Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Remembering Ghalib on his birthday, Jan. 27

Ghalib's Love Story.

thii jo ek ShaKhs ke tasavvur se,
ab wo raanaii-e-Khayaal kahaa.N

To the mysterious woman ( most probably a courtesan), Mirza Asad fell in love with. He was married. But she is supposed to be the inspiration in many of the gems the prolific man left as legacy.

Hai.N aur Bhi duniyaa mein sukhanvar bahut aChChe,
Kehte hai.N ke Galib ka hai andaaz-e-bayaa.N aur.

(Yes there are others who write and write well, but it's said
Ghalib has his way with words like no one else does)

mushkil hai zabas kalaam meraa ai dil
sun sun ke ise suKhan_varaa.N-e-kaamil
aasaan kahane kii karate hai.n faramaaish
goim mushkil vagaranaa goim mushkil

(Too hard to grasp is my verse, O heart!
Hearing it, the connoisseurs of art
For a simpler style do ask
Difficult, if I write, difficult, if I do not.)

Well, Mirza, nothing could be said so simply. And you were the master of the art, the craft, its style, and substance. No one has bettered them yet, maybe no one will.

Thank you Mirza for enriching millions of lives generations after generations.

Fans of Ghalib can jog their memory at this beautiful jogging track laid by Nita Awatramani: Urdupoetry.com.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Period Piece-II

J.Bo on Kisna So what's the point Mr Ghai?

I watched the film yesterday with an audience that was interactive. People began responding to the dialogues. This was mofussil behaviour in a slick multiplex. Then I realised why! Those poor guys had spent Rs 150 each and they were entertaining themselves for Kisna had failed to do that after the first 30 minutes of awe-inspiring visuals.

It was shock all the way. In fact whenever the audience fell silent, I was uneasy. In normal circumstances I don't like interruptions in my movies, and here I was yearning for some baby to cry, some cellphone to ring. Everything, but the movie, was a blockbuster.

I read the reviews today morning. It was heartening to see all of them panning it. But most reviews did agree that Subhash Ghai handled the period part well. Much has been already said about the period perfections Subhash Ghai has achieved in this otherwise not so perfect film. Here are a couple of not so perfect moments. Period.

1. Two Gypsies (Maruti Suzuki Gypsy Kings to be precise) flank Rajpath as the Rashtrapati Bhavan (then Viceregal Lodge) vista fills the screen, timeline 1947 in place. Vintage Maruti?

2. A riot-hit Ghaziabad in 1947 has posters of Dushman and other sundry films released decades after Independence.

3. The mujra by Sushmita Sen is hardly a period mujra and the chorus is from the 1990s.

4. The great Indian rope dance trick is too modern to belong to a period piece. Isha Sharwani and her mother Daksha Seth have made this recent dance form popular recently. But Mr Ghai had Isha so he hung (or shall we say hanged, coz her debut is a disaster) her to the rope in 1947.

5. The dialogues are not from that period. In fact the dialogues are not from any period. They are from the book title How Not To Write Dialogues. The transition from pure Sanskrit-based Hindi to a complex Urdu in one sentence is no mean feat. Only that humans have never spoken that kind of khichdi in known history.

Period, huh?
In many tribal cultures, a girl's nether regions are exposed to smoke of neem leaves before the first night with her husband. The girl is normally made to stand above an angeethi with her feet on each side of the slow-burning leaves. In some tribal cultures it's practised every time a girl has her period. The neem smoke is supposed to purify the body. Isha Sharwani does that squatting on a rope that hangs from a tree with fires burning beneath. And it's not before her first night for sure. Maybe that's why they called it a period drama.

(Part-I is not related to Kisna and belongs to JBM)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Believe in Bush

Stingy, stingy… cried the media soon after George Bush announced America’s contribution to the tsunami relief aid. It was not much, about $35 million dollars, which has now been raised to $350 million.

But look at it from George Bush’s point of view. The man, awarded with the rare honour of The Humanitarian Disaster of the Year, has come out to help in more ways than one.

He is the President of United States of America and that, according to the American tradition, makes him the President of more or less the world.

He has been busy looking after spelling disasters, military disasters, intelligence disasters, and other disasters when a natural disaster with a silent T in its title hits Asia.

He announced the paltry figure as he was cracking the mysterious disasters. By the time he figured out the spelling mystery, the figures had gone up in the region. He did up the figure soon.

And now he is concentrating on finding a way to avenge the destruction caused by the Tsunami. Apart from slightly rebuking his intelligence officers for their failure of imagination, he has also assured the Asian nations that the Tsunami will be caught.

As quoted by world’s favourite website, “Swarthy people of Asia, you have my assurance that this... the tsunami, and the earthquake that caused it, will be dealt with the most extreme of severity. Just as we have caught Osama Bin Laden...”

So my dear fellow Asians, rest assured Dubya is on the job. Soon the tsunami will be caught and put in Guantanamo Bay or Belmarsh prison without. No chargesheet. No trial.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

"No sex please!" Dharmendra cracks filmi joke, I can't help cracking up

Dharmendra has expressed serious concern over the rise of sex and violence in Indian cinema and said it was “ironical” as the country took pride in its rich cultural traditions, PTI reported on Sunday.

Indian films were ignoring “our cultural heritage and civilisation,” the filmstar-turned-politician told reporters at Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia.

It indeed is ironical but et tu Dharampaaji. Come on, most of your films in the last 10 years have served violence on a platter with a generous garnishing of sex.

Typical publicity material for D's Z-cat films. Dharam with garam gun with a volcanic eruption in the background.

The difference is most people have not heard of those films, which are mostly C- and D-grade A-certificate films. Dear No-longer-Garam Dharam ji, I guarantee you have not seen most of them. I doubt your daughters Esha and Ahna even know that these films exist.

Do you have any idea that after becoming a screen icon, you slipped into movies where mammary glands play the lead, you play the second fiddle? And by the way most of India doesn’t know the stars you star opposite.

Two of the biggest stars you get to work with these days are Sultry C-grade superstar Satnam Kaur of Meri Dhoti Tera Ghaghra fame and Durgesh Nandini. Compared to your those movies, the well-publicised Kis Kiss Ki Kismet with Mallika Sherawat is as tame as a family drama.

For benefit of my readers, I sum up the stories in all these films in one para:
Satnam or Durgesh Nandini or occasaionally Sapna are village belles, who get raped all the time, gangraped by a gang of four most of the time. Dharamendra sometimes helps them take revenge as they go on a killing spree. Most people leave the cinema hall after the rape scene that focuses on the titillation (forgive the pun if any) part and not the horror of rape. With interpolated sex scenes, ones snipped by the Censors and even those lifted from baser films. There is a list of his recent films at the end of this blog.

Back to Ballia, Dharmendra also said he was not interested in joining politics and attributed his entry into politics to “fate”. Dharmendra, who is a Lok Sabha member from Bikaner, said he would strive hard for all-round development of his constituency.

We heard contrary things, Dharam paaji. People in Bikaner recently put up a Missing Person notice because they couldn’t find you after the elections were over. May God Bless you and the people of Bikaner.

And when finds time for kicking some patriotic ass, he takes a rocket launcher in his hand and fires straight in films that use names of various other patriotic films. Like Kargil: The Border or Border Kashmir (above).


Bhai Thakur
Babbar Sher
Ek Lootera
Thakur Daler Singh
Daku Bhairav Singh
Reshma Aur Sultan

Daku Kali Bhawani
Aandhi Aur Toofan
Saugandh Geeta Ki
Daku Bhairav Singh
Kaali Ki Saugandh
Aaj ka Paighaam

Jeene Nahin Doongi (He had earlier done Jeene Nahin Doonga, where he played the lead)
Jaane Tamanna
Shakti Deva
(not the Sunny Deol one, this one has his dad with Durgesh Nandini)
Galiyon Ka Badshah
Hamara Faisla

Bhookha Sher
Jallad No. 1
Great Target

Meri Jung Ka Elaan
(not to be confused with Dharampaaji's Elaan-e-Jung or Anil Kapoor's Meri Jung or Mithunda's Elaan, they didn't belong to this category)
Shiva Ka Insaaf (not the Jackie Shroff one)
Kaise Kahoon... Ke Pyaar Hai (This one had sonny Sunny too)

Akbar says it.

"Why do we need a disaster to provoke generosity? Why is generosity accompanied by PR pictures? It is entirely commendable that the victims of tsunami (now, incidentally, a Hindi word) are being nursed by the rich and the powerful. But do we need an earthquake under the ocean to bring clean water to the children of the coast? Have the owners of this world and spenders of its wealth ever checked the shoreline to find out what kind of water is drunk by the poor when there is no tsunami?" Read it on the Asian Age website. Click on Conscience-Management.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

A tsunami of tragedy-mongering and empty sympathies, so quake with emotions, or at least pretend to

Cry, my beloved country or we'll make you cry! The media, Indian and global, has turned the tsunami tragedy into a circus. News channels show our women beating their chest and crying their heart out. It must be eastern exotica for the west, used to dark-glasses at serene funerals, to see women wailing, howling in trance without those dark glasses to hide that tear.

This disaster has also brought the worst in newspapers trying to be the best. The Asian Age published the photo of a dog feeding on a badly bloated body on the shore. Times guys put their heads together to turn up with smarter headlines. Express photojournalists gave a grieving father's photo a close crop and won the day.

And then my friend, Rajkumar Shaw, sent me a Reuters report exploring yet another angle to this. The religious angle, the god-walla angle. Different, huh? Here are two key paras:

Perhaps no event in living memory has confronted the world's great religions with such a basic test of faith as this week's tsunami, which indiscriminately slaughtered Indonesian Muslims, Indians of all faiths, Thai and Sri Lankan Buddhists and tourists who were Christians and Jews.
In temples, mosques, churches and synagogues across the globe, clerics are being called upon to explain: How could a benevolent God visit such horror on ordinary people?

I am totally at sea. Hello? God didn't do this. These people belonged to the sea and in the sea they are.

Some folks were dying to party on the beaches, many would give their life to live on the seaside, the sea too loved people, and the sea gave livelihood to families, communities, and people. And when the sea decided to embrace them, people who never cared for that relationship are crying foul.

The fishermen loved the sea, the tourists loved the sea, and rarely does love get reciprocated. The sea reciprocated with the same feelings, she grabbed her lovers and held them close to her bosom and said come to me, don't ever go away.

What we see rotting on the seashore are bodies, they are not people. The people are united with the sea they loved so much and lived for and died. That obscene 150,000 figure is body count, not people count.

What we are shocked by the enormity, the sheer number that gives us an opportunity to call Mother Nature a bitch. Should we forget that every death counts? Five people die on Delhi roads every day. People die every day, on road, at work, at home, unnatural deaths, natural deaths, disasters.

By the way, natural deaths are deaths too. And who decides natural? A doctor, who too is fucking mortal, and will die naturally or unnaturally. Come to think of it there's nothing called an unnatural death. Death is death. Death is natural. So is an earthquake or tsunami.

People keep dying in Kashmir, in Delhi, in Bengal, in America, in Switzerland. More people, certainly more than 150,000, die every day in this world. Just because these separate lives end in separate places and you don't have a sea horse to flog, death wouldn't stop standing up and being counted.

What the fuck is this noise about? It's a disgrace that we look at bodies, not people, even after they are dead. It is a slur on death's dignity and it betrays the stupid human weakness for body, not people. It's a fucking fake emotional fest. Two weeks later, you all are gonna be fine and everything will be forgotten.

It's hip to be sad now. Sad for who? The one's who died? They don't care for your tears, they aren't here. For the kin? Oh, yeah? Come on, stop pretending.

We are all just tailwagging bitches licking god's balls and roleplaying being good so that we don't die soon. Hence the sympathising. In truth we are all weak-hearted, limp-footed suckers thriving on the rotting carcasses, ourselves bloating and basking in the light of a fucking falsehood: "Thank god it wasn't me." And "since I am alive it's my duty to mourn the dead."

But hold on, your raises, promotions, extra-marital affairs and whatever the fuck you care about may not come, but death certainly will. Death is something you can depend upon; it'll keep its word unlike many dear ones you know. Death is dependable, 100 per cent.

How many people you know are so dependable? A few close friends and family, right? Death is a member of that close group. Treat it with respect and dignity. Be honest. Death is your that best friend who'll never betray you. Respect the bond of friendship.

It's a friend doing all this. Stop crying and blaming god. May God bless you and may you live a long life and enjoy every moment of it, before your best friend invites you to the biggest party not on earth. Go with your head held high and with pride. So, while you are here, do the same.

And finally a question: Insurgency has killed tens of thousands of people in Kashmir valley alone? Should we blame God or should we blame Pakistan?

P.S. I have already seen a TV mike thrust into a orphaned child's face with the question, "Aapke maa-baap dono ki maut ho gayee, aapko kaisa lag raha hai? (Both your father and your mother are dead. How do you feel?)". I won't be aghast if I see a reporter holding a dead baby in one hand as s/he blabbers synthetic sentiments into that fallus-like mike for that celebrated piece to camera, or P2C as our TV brethren like to call it.