Gaand mein Ghusedh doonga

me and my moods.jpg

As I stare at Amazon Prime and Netflix and various other sites like Viu, Voot, Zoot, Loot…etc…I make some calculations, and take my bet for the night. My fingers randomly click on yet another new series. I patiently and nervously wait for it to buffer, till it goes ‘oops something went wrong’.

I ignore the warning and go for it bravely again.

12 minutes after the titles fade, I am taken into the same world, in the same grade, in the same dimly lit gullies of Haryana, UP, Bihar or somewhere in that belt, where someone is belting someone, and belting out a dialogue like ‘Gaand mein Ghusedh doonga’. He has the customary ‘Ghoda’ tucked away close to his crotch. I know he’s going to pull it out right now, and ‘ah so nonchalantly pull off the trigger, like so unexpectedly…without batting an eyelid…so that I can go…’oh fucking shit! What the fuck happened types!!!!’ and jump on to the edge of my seat with 4 exclamation marks, spilling my popcorn.

Like I didn’t see it coming.

I wish I reacted like that. I want to continue to have the ability to react like that. But fucking crap, all I did was I got up and went to pee. I didn’t even pause it.

Not because I was shit scared…I just wanted to pee.

I had become numb.

As I was peeing, I kept hearing the dialogues of some pent up writer going ballistic…venting out every single gaali he had carefully nurtured and crafted over the years, thrilled that his time has come, where he can now shit out dialogues from his pichwada, proving that he’s the true ‘mai ka laal‘, from a hinterland that’s yet to be featured on the Indian map.

Now I start to get scared. Shit scared. Because I knew that if I continued watching this shit, I knew I have to set aside a huge portion of my brain. to accommodate close to 1027 characters who are going to be launched in the next 8 episodes, each with their own strange quirks and nanosecond backstories.

This is over and above the 1732 characters I am dealing with in real life.

I went back and pressed pause as the protagonist was removing his Ghoda or Tamancha or Katta or whatever else the fuck you call it in those belts.

It was decision making time. I already have too many things in my head that can send me to dizzying spaces.

Is this one more thing that I need?

Because I knew pressing the un-pause button means a hell lot..I will now have to follow some random guy who is pretty incoherent and random in most things he does. He’ll not emote regularly (like most of us). Like I know he won’t cry when something bad happens and certainly won’t laugh when something happy happens. He’ll mostly walk around emoting strange emotions which takes an effort to understand because, remember, he has a nanosecond backstory.

Also yes he is going to speak modern day muhawaras in strange dialects with peculiar metaphors, in poorly lit gullies.

And from the shadows of these sunsaan gullies and flickering bulbs, characters will emerge one by one, carrying Ghodas. And at any point in time they could fire. Drug peddlars, cops in mufti, prostitutes, transvestites, politicians, goons and a million other mind-fucks who are both good and bad, supported by author-backed roles and method acting, all set to inhabit your densely populated brain. So I have to watch out carefully who fired whom, and for what?..or else, I will lose the plot. So I know I’ll have to pay close attention. Because the gun is going to fire for sure, with no rhyme or reason. Or more accurately, the rhyme is going to be in episode 2 and the reason will be revealed in the sequel.

I’m scared.

Do I have the space in my head for this?

That’s the only shit I’m thinking, as a rerun of my favourite movie is freely hanging around on Youtube, with no takers, feeling so outdated. With 4-5 basic characters in a regular ‘run-of-the-mill’ plot. But yes, it seems so tempting because I know my brain only has space for these cliches. Giving me all the liberty to doze off/ tune out/ blur away/ watch with one eye…do whatever I feel like..but I know I’ll still make it to the end.

Should I do that

OR

Should I go for this Mensa challenging mega-series?

A chilling algebra algorithm. Where every 13 minutes a new character is introduced. Where every action and line of ‘his’ or ‘her’ or ‘it’ can connect 16 dots in the plot that’s in progress. Where even the background action is important because a random character lighting up a beedi in the background will soon be in the centre of things adding a unique twist to the tale. Fuck that..even the beedi’s ash is going to play a role sooner or later…demanding complete ‘front bench attention’.

My brain warns me giving me an actual picture of how under-equipped it is to handle all this madness. As it is, all these characters right from Satya to Sacred Games have now merged and become one big gang residing in one giant locality in my head. They are now walking in the same gullies, spitting the same Vimal pan masala and spewing the same garbage, and now this locality has spread and extends all the way from Mirzapur to Mexico. Except that, the chap in Mexico spits the end he’s bitten off a Cigar…and here locally, the guy thookhofies some Gutka wrapper.

With these minor nuances, I am supposed to give them unique distinction in my brain.

My brain is crying, saying…..

“dude..don’t ask me to remember who is from where and saying what, specially when you are in those drunken conversations. I don’t know what I am processing anymore…so I’ll just pull out anyone from anywhere. And at that point, because they are all right now criss-crossing freely in here, it could be Bhiku Matre in Badlapur or Gaitonde in Ghana. Don’t blame me..because it’s a mess out here…there are now close to 9438 people walking around doing the same things. Walking, shooting people and speaking cool cool lines after that…ya…all so nonchalantly. So anyone could be with anyone, anywhere, at any point in time. Just warning you. So if you’re going to binge watch this shit…be prepared. Because when you sleep, I’m going to take all these characters who are till now separated in shades of grey and merge them into tones of sepia.”

I ponder for a moment. And then open youtube, and watch Aamir selling black tickets in Rangeela. One guy asks him ‘corner ka hai na?’ and he replies ‘ekdum corner ka..ek yeh corner ka..ek woh corner ka’.

I laugh out loud. Like I didn’t see it coming.

PS: This crap above doesn’t deserve a copy check. Fuck that..it doesn’t even deserve a read.

 

2017!! A random round up.

Since everyone is doing a round up, even I feel like doing a round up. But a round up of all things that i liked and hated. Movies, music, scenes and whatever other crap that comes to my mind as I type. Why? Because I’ve taken it upon myself to very strongly shove my opinion down people’s throats. So here are the things I discovered in 2017, even if they existed before that.

The thing that has me hooked and will have me hooked for the rest of my life, or his, is the podcast ‘Cyrus Says’. You’ll find it on apple podcast or simply type Cyrus Says on Google and keep clicking, it will take you somewhere. He’s clearly proved it to the world that he is the greatest comedian ever. Even after this nation has started giving birth to 18 stand up comedians every single day. He’s back, and he’s here to beat the crap out of everyone. In one of them he says ‘i just don’t understand why stand up comedians take their profession too seriously’. He interviews people who are kinda famous or getting there, and asks them a question every 30 seconds cutting them off the minute they get boring. And then he talks riveting rubbish. Actually, this is all you might need for life. The rest of this list doesn’t matter.

But you can check out Mani’s Kaatru Veliyidai. It’s not a very great movie. But the cinematography is mind blowing. This Ravi Varman is the new Santosh Sivan. Karthi was absolutely the wrong choice for the film, though I thought that that would be Aditi Rao..but she’s quite cool. And yes Rahman’s background score. If you feel like getting goosebumps then catch his interview with Arnab on Republic. If you don’t get goosebumps visit a dermatologist.

I thought Kriti Sanon didn’t seem too convincing as a small town girl when I saw the trailer of Bareily. So I didn’t bother watching the movie. Then I happened to watch it. Because I suddenly became a fan of Rajkumar Rao. After having watched Trapped. Trapped is not the best movie of the year. It is one of the best Indian Movies of all time. This fucker is a genius. I was sitting on the edge of my recliner. He then made me watch whatever crap he was in. Including an interview with him and Dulquer Salman (who I have become a big fan of)..(type Dulquer Rajkumar Mami on youtube).  Both these guys are absolutely brilliant and extremely articulate. So aah..Rajkumar Rao made me watch Bareily ki barfi. This movie comes from some absolutely fresh space. Supremely original and highly entertaining. Kriti was actually quite good. That woman Seema Pahwa needs to urgently be given an oscar. Infact they should have given it to her after Aankhon Dekhi itself. Rajlkumar Rao should be given nothing. Because I am scared it will go to his head and he’ll start making bad films. Like Kangana. So he should continue doing whatever he’s doing. Like Newton. Another awesome film. I loved Newton, but cerebrally. Like I know I am watching a very well made movie.

Ya like it’s being talked about a lot now, it’s time for the small time movies I guess. And small town. Small town is the new Switzerland. Like Japanese whisky is the new scotch. I have one bottle for which I paid an amount that I dare not tell my wife. And I hope it never gets over. And yes…there’s this other super small time movie which is not a perfect film..but it should not be, otherwise it would have never been that endearing. A movie made by a bald nobody ‘ondhu motteya kathe (the story of an egg)’. It’s a kannada movie on Netflix about this ugly bald guy who is unable to find a partner. I think Hrishikesh Mukherjee ghost directed this from heaven. Charming. hilarious and emotional. The second half gets a bit predictable but so what? We all knew what the ending of Sholay was going to be right in the beginning.  It has that good old days charm and vibe in its storytelling.

For good old days charm, The HMV Caravan Radio is cheapest way to purchase happiness. I bought the hindi and the tamil set. The tamil one has almost all the devotional and carnatic tracks that anyone has ever sung in their lives. My parents now take it to the bathroom, and even sleep with it on. Also listen to Riya’s Retro on Gaana. She has the most mesmerising voice. Switch it on, specially her talk with Gulzar, after a fat indian lunch, and remain immobile under the fan rotating at speed 2. Maybe for variation you could listen to Kahaani Express with Neelesh Mishra on Saavn. He’s a guy who narrates some middle class stories with actual live sounds as he’s narrating. He sends you on a trip.

And for good old times sake ‘The 80s India and 90s India’ docu on Netflix is one hell of a nostalgic trip. It’s like reliving your life all over again (for old farts like me). And if you want mindblowing soundtrack also, then watch “Sachin a billion dreams’. Awesome trip.

Just today I discovered this book that my wife got for my daughter. “Goodnight stories for rebel girls’. What a fucking concept. It’s the largest crowdfunded book or some such thing. It’s got stories of all the kickass women crunched down to a page, that reads like a bedtime story. Everyone from Rani Lakshmi Bai to Coco Chanel to Cleopatra to Mary Kom to whole bunch of other real killer women from all walks of life. Brilliant. Inspiring. Also since I like random stuff about things nothing in particular ‘Name place animal thing’ by Mayank Shekhar is also a good book about random shit.

By the way, if you have a dog and live somewhere near Jayanagar go to this cafe called SlimSins Cafe, a pet friendly cafe. It’s very tiny but has a huge heart. And some cool dishes with all dog loving people. And follow ‘Oota from your thota’ on facebook. An exhibition that happens every month in various parts of Bangalore. Stalls that sell gardening stuff, organic products and other interesting farm produce. And vaguely related things like pencils that have seeds in them. Or tumblers made from elephant dung and shit like that.

Oh..and if you have a dog and you live in Bangalore, and you still haven’t been to the Elephant Pond, near Bannerghatta, your dog must be pissed off with you. It’s that place where people who don’t own farmhouses but have dogs that dream of being in one, go to. Here dogs can run around freely or maybe even take a swim in a muddy pond that was once upon a time visited by elephants. While you lay horizontal on some hammocks. And it costs close to nothing. Wait!! You are not allowed there without a dog.

And if you are a whisky drinker and generally poor, Rockford Whisky is not bad. It has a nice smokey charcoalish kind of taste to it.

Short films ‘The affair’ by Hardik Mehta and ‘The juice’ by Neeraj Ghaywan were cutting edge.

That’s it. If I feel like it I might write more….later.

Shubh Mangal Savdhaan and Hindi Medium were the other movies I totally enjoyed. Is this some pattern or is it a sheer coincidence? Like all these movies including Bareily are members of a large north indian family. I hope it is a coincidence and they do not become material in PPT slides of ‘New emerging India’.

Also my deepest condolences to anyone who has watched ‘Half Girlfriend’ and ‘Baar Baar Dekho”.

Some random midnight thoughts about music

My brother-in-law knows 5 languages. He can fluently speak them, with nuances and twangs intact. I haven’t envied anyone more.

I once had a client who knew about 9 Indian languages, and he was so bloody fluent in all of them. The first thing that occurred to my mind was ‘Wow, he can watch movies in all those languages, without worrying if the dvd had subtitles.’ Or he can now bond with so many more assholes at bars, singing their songs as passionately, without missing out on the feeling of knowing what the fuck he was singing.

So when my Bengali friends are tripping on some bengali music, my reaction is ‘I want to know what that shit is, why the fuck am I left out?’

Then I’m thinking…well here’s what I’m thinking…

Here’s a little confession. My mother tongue is Tamil. I admit, that I’m not the best of Tamilians around. (Ask Chennai boys what they think of Bangalore Tamil boys.) Nevertheless, I am one. So, there are these two songs in Alai Payuthey that I totally trip on. ‘Kadhal sadagudu’ and ‘Endrendrum punnagai’. I have heard their hindi versions too, ‘Aye udi udi’ and ‘Oh humdum suniyo re’. I understand every single word of the hindi version, and honestly most of the words in the tamil version go above my head. But I know that the sound of the tamil version, just the way the syllables fall on my ears, is insanely more magical than the hindi version. And exactly the same way, ‘Dil se re’ has a tamil version to it, and it sounds like shit to my ears.

And when Ilayaraja’s Geetanjali, released, my cassette conked and dragged because I must have played  ‘O priya priya’ and ‘om namaha nayana’ more than even the sound engineer of it.  I don’t know a word of Telugu. ‘O priya priya’ was later made in Hindi too, and it sounded like crap to me. And yes, Geetanjali had a tamil version too, which I honestly never bothered to listen to.

I own the craziest collection of punjabi music, because I just love the sound of it. I don’t understand a word. Now I know a bit more, because I’ve asked around, because it makes me want to know what ‘gur nal ishq mitha’ really means. Apparently it’s ‘love is sweeter than jaggery’ or ‘mera laung gawacha’ means ‘my nose ring is lost’. I want to meet a person who knows the meaning of these lyrics. And compare notes with him. Did he enjoy it more than me, just because he knew what the words meant?

The songs of Metallica do something to me. The mere sound of it. I have now bought a book that explains the lyrics and context of every song. I’m reading it for academic knowledge, but it makes no fucking difference.

Apparently ‘Enter sandman’ is about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Crib Death), when a baby dies inexplicably in its crib.

Apparently a sandman is a chap who sprinkles sand in your eyes, to induce sleep, and get you rid of nightmares and give you beautiful dreams or some such stuff.

I had never heard the word ‘sandman’ till that song arrived. Yes, but it made me want to know what it meant.

I listened to it an entire night when my landlord asked me to vacate my previous place because my neighbour had a problem with me. That track made complete sense to my emotions that night. The lyrics are totally senseless for a situation like that. For you. Not for me. How do they make sense? I don’t know. It’s beyond logic and analysis.

I know no better by now knowing what Metallica really meant.

When Rahman was composing for ‘Lagaan’, he asked Javed Akhtar to give him a word that sounded thunderous, and Javed said ‘ghanana ghanana’, which means nothing actually. Yes, that part does sound thunderous.

music

So which now brings me to the point that I’m baffled by. A huge crowd walked out of Rahman’s concert at Wembley, because he sang some 12 tamil songs, a language that they don’t understand.

It wasn’t some karaoke night. It was an AR fucking Rahman show. I pity the assholes who had all the money to shell out for the tickets, but left behind that part of their anatomy that could really feel his music.

They needed words? Words in their mother tongue to really feel it? If they need to understand what ‘nenjukulle’ really means for loving it, well here it is, ‘nenjukulle’ literally translated means ‘inside my heart/ chest’ (which is still not accurate). Infact the sound of ‘nenjukulle’, the way Rahman has asked Shakthisree to sing it, is the more accurate meaning of the word than this crap.

If one fucking tweet said ‘Hey heard this beautiful sounding song that Rahman sang today that went something like ‘ninjakullai or nenjikillaaa…or something like that..and it sounded so awesome..anyone there who can tell me what it means..dying to know’, you would have had a million guys going all out to tell you what it means. That would have been much nicer. But anyway, that meaning is futile. The real meaning is the sound of it.

And to all those who feel that they are being broad minded or broad hearted to accept ‘why this kolaveri di’, despite it being in tamil…apart from the words ‘kolaveri’ and ‘di’, the entire song is in English you assholes. (I don’t know how this makes sense for this argument, but somehow I think it does). Nobody realizes it, that they are loving it because of the music. And they think they are strangely connecting to a tamil song. ..but no. There is no tamil in it.

I can hear a million people echoing together ‘kun faya kun’ at any concert, the exact part in a hindi song that noone really understands. And when the hindi part happens, everyone kind of mumbles something. But the fun is that the most non-understandable part of that song is also its most beautiful part.

I’m not demeaning lyrics. But those words are lent to music and not reserved for poetry. Because the writer knows that there’s only so much words can do. Music can give it a meaning that it never had.

My father doesn’t know a word of hindi. But he still keeps asking me to play Rafi’s ‘Chahunga mein tujhe’, from Dosti. He has never asked me even once what those words really mean. But every time he hears it, he’s moist eyed, and says ‘Rafi’s voice is like butter’.

I now realize, music is not just about the words. It’s about the sound of those words.

And mainly, music is now the only thing left to unite us. Do not drag that too into this muck of languages. Please leave it alone. There are enough things like language alone, religion, states, countries etc working overtime to make that boundary thicker.

Please leave music alone. It was invented to make the world a more beautiful place.

I hate whatever I have written here, because I am not able to exactly express what I am feeling. But that’s the fuck up. This isn’t music.

PS: Ignore spelling, grammar, construct, repetitiveness etc because it’s too fucking tiring, boring and irritating to keep editing it. 

Kabali – Don’t review God

o-KABALI-facebookImagine standing in front of a tornado that’s fast approaching you at the speed of 280mph. And you stand there ready to dive into it. You stay put. All willing to hitch a ride. The tornado arrives with some dizzying surround sound. Engulfs you. And carries you to a spot which is the epicenter of an earthquake. And then suddenly ejects you out into outerspace..where you are floating somewhere between Neptune and Uranus.

I think such an experience cannot be called ‘watching a movie’.

So when a lot of them seem to be let down by ‘Kabali’ because of high expectations…I feel sad. Because I feel their expectations weren’t high enough. They weren’t willing to let go….and probably wanted to be sitting close enough to the ground…and maybe take them only as far or as high as a giant wheel can . Where they still get to see ‘familiar things’ around them. Like spotting their school from up there. Or point around towards some parks and roads which they’ve seen from close quarters. And get all excited because they are now seeing the same from as high as a giant wheel.

Kabali is certainly not that.

Don’t go, if you are in it for a movie. Don’t go if you are in it for a story. For screenplay. For familiar emotions being replayed. Don’t go for technical brilliance. And certainly don’t go if continuity, logic, brilliant performances, a coherent story, great character sketches all come in as prerequisites that first need to be fulfilled and tick-boxed before you are ready for the ‘take-off’.

Don’t go if you are not willing to ‘let go’.

Go only if you are willing to get carried away. And be swayed and swung and spun and churned and thrown around by the only superhero we know who exists for real.

He’s here in his newest avatar to take you on a heady trip you’ve never experienced…not here as a cuddly grandpa to sit you down and tell you a story.

And yes, he and we, want no time wasted before we’re in the middle of this trip. Because he knows and so do we that we’re here only for that trip. Nothing else. Rest is mandatory.

Yes, since he’s decided to only meet us at movie halls, he’s engaged some mere mortals who have sat down and put together some mandatories for that to happen. If you are going to be stuck there…then you are missing the ride. The larger picture. The madness. The heady giddy mix of all things Thaliava…all things Superstar…all things that we are in it for.

I have been watching every movie of Rajini ever since he made my brain understand that there are some things in life where every part of your anatomy can be given immense joy at the same exact moment.

There is nothing more supreme than this euphoria. Everything else is a means to it.

And ever since, after having watched every movie of his, he’s only left me behind with this feeling that makes me pissed off with the people who contribute words to the dictionary. Only because they haven’t invented a word that can fully express what this feeling is.

This feeling has now grown with passing time. And now this feeling has somewhere crossed the line and now has the audacity to make demands.

‘Expectation’.

‘Expectation’ makes you the higher one. Makes you and your imagination the elevated one. And then someone has to rise above to meet it. It is great when you have it in some cases…and it’s absolute stupidity when it comes to some other things. And certainly impudent and immodest when it comes to Rajini.

kabali hi resTo me, ‘Kabali’ is a return of sorts. Right from the credit title. Where it’s back to where the ‘Superstar’ phenomenon all started. Back to those little led lights that tries to illuminate that feeling on the screen. A feeling so euphoric, that we’re unwilling to accept any word that the dictionary has to offer for it.

Rajini gives this feeling a new journey. A new path. Rajini reboots. Restarts. And goes back to a place where it all started. Back to that place where he walked into that dingy stage at the ‘Gubbi Veeranna’ theatre. Where he played the character of Ravana in a play.

A time when people queued up only to see him. He was there to show you how menacing he can be. People came to watch that. Nobody came to see the story of Ramayana. Everyone knew it. They came there to lose themselves and travel along with him.

Over there people knew the story. Over here I feel we need to assume it. Either way, the fun is only in travelling along with him.

He’s back here playing an evil baddie. He goes about killing everything that doesn’t suit his taste. Who or what he’s killing doesn’t matter or shouldn’t. Why he’s killing too shouldn’t. That part is ours. To fill it up on our own.

Half of what Rajini does lies in our imagination. Whatever he was fighting…we weren’t fighting the same enemy in our heads. We were fighting our own. He just gave us the manner in which it needs to be done. And we loved it.

We’re only back here for a refresher course. Not for a movie. To learn from a man who teaches us as to ‘how it’s done.’

And then…we now have to come back to terms that this is a movie.

Tiring.

Tiring to interact with people who still see him as an actor. And as an actor who acts in movies.

And then to see some reviewer say ‘his age is beginning to show’. I wanted to laugh out loud. Like the way Rajini laughs. I only want to ask him ‘where or when was he trying to hide it?’

“He’s not moving in the same speed. Not picking up the guns with the same swiftness.”

Now show me a 60 something man doing that with even half that speed. Fuck that. Show me a 20 something anybody who does that with one hundredth of that swag or style.

Infact he adds a whole new body language. That I think is nuance.

Chuck it.

Ok…now coming back to what if ‘Kabali’ were a movie.

After the previous two disasters, Rajini has understood the dangers of the tried and tested. The very idea that he now stars in a movie like this sends out a strong signal that he’s moved on.

Rajini has chosen a guy with right kind of sensibilities.

Even if he doesn’t have the right sense.

Pa Ranjith’s desire of seeing Rajini as a menacing gangster who probably should have been in ‘lock stock and two smoking barrels’, is absolutely mind blowing.

The mind-blowing part of Ranjith pretty much ends there. And is then taken over by Santosh Narayan.

Santosh is sensible enough to understand that all the bullshit that Ranjith serves and all the awesomeness that Rajini radiates, needs a separation.

His job is now then to become a guide of sorts to bring our attention back to the screen at the right moments.

Which comes in the form of a siren. A siren that summons us back. A siren that has been programmed to release the dormant endorphins within our bodies..asking us to drop our popcorn, leave our phones alone, stop our pee midway and rush back in time to succumb ourselves to the God on screen.

Kabali_2834894fAnd It is in these parts where Rajini takes it upon himself to more than make up for the mistakes committed by his mere mortal crew.

It’s only then when it strikes us.

That we were here only for him. Nothing else matters.

Court

Like when you wait for your turn at a barber shop, you do notice a lot of things. You notice it, because you are doing nothing but just waiting. You notice that the barber just went outside and blew his nose, and then he’s back massaging some guys head. You watch some random telegu channel, which you have at your home too, but never ever stopped at it. But you now watch it in the barber shop because you have nothing better to do than wait. The guy next to you is on the phone speaking to his uncle about some sick relative of theirs in a language that you dont understand but you strain your ears and try and figure out the story because you have nothing better to do in that barber shop than wait.

Court is an incredible incredible documentation of just observations. Observations that are so accurately translated back to cinema.

c o u r t_0If every road, every street and every room in the country had a cctv camera, and if one incident were to be covered in its entirety by only using footage from these cameras, the result would be something like court.

Court makes everyday life more exciting than fiction. Court throws the spotlight on everyday mundanity and makes it steal the thunder out of the most bizarre fantastical dream. Court creates superstars out of nobodies. Court makes you sit up and take notice of everything happening around you, and makes you believe that your life is not mundane. It makes you think that you could actually be amidst the most engrossing story ever.

Court opens up your mind to a new topic. A mundane life. And it has the sexiest stories hidden underneath.

Emosanal connecsion

emotional

The pop corn seemed potent. And the coke tasted like neat vodka. Watching Dev D is like going on a dizzy ride into fantasy, rather ecstasy. The thrill is quite similar to screaming together in a rock show, watching the local band belt out ‘cocaine’. The intoxication is so misleading, that you start confusing the cheap liquor inside you to be something of an higher order. 

Fluorescent streaks of colour, crazy camera works, eclectic sound effects transport you to a world that you only hangovered about till now.  

It looks like the director, the cast, the cameraman, the spot boy, the editor were on dope throughout the making of this film. And the censor board was on a overdose  to pass it. 

The film is a narcotic pot boiler (quite literally) of a man who indulges in everything that you only had seventh hand information about. All said and done it was one hellofatrip in the name of modern cinema. All the weed that Anurag Kashyap sowed has reaped off. And it shows.dev-d-0a1

 

 

What distinctly catches your eye in that dark tele cine are a few scenes, infact single symbolic shots, like the sex starved punjabi kudi who cycles away to the some ganne ke kheth with a bed on her carrier, freeing the location from the clutches of Yash Chopra and his disciples, and putting it to better use. 

Or the scene where Abhay Deol walks in slow motion, out of a wine store balancing an entire carton of vodka on one hand, to depict the extent of his misery. Worth learning how to whistle.

Or the scene where the firangi girl turned prostitute, regrets why her father did not pardon her for all her sins, and Abhay Deol pulls her close and gives her a hug, reciting the same lines that she wanted to hear from her father. 

smoking-upYes, there could be people who would argue that this encourages alcoholism and drugs and spreads messages that are against our culture. But again, it is only a movie. Nobody set out to install lightbulbs in villages after seeing Swades. Maybe, movies can only do so much. So, it’s best to leave your moralistic viewpoints aside, and watch this movie for the sheer pleasure of watching good cinema.  

The guts behind getting a local brass band to lend their voice for the lead single ‘Emosanal Attyachar’ says a lot about the director wanting to redefine the tried and tested Sonu and Udit for delivering a hit, or for that matter  engaging a garage musician to score the music tracks.  

Apparently, most of the songs were written by the singers themselves, because Anurag had identified closet poets behind those voices.

This movie actually reminded me of someone closer home who tried what Anurag accomplished, a decade ago. Uppi.satyam42

Yes, if you follow closely, there is an uncanny resemblance to what Uppi set out to do when the audience had still not got their fill with run of the mill stuff (the rhyme happened without my knowledge, sorry about that). Right from the title, Uppi decided to be different, yes just for the sake of being different. Titles like A, Shhh, Om, Upendra, Swastik, H2O and other titles that weren’t as distinct as the ones above. 

However prepared you might have been for unpreparedness, Uppi still had surprises. Surprises that you enjoyed. Fleeting references to situations that you’ve been through in the past. He narrated stories from a place that you left behind to join a group that you actually don’t belong to. He sucked you in, releasing you from the trappings that you have so stupidly got yourself into. He welcomed you back to a world that is loud, unpretentious and mediocre, where appreciation required no additional knowledge or effort on your part. Letting you give in to the unpolished side of yourself, that you sometimes so desperately seek in the world you’ve graduated into. 

Crude dialogues, unpoetic lyrics and extreme performances found a method to creep into plots that made the last benchers of school, first benchers in the cinema hall. Weaved into stories where you willingly reduced yourself to the lowest common denominator. 

 

Sample this dialogue from A…”Indian culture is great, Indian tradition is great, Indian heritage is great….but Indians are not great.” This is juxtaposed against a rape scene, where he steps in to save the victim. Over the top and deshdrohi..ish, but thoroughly enjoyable when you become one with the crowd and whistle along.

The story lines made you uncomfortable in your seat, and the message was conveyed only after tossing and turning in your bed that night. For instance, Upendra was a film that set out to prove that a man can actually have relationships with three different women, one for love, another for lust and the third for marriage, as all the three from one person could be unsatisfying. Or H2O was a story about a Kannadiga and a Tamilian falling in love with the same woman called Cauvery. And just to make it more difficult for audiences used to regular cinema, he made it a bi-lingual film, where the two heroes (He and Prabhudeva), spoke in Kannada and Tamil respectively. What happened was not as surprising as the film. It was promptly banned.

Strangely, I find far too many similarities between these two geniuses of cinema.

I found the cinematic treatment of Dev D slipping into trance, quite similar to Uppi’s introduction shot in Upendra. A technique where still photographs are taken on a trolley that rotates around the subject, and then strung together in high speed, to give you a crazy rush. Apparently, Danny Boyle advised Anurag to use this technique to get the desired effect, while Uppi plainly learnt it from ignorance.  

Or for that matter, the shaky camera that blurs on and off as Dev D approaches his lover after downing a bottle, is quite close to the ‘helkolakke ondu ooru’ song where Uppi in a similar state goes swaggering all over the place, conveniently transferring the buzz in his head on to yours. And made it a universal favorite of every boozard in crowded cheapo bars, when alcohol began to corner them to solitude. Suddenly a lonely victim from under a zero watt bulb would break into this number, slowly drawing the fellow drunkards into his gloomy world. Eventually, the entire bar would echo his sentiments, pour their left over drinks to plastic tumblers and sway down the dark stairway, singing in chorus, bumping into each other and bonding like buddies, finding similarities in the shitty scripts that God  had written for them.

 

Uppi then offered further comfort to lonely love-struck boozards with an optional number in H2O, ‘Dil ilde love maadukke”, repeating his cinematic treatment with lyrics that conveyed feelings for his beloved by comparing them to alcohol, that roughly translated like this ‘If I see you, it is like downing a 60. If you laugh, it is like downing a 90. If you talk to me and laugh at the same time, it is like downing a full bottle.’ These automatically found an emosanal connection with Auto drivers and truck drivers, who paid homage in the form of distorted caricatures of Uppi on truck and auto backs. 

Uppi fused popular advertising baselines like ‘Boost is the secret of my energy’, or ‘Amul, a gift for someone you love’ into his film’s music track of ‘A’. As juvenile and crazy it might sound, it certainly boasted of a newcomer’s guts who gave into his raw instincts without letting them steer away into logic, without processing them till they came back without that spunk of spontaneity.  

Even the posters were eccentric. The poster for ‘A’ had Uppi pulling a handcart with a woman sitting on it. He narrated the script to a local artist, and asked him to paint anything that came to his mind after hearing the story. He then added a baseline under the painting that read ‘For intelligent people only’. The poster for the film ‘Upendra’ had Uppi screaming, with the letters “FRID’ in bold. He later told me that it meant nothing. He wanted to write something in the poster that meant ‘nothing’, just to get people talking about it. And it worked. The public went bonkers trying to decode that nonsense, and even drove them to buy a ticket, just to solve the puzzle. 

He then wanted to make a movie with no title. His distributors who were still clinging on to sanity, requested him to call it something, or they would not be able to list it in the papers. Uppi found an intelligent solution that could keep both of them happy. He gave it a symbol instead, the symbol of Swastik. The posters had nothing but the sign of Swastik. This time, he got people guessing, what the name of the film could be. 

Eventually, Uppi had to catch up with the audience, who had now returned to their regular cinema after that brief stint with insanity, dragging him there in the process.

Unfortunately, Uppi did not have the finesse to elevate his kitschness to an art form, that could be openly appreciated by MG Road audiences of Bangalore. Uppi restricted himself to kannada speaking audiences and failed to transcend beyond these provinces. Nevertheless, it was incredible to see him blend his learnings from world class cinema, suitable enough to an audience that he knew so well. Which after a long time, I now see in Anurag Kashyap, who operates in a language that is more fortunate. 

Sophistication is a curse on mankind, imposed by people who are too jealous of men being themselves. Dev D, Oye lucky lucky Oye, Slumdog Millionaire welcome loud, crass and over-the-top depictions of life into the basket of appreciatable cinema. Restraint and silence are replaced with energy and kitsch. Old fundas of realism in cinema that stretched the ‘thought for the day’ on your school boards to snail paced renditions of unattractive looking people enacting bodily functions like eating and sleeping to painfully long durations, with absolutely no background score, has thankfully been thrown out of the window. Tacky camerawork that masquerade as natural lighting have faded out. Stories on poverty are no longer supported with budgets that are similar. And dialogues that deserve seetis have percolated down to non-starry films. Thankfully, art cinema has progressed beyond serving these self obsessed audiences who take great pride and pleasure being amidst boredom.

Whatever you may call them- multiplex cinema, new age cinema, alternative cinema, parallel cinema or offbeat cinema or any other term, this too shall pass, and there will no longer be the great divide that separates films that are watched and films that need to be watched. The new brigade knows that the audience is there to be entertained, and not to support someone’s mission of picking up a national award. It’s relieving to know that you no more have to be subjected to subjects devoid of entertainment.  

It seems like Indian Cinema never had it better. 

Chandni chowk to china

Wow!! Finally here is a movie where you can take your two year old toddler along and chase him with a cerelac bowl in the aisle. Where you can speak non-stop on the cellphone without anyone complaining. You can suddenly whistle and it wont be out of turn, because nobody knows when is the right time to do so. You can actually go through the entire list of snacks at the cafeteria, and the guy behind won’t make a fuss.

It’s like watching a rerun of a 0-0 football match where you already know that noone is going to score anyway.

The director has put together a series of jokes of different varieties, so that you might end up liking at least some of them.

Let’s begin with the story.

Akshay kumar works as a vegetable cutter in a dhaba at Chandni Chowk .

Akshay Kumar is mistaken as a reincarnation of a chinese warrior.

Akshay kumar lands in China.

Deepika Padukone is an Indian who wants to go to china. She has a twin sister who is a chinese working for a goon who has murdered her mom and she doesn’t know that and she ends up chasing akshay kumar because he is suppose to be a warrior and then something something something……and mithun lands up and gets angry and something something something. Some singing, some dancing and romance and jumping on china wall and some kung fu hustle……..Kailash kher sings sidhu sidhu sidhu…ranvir runs around in a crazy hairdo…..and your popcorn spills and the baby beside screams and you get an sms and you respond and mithun dies.

INTERVAL

Akshay takes training in a special kung fu that combines his roti making skills and vegetable cutting skills and something something something.
dam….dim…..daka..phuku…..dishhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…
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The experience of watching this movie is unexplainable. Writing a blog on it is more like a challenge.

When it comes to judging movies, I have the lowest standards in the universe. I’ve enjoyed movies so horrible that it could make people doubt my character, personality and judgement.

But this movie takes a new skill to appreciate it.

A fan of Rajni said this when someone asked him just after he saw Sivaji.

Interviewer: “How was the story?”

Fan “We’ll worry about that after the seventh viewing.”

Unfortunately, unlike Rajni, Akshay is not in a stage where he can do anything without questions popping up in your mind.

It’s not our inability to suspend disbelief.

This movie is suspension of anything that your brain questions innocently. Where you have to suspend things like why is there no continuity? Why is there no story? Why did this scene jump all of a sudden? Why is he here? Why is this happening? Who is this dude? What is he doing? What happened to that chap? Why is this Chinese speaking hindi?

Questions that are more than what a paranoid client would ask at a
disastrous PPM.

At least when I watched it, there was not a single moment in the film where the audience roared with laughter in chorus. It was I liked one joke. The person beside me liked the next. It’s like a bundle of jokes hurled at you and you decide when you want to laugh depending on upto what level you are willing to expose your stupidity.

Moreover the silly jokes force you to not take them sillily, because they are shot so well. It’s like packaging Pacman into Playstation. When Goundamani kicks Senthil you laugh. But if the same were to happen with hi-tech special effects, you are left cold.

The first 20 minutes of the film actually define that it’s a ‘leave your brains home’ comedy. But then they are spoilt by some emotional scenes that are shot with such sincerity and performances that it leaves you confused as to how to exactly react to it.

The fights in the movie are pathetic. They build you up till you are on the edge of your seat and just when it’s about to start, it looks like the stunt director went on leave.

And it also seems like that after cutting flight tickets for the entire crew to China, the production ran out of money for local travel. The only location that you get to see is the Great wall of china.

Deepika Padukone is best thing to happen to this film. She looks fab in her Chinese avtaar. Her make-up artist and costume designer deserve an Oscar for that.

The chap from 36 chambers of Shaolin is the villain named Hojo. The previous sentence is all that I gathered about him in the entire film. I think the Chinese interpreter they engaged to co-ordinate between him and the director was playing pranks. The lines he speaks and the emotion attached are as mismatched as the audio and video of any Chinese movie.

Akshay Kumar is totally relatable. He represents the state of mind that the entire audience is going through, on screen. He’s perpetually confused as to what is happening.

Mithun was smart. He figured out that this film is going nowhere so decided to kill his character with about 10 minutes of screen presence.

Ranvir is superbly convincing in his role. A role that is designed to make absolutely no sense to the script.

Overall, it’s like any ‘Made in China’ maal. It’s got lots packed in it, but nothing works.

The only danger is that this review might actually end up making this film seem interestingly nonsensical.

So, go enjoy.