Archive for March, 2007


March 21, 2007

My mom came up with this the last time I was home. “why don’t u try a stone”, she said, all bubbly and enthusiastic. She had developed a new obsession over the winters. An uncle of hers had suggested we wear stones. Apparently they had worked wonders for his family. According to my name, DOB and stuff, I was supposed to wear a panna or something for good fortune. Good fortune my ass. I gave her this look which when translated to words, would roughly come out to be u have to be kidding me.


I hate stones and all such accessories, if I may be permitted to use the word. I’ve seen people with like ten different rings on ten different fingers. And they look gaudy and tasteless. But the fact that they are an eyesore is just the tip of the iceberg. They sort of remind me of tantriks and voodoo magic. Hell, why don’t we just start eating lizard tails and frog tongues and dance around fires. I am a sucker for logic u see. And stones totally fall out of my scheme of things. Its not as if some sort of chemical would diffuse through the skin and bring me great fortune or tone down my anger or resolve my love life ( as if a chemical could exist for the purpose ). Its blind superstition and I refuse to be any part of it. You know what else defies logic. Astrology and Numerology. How in God’s name can the sum of my DOB or the position of stars determine my fate ? The same holds true for this current fad of changing names ( case in point : all the suneils and kareinas of showbiz and the k-soaps on the tube ). Plain insanity I would say. You make something awesome, you would be appreciated, no matter what you are named. Some people might change their names to add that extra zing to it. Of course you can’t do well in movies if u are called gangu ram or champa rani. But I seriously doubt adding an extra e or multiple k’s would make a radical difference.


You can see where I am going with all this. I practically hate all forms of divination and other such practices and beliefs. I can come up with ten odd methods off the top of my head. But I suggest u refer to wikipedia for further info, coz thats what I did. And some of them had me laughing my ass off. Take scatomancy for instance : divination based on the examination of animal feces. Yes u heard me….animal poop!! If that isn’t madness, nothing is. Of course if there are religious considerations attached to a particular practice, I have no problems. Though not a huge fan of the concept, I do not question religion, come what may.


But enough digression. Coming back to my original dilemma, my mom was persistent. She made the sort of face which when translated to words, would roughly come out to be can’t u do it for me. Moms often do that. I call it emotional blackmail. But i am a hard guy to influence. Pigheaded, some people would say. “No thanks”, I responded. My mom immediately quit the charade. The woman knows me inside out. She knew if pressed any further, I would agree to it and never wear the damn thing again. I know it’s a horrible thing to do. But that’s just the way I am. I avoid conflict at almost all costs, especially with parents.


D(H)OOM !!

March 5, 2007

Some time back I saw Dhoom 2. In fact I had planned to see this one a long time back when it first came to IIT. The movie was getting rave reviews. There wasn’t a newspaper in town that had given it below 4 stars. Someone said it was destined to herald a new era in Indian cinema. But i couldn’t watch the movie in IIT. The print was lousy and I was told to wait for the DVD rip. The movie was that good.


So wait I did. I went back home for the winters. A cousin of mine suggested we watch Dhoom 2 and of we went to the nearest PVR. But the movie was not being screened there because of some rift between the distributors and the PVR guys. So we drove to the next best thing, Satyam (delhites will know this). You know a movie is doing pretty good when its running to packed houses even one and half months after its release. We couldn’t even get the tickets in black.


I decided we watch the movie at home and got the DVD delivered by the cable guy. I got some homemade popcorn and settled down to watch THE movie. The moment of reckoning had arrived. All the anticipation and excitement bottled up for the past 2 months was about to culminate. On the evening of 26 december, 2006 I watched Dhoom 2. And then i puked. Well…..let me put it this way…..i never really finished the movie. I couldn’t take it and blacked out several times. We had finally reached rock bottom with this one. Ok i am exaggerating (when it comes to hitting rock bottom with amazing consistency, mithunda takes the cake). But all said and done, this was bad cinema, given the hype it had generated. The opening sequence sort of set the tone for the rest of the movie. It was full of ludicrous stunts, loosely connected story and bad acting. Throw in a couple of gaudy songs, aishwarya and bipasha prancing around in bikinis and tacky english one liners and guess what, you’v got Dhoom 2.


So why the hell did this movie do so well. “hritik looked so cute and aishwarya looked so hot”, people often say. Someone please tell them a brawny hritik roshan and bronzed aishwarya rai do not make a good movie. I’ve watched like 400 odd movies in IIT and still haven’t come across one that was good just because the actors were good. Good actors can be the pre requisites of a good film or they can be the saving grace of a bad film. But they just can’t carry a dreadful movie on their heads and turn it into a hall of famer. And come to think of it, the actors weren’t even good in this one.


I am not expecting us to make a Quentin Tarantino or Martin Scorcese or even a Steven Spielberg. Believe me, a lot of directors have tried their hand at that and messed it up.Making something radically different looks a bit far fetched for us. Either we lack the technology or we seem to have this OCD where we tend to indianise every bit of sequence – tone down the graphic details and add a lot of songs and cheap laughs. Its fine to make a movie according to Indian sensibilities but some stories are meant to be told a certain way, and any other way would just make them seem preposterous.


I’d say any movie with a huge banner and names and loads of glamour would do well in India. We lay too much emphasis on the style quotient. Its a very shallow way of looking at movies. Probably our junta has never really seen a truly great movie, say a “shawshank redemption”, “pulp fiction” or a “goodfellas” for that matter. I am not one those guys who’s all gung-ho about Hollywood and keeps trashing bollywood. Hollywood dishes out its fair share of crap every year and bollywood has made some awesome movies in the past. But for an industry that churns out the hightest number of movies in an year, our good movie percentage is abysmal to say the least.