of house; put in a sack & drop them far far away; they will return & sneak inside your blanket. I have seen kittens sharing mammary of mother dog with pups. Cats proliferate in geometric progression. A pair of cats may multiply to more than a dozen within a year. In cat family biological relations does not become a deterrent to copulate. Cats are difficult pets to get control over; they go out & flirt with the neighbor’s cat. Also they are inventors of catfights, which is not visually pleasing scene (even w/o cats). Aspiring models can learn catwalk from them.
Finally, the melancholic cat cry can be the owners & the entire neighborhoods nightmare. Cats have 9 lives & normally they run away on their 9th life.
Elephants: I always wanted to own one like the Maharajas of yesteryears. Needless to say I never had the space to accommodate them. Moreover, the thought of controlling an adolescent elephant during its puberty scared me. Thus I would not recommend elephants as household pet unless you own a mansion, a banana garden & a pond. Nevertheless, they symbolize prosperity ( at least before owning one
Pigeons: The good thing about these birds is you can set them free & they come back to you. Pigeons are peaceful & bring a sense of freedom & peace, just keep the cats away from them. You can use them to send love letters too.
Cockroaches: Contrary to popular belief, roaches can be very faithful & useful pets. To believe it see the movie called “Joe’s Apartment“. You can give interesting names to them eg. Roachmary, Moulin Roach, Roachelle. For male roaches Alfred (Hitchcock), Thomas (cock) is suggested. Cockroach Theory argues that bad news (& also good news) tend to get released in bunches. The name cockroach because there is never just one roach – if you find one, you can be rest assured there are many. I like them because of their “never say die attitude”. A roach can live & walk without its head, but it can’t eat so it dies eventually. I still have couple of them hidden somewhere in the house & I rescue them from my wife’s hits & laxman rekha. I am yet to see a woman likes a roach. Hence if you have women on the house having a pet roach is not encouraged.
Fish: I personally don’t like colorful fish kept inside a claustrophobic aquarium. It looks like jail. However, I have seen people absolutely passionate about fishes & leaves everything else behind to feed them, clean the water, or just simply watch. Feeding fishes is the most difficult thing, as fishes always seem hungry & they need to be forced on controlled diet. No one likes obese fishes. I know a friend who’s dad left him responsible for feeding his fishes for a week while he was on tour. The guy put entire week’s food in the aquarium to save time & did not care to change the water. It took us 2 days to discover the source of the stench & subsequently had to dispose the still floating dead fishes off.
Guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, rodents, and squirrels are common pets. I have seen pet lizard too. I can go on, but I think by now the readers get the point.
My suggestion is if you wish to keep a pet, try a Chelonian (commonly .known as tortoise).
1.They live longer than the owner, thereby avoiding the painful experience of losing a pet. After the owner’s death it becomes uncle-tortoise to his children, grampa-tortoise to his grandchildren, so on & so forth.
2.Tortoises are no-nonsense cold-blooded peaceful animal- you don’t have to walk them in the park, they don’t bark, steal milk, jump on guests or fly away.
3. They eat simple veggie stuff with good calcium content & don’t make any fuss about the taste. Feeding cat/ dog food to tortoise is a common mistake. They don’t like it.
4. They are slow, but steady- learn the trick of winning the race from them.
5. They breathe easy as Pranayam, a real good company for yoga sessions.
6. The owner can have fun playing with it in the bathtub.
1. Like everything good on earth, they are endangered species today, so to get one, is tough.
2. If you manage to get one- chances are you will eventually transform into cool, lethargic, relaxed couch potato.
“Lots of people talk to animals…. Not very many listen, though…. That’s the problem.”– Benjamin Hoff
Trivia: Adwaitya was the oldest tortoise in India who died at 250. He was the pet of Robert Clive, later shifted to Alipore zoo.
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ॐ Indi-genius ॐ Sunday, 1 February, 2009Posted by ~uh~™ in India, Soceity & Cultures, Travel.
Tags: Beedi, Brass Bands, Desi, Dhaba, Gamchha, Humour, India, Jugaad, Love, Signage, style
India is a one large land to understand during one’s lifetime. I have been enriched with unforgettable experiences, sheer joy and most importantly quick wisdom. Those experiences had great influence on me. There are few things, uniquely special to India, irrespective of the state, language or culture and could not be found in rest of the world. I have picked the objects, instances from my personal travel experiences, the earliest possible memories and real-time observations. As this is a subject with tremendous research potential, I will only narrate only on a few.
Jugad [जुगाढ़]: the ubiquitous 3 wheeled vehicle of rural India
Description: This is the published name of this vehicle. It’s a marvel in homegrown automobile engineering. It consists of scooter handle, a plastic container as petrol tank, and water pump as the diesel engine. The rear part is a wooden platform and two motorcycle wheels on two sides. The built & suspension is customized to suit rural Indian roads and fuel economy. A typical Jugad runs on a liquid fuel called “mixture”, of Mitti-ka Tel or Ghaslet (Kerosene) in the ration of 80:20.
Use: business travel, transportation of goods & people, family outing, rescue vehicle
Availablity: Any mela in rural or suburban hinterland (case study- Bharat pur-Rajasthan, Faridabad- Haryana, Bantala- West Bengal)
Price: Rs 40,000 approx for a new one, resale depending on the age & usage.
Addional info: A jugad does not comply with Bhart Stage-III norms or any recommended specifications, hence does not need any registration. Have mixture? Lets go.
Gamchha[गामछा]- the basic apparel
Description: Translucent lightweight stitch-free multipurpose cotton apparel. Mainly used as bath accessories but mostly seen in the shoulders of hard-working men (i/c LPJadav) and hed of hard-working women. Normally the apparel comes in many colors but the most popular and classy ones are reddish.
Use: Easily customizable as headband, belt, bandana, miniskirt, pagdi, strainer, cleaning cloth, duster, rope, toe-chain, veil, bathrobe, brief, ice-bag object to book space in bus and general compartment of passanger train.
Availablity: Anywhere in India.
Price: Very cheap compared to Turkish towels. And Turkish towels can’t be customized.
Addional info: Wet gamchha is heavier & more transparent than a dry one.
Indian Signage- the pop culture
Description: Apparently they look like collection of useless letters, but profound philosophy, native culture and timeless tales are embedded in these texts. These are normally seen in body of trucks, toilets, shops, walls, trees and ancient monuments under ASI preservation. ” Buri Nazar wale teri muh kala” & ” Horn OK Please” are the most commonly seen texts in trucks. But there are more meaningful ” My INDIA is grate Dengar” and “Use deeper at night” available too. In Madurai you have to use the “Wesh Baisin” whereas in Jaisalmer you can buy “Child beer” for your kids. If you are a man and want to use the public loo in Fatehpur-Sikri parking lot, confidently enter the door marked “Jains” as the other door is for “Ladies”. However in Agra you have “Jents” toilets in abundance. I always wanted the real meaning of “No hand signal please” on rear of air-conditioned white Amby’s used by key Govt offcials. I also wonder what’s the net result of Rahul+Priya, Deepak+ Anjali? In Kolkata I saw a sign in a bus ‘Forla Dies’. I was keen to save Forla from dying, but refrained himself realizing it was the reservation note for ladies seats, just a space gone wrong.
Use: To guide people who can’t read, for others its great food for thought.
Availablity: all around you, just keep your eyes open.
Additional info: Never ask the meaning of words or phrases, which you don’t understand readily, keep traveling and you will learn the meaning.
Beedi (also knows as Bidi) [बिड़ि]- for smoking
Description: Small Tendu leaf rolls containing tobacco and tied with white or colored strings. Beedi is a product of cottage industries and normally made by womenfolk of rural India. A beedi is 5 times stronger than an average filter cigarette in terms of nicotine & tar content and takes 5 times less to smoke. There’s nothing, which can be compared with the ‘kick’ of a beedi, after a cup of tea. Large variants of beedi are available- blended, flavored, export quality, long, short etc. beedi’s are also classified by their string colors e.g. lal-dhaga, safed-dhaga, and time it takes to smoke e.g- College beedi- can be puffed in the gap between two classes, Tennis bedi- while the opponent is preparing to serve! Among the samples I have tasted, I have found the strongest in Rajasthan & Karnataka.
Use: To smoke, scratch interiors of ear, in item numbers
Availablity: Everywhere except discotheques and 5 star hotels.
Price: It was Re 1 a pack of 25 when I started smoking. Must be 10 times now. Anyway, I am not interested anymore (I’ve quit).
Additional info: Though Beedi is free from harmful chemicals as found in cigarettes, its equally harmful for health.
Dhaba [दाबा]- roadside eateries
Description: Originally meant for truck drivers stoppage & meal, dhabas formed in the vicinity of petrol pumps. As highways & petrol pumps are operative 24 x7, so are the dhabas. An ideal dhaba will have the hearth & kitchen in the front near entrance, with large containers arranged in series. There would be charpai for seating, eating & sleeping. A good dhaba will be neat & clean with a humourous manager, a chhotu with gamchha to serve you with helpings and loads of butter in everything. The stainless steel utensils are slightly distorted, like the plates will have concave/ convex bottoms. Chai-biskoot are the daytime snack, Rum-murgi for night, lassi goes anytime. Water always tastes sweeter in Dhabas than bottled.
Use: Refuel break for vehicle & the driver, to unwind, sleep, make friends.
Availablity: Near petrol pumps in all NHx (x= any number below 100), some simulated dhaba’s can be found in urban precinct.
Price: A full meal comes for anything between Rs 20 to Rs 200 depending on how much butter you put. Once I had aloo parathas for 35 bucks which I asked to fry in butter.
Additional info: Read the menu carefully before placing order and ask for the day’s special. Dhaba’s have a big hearth ♥, a spilled glass of tea is always replaced on the house, so is a chapatti with hair inside it.
Horn OK Please
I am sure there are many such objects & subjects, that are uniquely Indian by origin (like zero), by customization (Jugad) or simply by affection (Bollywood), that even a research of a lifetime won’t do justice to them. The good thing is, these are famous worldwide and branded as Indian, the bad thing is, it’s so close and so common to us; we overlook them and walk away.
Next time you are traveling in India, take a closer look around you- the paper packet, signboards, matchbox, rear of the bus, dress, food, colors, sounds, lights, language.
There are mysteries & surprises galore, unravel as much as you can in this small life.
Note: The first pic, Child Beer, Jains toilet, Cobbler and the last pic are taken by me.